Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome

Part 3 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"I've seen it."

I said, "Seen what?"

He was too excited to answer intelligently. He said

"It's here. It's coming this way, both of them. If you wait,
you'll see it for yourselves. I'm not joking; it's the real

As is usual about this period, some paragraphs, more or less
serious, had been appearing in the papers concerning the sea-
serpent, and I thought for the moment he must be referring to this.
A moment's reflection, however, told me that here, in the middle of
Europe, three hundred miles from the coast, such a thing was
impossible. Before I could question him further, he seized me by
the arm.

"Look!" he said; "now am I exaggerating?"

I turned my head and saw what, I suppose, few living Englishmen
have ever seen before--the travelling Britisher according to the
Continental idea, accompanied by his daughter. They were coming
towards us in the flesh and blood, unless we were dreaming, alive
and concrete--the English "Milor" and the English "Mees," as for
generations they have been portrayed in the Continental comic press
and upon the Continental stage. They were perfect in every detail.
The man was tall and thin, with sandy hair, a huge nose, and long
Dundreary whiskers. Over a pepper-and-salt suit he wore a light
overcoat, reaching almost to his heels. His white helmet was
ornamented with a green veil; a pair of opera-glasses hung at his
side, and in his lavender-gloved hand he carried an alpenstock a
little taller than himself. His daughter was long and angular.
Her dress I cannot describe: my grandfather, poor gentleman, might
have been able to do so; it would have been more familiar to him.
I can only say that it appeared to me unnecessarily short,
exhibiting a pair of ankles--if I may be permitted to refer to such
points--that, from an artistic point of view, called rather for
concealment. Her hat made me think of Mrs. Hemans; but why I
cannot explain. She wore side-spring boots--"prunella," I believe,
used to be the trade name--mittens, and pince-nez. She also
carried an alpenstock (there is not a mountain within a hundred
miles of Dresden) and a black bag strapped to her waist. Her teeth
stuck out like a rabbit's, and her figure was that of a bolster on

Harris rushed for his camera, and of course could not find it; he
never can when he wants it. Whenever we see Harris scuttling up
and down like a lost dog, shouting, "Where's my camera? What the
dickens have I done with my camera? Don't either of you remember
where I put my camera?"--then we know that for the first time that
day he has come across something worth photographing. Later on, he
remembered it was in his bag; that is where it would be on an
occasion like this.

They were not content with appearance; they acted the thing to the
letter. They walked gaping round them at every step. The
gentleman had an open Baedeker in his hand, and the lady carried a
phrase book. They talked French that nobody could understand, and
German that they could not translate themselves! The man poked at
officials with his alpenstock to attract their attention, and the
lady, her eye catching sight of an advertisement of somebody's
cocoa, said "Shocking!" and turned the other way.

Really, there was some excuse for her. One notices, even in
England, the home of the proprieties, that the lady who drinks
cocoa appears, according to the poster, to require very little else
in this world; a yard or so of art muslin at the most. On the
Continent she dispenses, so far as one can judge, with every other
necessity of life. Not only is cocoa food and drink to her, it
should be clothes also, according to the idea of the cocoa
manufacturer. But this by the way.

Of course, they immediately became the centre of attraction. By
being able to render them some slight assistance, I gained the
advantage of five minutes' conversation with them. They were very
affable. The gentleman told me his name was Jones, and that he
came from Manchester, but he did not seem to know what part of
Manchester, or where Manchester was. I asked him where he was
going to, but he evidently did not know. He said it depended. I
asked him if he did not find an alpenstock a clumsy thing to walk
about with through a crowded town; he admitted that occasionally it
did get in the way. I asked him if he did not find a veil
interfere with his view of things; he explained that you only wore
it when the flies became troublesome. I enquired of the lady if
she did not find the wind blow cold; she said she had noticed it,
especially at the corners. I did not ask these questions one after
another as I have here put them down; I mixed them up with general
conversation, and we parted on good terms.

I have pondered much upon the apparition, and have come to a
definite opinion. A man I met later at Frankfort, and to whom I
described the pair, said he had seen them himself in Paris, three
weeks after the termination of the Fashoda incident; while a
traveller for some English steel works whom we met in Strassburg
remembered having seen them in Berlin during the excitement caused
by the Transvaal question. My conclusion is that they were actors
out of work, hired to do this thing in the interest of
international peace. The French Foreign Office, wishful to allay
the anger of the Parisian mob clamouring for war with England,
secured this admirable couple and sent them round the town. You
cannot be amused at a thing, and at the same time want to kill it.
The French nation saw the English citizen and citizeness--no
caricature, but the living reality--and their indignation exploded
in laughter. The success of the stratagem prompted them later on
to offer their services to the German Government, with the
beneficial results that we all know.

Our own Government might learn the lesson. It might be as well to
keep near Downing Street a few small, fat Frenchmen, to be sent
round the country when occasion called for it, shrugging their
shoulders and eating frog sandwiches; or a file of untidy, lank-
haired Germans might be retained, to walk about, smoking long
pipes, saying "So." The public would laugh and exclaim, "War with
such? It would be too absurd." Failing the Government, I
recommend the scheme to the Peace Society.

Our visit to Prague we were compelled to lengthen somewhat. Prague
is one of the most interesting towns in Europe. Its stones are
saturated with history and romance; its every suburb must have been
a battlefield. It is the town that conceived the Reformation and
hatched the Thirty Years' War. But half Prague's troubles, one
imagines, might have been saved to it, had it possessed windows
less large and temptingly convenient. The first of these mighty
catastrophes it set rolling by throwing the seven Catholic
councillors from the windows of its Rathhaus on to the pikes of the
Hussites below. Later, it gave the signal for the second by again
throwing the Imperial councillors from the windows of the old Burg
in the Hradschin--Prague's second "Fenstersturz." Since, other
fateful questions have been decide in Prague, one assumes from
their having been concluded without violence that such must have
been discussed in cellars. The window, as an argument, one feels,
would always have proved too strong a temptation to any true-born

In the Teynkirche stands the worm-eaten pulpit from which preached
John Huss. One may hear from the selfsame desk to-day the voice of
a Papist priest, while in far-off Constance a rude block of stone,
half ivy hidden, marks the spot where Huss and Jerome died burning
at the stake. History is fond of her little ironies. In this same
Teynkirche lies buried Tycho Brahe, the astronomer, who made the
common mistake of thinking the earth, with its eleven hundred
creeds and one humanity, the centre of the universe; but who
otherwise observed the stars clearly.

Through Prague's dirty, palace-bordered alleys must have pressed
often in hot haste blind Ziska and open-minded Wallenstein--they
have dubbed him "The Hero" in Prague; and the town is honestly
proud of having owned him for citizen. In his gloomy palace in the
Waldstein-Platz they show as a sacred spot the cabinet where he
prayed, and seem to have persuaded themselves he really had a soul.
Its steep, winding ways must have been choked a dozen times, now by
Sigismund's flying legions, followed by fierce-killing Tarborites,
and now by pale Protestants pursued by the victorious Catholics of
Maximilian. Now Saxons, now Bavarians, and now French; now the
saints of Gustavus Adolphus, and now the steel fighting machines of
Frederick the Great, have thundered at its gates and fought upon
its bridges.

The Jews have always been an important feature of Prague.
Occasionally they have assisted the Christians in their favourite
occupation of slaughtering one another, and the great flag
suspended from the vaulting of the Altneuschule testifies to the
courage with which they helped Catholic Ferdinand to resist the
Protestant Swedes. The Prague Ghetto was one of the first to be
established in Europe, and in the tiny synagogue, still standing,
the Jew of Prague has worshipped for eight hundred years, his women
folk devoutly listening, without, at the ear holes provided for
them in the massive walls. A Jewish cemetery adjacent,
"Bethchajim, or the House of Life," seems as though it were
bursting with its dead. Within its narrow acre it was the law of
centuries that here or nowhere must the bones of Israel rest. So
the worn and broken tombstones lie piled in close confusion, as
though tossed and tumbled by the struggling host beneath.

The Ghetto walls have long been levelled, but the living Jews of
Prague still cling to their foetid lanes, though these are being
rapidly replaced by fine new streets that promise to eventually
transform this quarter into the handsomest part of the town.

At Dresden they advised us not to talk German in Prague. For years
racial animosity between the German minority and the Czech majority
has raged throughout Bohemia, and to be mistaken for a German in
certain streets of Prague is inconvenient to a man whose staying
powers in a race are not what once they were. However, we did talk
German in certain streets in Prague; it was a case of talking
German or nothing. The Czech dialect is said to be of great
antiquity and of highly scientific cultivation. Its alphabet
contains forty-two letters, suggestive to a stranger of Chinese.
It is not a language to be picked up in a hurry. We decided that
on the whole there would be less risk to our constitution in
keeping to German, and as a matter of fact no harm came to us. The
explanation I can only surmise. The Praguer is an exceedingly
acute person; some subtle falsity of accent, some slight
grammatical inaccuracy, may have crept into our German, revealing
to him the fact that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary,
we were no true-born Deutscher. I do not assert this; I put it
forward as a possibility.

To avoid unnecessary danger, however, we did our sight-seeing with
the aid of a guide. No guide I have ever come across is perfect.
This one had two distinct failings. His English was decidedly
weak. Indeed, it was not English at all. I do not know what you
would call it. It was not altogether his fault; he had learnt
English from a Scotch lady. I understand Scotch fairly well--to
keep abreast of modern English literature this is necessary,--but
to understand broad Scotch talked with a Sclavonic accent,
occasionally relieved by German modifications, taxes the
intelligence. For the first hour it was difficult to rid one's
self of the conviction that the man was choking. Every moment we
expected him to die on our hands. In the course of the morning we
grew accustomed to him, and rid ourselves of the instinct to throw
him on his back every time he opened his mouth, and tear his
clothes from him. Later, we came to understand a part of what he
said, and this led to the discovery of his second failing.

It would seem he had lately invented a hair-restorer, which he had
persuaded a local chemist to take up and advertise. Half his time
he had been pointing out to us, not the beauties of Prague, but the
benefits likely to accrue to the human race from the use of this
concoction; and the conventional agreement with which, under the
impression he was waxing eloquent concerning views and
architecture, we had met his enthusiasm he had attributed to
sympathetic interest in this wretched wash of his.

The result was that now there was no keeping him away from the
subject. Ruined palaces and crumbling churches he dismissed with
curt reference as mere frivolities, encouraging a morbid taste for
the decadent. His duty, as he saw it, was not to lead us to dwell
upon the ravages of time, but rather to direct our attention to the
means of repairing them. What had we to do with broken-headed
heroes, or bald-headed saints? Our interest should be surely in
the living world; in the maidens with their flowing tresses, or the
flowing tresses they might have, by judicious use of "Kophkeo," in
the young men with their fierce moustaches--as pictured on the

Unconsciously, in his own mind, he had divided the world into two
sections. The Past ("Before Use"), a sickly, disagreeable-looking,
uninteresting world. The Future ("After Use") a fat, jolly, God-
bless-everybody sort of world; and this unfitted him as a guide to
scenes of mediaeval history.

He sent us each a bottle of the stuff to our hotel. It appeared
that in the early part of our converse with him we had,
unwittingly, clamoured for it. Personally, I can neither praise it
nor condemn it. A long series of disappointments has disheartened
me; added to which a permanent atmosphere of paraffin, however
faint, is apt to cause remark, especially in the case of a married
man. Now, I never try even the sample.

I gave my bottle to George. He asked for it to send to a man he
knew in Leeds. I learnt later that Harris had given him his bottle
also, to send to the same man.

A suggestion of onions has clung to this tour since we left Prague.
George has noticed it himself. He attributes it to the prevalence
of garlic in European cooking.

It was in Prague that Harris and I did a kind and friendly thing to
George. We had noticed for some time past that George was getting
too fond of Pilsener beer. This German beer is an insidious drink,
especially in hot weather; but it does not do to imbibe too freely
of it. It does not get into your head, but after a time it spoils
your waist. I always say to myself on entering Germany:

"Now, I will drink no German beer. The white wine of the country,
with a little soda-water; perhaps occasionally a glass of Ems or
potash. But beer, never--or, at all events, hardly ever."

It is a good and useful resolution, which I recommend to all
travellers. I only wish I could keep to it myself. George,
although I urged him, refused to bind himself by any such hard and
fast limit. He said that in moderation German beer was good.

"One glass in the morning," said George, "one in the evening, or
even two. That will do no harm to anyone."

Maybe he was right. It was his half-dozen glasses that troubled
Harris and myself.

"We ought to do something to stop it," said Harris; "it is becoming

"It's hereditary, so he has explained to me," I answered. "It
seems his family have always been thirsty."

"There is Apollinaris water," replied Harris, "which, I believe,
with a little lemon squeezed into it, is practically harmless.
What I am thinking about is his figure. He will lose all his
natural elegance."

We talked the matter over, and, Providence aiding us, we fixed upon
a plan. For the ornamentation of the town a new statue had just
been cast. I forget of whom it was a statue. I only remember that
in the essentials it was the usual sort of street statue,
representing the usual sort of gentleman, with the usual stiff
neck, riding the usual sort of horse--the horse that always walks
on its hind legs, keeping its front paws for beating time. But in
detail it possessed individuality. Instead of the usual sword or
baton, the man was holding, stretched out in his hand, his own
plumed hat; and the horse, instead of the usual waterfall for a
tail, possessed a somewhat attenuated appendage that somehow
appeared out of keeping with his ostentatious behaviour. One felt
that a horse with a tail like that would not have pranced so much.

It stood in a small square not far from the further end of the
Karlsbrucke, but it stood there only temporarily. Before deciding
finally where to fix it, the town authorities had resolved, very
sensibly, to judge by practical test where it would look best.
Accordingly, they had made three rough copies of the statue--mere
wooden profiles, things that would not bear looking at closely, but
which, viewed from a little distance, produced all the effect that
was necessary. One of these they had set up at the approach to the
Franz-Josefsbrucke, a second stood in the open space behind the
theatre, and the third in the centre of the Wenzelsplatz.

"If George is not in the secret of this thing," said Harris--we
were walking by ourselves for an hour, he having remained behind in
the hotel to write a letter to his aunt,--"if he has not observed
these statues, then by their aid we will make a better and a
thinner man of him, and that this very evening."

So during dinner we sounded him, judiciously; and finding him
ignorant of the matter, we took him out, and led him by side-
streets to the place where stood the real statue. George was for
looking at it and passing on, as is his way with statues, but we
insisted on his pulling up and viewing the thing conscientiously.
We walked him round that statue four times, and showed it to him
from every possible point of view. I think, on the whole, we
rather bored him with the thing, but our object was to impress it
upon him. We told him the history of the man who rode upon the
horse, the name of the artist who had made the statue, how much it
weighed, how much it measured. We worked that statue into his
system. By the time we had done with him he knew more about that
statue, for the time being, than he knew about anything else. We
soaked him in that statue, and only let him go at last on the
condition that he would come again with us in the morning, when we
could all see it better, and for such purpose we saw to it that he
made a note in his pocket-book of the place where the statue stood.

Then we accompanied him to his favourite beer hall, and sat beside
him, telling him anecdotes of men who, unaccustomed to German beer,
and drinking too much of it, had gone mad and developed homicidal
mania; of men who had died young through drinking German beer; of
lovers that German beer had been the means of parting for ever from
beautiful girls.

At ten o'clock we started to walk back to the hotel. It was a
stormy-looking night, with heavy clouds drifting over a light moon.
Harris said:

"We won't go back the same way we came; we'll walk back by the
river. It is lovely in the moonlight."

Harris told a sad history, as we walked, about a man he once knew,
who is now in a home for harmless imbeciles. He said he recalled
the story because it was on just such another night as this that he
was walking with that man the very last time he ever saw the poor
fellow. They were strolling down the Thames Embankment, Harris
said, and the man frightened him then by persisting that he saw the
statue of the Duke of Wellington at the corner of Westminster
Bridge, when, as everybody knows, it stands in Piccadilly.

It was at this exact instant that we came in sight of the first of
these wooden copies. It occupied the centre of a small, railed-in
square a little above us on the opposite side of the way. George
suddenly stood still and leant against the wall of the quay.

"What's the matter?" I said; "feeling giddy?"

He said: "I do, a little. Let's rest here a moment."

He stood there with his eyes glued to the thing.

He said, speaking huskily:

"Talking of statues, what always strikes me is how very much one
statue is like another statue."

Harris said: "I cannot agree with you there--pictures, if you
like. Some pictures are very like other pictures, but with a
statue there is always something distinctive. Take that statue we
saw early in the evening," continued Harris, "before we went into
the concert hall. It represented a man sitting on a horse. In
Prague you will see other statues of men on horses, but nothing at
all like that one."

"Yes they are," said George; "they are all alike. It's always the
same horse, and it's always the same man. They are all exactly
alike. It's idiotic nonsense to say they are not."

He appeared to be angry with Harris.

"What makes you think so?" I asked.

"What makes me think so?" retorted George, now turning upon me.
"Why, look at that damned thing over there!"

I said: "What damned thing?"

"Why, that thing," said George; "look at it! There is the same
horse with half a tail, standing on its hind legs; the same man
without his hat; the same--"

Harris said: "You are talking now about the statue we saw in the

"No, I'm not," replied George; "I'm talking about the statue over

"What statue?" said Harris.

George looked at Harris; but Harris is a man who might, with care,
have been a fair amateur actor. His face merely expressed friendly
sorrow, mingled with alarm. Next, George turned his gaze on me. I
endeavoured, so far as lay with me, to copy Harris's expression,
adding to it on my own account a touch of reproof.

"Will you have a cab?" I said as kindly as I could to George.
"I'll run and get one."

"What the devil do I want with a cab?" he answered, ungraciously.
"Can't you fellows understand a joke? It's like being out with a
couple of confounded old women," saying which, he started off
across the bridge, leaving us to follow.

"I am so glad that was only a joke of yours," said Harris, on our
overtaking him. "I knew a case of softening of the brain that

"Oh, you're a silly ass!" said George, cutting him short; "you know

He was really most unpleasant in his manner.

We took him round by the riverside of the theatre. We told him it
was the shortest way, and, as a matter of fact, it was. In the
open space behind the theatre stood the second of these wooden
apparitions. George looked at it, and again stood still.

"What's the matter?" said Harris, kindly. "You are not ill, are

"I don't believe this is the shortest way," said George.

"I assure you it is," persisted Harris.

"Well, I'm going the other," said George; and he turned and went,
we, as before, following him.

Along the Ferdinand Strasse Harris and I talked about private
lunatic asylums, which, Harris said, were not well managed in
England. He said a friend of his, a patient in a lunatic asylum -

George said, interrupting: "You appear to have a large number of
friends in lunatic asylums."

He said it in a most insulting tone, as though to imply that that
is where one would look for the majority of Harris's friends. But
Harris did not get angry; he merely replied, quite mildly:

"Well, it really is extraordinary, when one comes to think of it,
how many of them have gone that way sooner or later. I get quite
nervous sometimes, now."

At the corner of the Wenzelsplatz, Harris, who was a few steps
ahead of us, paused.

"It's a fine street, isn't it?" he said, sticking his hands in his
pockets, and gazing up at it admiringly.

George and I followed suit. Two hundred yards away from us, in its
very centre, was the third of these ghostly statues. I think it
was the best of the three--the most like, the most deceptive. It
stood boldly outlined against the wild sky: the horse on its hind
legs, with its curiously attenuated tail; the man bareheaded,
pointing with his plumed hat to the now entirely visible moon.

"I think, if you don't mind," said George--he spoke with almost a
pathetic ring in his voice, his aggressiveness had completely
fallen from him,--"that I will have that cab, if there's one

"I thought you were looking queer," said Harris, kindly. "It's
your head, isn't it?"

"Perhaps it is," answered George.

"I have noticed it coining on," said Harris; "but I didn't like to
say anything to you. You fancy you see things, don't you?"

"No, no; it isn't that," replied George, rather quickly. "I don't
know what it is."

"I do," said Harris, solemnly, "and I'll tell you. It's this
German beer that you are drinking. I have known a case where a

"Don't tell me about him just now," said George. "I dare say it's
true, but somehow I don't feel I want to hear about him."

"You are not used to it," said Harris.

"I shall give it up from to-night," said George. "I think you must
be right; it doesn't seem to agree with me."

We took him home, and saw him to bed. He was very gentle and quite

One evening later on, after a long day's ride, followed by a most
satisfactory dinner, we started him on a big cigar, and, removing
things from his reach, told him of this stratagem that for his good
we had planned.

"How many copies of that statue did you say we saw?" asked George,
after we had finished.

"Three," replied Harris.

"Only three?" said George. "Are you sure?"

"Positive," replied Harris. "Why?"

"Oh, nothing!" answered George.

But I don't think he quite believed Harris.

From Prague we travelled to Nuremberg, through Carlsbad. Good
Germans, when they die, go, they say, to Carlsbad, as good
Americans to Paris. This I doubt, seeing that it is a small place
with no convenience for a crowd. In Carlsbad, you rise at five,
the fashionable hour for promenade, when the band plays under the
Colonnade, and the Sprudel is filled with a packed throng over a
mile long, being from six to eight in the morning. Here you may
hear more languages spoken than the Tower of Babel could have
echoed. Polish Jews and Russian princes, Chinese mandarins and
Turkish pashas, Norwegians looking as if they had stepped out of
Ibsen's plays, women from the Boulevards, Spanish grandees and
English countesses, mountaineers from Montenegro and millionaires
from Chicago, you will find every dozen yards. Every luxury in the
world Carlsbad provides for its visitors, with the one exception of
pepper. That you cannot get within five miles of the town for
money; what you can get there for love is not worth taking away.
Pepper, to the liver brigade that forms four-fifths of Carlsbad's
customers, is poison; and, prevention being better than cure, it is
carefully kept out of the neighbourhood. "Pepper parties" are
formed in Carlsbad to journey to some place without the boundary,
and there indulge in pepper orgies.

Nuremberg, if one expects a town of mediaeval appearance,
disappoints. Quaint corners, picturesque glimpses, there are in
plenty; but everywhere they are surrounded and intruded upon by the
modern, and even what is ancient is not nearly so ancient as one
thought it was. After all, a town, like a woman, is only as old as
it looks; and Nuremberg is still a comfortable-looking dame, its
age somewhat difficult to conceive under its fresh paint and stucco
in the blaze of the gas and the electric light. Still, looking
closely, you may see its wrinkled walls and grey towers.


Harris breaks the law--The helpful man: The dangers that beset
him--George sets forth upon a career of crime--Those to whom
Germany would come as a boon and a blessing--The English Sinner:
His disappointments--The German Sinner: His exceptional
advantages--What you may not do with your bed--An inexpensive vice-
-The German dog: His simple goodness--The misbehaviour of the
beetle--A people that go the way they ought to go--The German small
boy: His love of legality--How to go astray with a perambulator--
The German student: His chastened wilfulness.

All three of us, by some means or another, managed, between
Nuremberg and the Black Forest, to get into trouble.

Harris led off at Stuttgart by insulting an official. Stuttgart is
a charming town, clean and bright, a smaller Dresden. It has the
additional attraction of containing little that one need to go out
of one's way to see: a medium-sized picture gallery, a small
museum of antiquities, and half a palace, and you are through with
the entire thing and can enjoy yourself. Harris did not know it
was an official he was insulting. He took it for a fireman (it
looked liked a fireman), and he called it a "dummer Esel."

In German you are not permitted to call an official a "silly ass,"
but undoubtedly this particular man was one. What had happened was
this: Harris in the Stadgarten, anxious to get out, and seeing a
gate open before him, had stepped over a wire into the street.
Harris maintains he never saw it, but undoubtedly there was hanging
to the wire a notice, "Durchgang Verboten!" The man, who was
standing near the gates stopped Harris, and pointed out to him this
notice. Harris thanked him, and passed on. The man came after
him, and explained that treatment of the matter in such off-hand
way could not be allowed; what was necessary to put the business
right was that Harris should step back over the wire into the
garden. Harris pointed out to the man that the notice said "going
through forbidden," and that, therefore, by re-entering the garden
that way he would be infringing the law a second time. The man saw
this for himself, and suggested that to get over the difficulty
Harris should go back into the garden by the proper entrance, which
was round the corner, and afterwards immediately come out again by
the same gate. Then it was that Harris called the man a silly ass.
That delayed us a day, and cost Harris forty marks.

I followed suit at Carlsruhe, by stealing a bicycle. I did not
mean to steal the bicycle; I was merely trying to be useful. The
train was on the point of starting when I noticed, as I thought,
Harris's bicycle still in the goods van. No one was about to help
me. I jumped into the van and hauled it out, only just in time.
Wheeling it down the platform in triumph, I came across Harris's
bicycle, standing against a wall behind some milk-cans. The
bicycle I had secured was not Harris's, but some other man's.

It was an awkward situation. In England, I should have gone to the
stationmaster and explained my mistake. But in Germany they are
not content with your explaining a little matter of this sort to
one man: they take you round and get you to explain it to about
half a dozen; and if any one of the half dozen happens not to be
handy, or not to have time just then to listen to you, they have a
habit of leaving you over for the night to finish your explanation
the next morning. I thought I would just put the thing out of
sight, and then, without making any fuss or show, take a short
walk. I found a wood shed, which seemed just the very place, and
was wheeling the bicycle into it when, unfortunately, a red-hatted
railway official, with the airs of a retired field-marshal, caught
sight of me and came up. He said:

"What are you doing with that bicycle?"

I said: "I am going to put it in this wood shed out of the way."
I tried to convey by my tone that I was performing a kind and
thoughtful action, for which the railway officials ought to thank
me; but he was unresponsive.

"Is it your bicycle?" he said.

"Well, not exactly," I replied.

"Whose is it?" he asked, quite sharply.

"I can't tell you," I answered. "I don't know whose bicycle it

"Where did you get it from?" was his next question. There was a
suspiciousness about his tone that was almost insulting.

"I got it," I answered, with as much calm dignity as at the moment
I could assume, "out of the train."

"The fact is," I continued, frankly, "I have made a mistake."

He did not allow me time to finish. He merely said he thought so
too, and blew a whistle.

Recollection of the subsequent proceedings is not, so far as I am
concerned, amusing. By a miracle of good luck--they say Providence
watches over certain of us--the incident happened in Carlsruhe,
where I possess a German friend, an official of some importance.
Upon what would have been my fate had the station not been at
Carlsruhe, or had my friend been from home, I do not care to dwell;
as it was I got off, as the saying is, by the skin of my teeth. I
should like to add that I left Carlsruhe without a stain upon my
character, but that would not be the truth. My going scot free is
regarded in police circles there to this day as a grave miscarriage
of justice.

But all lesser sin sinks into insignificance beside the lawlessness
of George. The bicycle incident had thrown us all into confusion,
with the result that we lost George altogether. It transpired
subsequently that he was waiting for us outside the police court;
but this at the time we did not know. We thought, maybe, he had
gone on to Baden by himself; and anxious to get away from
Carlsruhe, and not, perhaps, thinking out things too clearly, we
jumped into the next train that came up and proceeded thither.
When George, tired of waiting, returned to the station, he found us
gone and he found his luggage gone. Harris had his ticket; I was
acting as banker to the party, so that he had in his pocket only
some small change. Excusing himself upon these grounds, he
thereupon commenced deliberately a career of crime that, reading it
later, as set forth baldly in the official summons, made the hair
of Harris and myself almost to stand on end.

German travelling, it may be explained, is somewhat complicated.
You buy a ticket at the station you start from for the place you
want to go to. You might think this would enable you to get there,
but it does not. When your train comes up, you attempt to swarm
into it; but the guard magnificently waves you away. Where are
your credentials? You show him your ticket. He explains to you
that by itself that is of no service whatever; you have only taken
the first step towards travelling; you must go back to the booking-
office and get in addition what is called a "schnellzug ticket."
With this you return, thinking your troubles over. You are allowed
to get in, so far so good. But you must not sit down anywhere, and
you must not stand still, and you must not wander about. You must
take another ticket, this time what is called a "platz ticket,"
which entitles you to a place for a certain distance.

What a man could do who persisted in taking nothing but the one
ticket, I have often wondered. Would he be entitled to run behind
the train on the six-foot way? Or could he stick a label on
himself and get into the goods van? Again, what could be done with
the man who, having taken his schnellzug ticket, obstinately
refused, or had not the money to take a platz ticket: would they
let him lie in the umbrella rack, or allow him to hang himself out
of the window?

To return to George, he had just sufficient money to take a third-
class slow train ticket to Baden, and that was all. To avoid the
inquisitiveness of the guard, he waited till the train was moving,
and then jumped in.

That was his first sin:

(a) Entering a train in motion;

(b) After being warned not to do so by an official.

Second sin:

(a) Travelling in train of superior class to that for which ticket
was held.

(b) Refusing to pay difference when demanded by an official.
(George says he did not "refuse"; he simply told the man he had not
got it.)

Third sin:

(a) Travelling in carriage of superior class to that for which
ticket was held.

(b) Refusing to pay difference when demanded by an official.
(Again George disputes the accuracy of the report. He turned his
pockets out, and offered the man all he had, which was about
eightpence in German money. He offered to go into a third class,
but there was no third class. He offered to go into the goods van,
but they would not hear of it.)

Fourth sin:

(a) Occupying seat, and not paying for same.

(b) Loitering about corridor. (As they would not let him sit down
without paying, and as he could not pay, it was difficult to see
what else he could do.)

But explanations are held as no excuse in Germany; and his journey
from Carlsruhe to Baden was one of the most expensive perhaps on

Reflecting upon the case and frequency with which one gets into
trouble here in Germany, one is led to the conclusion that this
country would come as a boon and a blessing to the average young
Englishman. To the medical student, to the eater of dinners at the
Temple, to the subaltern on leave, life in London is a wearisome
proceeding. The healthy Briton takes his pleasure lawlessly, or it
is no pleasure to him. Nothing that he may do affords to him any
genuine satisfaction. To be in trouble of some sort is his only
idea of bliss. Now, England affords him small opportunity in this
respect; to get himself into a scrape requires a good deal of
persistence on the part of the young Englishman.

I spoke on this subject one day with our senior churchwarden. It
was the morning of the 10th of November, and we were both of us
glancing, somewhat anxiously, through the police reports. The
usual batch of young men had been summoned for creating the usual
disturbance the night before at the Criterion. My friend the
churchwarden has boys of his own, and a nephew of mine, upon whom I
am keeping a fatherly eye, is by a fond mother supposed to be in
London for the sole purpose of studying engineering. No names we
knew happened, by fortunate chance, to be in the list of those
detained in custody, and, relieved, we fell to moralising upon the
folly and depravity of youth.

"It is very remarkable," said my friend the churchwarden, "how the
Criterion retains its position in this respect. It was just so
when I was young; the evening always wound up with a row at the

"So meaningless," I remarked.

"So monotonous," he replied. "You have no idea," he continued, a
dreamy expression stealing over his furrowed face, "how unutterably
tired one can become of the walk from Piccadilly Circus to the Vine
Street Police Court. Yet, what else was there for us to do?
Simply nothing. Sometimes we would put out a street lamp, and a
man would come round and light it again. If one insulted a
policeman, he simply took no notice. He did not even know he was
being insulted; or, if he did, he seemed not to care. You could
fight a Covent Garden porter, if you fancied yourself at that sort
of thing. Generally speaking, the porter got the best of it; and
when he did it cost you five shillings, and when he did not the
price was half a sovereign. I could never see much excitement in
that particular sport. I tried driving a hansom cab once. That
has always been regarded as the acme of modern Tom and Jerryism. I
stole it late one night from outside a public-house in Dean Street,
and the first thing that happened to me was that I was hailed in
Golden Square by an old lady surrounded by three children, two of
them crying and the third one half asleep. Before I could get away
she had shot the brats into the cab, taken my number, paid me, so
she said, a shilling over the legal fare, and directed me to an
address a little beyond what she called North Kensington. As a
matter of fact, the place turned out to be the other side of
Willesden. The horse was tired, and the journey took us well over
two hours. It was the slowest lark I ever remember being concerned
in. I tried one or twice to persuade the children to let me take
them back to the old lady: but every time I opened the trap-door
to speak to them the youngest one, a boy, started screaming; and
when I offered other drivers to transfer the job to them, most of
them replied in the words of a song popular about that period:
'Oh, George, don't you think you're going just a bit too far?' One
man offered to take home to my wife any last message I might be
thinking of, while another promised to organise a party to come and
dig me out in the spring. When I mounted the dickey I had imagined
myself driving a peppery old colonel to some lonesome and cabless
region, half a dozen miles from where he wanted to go, and there
leaving him upon the kerbstone to swear. About that there might
have been good sport or there might not, according to circumstances
and the colonel. The idea of a trip to an outlying suburb in
charge of a nursery full of helpless infants had never occurred to
me. No, London," concluded my friend the churchwarden with a sigh,
"affords but limited opportunity to the lover of the illegal."

Now, in Germany, on the other hand, trouble is to be had for the
asking. There are many things in Germany that you must not do that
are quite easy to do. To any young Englishman yearning to get
himself into a scrape, and finding himself hampered in his own
country, I would advise a single ticket to Germany; a return,
lasting as it does only a month, might prove a waste.

In the Police Guide of the Fatherland he will find set forth a list
of the things the doing of which will bring to him interest and
excitement. In Germany you must not hang your bed out of window.
He might begin with that. By waving his bed out of window he could
get into trouble before he had his breakfast. At home he might
hang himself out of window, and nobody would mind much, provided he
did not obstruct anybody's ancient lights or break away and injure
any passer underneath.

In Germany you must not wear fancy dress in the streets. A
Highlander of my acquaintance who came to pass the winter in
Dresden spent the first few days of his residence there in arguing
this question with the Saxon Government. They asked him what he
was doing in those clothes. He was not an amiable man. He
answered, he was wearing them. They asked him why he was wearing
them. He replied, to keep himself warm. They told him frankly
that they did not believe him, and sent him back to his lodgings in
a closed landau. The personal testimony of the English Minister
was necessary to assure the authorities that the Highland garb was
the customary dress of many respectable, law-abiding British
subjects. They accepted the statement, as diplomatically bound,
but retain their private opinion to this day. The English tourist
they have grown accustomed to; but a Leicestershire gentleman,
invited to hunt with some German officers, on appearing outside his
hotel, was promptly marched off, horse and all, to explain his
frivolity at the police court.

Another thing you must not do in the streets of German towns is to
feed horses, mules, or donkeys, whether your own or those belonging
to other people. If a passion seizes you to feed somebody else's
horse, you must make an appointment with the animal, and the meal
must take place in some properly authorised place. You must not
break glass or china in the street, nor, in fact, in any public
resort whatever; and if you do, you must pick up all the pieces.
What you are to do with the pieces when you have gathered them
together I cannot say. The only thing I know for certain is that
you are not permitted to throw them anywhere, to leave them
anywhere, or apparently to part with them in any way whatever.
Presumably, you are expected to carry them about with you until you
die, and then be buried with them; or, maybe, you are allowed to
swallow them.

In German streets you must not shoot with a crossbow. The German
law-maker does not content himself with the misdeeds of the average
man--the crime one feels one wants to do, but must not: he worries
himself imagining all the things a wandering maniac might do. In
Germany there is no law against a man standing on his head in the
middle of the road; the idea has not occurred to them. One of
these days a German statesman, visiting a circus and seeing
acrobats, will reflect upon this omission. Then he will
straightway set to work and frame a clause forbidding people from
standing on their heads in the middle of the road, and fixing a
fine. This is the charm of German law: misdemeanour in Germany
has its fixed price. You are not kept awake all night, as in
England, wondering whether you will get off with a caution, be
fined forty shillings, or, catching the magistrate in an unhappy
moment for yourself, get seven days. You know exactly what your
fun is going to cost you. You can spread out your money on the
table, open your Police Guide, and plan out your holiday to a fifty
pfennig piece. For a really cheap evening, I would recommend
walking on the wrong side of the pavement after being cautioned not
to do so. I calculate that by choosing your district and keeping
to the quiet side streets you could walk for a whole evening on the
wrong side of the pavement at a cost of little over three marks.

In German towns you must not ramble about after dark "in droves."
I am not quite sure how many constitute a "drove," and no official
to whom I have spoken on this subject has felt himself competent to
fix the exact number. I once put it to a German friend who was
starting for the theatre with his wife, his mother-in-law, five
children of his own, his sister and her fiance, and two nieces, if
he did not think he was running a risk under this by-law. He did
not take my suggestion as a joke. He cast an eye over the group.

"Oh, I don't think so," he said; "you see, we are all one family."

"The paragraph says nothing about its being a family drove or not,"
I replied; "it simply says 'drove.' I do not mean it in any
uncomplimentary sense, but, speaking etymologically, I am inclined
personally to regard your collection as a 'drove.' Whether the
police will take the same view or not remains to be seen. I am
merely warning you."

My friend himself was inclined to pooh-pooh my fears; but his wife
thinking it better not to run any risk of having the party broken
up by the police at the very beginning of the evening, they
divided, arranging to come together again in the theatre lobby.

Another passion you must restrain in Germany is that prompting you
to throw things out of window. Cats are no excuse. During the
first week of my residence in Germany I was awakened incessantly by
cats. One night I got mad. I collected a small arsenal--two or
three pieces of coal, a few hard pears, a couple of candle ends, an
odd egg I found on the kitchen table, an empty soda-water bottle,
and a few articles of that sort,--and, opening the window,
bombarded the spot from where the noise appeared to come. I do not
suppose I hit anything; I never knew a man who did hit a cat, even
when he could see it, except, maybe, by accident when aiming at
something else. I have known crack shots, winners of Queen's
prizes--those sort of men,--shoot with shot-guns at cats fifty
yards away, and never hit a hair. I have often thought that,
instead of bull's-eyes, running deer, and that rubbish, the really
superior marksman would be he who could boast that he had shot the

But, anyhow, they moved off; maybe the egg annoyed them. I had
noticed when I picked it up that it did not look a good egg; and I
went back to bed again, thinking the incident closed. Ten minutes
afterwards there came a violent ringing of the electric bell. I
tried to ignore it, but it was too persistent, and, putting on my
dressing gown, I went down to the gate. A policeman was standing
there. He had all the things I had been throwing out of the window
in a little heap in front of him, all except the egg. He had
evidently been collecting them. He said:

"Are these things yours?"

I said: "They were mine, but personally I have done with them.
Anybody can have them--you can have them."

He ignored my offer. He said:

"You threw these things out of window."

"You are right," I admitted; "I did."

"Why did you throw them out of window?" he asked. A German
policeman has his code of questions arranged for him; he never
varies them, and he never omits one.

"I threw them out of the window at some cats," I answered.

"What cats?" he asked.

It was the sort of question a German policeman would ask. I
replied with as much sarcasm as I could put into my accent that I
was ashamed to say I could not tell him what cats. I explained
that, personally, they were strangers to me; but I offered, if the
police would call all the cats in the district together, to come
round and see if I could recognise them by their yaul.

The German policeman does not understand a joke, which is perhaps
on the whole just as well, for I believe there is a heavy fine for
joking with any German uniform; they call it "treating an official
with contumely." He merely replied that it was not the duty of the
police to help me recognise the cats; their duty was merely to fine
me for throwing things out of window.

I asked what a man was supposed to do in Germany when woke up night
after night by cats, and he explained that I could lodge an
information against the owner of the cat, when the police would
proceed to caution him, and, if necessary, order the cat to be
destroyed. Who was going to destroy the cat, and what the cat
would be doing during the process, he did not explain.

I asked him how he proposed I should discover the owner of the cat.
He thought for a while, and then suggested that I might follow it
home. I did not feel inclined to argue with him any more after
that; I should only have said things that would have made the
matter worse. As it was, that night's sport cost me twelve marks;
and not a single one of the four German officials who interviewed
me on the subject could see anything ridiculous in the proceedings
from beginning to end.

But in Germany most human faults and follies sink into comparative
insignificance beside the enormity of walking on the grass.
Nowhere, and under no circumstances, may you at any time in Germany
walk on the grass. Grass in Germany is quite a fetish. To put
your foot on German grass would be as great a sacrilege as to dance
a hornpipe on a Mohammedan's praying-mat. The very dogs respect
German grass; no German dog would dream of putting a paw on it. If
you see a dog scampering across the grass in Germany, you may know
for certain that it is the dog of some unholy foreigner. In
England, when we want to keep dogs out of places, we put up wire
netting, six feet high, supported by buttresses, and defended on
the top by spikes. In Germany, they put a notice-board in the
middle of the place, "Hunden verboten," and a dog that has German
blood in its veins looks at that notice-board and walks away. In a
German park I have seen a gardener step gingerly with felt boots on
to grass-plot, and removing therefrom a beetle, place it gravely
but firmly on the gravel; which done, he stood sternly watching the
beetle, to see that it did not try to get back on the grass; and
the beetle, looking utterly ashamed of itself, walked hurriedly
down the gutter, and turned up the path marked "Ausgang."

In German parks separate roads are devoted to the different orders
of the community, and no one person, at peril of liberty and
fortune, may go upon another person's road. There are special
paths for "wheel-riders" and special paths for "foot-goers,"
avenues for "horse-riders," roads for people in light vehicles, and
roads for people in heavy vehicles; ways for children and for
"alone ladies." That no particular route has yet been set aside
for bald-headed men or "new women" has always struck me as an

In the Grosse Garten in Dresden I once came across an old lady,
standing, helpless and bewildered, in the centre of seven tracks.
Each was guarded by a threatening notice, warning everybody off it
but the person for whom it was intended.

"I am sorry to trouble you," said the old lady, on learning I could
speak English and read German, "but would you mind telling me what
I am and where I have to go?"

I inspected her carefully. I came to the conclusion that she was a
"grown-up" and a "foot-goer," and pointed out her path. She looked
at it, and seemed disappointed.

"But I don't want to go down there," she said; "mayn't I go this

"Great heavens, no, madam!" I replied. "That path is reserved for

"But I wouldn't do them any harm," said the old lady, with a smile.
She did not look the sort of old lady who would have done them any

"Madam," I replied, "if it rested with me, I would trust you down
that path, though my own first-born were at the other end; but I
can only inform you of the laws of this country. For you, a full-
grown woman, to venture down that path is to go to certain fine, if
not imprisonment. There is your path, marked plainly--Nur fur
Fussganger, and if you will follow my advice, you will hasten down
it; you are not allowed to stand here and hesitate."

"It doesn't lead a bit in the direction I want to go," said the old

"It leads in the direction you OUGHT to want to go," I replied, and
we parted.

In the German parks there are special seats labelled, "Only for
grown-ups" (Nur fur Erwachsene), and the German small boy, anxious
to sit down, and reading that notice, passes by, and hunts for a
seat on which children are permitted to rest; and there he seats
himself, careful not to touch the woodwork with his muddy boots.
Imagine a seat in Regent's or St. James's Park labelled "Only for
grown-ups!" Every child for five miles round would be trying to
get on that seat, and hauling other children off who were on. As
for any "grown-up," he would never be able to get within half a
mile of that seat for the crowd. The German small boy, who has
accidentally sat down on such without noticing, rises with a start
when his error is pointed out to him, and goes away with down-cast
head, brushing to the roots of his hair with shame and regret.

Not that the German child is neglected by a paternal Government.
In German parks and public gardens special places (Spielplatze) are
provided for him, each one supplied with a heap of sand. There he
can play to his heart's content at making mud pies and building
sand castles. To the German child a pie made of any other mud than
this would appear an immoral pie. It would give to him no
satisfaction: his soul would revolt against it.

"That pie," he would say to himself, "was not, as it should have
been, made of Government mud specially set apart for the purpose;
it was nor manufactured in the place planned and maintained by the
Government for the making of mud pies. It can bring no real
blessing with it; it is a lawless pie." And until his father had
paid the proper fine, and he had received his proper licking, his
conscience would continue to trouble him.

Another excellent piece of material for obtaining excitement in
Germany is the simple domestic perambulator. What you may do with
a "kinder-wagen," as it is called, and what you may not, covers
pages of German law; after the reading of which, you conclude that
the man who can push a perambulator through a German town without
breaking the law was meant for a diplomatist. You must not loiter
with a perambulator, and you must not go too fast. You must not
get in anybody's way with a perambulator, and if anybody gets in
your way you must get out of their way. If you want to stop with a
perambulator, you must go to a place specially appointed where
perambulators may stop; and when you get there you MUST stop. You
must not cross the road with a perambulator; if you and the baby
happen to live on the other side, that is your fault. You must not
leave your perambulator anywhere, and only in certain places can
you take it with you. I should say that in Germany you could go
out with a perambulator and get into enough trouble in half an hour
to last you for a month. Any young Englishman anxious for a row
with the police could not do better than come over to Germany and
bring his perambulator with him.

In Germany you must not leave your front door unlocked after ten
o'clock at night, and you must not play the piano in your own house
after eleven. In England I have never felt I wanted to play the
piano myself, or to hear anyone else play it, after eleven o'clock
at night; but that is a very different thing to being told that you
must not play it. Here, in Germany, I never feel that I really
care for the piano until eleven o'clock, then I could sit and
listen to the "Maiden's Prayer," or the Overture to "Zampa," with
pleasure. To the law-loving German, on the other hand, music after
eleven o'clock at night ceases to be music; it becomes sin, and as
such gives him no satisfaction.

The only individual throughout Germany who ever dreams of taking
liberties with the law is the German student, and he only to a
certain well-defined point. By custom, certain privileges are
permitted to him, but even these are strictly limited and clearly
understood. For instance, the German student may get drunk and
fall asleep in the gutter with no other penalty than that of having
the next morning to tip the policeman who has found him and brought
him home. But for this purpose he must choose the gutters of side-
streets. The German student, conscious of the rapid approach of
oblivion, uses all his remaining energy to get round the corner,
where he may collapse without anxiety. In certain districts he may
ring bells. The rent of flats in these localities is lower than in
other quarters of the town; while the difficulty is further met by
each family preparing for itself a secret code of bell-ringing by
means of which it is known whether the summons is genuine or not.
When visiting such a household late at night it is well to be
acquainted with this code, or you may, if persistent, get a bucket
of water thrown over you.

Also the German student is allowed to put out lights at night, but
there is a prejudice against his putting out too many. The larky
German student generally keeps count, contenting himself with half
a dozen lights per night. Likewise, he may shout and sing as he
walks home, up till half-past two; and at certain restaurants it is
permitted to him to put his arm round the Fraulein's waist. To
prevent any suggestion of unseemliness, the waitresses at
restaurants frequented by students are always carefully selected
from among a staid and elderly classy of women, by reason of which
the German student can enjoy the delights of flirtation without
fear and without reproach to anyone.

They are a law-abiding people, the Germans.


Baden from the visitor's point of view--Beauty of the early
morning, as viewed from the preceding afternoon--Distance, as
measured by the compass--Ditto, as measured by the leg--George in
account with his conscience--A lazy machine--Bicycling, according
to the poster: its restfulness--The poster cyclist: its costume;
its method--The griffin as a household pet--A dog with proper self-
respect--The horse that was abused.

From Baden, about which it need only be said that it is a pleasure
resort singularly like other pleasure resorts of the same
description, we started bicycling in earnest. We planned a ten
days' tour, which, while completing the Black Forest, should
include a spin down the Donau-Thal, which for the twenty miles from
Tuttlingen to Sigmaringen is, perhaps, the finest valley in
Germany; the Danube stream here winding its narrow way past old-
world unspoilt villages; past ancient monasteries, nestling in
green pastures, where still the bare-footed and bare-headed friar,
his rope girdle tight about his loins, shepherds, with crook in
hand, his sheep upon the hill sides; through rocky woods; between
sheer walls of cliff, whose every towering crag stands crowned with
ruined fortress, church, or castle; together with a blick at the
Vosges mountains, where half the population is bitterly pained if
you speak to them in French, the other half being insulted when you
address them in German, and the whole indignantly contemptuous at
the first sound of English; a state of things that renders
conversation with the stranger somewhat nervous work.

We did not succeed in carrying out our programme in its entirety,
for the reason that human performance lags ever behind human
intention. It is easy to say and believe at three o'clock in the
afternoon that: "We will rise at five, breakfast lightly at half-
past, and start away at six."

"Then we shall be well on our way before the heat of the day sets
in," remarks one.

"This time of the year, the early morning is really the best part
of the day. Don't you think so?" adds another.

"Oh, undoubtedly."

"So cool and fresh."

"And the half-lights are so exquisite."

The first morning one maintains one's vows. The party assembles at
half-past five. It is very silent; individually, somewhat snappy;
inclined to grumble with its food, also with most other things; the
atmosphere charged with compressed irritability seeking its vent.
In the evening the Tempter's voice is heard:

"I think if we got off by half-past six, sharp, that would be time

The voice of Virtue protests, faintly: "It will be breaking our

The Tempter replies: "Resolutions were made for man, not man for
resolutions." The devil can paraphrase Scripture for his own
purpose. "Besides, it is disturbing the whole hotel; think of the
poor servants."

The voice of Virtue continues, but even feebler: "But everybody
gets up early in these parts."

"They would not if they were not obliged to, poor things! Say
breakfast at half-past six, punctual; that will be disturbing

Thus Sin masquerades under the guise of Good, and one sleeps till
six, explaining to one's conscience, who, however, doesn't believe
it, that one does this because of unselfish consideration for
others. I have known such consideration extend until seven of the

Likewise, distance measured with a pair of compasses is not
precisely the same as when measured by the leg.

"Ten miles an hour for seven hours, seventy miles. A nice easy
day's work."

"There are some stiff hills to climb?"

"The other side to come down. Say, eight miles an hour, and call
it sixty miles. Gott in Himmel! if we can't average eight miles an
hour, we had better go in bath-chairs." It does seem somewhat
impossible to do less, on paper.

But at four o'clock in the afternoon the voice of Duty rings less

"Well, I suppose we ought to be getting on."

"Oh, there's no hurry! don't fuss. Lovely view from here, isn't

"Very. Don't forget we are twenty-five miles from St. Blasien."

"How far?"

"Twenty-five miles, a little over if anything."

"Do you mean to say we have only come thirty-five miles?"

"That's all."

"Nonsense. I don't believe that map of yours."

"It is impossible, you know. We have been riding steadily ever
since the first thing this morning."

"No, we haven't. We didn't get away till eight, to begin with."

"Quarter to eight."

"Well, quarter to eight; and every half-dozen miles we have

"We have only stopped to look at the view. It's no good coming to
see a country, and then not seeing it."

"And we have had to pull up some stiff hills."

"Besides, it has been an exceptionally hot day to-day."

"Well, don't forget St. Blasien is twenty-five miles off, that's

"Any more hills?"

"Yes, two; up and down."

"I thought you said it was downhill into St. Blasien?"

"So it is for the last ten miles. We are twenty-five miles from
St. Blasien here."

"Isn't there anywhere between here and St. Blasien? What's that
little place there on the lake?"

"It isn't St. Blasien, or anywhere near it. There's a danger in
beginning that sort of thing."

"There's a danger in overworking oneself. One should study
moderation in all things. Pretty little place, that Titisee,
according to the map; looks as if there would be good air there."

"All right, I'm agreeable. It was you fellows who suggested our
making for St. Blasien."

"Oh, I'm not so keen on St. Blasien! poky little place, down in a
valley. This Titisee, I should say, was ever so much nicer."

"Quite near, isn't it?"

"Five miles."

General chorus: "We'll stop at Titisee."

George made discovery of this difference between theory and
practice on the very first day of our ride.

"I thought," said George--he was riding the single, Harris and I
being a little ahead on the tandem--"that the idea was to train up
the hills and ride down them."

"So it is," answered Harris, "as a general rule. But the trains
don't go up EVERY hill in the Black Forest."

"Somehow, I felt a suspicion that they wouldn't," growled George;
and for awhile silence reigned.

"Besides," remarked Harris, who had evidently been ruminating the
subject, "you would not wish to have nothing but downhill, surely.
It would not be playing the game. One must take a little rough
with one's smooth."

Again there returned silence, broken after awhile by George, this

"Don't you two fellows over-exert yourselves merely on my account,"
said George.

"How do you mean?" asked Harris.

"I mean," answered George, "that where a train does happen to be
going up these hills, don't you put aside the idea of taking it for
fear of outraging my finer feelings. Personally, I am prepared to
go up all these hills in a railway train, even if it's not playing
the game. I'll square the thing with my conscience; I've been up
at seven every day for a week now, and I calculate it owes me a
bit. Don't you consider me in the matter at all."

We promised to bear this in mind, and again the ride continued in
dogged dumbness, until it was again broken by George.

"What bicycle did you say this was of yours?" asked George.

Harris told him. I forget of what particular manufacture it
happened to be; it is immaterial.

"Are you sure?" persisted George.

"Of course I am sure," answered Harris. "Why, what's the matter
with it?"

"Well, it doesn't come up to the poster," said George, "that's

"What poster?" asked Harris.

"The poster advertising this particular brand of cycle," explained
George. "I was looking at one on a hoarding in Sloane Street only
a day or two before we started. A man was riding this make of
machine, a man with a banner in his hand: he wasn't doing any
work, that was clear as daylight; he was just sitting on the thing
and drinking in the air. The cycle was going of its own accord,
and going well. This thing of yours leaves all the work to me. It
is a lazy brute of a machine; if you don't shove, it simply does
nothing: I should complain about it, if I were you."

When one comes to think of it, few bicycles do realise the poster.
On only one poster that I can recollect have I seen the rider
represented as doing any work. But then this man was being pursued
by a bull. In ordinary cases the object of the artist is to
convince the hesitating neophyte that the sport of bicycling
consists in sitting on a luxurious saddle, and being moved rapidly
in the direction you wish to go by unseen heavenly powers.

Generally speaking, the rider is a lady, and then one feels that,
for perfect bodily rest combined with entire freedom from mental
anxiety, slumber upon a water-bed cannot compare with bicycle-
riding upon a hilly road. No fairy travelling on a summer cloud
could take things more easily than does the bicycle girl, according
to the poster. Her costume for cycling in hot weather is ideal.
Old-fashioned landladies might refuse her lunch, it is true; and a
narrowminded police force might desire to secure her, and wrap her
in a rug preliminary to summonsing her. But such she heeds not.
Uphill and downhill, through traffic that might tax the ingenuity
of a cat, over road surfaces calculated to break the average steam
roller she passes, a vision of idle loveliness; her fair hair
streaming to the wind, her sylph-like form poised airily, one foot
upon the saddle, the other resting lightly upon the lamp.
Sometimes she condescends to sit down on the saddle; then she puts
her feet on the rests, lights a cigarette, and waves above her head
a Chinese lantern.

Less often, it is a mere male thing that rides the machine. He is
not so accomplished an acrobat as is the lady; but simple tricks,
such as standing on the saddle and waving flags, drinking beer or
beef-tea while riding, he can and does perform. Something, one
supposes, he must do to occupy his mind: sitting still hour after
hour on this machine, having no work to do, nothing to think about,
must pall upon any man of active temperament. Thus it is that we
see him rising on his pedals as he nears the top of some high hill
to apostrophise the sun, or address poetry to the surrounding

Occasionally the poster pictures a pair of cyclists; and then one
grasps the fact how much superior for purposes of flirtation is the
modern bicycle to the old-fashioned parlour or the played-out
garden gate. He and she mount their bicycles, being careful, of
course, that such are of the right make. After that they have
nothing to think about but the old sweet tale. Down shady lanes,
through busy towns on market days, merrily roll the wheels of the
"Bermondsey Company's Bottom Bracket Britain's Best," or of the
"Camberwell Company's Jointless Eureka." They need no pedalling;
they require no guiding. Give them their heads, and tell them what
time you want to get home, and that is all they ask. While Edwin
leans from his saddle to whisper the dear old nothings in
Angelina's ear, while Angelina's face, to hide its blushes, is
turned towards the horizon at the back, the magic bicycles pursue
their even course.

And the sun is always shining and the roads are always dry. No
stern parent rides behind, no interfering aunt beside, no demon
small boy brother is peeping round the corner, there never comes a
skid. Ah me! Why were there no "Britain's Best" nor "Camberwell
Eurekas" to be hired when WE were young?

Or maybe the "Britain's Best" or the "Camberwell Eureka" stands
leaning against a gate; maybe it is tired. It has worked hard all
the afternoon, carrying these young people. Mercifully minded,
they have dismounted, to give the machine a rest. They sit upon
the grass beneath the shade of graceful boughs; it is long and dry
grass. A stream flows by their feet. All is rest and peace.

That is ever the idea the cycle poster artist sets himself to
convey--rest and peace.

But I am wrong in saying that no cyclist, according to the poster,
ever works. Now I come to reflect, I have seen posters
representing gentlemen on cycles working very hard--over-working
themselves, one might almost say. They are thin and haggard with
the toil, the perspiration stands upon their brow in beads; you
feel that if there is another hill beyond the poster they must
either get off or die. But this is the result of their own folly.
This happens because they will persist in riding a machine of an
inferior make. Were they riding a "Putney Popular" or "Battersea
Bounder," such as the sensible young man in the centre of the
poster rides, then all this unnecessary labour would be saved to
them. Then all required of them would be, as in gratitude bound,
to look happy; perhaps, occasionally to back-pedal a little when
the machine in its youthful buoyancy loses its head for a moment
and dashes on too swiftly.

You tired young men, sitting dejectedly on milestones, too spent to
heed the steady rain that soaks you through; you weary maidens,
with the straight, damp hair, anxious about the time, longing to
swear, not knowing how; you stout bald men, vanishing visibly as
you pant and grunt along the endless road; you purple, dejected
matrons, plying with pain the slow unwilling wheel; why did you not
see to it that you bought a "Britain's Best" or a "Camberwell
Eureka"? Why are these bicycles of inferior make so prevalent
throughout the land

Or is it with bicycling as with all other things: does Life at no
point realise the Poster?

The one thing in Germany that never fails to charm and fascinate me
is the German dog. In England one grows tired of the old breeds,
one knows them all so well: the mastiff, the plum-pudding dog, the
terrier (black, white or rough-haired, as the case may be, but
always quarrelsome), the collie, the bulldog; never anything new.
Now in Germany you get variety. You come across dogs the like of
which you have never seen before: that until you hear them bark
you do not know are dogs. It is all so fresh, so interesting.
George stopped a dog in Sigmaringen and drew our attention to it.
It suggested a cross between a codfish and a poodle. I would not
like to be positive it was NOT a cross between a codfish and a
poodle. Harris tried to photograph it, but it ran up a fence and
disappeared through some bushes.

I do not know what the German breeder's idea is; at present he
retains his secret. George suggests he is aiming at a griffin.
There is much to bear out this theory, and indeed in one or two
cases I have come across success on these lines would seem to have
been almost achieved. Yet I cannot bring myself to believe that
such are anything more than mere accidents. The German is
practical, and I fail to see the object of a griffin. If mere
quaintness of design be desired, is there not already the
Dachshund! What more is needed? Besides, about a house, a griffin
would be so inconvenient: people would be continually treading on
its tail. My own idea is that what the Germans are trying for is a
mermaid, which they will then train to catch fish.

For your German does not encourage laziness in any living thing.
He likes to see his dogs work, and the German dog loves work; of
that there can be no doubt. The life of the English dog must be a
misery to him. Imagine a strong, active, and intelligent being, of
exceptionally energetic temperament, condemned to spend twenty-four
hours a day in absolute idleness! How would you like it yourself?
No wonder he feels misunderstood, yearns for the unattainable, and
gets himself into trouble generally.

Now the German dog, on the other hand, has plenty to occupy his
mind. He is busy and important. Watch him as he walks along
harnessed to his milk cart. No churchwarden at collection time
could feel or look more pleased with himself. He does not do any
real work; the human being does the pushing, he does the barking;
that is his idea of division of labour. What he says to himself

"The old man can't bark, but he can shove. Very well."

The interest and the pride he takes in the business is quite
beautiful to see. Another dog passing by makes, maybe, some
jeering remark, casting discredit upon the creaminess of the milk.
He stops suddenly, quite regardless of the traffic.

"I beg your pardon, what was that you said about our milk?"

"I said nothing about your milk," retorts the other dog, in a tone
of gentle innocence. "I merely said it was a fine day, and asked
the price of chalk."

"Oh, you asked the price of chalk, did you? Would you like to

"Yes, thanks; somehow I thought you would be able to tell me."

"You are quite right, I can. It's worth--"

"Oh, do come along!" says the old lady, who is tired and hot, and
anxious to finish her round.

"Yes, but hang it all; did you hear what he hinted about our milk?"

"Oh, never mind him! There's a tram coming round the corner: we
shall all get run over."

"Yes, but I do mind him; one has one's proper pride. He asked the
price of chalk, and he's going to know it! It's worth just twenty
times as much--"

"You'll have the whole thing over, I know you will," cries the old
lady, pathetically, struggling with all her feeble strength to haul
him back. "Oh dear, oh dear! I do wish I had left you at home."

The tram is bearing down upon them; a cab-driver is shouting at
them; another huge brute, hoping to be in time to take a hand, is
dragging a bread cart, followed by a screaming child, across the
road from the opposite side; a small crowd is collecting; and a
policeman is hastening to the scene.

"It's worth," says the milk dog, "just twenty-times as much as
you'll be worth before I've done with you."

"Oh, you think so, do you?"

"Yes, I do, you grandson of a French poodle, you cabbage-eating--"

"There! I knew you'd have it over," says the poor milk-woman. "I
told him he'd have it over."

But he is busy, and heeds her not. Five minutes later, when the
traffic is renewed, when the bread girl has collected her muddy
rolls, and the policeman has gone off with the name and address of
everybody in the street, he consents to look behind him.

"It IS a bit of an upset," he admits. Then shaking himself free of
care, he adds, cheerfully, "But I guess I taught him the price of
chalk. He won't interfere with us again, I'm thinking."

"I'm sure I hope not," says the old lady, regarding dejectedly the
milky road.

But his favourite sport is to wait at the top of the hill for
another dog, and then race down. On these occasions the chief
occupation of the other fellow is to run about behind, picking up
the scattered articles, loaves, cabbages, or shirts, as they are
jerked out. At the bottom of the hill, he stops and waits for his

"Good race, wasn't it?" he remarks, panting, as the Human comes up,
laden to the chin. "I believe I'd have won it, too, if it hadn't
been for that fool of a small boy. He was right in my way just as
I turned the corner. YOU NOTICED HIM? Wish I had, beastly brat!
What's he yelling like that for? BECAUSE I KNOCKED HIM DOWN AND
RAN OVER HIM? Well, why didn't he get out of the way? It's
disgraceful, the way people leave their children about for other
people to tumble over. Halloa! did all those things come out? You
couldn't have packed them very carefully; you should see to a thing
MILES AN HOUR? Surely, you knew me better than to expect I'd let
that old Schneider's dog pass me without an effort. But there, you
never think. You're sure you've got them all? YOU BELIEVE SO? I
shouldn't 'believe' if I were you; I should run back up the hill
again and make sure. YOU FEEL TOO TIRED? Oh, all right! don't
blame me if anything is missing, that's all."

He is so self-willed. He is cock-sure that the correct turning is
the second on the right, and nothing will persuade him that it is
the third. He is positive he can get across the road in time, and
will not be convinced until he sees the cart smashed up. Then he
is very apologetic, it is true. But of what use is that? As he is
usually of the size and strength of a young bull, and his human
companion is generally a weak-kneed old man or woman, or a small
child, he has his way. The greatest punishment his proprietor can
inflict upon him is to leave him at home, and take the cart out
alone. But your German is too kind-hearted to do this often.

That he is harnessed to the cart for anybody's pleasure but his own
it is impossible to believe; and I am confident that the German
peasant plans the tiny harness and fashions the little cart purely
with the hope of gratifying his dog. In other countries--in
Belgium, Holland and France--I have seen these draught dogs ill-
treated and over-worked; but in Germany, never. Germans abuse
animals shockingly. I have seen a German stand in front of his
horse and call it every name he could lay his tongue to. But the
horse did not mind it. I have seen a German, weary with abusing
his horse, call to his wife to come out and assist him. When she
came, he told her what the horse had done. The recital roused the
woman's temper to almost equal heat with his own; and standing one
each side of the poor beast, they both abused it. They abused its
dead mother, they insulted its father; they made cutting remarks
about its personal appearance, its intelligence, its moral sense,
its general ability as a horse. The animal bore the torrent with
exemplary patience for awhile; then it did the best thing possible
to do under the circumstances. Without losing its own temper, it
moved quietly away. The lady returned to her washing, and the man
followed it up the street, still abusing it.

A kinder-hearted people than the Germans there is no need for.
Cruelty to animal or child is a thing almost unknown in the land.
The whip with them is a musical instrument; its crack is heard from
morning to night, but an Italian coachman that in the streets of
Dresden I once saw use it was very nearly lynched by the indignant
crowd. Germany is the only country in Europe where the traveller
can settle himself comfortably in his hired carriage, confident
that his gentle, willing friend between the shafts will be neither
over-worked nor cruelly treated.


Black Forest House: and the sociability therein--Its perfume--
George positively declines to remain in bed after four o'clock in
the morning--The road one cannot miss--My peculiar extra instinct--
An ungrateful party--Harris as a scientist--His cheery confidence--
The village: where it was, and where it ought to have been--
George: his plan--We promenade a la Francais--The German coachman
asleep and awake--The man who spreads the English language abroad.

There was one night when, tired out and far from town or village,
we slept in a Black Forest farmhouse. The great charm about the
Black Forest house is its sociability. The cows are in the next
room, the horses are upstairs, the geese and ducks are in the
kitchen, while the pigs, the children, and the chickens live all
over the place.

You are dressing, when you hear a grunt behind you.

"Good-morning! Don't happen to have any potato peelings in here?
No, I see you haven't; good-bye."

Next there is a cackle, and you see the neck of an old hen
stretched round the corner.

"Fine morning, isn't it? You don't mind my bringing this worm of
mine in here, do you? It is so difficult in this house to find a
room where one can enjoy one's food with any quietness. From a
chicken I have always been a slow eater, and when a dozen--there, I
thought they wouldn't leave me alone. Now they'll all want a bit.
You don't mind my getting on the bed, do you? Perhaps here they
won't notice me."

While you are dressing various shock heads peer in at the door;
they evidently regard the room as a temporary menagerie. You
cannot tell whether the heads belong to boys or girls; you can only
hope they are all male. It is of no use shutting the door, because
there is nothing to fasten it by, and the moment you are gone they
push it open again. You breakfast as the Prodigal Son is generally
represented feeding: a pig or two drop in to keep you company; a
party of elderly geese criticise you from the door; you gather from
their whispers, added to their shocked expression, that they are
talking scandal about you. Maybe a cow will condescend to give a
glance in.

This Noah's Ark arrangement it is, I suppose, that gives to the
Black Forest home its distinctive scent. It is not a scent you can
liken to any one thing. It is as if you took roses and Limburger
cheese and hair oil, some heather and onions, peaches and soapsuds,
together with a dash of sea air and a corpse, and mixed them up
together. You cannot define any particular odour, but you feel
they are all there--all the odours that the world has yet
discovered. People who live in these houses are fond of this
mixture. They do not open the window and lose any of it; they keep
it carefully bottled up. If you want any other scent, you can go
outside and smell the wood violets and the pines; inside there is
the house; and after a while, I am told, you get used to it, so
that you miss it, and are unable to go to sleep in any other

We had a long walk before us the next day, and it was our desire,
therefore, to get up early, even so early as six o'clock, if that
could be managed without disturbing the whole household. We put it
to our hostess whether she thought this could be done. She said
she thought it could. She might not be about herself at that time;
it was her morning for going into the town, some eight miles off,
and she rarely got back much before seven; but, possibly, her
husband or one of the boys would be returning home to lunch about
that hour. Anyhow, somebody should be sent back to wake us and get
our breakfast.

As it turned out, we did not need any waking. We got up at four,
all by ourselves. We got up at four in order to get away from the
noise and the din that was making our heads ache. What time the
Black Forest peasant rises in the summer time I am unable to say;
to us they appeared to be getting up all night. And the first
thing the Black Forester does when he gets up is to put on a pair
of stout boots with wooden soles, and take a constitutional round
the house. Until he has been three times up and down the stairs,
he does not feel he is up. Once fully awake himself, the next
thing he does is to go upstairs to the stables, and wake up a
horse. (The Black Forest house being built generally on the side
of a steep hill, the ground floor is at the top, and the hay-loft
at the bottom.) Then the horse, it would seem, must also have its
constitutional round the house; and this seen to, the man goes
downstairs into the kitchen and begins to chop wood, and when he
has chopped sufficient wood he feels pleased with himself and
begins to sing. All things considered, we came to the conclusion
we could not do better than follow the excellent example set us.
Even George was quite eager to get up that morning.

We had a frugal breakfast at half-past four, and started away at
five. Our road lay over a mountain, and from enquiries made in the
village it appeared to be one of those roads you cannot possibly
miss. I suppose everybody knows this sort of road. Generally, it
leads you back to where you started from; and when it doesn't, you
wish it did, so that at all events you might know where you were.
I foresaw evil from the very first, and before we had accomplished
a couple of miles we came up with it. The road divided into three.
A worm-eaten sign-post indicated that the path to the left led to a
place that we had never heard of--that was on no map. Its other
arm, pointing out the direction of the middle road, had
disappeared. The road to the right, so we all agreed, clearly led
back again to the village.

"The old man said distinctly," so Harris reminded us, "keep
straight on round the hill."

"Which hill?" George asked, pertinently.

We were confronted by half a dozen, some of them big, some of them

"He told us," continued Harris, "that we should come to a wood."

"I see no reason to doubt him," commented George, "whichever road
we take."

As a matter of fact, a dense wood covered every hill.

"And he said," murmured Harris, "that we should reach the top in
about an hour and a half."

"There it is," said George, "that I begin to disbelieve him."

"Well, what shall we do?" said Harris.

Now I happen to possess the bump of locality. It is not a virtue;
I make no boast of it. It is merely an animal instinct that I
cannot help. That things occasionally get in my way--mountains,
precipices, rivers, and such like obstructions--is no fault of
mine. My instinct is correct enough; it is the earth that is
wrong. I led them by the middle road. That the middle road had
not character enough to continue for any quarter of a mile in the
same direction; that after three miles up and down hill it ended
abruptly in a wasps' nest, was not a thing that should have been
laid to my door. If the middle road had gone in the direction it
ought to have done, it would have taken us to where we wanted to
go, of that I am convinced.

Even as it was, I would have continued to use this gift of mine to
discover a fresh way had a proper spirit been displayed towards me.
But I am not an angel--I admit this frankly,--and I decline to
exert myself for the ungrateful and the ribald. Besides, I doubt
if George and Harris would have followed me further in any event.
Therefore it was that I washed my hands of the whole affair, and
that Harris entered upon the vacancy.

"Well," said Harris. "I suppose you are satisfied with what you
have done?"

"I am quite satisfied," I replied from the heap of stones where I
was sitting. "So far, I have brought you with safety. I would
continue to lead you further, but no artist can work without
encouragement. You appear dissatisfied with me because you do not
know where you are. For all you know, you may be just where you
want to be. But I say nothing as to that; I expect no thanks. Go
your own way; I have done with you both."

I spoke, perhaps, with bitterness, but I could not help it. Not a
word of kindness had I had all the weary way.

"Do not misunderstand us," said Harris; "both George and myself
feel that without your assistance we should never be where we now
are. For that we give you every credit. But instinct is liable to
error. What I propose to do is to substitute for it Science, which
is exact. Now, where's the sun?"

"Don't you think," said George, "that if we made our way back to
the village, and hired a boy for a mark to guide us, it would save
time in the end?"

"It would be wasting hours," said Harris, with decision. "You
leave this to me. I have been reading about this thing, and it has
interested me." He took out his watch, and began turning himself
round and round.

"It's as simple as A B C," he continued. "You point the short hand
at the sun, then you bisect the segment between the short hand and
the twelve, and thus you get the north."

He worried up and down for a while, then he fixed it.

"Now I've got it," he said; "that's the north, where that wasps'
nest is. Now give me the map."

We handed it to him, and seating himself facing the wasps, he
examined it.

"Todtmoos from here," he said, "is south by south-west."

"How do you mean, from here?" asked George.

"Why, from here, where we are," returned Harris.

"But where are we?" said George.

This worried Harris for a time, but at length he cheered up.

"It doesn't matter where we are," he said. "Wherever we are,
Todtmoos is south by south-west. Come on, we are only wasting

"I don't quite see how you make it out," said George, as he rose
and shouldered his knapsack; "but I suppose it doesn't matter. We
are out for our health, and it's all pretty!"

"We shall be all right," said Harris, with cheery confidence. "We
shall be in at Todtmoos before ten, don't you worry. And at
Todtmoos we will have something to eat."

He said that he, himself, fancied a beefsteak, followed by an
omelette. George said that, personally, he intended to keep his
mind off the subject until he saw Todtmoos.

We walked for half an hour, then emerging upon an opening, we saw
below us, about two miles away, the village through which we had
passed that morning. It had a quaint church with an outside
staircase, a somewhat unusual arrangement.

The sight of it made me sad. We had been walking hard for three
hours and a half, and had accomplished, apparently, about four
miles. But Harris was delighted.

"Now, at last," said Harris, "we know where we are."

"I thought you said it didn't matter," George reminded him.

"No more it does, practically," replied Harris, "but it is just as
well to be certain. Now I feel more confidence in myself."

"I'm not so sure about that being an advantage," muttered George.
But I do not think Harris heard him.

"We are now," continued Harris, "east of the sun, and Todtmoos is
south-west of where we are. So that if--"

He broke off. "By-the-by," he said, "do you remember whether I
said the bisecting line of that segment pointed to the north or to
the south?"

"You said it pointed to the north," replied George.

"Are you positive?" persisted Harris.

"Positive," answered George "but don't let that influence your
calculations. In all probability you were wrong."

Harris thought for a while; then his brow cleared.

"That's all right," he said; "of course, it's the north. It must
be the north. How could it be the south? Now we must make for the
west. Come on."

"I am quite willing to make for the west," said George; "any point
of the compass is the same to me. I only wish to remark that, at
the present moment, we are going dead east."

"No we are not," returned Harris; "we are going west."

"We are going east, I tell you," said George.

"I wish you wouldn't keep saying that," said Harris, "you confuse

"I don't mind if I do," returned George; "I would rather do that
than go wrong. I tell you we are going dead east."

"What nonsense!" retorted Harris; "there's the sun."

"I can see the sun," answered George, "quite distinctly. It may be
where it ought to be, according to you and Science, or it may not.
All I know is, that when we were down in the village, that
particular hill with that particular lump of rock upon it was due
north of us. At the present moment we are facing due east."

"You are quite right," said Harris; "I forgot for the moment that
we had turned round."

"I should get into the habit of making a note of it, if I were
you," grumbled George; "it's a manoeuvre that will probably occur
again more than once."

We faced about, and walked in the other direction. At the end of
forty minutes' climbing we again emerged upon an opening, and again
the village lay just under our feet. On this occasion it was south
of us.

"This is very extraordinary," said Harris.

"I see nothing remarkable about it," said George. "If you walk
steadily round a village it is only natural that now and then you
get a glimpse of it. Myself, I am glad to see it. It proves to me
that we are not utterly lost."

"It ought to be the other side of us," said Harris.

"It will be in another hour or so," said George, "if we keep on."

I said little myself; I was vexed with both of them; but I was glad
to notice George evidently growing cross with Harris. It was
absurd of Harris to fancy he could find the way by the sun.

"I wish I knew," said Harris, thoughtfully, "for certain whether
that bisecting line points to the north or to the south."

"I should make up my mind about it," said George; "it's an
important point."

"It's impossible it can be the north," said Harris, "and I'll tell
you why."

"You needn't trouble," said George; "I am quite prepared to believe
it isn't."

"You said just now it was," said Harris, reproachfully.

"I said nothing of the sort," retorted George. "I said you said it
was--a very different thing. If you think it isn't, let's go the
other way. It'll be a change, at all events."

So Harris worked things out according to the contrary calculation,
and again we plunged into the wood; and again after half an hour's
stiff climbing we came in view of that same village. True, we were
a little higher, and this time it lay between us and the sun.

"I think," said George, as he stood looking down at it, "this is
the best view we've had of it, as yet. There is only one other
point from which we can see it. After that, I propose we go down
into it and get some rest."

"I don't believe it's the same village," said Harris; "it can't

"There's no mistaking that church," said George. "But maybe it is

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest