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and take the flooded road to the village. An old, bent, wrinkled peasant woman, speaking French, directs us for full information about Frederique–thus is the name written in French–to the auberge. First, with no little interest and pride, she unhooks from her own wall a framed picture, containing portraits of Goethe, and Frederika, and drawings of church and parsonage as they were. The former has been restored and the latter wholly rebuilt.

As we make our way to the little inn over against these, we pass a new handsome communal school in course of erection. On questioning two children in French, they shake their heads and pass on. The thought naturally arises–did the various French Governments, throughout the period of a hundred and odd years ending in 1870, do much in the way of assimilating the German population of Alsace?

It would not seem so, seeing that up till the Franco-Prussian war the country folk retained their German speech, or at least patois. Under the present rule only German is taught in communal schools, and in the gymnasiums or lycees, two hours a week only being allowed for the teaching of French. At the Auberge du Bouf, over against the church and parsonage, we chat with the master in French about Goethe and Frederika; his womankind, however, only spoke patois. Here, nevertheless, we find French hearts, French sympathies, and occasionally French gaiety.

Unidyllic, yet full of instruction, is the drive in the opposite direction to Kehl. We are here approaching friendly frontiers, yet the aspect is hardly less dreadful. True that cannon do not bristle on the outer line of the triple fortifications; otherwise the state of things is similar. We see lines of vast powder magazines, enormous barracks of recent construction, preparations for defence, on a scale altogether inconceivable and indescribable. Little wonder that meat is a shilling a pound, instead of fourpence as before the annexation, that bread has doubled in price, taxation also, and, to make matters worse, that trade has remained persistently dull!

A tremendous triple-arched, stone gate, guarded by sentinels, has been erected on this side of the lower Rhine, over against the Duchy of Baden. No sooner are we through than our hearts are rejoiced with signs of peace and innocent enjoyment, restaurants and coffee gardens, family groups resting under the trees. Beyond, flowing briskly amid wooded banks to right and left, is the Rhine, a glorious sight, compensating for so many that have just given us the heartache.

Of Strasburg I will say little. Full descriptions of the new city, for such an expression is no figure of speech, are given in the English, French, and German guide books. The first care of the German Government after coming into possession was to repair the havoc caused by the bombardment, the rebuilding of public buildings, monuments and streets that had been partially or entirely destroyed in 1871. Among these were the Museum and Public Library, the Protestant church, several orphanages and hospitals, lastly, incredible as it may seem, the beautiful octagonal tower of the Cathedral. The incidents of this vandalism have just been graphically described in the new volume of the brothers’ Margueritte prose epic, dealing with the Franco-Prussian War, entitled “Les Braves Gens.”

I remember writing on the occasion of my first visit to Strasburg, a few years after these events–“There is very little to see at Strasburg now. The Library with its priceless treasures of books and manuscripts, the Museum of painting and sculpture, rich in _chefs d’oeuvre_ of the French school, the handsome Protestant church, the theatre, the Palais de Justice, were all completely destroyed by the Prussian bombardment, not to speak of buildings of lesser importance, four hundred private dwellings, and hundreds of civilians killed and wounded by the shells. Nor was the cathedral spared, and would doubtless have perished altogether also but for the enforced surrender of the heroic city.”

Since that sad time a new Strasburg has sprung up, of which the University is the central feature. A thousand students now frequent this great school of learning, the professorial staff numbering a hundred. One noteworthy point is the excessive cheapness of a learned or scientific education. Autocratic Prussia emulates democratic France. I was assured by an Alsatian who had graduated here that a year’s fees need not exceed ten pounds! Students board and lodge themselves outside the University, and, of course, as economically as they please. They consist chiefly of Germans, for sons of French parents of the middle and upper ranks are sent over the frontier before the age of seventeen in order to evade the German military service. They thus exile themselves for ever. This cruel severance of family ties is, as I have said, one of the saddest effects of annexation. Without and within, the group of buildings forming the University is of great splendour. Alike architecture and decoration are on a costly scale; the vast corridors with tesselated marble floors, marble columns, domes covered with frescoes, statuary, stained glass, and gilded panels, must impress the mind of the poorer students. Less agreeable is the reflection of the taxpayer. This new Imperial quarter represents millions of marks, whilst the defences of Strasburg alone represent many millions more. One of the five facultes is devoted to Natural Science. The Museum of Natural History, the mineralogical collections, and the chemical laboratories have each their separate building, whilst at the extreme end of the University gardens is the handsome new observatory, with covered way leading to the equally handsome residence of the astronomer in charge. Thus the learned star-gazer can reach his telescope under cover in wintry weather. In addition to the University library described above, the various class-rooms have each small separate libraries, sections of history, literature, etc., on which the students can immediately lay their hands. All the buildings are heated with gas or water.

Just beyond these precincts we come upon a striking contrast–row after row of brand-new barracks, military bakeries, foundries, and stores; piles of cannon balls, powder magazines, war material, one would think, sufficient to blow up all Europe. Incongruous indeed is this juxtaposition of a noble seat of learning and militarism only commensurate with barbaric times. A good way off is the School of Medicine. This, indeed, owes little or nothing to the new regime, having been founded by the French Government long before 1870. It is a vast group of buildings, one of which can only be glanced at with a shudder. My friend pointed out to me an annexe or “vivisection department.” Here, as he expressed it, is maintained quite a menagerie of unhappy animals destined for the tortures of the vivisector’s knife. The very thought sickened me, and I was glad to give up sight- seeing and drop in for half-an-hour’s chat with a charming old lady, French to the backbone, living under the mighty shadow of the Cathedral. She entertained me with her experiences during the bombardment, when cooped up with a hundred persons, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, all passing fifteen days in a dark, damp cellar. Many horrible stories she related, but somehow they seemed less horrible than the thought of tame, timid, and even affectionate and intelligent creatures, slowly and deliberately tortured to death, for the sake, forsooth, of what? Of this corporeal frame man himself has done his best to vitiate and dishonour, mere clayey envelope–so theologians tell us–of an immortal soul!

Strasburg, like Metz, is one vast camp, at the time of this second visit the forty thousand soldiers in garrison here were away for the manoeuvres. In another week or two the town would swarm with them.

I will now say a few words about the administration of the annexed provinces, a subject on which exists much misapprehension.

As I have explained, no liberty, as we understand it, exists for the French subjects of the German Emperor, neither freedom of speech, nor of the press, nor of public meeting are enjoyed in Alsace and the portion of Lorraine no longer French. A rigorous censorship of books as well as newspapers is carried on. Even religious worship is under perpetual surveillance. One by one French pastors and priests are supplanted by their German brethren. A much respected pastor of Mulhouse, long resident in that city and ardently French, told me some years ago that he expected to be the last of his countrymen permitted to officiate. Police officers wearing plain clothes attend the churches in which French is still permitted on Sunday. There is nothing that can be called representative or real parliamentary government. The Stadtholder or Governor is in reality a dictator armed with autocratic powers. He can, at a moment’s notice, expel citizens, or stop newspapers. As to administration, it rests in the hands of the State Secretariat or body of Ministers, three in number. There is a pretence at home rule, but one fact suffices to explain its character and working. Of the thirty members forming the local Reichstag, sitting at Strasburg, fifteen are always named by the Stadtholder himself. This little Chamber of Deputies deliberates upon provincial affairs, all Bills having to pass the Chamber at Berlin and receive the Imperial sanction before becoming law. As to the party of protest in the Reichstag itself, formerly headed by the late Jean Dollfuss, I was assured that it had ceased to exist. Years before, then burdened with the weight of care and years, the great patriot of Mulhouse had said to me, “I no longer take my seat at Berlin. Of what good?” And were he living still, that great and good man, burning as was his patriotism, inextinguishable as was his love for France, would doubtless echo the words I now heard on every lip, “Peace, peace; only let us have peace!”

Whilst at Strasburg German has crowded out French, at Mulhouse I found French still universally spoken. The prohibition of native speech in schools is not only a domestic but a commercial grievance. As extensive business relations exist between the two countries, especially near the frontier, a knowledge of both French and German is really necessary to all classes. Even tourists in Alsace-Lorraine nowadays fare badly without some smattering of the latter language. Hotel-keepers especially look to the winning side, and do their very utmost to Germanise their establishments. Shopkeepers must live, and find it not only advantageous but necessary to follow the same course. Sad indeed is the spectacle of Germanised France! Nemesis here faces us in militarism, crushing the people with taxation and profoundly shocking the best instincts of humanity.

In conclusion I must do justice to the extreme courtesy of German railway and other officials. Many employes of railways and post offices–all, be it remembered, Government officials–do not speak any French at all, especially in out-of-the-way places. At the same time, all officials, down to the rural postman, will do their very best to help out French-speaking strangers with their own scant vocabulary of French words.

My Alsatian hosts, one and all, I found quite ready to do justice to the authorities and their representatives, but, as I have insisted upon before, an insuperable barrier, the fathomless gulf created by injustice, exists between conquerors and conquered. And only last year dining with my hosts of Germanised Lorraine in Paris, I asked them if in this respect matters had changed for the better. The answer I received was categoric–“Nothing is changed since your visit to us. French and Germans remain apart as before.”

“East of Paris” has led me somewhat farther than I intended, but to a lover of France, no less than to a French heart, France beyond the Vosges is France still!