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a jacket. Upon this, all the world declared that the entertainment was wonder schön! "ausserordenlich hubsch!" The next favourite was the Vieñer in Berlin, a vehicle for the Austrian dialect, which is rather pleasantly given. The following song in it is presented as one of the treasures of Austrian anthology:
Kommt a Vogerl g'flogen,
Setzt sie nieder auf mein Fuss, Hat a Zerterl im Goschl
Und von Diarndl an'n Gruss.
Und a Straussring zum Schlag'n,
Auf die Summer-Zeit,
In der Fremd' bin ich hier,
Und die Wiena sein harb,
Nimm Gruss mit u. Kuss,
Weil i hier bleib'n muss.
Until now, I had believed that nothing could be more fade, pointless, and vulgar, than English comic songs; yet, the very worst of them those most replete with "blithesome lasses," "gallant tars," "Yorkshire lads stealing horses," "honest traders," or strapping young Irishmen, who marry old women for their money-address themselves (not very rationally, perhaps, but they do address themselves) to the feelings of some class of our people; the boxes and pit endure it, because they think the galleries entitled to some gratification; but a whole German audience can enjoy the bestial nonsense I have quoted. At the conclusion of that song, you will see the elliptical mouths of the Deutchers, displaying their ebon furniture, if any is left. "Such volumes of stinking breath!"
Perhaps, after all, it is not very extraordinary that a people who cry at what we call the Stranger, (Menschenhass und Reue,) should laugh at Miss Diana's bird, with the rifle and cudgel. It is almost as easy to sympathise with a lady who has quitted the husband she loves, for a man she does not care an end of riband for, as to enter into the humorous conceit of a man being unable to go to one place, because he is obliged to stay in another. This will be denied, perhaps, because it is very decorous to weep at any thing, while nothing but acknowledged wit can justify a smile. For this reason, the Stranger had his reign in England, and even in France. The people of both countries were told that they ought to be deeply affected; and therefore every body who went to the play, took two pocket-handkerchiefs; the box
*Keep this out of W's sight, lest he make English verse out of it.
keepers made four guineas a-night by glasses of water; rooms over the way, prepared for the reception of fainting ladies, were still more profitable, and the fruit women carried nothing but salts and staylaces. Many sensitive beings were observed to shed tears on receiving their checks at the door; and on one occasion, sobs were heard until the third act of She Stoops to Conquer, which had been "unavoidably substituted" for the family sorrows of Mr. and Mrs. Eulalie Haller, (properly Müller.) Its run in Paris was stopped by a Vaudeville,* though the perfect acting of Talma and Mademoiselle Mars, has since occasionally drawn crowds to the Theatre Français.
An invitation to dine with General von Trommelstock, reminds me that I am at Königsberg, and not in Paris.
Apropos then of Königsberg. Its circumference is nearly that of Dublin, and its population, exclusive of the garrison, is about sixty thousand; some streets of great length, very Dutch-looking houses in the old town, and execrable pavement throughout. Walking is a violent exercise here, for in wet weather you have to jump from one large stone to another, to avoid the intervening puddles, and during the frost and snow, it requires some address to avoid the flitting and noiseless sledges. As soon as the Pragel and Frische Haff are well frozen, and the roads covered with snow, the peasantry from the surrounding country bring their farming produce and timber to Königsberg in sledges. It is certainly the quickest and most agreeable mode of progression; one that the noble and the peasant of these climates equally delight in, and which is alike attainable to both. The gentleman's sledge is a sort of car, capable of holding two persons, drawn by two horses, and balanced (sometimes driven) by a servant, who sits behind, astride something like a narrow saddle. Bells are hung from the horses' necks, to warn foot-passengers of their approach; but when there are any great number of vehicles, the tinkling from all sides, rather adds to the confusion than otherwise. You may make a traineau of any description of carriage, by taking off the wheels and setting the remainder upon parellel shafts with a tyre. If you thus put your carriage upon skaits for the purpose of travelling, the wheels are usually strapped upon the roof. A party of the noblesse went on the Pragel to the inn of Holstein (a distance of seven of our miles) in about fifty traineaux yesterday. Each cavalier with a lady, and attended by one or more outriders, habited as Tartars, Cossaques, Yagers, and English jockies. The traineaux passing rapidly in single file had a very pretty effect, and they achieved the distance in little more than thirty minutes.
Hitherto none of the public buildings have interested me much. I observed the theatre on one side of the Parade Square. It is a huge pile, in such detestable taste that, but for its solidity, it would be difficult to believe that another than our Nash had planned it. At right
Comment Faire? was the title of this little piece, which pourtrayed very pleasantly the manner in which various persons were effected by Kotzebue's Play. An old bourgeois gives himself up to despair on seeing his wife cry over it: he says it must have awakened a guilty souvenir. A sentimentalist breaks off his engagement with a young lady, who treats Eulalie's sorrows with too much levity. But the most amusing part of it is the apprehension of a young rake as to the probable effects of Misantropie et Repentir upon Paris society. I quote a song of his for the sake of contrast with the German one :
angles with the theatre, is a roofed building in which the Parade is held when the thermometer marks more than 14° below zero.
AIR:-Du pas redoublé de l'Infanterie.
pie, Va dans les bois par --mi les loups, Pleu-rer son Eu- - la
Je crains l'ex-em-ple d'un époux, Qui par mi- san- tro
For a time, Misantropie et Repentir was almost made the touchstone of female propriety. It is said that a young lady who had charmed her sentimental lover by weeping through four long acts, and gave fair hopes of fainting in the fifth, suddenly exclaimed, upon hearing Eulalie's supplication to her injured husband: "Que cela est odieux! Comment une femme peut elle s'humilier à ce point la?" It is needless to add, that the lover rushed out of the box, and has not since been heard of. There is nothing uncommon in this, for many well-exercised sentimentalists have arrived at the perfection of shedding tears on reading the advertisements.
You will scarcely credit the answer of my valet-de-place, when I told him to bring me a hair-cutter; he assured me that the only artist of the kind Königsberg had possessed, died three years since, and was not replaced. Sixty-five thousand people in a city without a coiffeur !
His Excellency the General von Trommelstock occupies a handsome hôtel, fitted up with all imaginable incongruities. There is great want of comfort in the appearance of unpapered or unpannelled walls, beside that the distemper wash comes off upon whatever touches it, so that the slightest indiscretion is rewarded by a coat of many colours. The absence of fire-places is another cause of gloominess, though it is possible that open fires would not supply the diffused warmth that the stoves give. The heat of stoves is, however, far from agreeable; its drying effect is so strong, that a book left within its influence never shuts afterwards, and every kind of wooden furniture is quickly warped or cracked by it.
The Commander of the Forces is a stiff, Serjeant-Kite-looking man of fifty-three or four, and I perceived at the first glance, that he not only assumed to play the king, but that he made the carriage of the present monarch of Prussia his model for that character. After a few banal observations, very impressively delivered, he presented me to one of the chiefs of a department, who was commissioned to take care of me at dinner. I never saw such an animal before-the exact physiognomy of a wild boar, expressing sensuality, cunning, and cruelty, in every line. I have since heard that his propensities answer the promise of his face: that they had probably procured for him the honourable preference of the officials of the Holy Alliance, whose secret police-agent he was, and that people were glad to gratify his gluttony, in the hope of softening, as far as themselves were concerned, his inventive malice.
The first thing that strikes you on sitting at a German dinner-table, is the absence of the dinner itself, nothing but the desert and hors d'œuvres (some of which are of a very unctuous kind) appear on the board. Soup is handed round-then small glasses of Malaga and Madiera, and patties or caviare; not pressed caviare, such as you have it in England, but the moist roe of the belugena, which is the best thing in the way of eating I know.. It is brought annually from Astrachan by Russian merchants. After the caviare, came a bouilli, with onion sauce; then greasy cutlets, with carrots suspended in butter and flour; a ragout of fresh tongue, with a sour sauce and raisins! Sand, (a fish of the brackish Huff, not unlike haddock.) with chopped egg and beurre noir, fricassee of chicken, cauliflower, and small sausages, tasting of nothing but nutmeg. Then roebuck and other descriptions of game overroasted, (or baked,) and accompanied by ten or more sorts of admirable preserves, a large boar's head, and finally, pudding, jellies, and cakes, of great variety and
Such was the dinner; and it must be admitted that there were redeeming passages in it; but I must not forget to mention, that it commenced at two and ended at six o'clock, nor some peculiarities in the arrangement of it. In the first place, the knife and fork are never changed; those who object to blending blancmange with the
garlic of a preceding dish, wipe the knife upon their bread, but it is impossible that much of savour can rest upon the knife, because they convey all the esculents upon it to their mouths; and the iron fork (for steel or silver ones have not reached them yet) serves chiefly to pick the teeth. I never saw a Prussian omit this ceremony; and being the only act of cleanliness in use amongst them, it is very proper that it should be publicly performed. Apropos of cleanliness, I heard that a great military lady here, lately saw, for the first time, a certain piece of dressing-room furniture at the French consul's house. On its use being explained, (not by the consul, I hope,) she seemed greatly pleased with the refinement, and had one made like it; but a cold and inflammation of the bowels having followed the very first brief essay, the dangerous innovation has been held in great horror ever since. To return to the table. Another ugly trick of the Prussians is that of making their bread into pellets, long worms, or tee-totums; but they do not generally venture to put the latter in movement during dinners of ceremony.
Yesterday I had a dinner invitation of another kind. The banker to whom I was recommended, asked me to meet some thirty fat and greasy citizens. I do confess I have no love for traders; their manners are always bad; their conversation is never interesting, and their morals are very generally questionable. Shylock appears to me a softened portrait of the Jewish trader, and the Christian merchants bear a strong family likeness to the celebrated Mr. John Inkle, late of London. It must, however, be acknowledged, that if they are not an amiable body, they are a very useful one, and great allowance should be made for the effect of employing the mind in nothing but considerations of gain. The Sire de Crequi, if he had been brought up in a counting-house, would never have entertained a chivalric thought.
The mercantile dinner was somewhat more abundant, and in worse taste than the military one I have just described; and the gravity of that banquet was more supportable than the coarse jocularity of this. I had hoped that it would end at the same hour, but there is no reason why German eating should ever end. It would be impossible for a dark-haired people (whose digestion is always weaker than it is with persons of the opposite complexion) to eat and drink as these do. The desert ended, tea, which most of the people softened with brandy instead of cream, succeeded to coffee; cakes of different kinds were presented at intervals of ten minutes; then smoked goose breasts, ham, sausages, punch, and sweet wine, were eagerly demolished. It was not until eleven o'clock that the interesting party separated to sup at their respective dwellings.
There are but two booksellers in Königsberg, which, for an university town, is almost as remarkable as their being no hair-dressers. I observed some cheap editions of the Greek and Latin classics, which appeared to be good, and a great number of sentimental almanacks. The new publications that I bought were not calculated to lessen my distaste for German composition. The iteration of adjectives to express known properties, assail you in all alike; they talk of "the salt sea," "sweet sugar," and "cold ice."