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sure to be abonnées in the theatre, that is to say, regular subscribers, and entitled to go once, twice, thrice, or more times a week to that temple of the Muses, according to the terms on which they have secured their tickets. At the theatre they find themselves again amongst female friends and gossips, and scandal reigns supreme between the acts. At nino o'clock she comes home to tea ; the father drops in from his club; the sons lounge in from the theatre or some other place of amusement. A good deal of cold meat, eggs, and bread-and-butter is then consumed ; everybody is languid, and no one seems much disposed for conversation. By degrees they drop off one by one, and at half-past ten are all asleep. Girls have no out-of-doors amusements in Germany; no riding, no boating, no swimming, no croquet. They do not go for long country walks, nor do they wear thick boots and waterproof clothes. They are so little accustomed to the society of young men, that if a gentleman is ordinarily civil they either imagine he is desperately in love with them or conceive & romantic passion for him on the spot.
It is not the custom for young ladies to teach in Sunday-schools as it is with us—to visit the poor and make garments for the needy. Nor is it the custom even for them to go to church. That some women go to church is not to be denied, and that some may visit the poor I am not prepared to refute, but that it is customary so to do, I am sorry to say is not the case. The day passes in cooking, in dressing, in talking, perhaps in walking a little if the weather be fine, in dining, and coffeedrinking, in gossip and supping; but no outward token of religion graces any of these occupations or pastimes. Domestic servants seldom or never go to church, nor do masters and mistresses make it their business to see that they do so. Some masters and mistresses may so busy themselves, and some few servants may do as they are told, but the majority do not, and it is of the majority I now speak. They have one bugbear, these people without an object in life, and that is what they call mode, a monster between public opinion and Mrs. Grundy.
"I should like to sketch that picturesque old house,” said I one day to a pretty young girl of sixteen who was walking with me.
“For heaven's sake do not speak of such a thing,” she said ; “people are not so emancipated here; Sie wissen ja, es ist hier keine Mode.” *
On another occasion, when I announced my intention of riding on horseback, a friend having offered me a quiet and well-trained horse, and my cousin and uncle having promised to accompany me, a kind old lady who was of the party leant towards me and said, “Do not do it, my dearest friend. It is bold; it is unfeminine, it is ungraceful, and Sie dissen's ju, es ist hier keine Mode ! "
“But my uncle and my cousin are going to ride with me,” I said, astonished at her energy of denunciation.
" Then they will say your cousin is in love with you.”
* "Here such things are not the Fashion."
“But he is not in love with me; he is dying for Fräulein Osterding, the girl with the heavy plaits of hair on the left hand (or bourgeois side) of the theatre."
“It matters not; here one does not ride; it is not our mode."
“When I grow rich,” said a generous relative to me one day, in the presence of a young and beautiful widow-" When I
rich, Winnie, I'll make you a present of the prettiest pony-carriage I can find in London, and a couple of gray ponies, that you may drive yourself about."
“ Thank you,” I said, and laughed, for the prospect appeared to me so remote that I could not make
fervent. When my generous relative left the room, “ What a rude man he is," the beautiful widow said, “ proposing that you should drive yourself, like a droschky coachman!”
“ But it is what I like doing of all things in the world," I said ; "and if I ever get my ponies I shall take you for a drive with me every day."
“ You could not do it here,” she said.
Why not?” “ Es ist ja keine Mode."
Thus I often came to pity those young German ladies, whose life is so restricted in all its amusements and pleasures. At the balls it was not much better: the division of the sexes could scarcely have been more strictly observed in a Puseyite church. Except just at the actual moment of da ng together, the young people seemed to come into no closer contact. The instant the dance was ended, the young cavalier would wheel rightabout face, click his heels together, drop his arms in a lifeless manner by
a his side, and bow deeply to his partner, who would in turn smile, curtsey, and go off to find a seat for herself, or link her arm within that of some companion.
No gentleman calling at a house asks for the lady and mistress thereofhe asks for the lord and master, and should that personage be at home, he goes into his sanctum sanctorum and probably smokes several cigars with him, and then departs, never having attempted to see any of his friend's female relatives. Should the master, on the contrary, not be at home, he deposits two (or more) cards with your servant as pledges of his friendship, and departs in the proud consciousness of having fulfilled his duties to society.
The young girl is so very young no more. Her friends are beginning to be anxious; a suitable parti must be found. She has not much choice, poor thing. She must marry an officer or an employé high in office. This is no case of curates and croquet, of young barristers and toxophilite archery meetings, of Government clerks and a villa at Putney. Clergymen (Protestant clergymen) are, I regret to say, nowhere in German society, barristers (if there are such beings) impracticable, and Government clerks out of the question. Nevertheless, a marriage is arranged, but first there is the knotty point of the so-called “ caution ” to
solve. A “caution” in its Transatlantic sense must not here be pre. supposed. A “caution” in the Teuto-technical sense is the sum of fifteen thousand thalers, to be deposited in the Government funds (if the lover is a military man) by the contracting parties, in order that the widow, should her husband be killed in the service of his country, may have a sufficiency upon which to live “standesgemäss,” or in a manner befitting her rank. There are not, however, very many young couples who can deposit this sum. Thus what with money difficulties, and the scarcity of suitors from whom to choose, a young unmarried German lady has rather a hard time of it until certainty, in the shape of a “caution" of fifteen thousand thalers and matrimony, puts an end to her trials. The betrothal is even a grander affair than the marriage. The evening before the wedding a singular ceremony takes place; crockery is smashed, much coffee and cake is consumed; people arrive en costume, repeat original and appropriate, or borrowed and inappropriate verses, whilst they present their gifts.
There is perhaps dancing, and certainly much talking; the ceremony on the whole is a splendid one, and the scene chiefly characterized by jubilant confusion, indiscriminate speechifying, and toasts of the pointedly-personal character.
Matrimony is surely the golden key to the celestial portals of liberty ! To choose one's own dresses (subject to marital approval), to have one's coffee as strong as one likes, and not be stinted as to sugar, to go threo times a week to the theatre with appropriate variations de toilette, to make oneself renowned as a Hausfrau-what delights! And yet, and yet, who shall say that these delights shall suffice a female heart? There have been women who have not found it so; but these were uncomfortable souls. Of such misguided females let me keep silence ; it is our duty ever to represent the best of its type.
We are accustomed to think that a woman reigns supreme in her own house,-that, let her lord and master be never so despotic in other matters, on domestic subjects he does not presume to speak nor to elevate his voice on matters of household arrangement. But then our men's pursuits are of a more active character than those to which I have already alluded as forming the staple occupations of a German gentleman. They have not so much time for observing and interfering; they are, as a rule, harder worked, and also, as a rule, “ care for none of these things.” Thus the tidy little Fraus have a somewhat hard time of it. They represent what they are not, for the master knows as much as (and often more than) the mistress, with this difference, that she meekly brings him all her experience, like a little prime minister, and he advises, and reprimands, and criticizes, lying on his comfortable sofa, smoking the perennial pipe, and occasionally " spitting” by way of accompaniment to his dutiful wife's report. He knows all about the butter and dripping, swears if too much firewood is used, becomes abusive on the subject of sauerkraut, and tyrannical as to coals and candles, is tremendous on bacon, and aweinspiring as to red-herrings. My fascinating friend, General Witzenstein, YOL, XV.-NO. 87.
actually insulted his wife before me on account of too much soap having been used in the “great wash,” and gave me a catalogue raisonne of all her shortcomings as a Hausfrau, highly embarrassing to me, though I think she was too much used to it to feel it very acutely.
I have seen a word on small shops in low London neighbourhoods which often recurred to my mind at K-; “ Kitchen-stuff.”
I am not aware of the precise nature of this mysterious article ; but if I have not met with it in substance, I have at least made its acquaintance in the spirit during long dreary hours of coffee at KOh, the “ kitchen-stuff” that was then talked! the wearisome wealth of detail, the prolific extravagance of example! It is not, perhaps, polite of me to call anything “stuff" which was talked by a bevy of fair creatures with towers of hair on the tops of their heads, and spotless Garibaldi muslin jackets ; but truth compels me to say it was "stuff,” and not only 60, but “ kitchen-stuff.”
How odious was the conduct of Mr. Burchell towards the Honourable Wilhelmina Caroline Angelina Skeggs! And yet I have often found a certain solace in imitating that gentleman's ungenteel example, and muttering the above unflattering monosyllable between my teeth during one of those horrible séances endured from the early afternoon until the shades of dewy eve or the flicker of the early gas-lights would disperse the fair experts. A woman is no more mistress of her own house in Germany than you or I are masters of our fate (let Mr. Tennyson say what he may). She is simply an upper servant; and her master knows so well the cost of everything, that her allowance would not admit of an extra cabbage, if she wanted it never so much, or a surreptitious egg, might her desire pancakewards be never so strong.
After a year's matrimony comes the customary baby. It is born, is swathed up, and has a huge peasant-girl in loco parentis. A mummy is not a thing to fondle, nor is a little stiff bundle of humanity (which you might stand up on end in the corner of the room without detriment to its arrangements) an object on which to lavish caresses,
Thus the young mother is scarcely a mother at all; all the maternal functions being delegated to another. The baby does not lie on the floor, or crawl on to the heartbrug, crowing and kicking and curling up its pink toes, and trampling with its chubby legs. It does not swarm up and about its mother's neck and bosom, finding its little life and all its tiny pleasures in her arms; it does not at longth fall into a sleep of lazy rosy repletion, and with its little mouth open slumber away like the satisfied, beautiful little animal it is. No; it is out walking, tied to a feather-bed, and accompanied by a tall soldier, the father of its poor little foster-sister, which is to grow up as it can. It comes in presently, and is taken to its mamma to kiss; but its real mother, the mother that fosters it, carries it away again, and usurps all the privileges of maternity for the rest of the day. Thus the “ tidy little Frau ” has plenty of time for that“ knitting ” of which the poot has made mention in his song. Her husband goes to his club every
afternoon after he has had his siesta and taken his coffee ; and whilst thero he reads the newspapers and plays several rubbers (pronounced "robbers '') of whist with his associates. The newspapers are then discussed (if such discussions be prudent), and at nine o'clock the husband finds his way home again. If he is gallant, and his wife is at the theatre, or he is an amateur of the ballet, and she is not, he will probably turn into that temple of the Muses, in order to while away the time till nine o'clock. Having discussed as far as was prudent) all political news, at the clubs, he is not likely to begin on the state of the outer world again at home. Besides, women don't read the newspapers ; so a little local talk is all that turns up, and as it is very local indeed, and has been revolving in the same circle (on his part) for the last thirty, and on hers for the last twenty years (for at five they both knew a fair amount of the town gossip), it is not of a nature to make them forget the time or be heedless of the coals and candles.
After I had been three years at K-, I began almost to wonder what could have led me to such foregone conclusions as to the Sapphos and Corinnas of my imagination. I had ceased to look for one of those gifted females in every tenth or even twentieth woman I met, but in my secret soul I pined for her, and still carried a lantern beneath my cloak in order to aid me in my search. I was unwilling to renounce my little illusions.
I saw a stout heavy girl with spiral ringlets very often at my friends' houses, and as she never talked a kitchen-stuff" I ventured to make some inquiries about her. “My dear, she is insupportable,” said her cousin ; "she writes verses, goes to church nearly every Sunday, has not a notion of cooking, and reads in bed at night ! ”
"Quite a desperate character in fact ?" " Quite so.
Ah, you are au fait at once. She is in fact, entre nous, quite überspannt."
" Ah!” I said, looking horrified, for my friend had lowered her voice as she uttered that significant word, and I felt that it behoved me to make an appropriate observation. “ Ueberspannt !" What a world of reproach lay in that term! What scorn and contumely ; what a depth of condemnation and disapproval ! “ Overstrung,”-as we might say of a bow of which the tension was too great. “ Overdrawn, overstrung." Poor Louise von Dürlach! She was a quiet girl, who knew some of Schiller's and most of Geikel's poems by heart; went to church, read French and English fluently, made elegant extracts in a neat little niggling German hand, curled her hair, and wore dowdy gowns. There was nothing romantic, sentimental, affected, or überspannt in her (that I could see), but "give a dog a bad name and hang him.” And when Louisa von Dürlach married a little stout elderly man with a bald head, hook-nose, and round owl-like spectacles, the same lady shook her head, and said reflectively, “ She was always überspannt, you know." The time came for me to leave K. We arrived at L in