“Besides, it’s a very good hotel, I’ve been told,” said his wife, affably.
It was a very good hotel, and there was a lunch-room half-way up the main flight of stairs at the right as you enter, which I remember with peculiar pleasure. Travellers like us may well be excused for remembering a first luncheon such as that which we had at the Wittelsbacher Hof.
Then we all strolled out in the early summer twilight and took our first look at Nuremberg. Tell me if you can why we went into such ecstasies over Nuremberg and stayed there two weeks, when we could barely persuade ourselves to remain one day in Stuttgart. But the picturesqueness of Nuremberg is particularly enticing. The streets run “every which way,” as the children say, and the architecture is so queer and ancient that the houses look as if they had stepped out of old prints.
It was so hot when we arrived that we were on terms of the most distant civility with each other. Indeed, it was dangerous to make the simplest observation, for the other three guns were trained upon the inoffensive speaker with such promptness and such an evident desire to fight that for the most part we maintained a dignified but safe silence.
Mrs. Jimmie bearded Jimmie in his den long enough to ask him to see about our opera tickets at once. Everybody said we could not get any, but trust Jimmie! The agent of whom he bought them had embroidered a generous romance of how he had got them of a lady who ordered them the January before, but whose husband having just died, her feelings would not permit her to use them, and so as a great accommodation, etc., etc.
Everybody knows these stories. Suffice it to say that Jimmie really had, at the last moment, secured admirable seats near the middle of the house, and everybody said it was a miracle. In looking back over the experiences of that one opera of “Parsifal,” I cannot deny that there was something of a miracle about it. However, “Parsifal” was three days distant, and Nuremberg was at hand.
I love to think of Nuremberg. The recollection of it comes back to me again and again through a gentle haze of happy memories. The narrow streets were lined with houses which leaned toward each other after the gossipy manner of old friends whose confidence in each other is established. The windows jutted queerly, and odd balconies looped themselves on corners where no one expected them. They call these pretty old houses the best examples of domestic architecture, but warn you that the quaint peaked roofs are Gothic and the surprises are Renaissance—a mixture of which purists do not approve. But I am a pagan. I like mixtures. They give you little flutters of delight in your heart, and one of the most satisfactory of experiences is not to be able to analyse your emotions or to tell why you are pleased, but to feel at liberty to answer art questions with “Just because!”