As to the play itself—I wish I need say nothing about it. My mind, my heart, my soul, have all been wrenched and twisted with such emotion as is not pleasant to feel nor expedient to speak about. It was too real, too heart-rending, too awful. I hate, I abhor myself for feeling things so acutely. I wish I were a skeptic, a scoffer, an atheist. I wish I could put my mind on the mechanism of the play. I wish I could believe that it all took place two thousand years ago. I wish I didn’t know that this suffering on the stage was all actual. I wish I thought these people were really Tyrolese peasants, wood-carvers and potters, and that all this agony was only a play. I hate the women who are weeping all around me. I hate the men who let the tears run down their cheeks, and whose shoulders heave with their sobs. It is so awful to see a man cry.
But no, it is all true. It is taking place now. I am one of the women at the foot of the cross. The anguish, the cries, the sobs are all actual. They pierce my heart. The cross with its piteous burden is outlined against the real sky. The green hill beyond is Calvary. Doves flutter in and out, and butterflies dart across the shafts of sunlight. The expression of Christ’s face is one of anguish, forgiveness, and pity unspeakable. Then his head drops forward on his breast. It grows dark. The weeping becomes lamentation, and as they approach to thrust the spear into His side, from which I have been told the blood and water really may be seen to pour forth, I turn faint and sick and close my eyes. It has gone too far. I no longer am myself, but a disorganised heap of racked nerves and hysterical weeping, and not even the descent from the cross, the rising from the dead, nor the triumphant ascension can console me nor restore my balance.
The Passion Play but once in a lifetime!
MUNICH TO THE ACHENSEE
If there were a country where the crowned heads of Europe in ball costume sat in a magnificent hall, drinking nothing less than champagne, while the court band discoursed bewitching music, and the electric lights flashed on myriads of jewels, Bee and Mrs. Jimmie would declare that sort of Bohemia to be quite in their line. And because that kind of refined stupidity would bore Jimmie and me to the verge of extinction, and because we really prefer an open-air concert-garden with beer, where the people are likely to be any sort of cattle whom nobody would want to know, yet who are interesting to speculate about, I really believe that Bee and Mrs. Jimmie think we are a little low.
However, their impossible tastes being happily for us unattainable, three hours after our arrival in Munich found Jimmie proudly marching three sailor-hat and shirt-waist women into the Lowenbraukeller.
It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when we arrived, and we took our seats at a little table in the terraced garden. A rosy-cheeked maid, who evidently had violent objections to soap, brought us our beer, and then we looked around. There was music, not very good, only a few people smoking china pipes and not even drinking beer, a few idly reading the paper, and a general air over everybody of Mr. Micawber waiting for something to turn up.