We began in a spirit of adventure, but Jimmie’s taste in food is so depraved that if he followed the precedent all through his life, Lombroso would class him as a degenerate. As it was, he soon had us distanced. But we let him eat pickles and cherries and herring and cream and tripe and garlic and pig’s feet all stewed up together, while we listened to the music, and planned what we would bury him in.
The pictures in Munich we loved. I must say that I enjoy the atmosphere of the Munich school better than any other. There is a healthiness about German realism that one is not afraid nor ashamed to admire. French realism is like a suggestive story, expunged of all but the surface fun for girls’ hearing. You are afraid of the laugh it raises for fear there is something beneath it all that you don’t understand. But the modern Munich galleries were not the task that picture galleries often are. They were a sincere delight, and let me pause to say that Munich art was one thing that we four were unanimous in praising and enjoying as a happy and united family.
It was here that Jimmie proceeded to go mad over Verboeckhoven’s sheep pictures, and Mrs. Jimmie and Bee over the crown jewels in the Treasury of the Alte Residenz. To be sure they are fine. For example, there is the famous “Pearl of the Palatinate,” which is half black, and a glorious blue diamond about twice as fine as the one owned by Lord Francis Hope, which his family went to law to prevent his selling not long ago, and a superb group of St. George and the dragon, the knight being in chased gold, the dragon made entirely of jasper, and the whole thing studded thickly with precious stones of every description. But, except that these things are historic and kept in royal vaults, they are no more wonderful than jewellers’ exhibits at the expositions.
But if you want to be thoroughly mixed up on the Nibelungenlied, after you think you have got those depraved old parties with their iniquitous marriages and loose morals pretty well adjusted by a faithful attendance at Walter Damrosch’s lectures and Wagner operas, just go through the Koenigsbau, and let one of those automatic conductors in uniform take you through the Schnorr Nibelungen Frescoes, and from personal experience I will guarantee that, when you have completed the rounds, you won’t even know who Siegfried is.
There is one thing particularly worth mentioning about Munich, and that is that also in Alte Residenz, in the Festsaalbau, which faces on the Hofgarten, and is 256 yards, not feet, long, are two small card rooms, with what they call a “gallery of beauties.”
Now everybody knows how disappointing professional beauties are. Think over the names of actresses heralded as “beauties;” of belles, who have been said to turn men’s heads by the score; of Venuses, and Psyches, and Madonnas of the galleries of Europe, and tell me your honest opinion. Aren’t most of them really—well, trying, to say the least?