“My Lord! Ain’t she got vinegar!”
I repeated this to Madame Carreno at Jenbach, and she seized my hands and shouted with laughter. Such a grip as she has! Her hands are filled with steel wires instead of muscles, and her arms have the strength of an athlete in training.
The car propelled by the hunchbacked engine grated and bumped its way over its cog-wheel road, pushing its delighted quota of passengers higher and higher into the mountains. The Inn valley fell away from our view, and wooded slopes, fir-trees, patches of snow on far hillsides, and tiny hamlets took its place.
“Here and there among these little villages live my summer pupils,” said Madame Carreno. “I have six. One from San Francisco, one from Australia, one from Paris, one from Geneva, and two from Russia—all young girls, and with such talent! They live all the way from Jenbach to the Achensee, and come to see me once a week.”
The train stopped with a final squeal of the chain, and a lurch which loosened our joints.
Before us spread a sheet of water of such a blueness, such a limpid, clear, deep sapphire blue as I never saw in water before.
Around it rose the hills of Tyrol, guarding it like sentinels.
It was the Achensee!
DANCING IN THE AUSTRIAN TYROL
Jimmie is such a curious mixture that it is really very much worth while to study his emotions. I think perhaps that even I, who find it so hard to discover either man, woman, child, or dog whom I would designate as “typically American,” am forced to admit that Jimmie’s mental make-up is perfect as a certain type of the American business man, travelling extensively in Europe. The real bread of life to Jimmie is the New York Stock Exchange; but being on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he brought his fine steel-wire will to bear upon his recreation with as much nervous force as he ever expended in a deal in Third Avenue or Union Pacific.
Hence he travels nervously yet deliberately, and views Europe from the point of view of the American stock market, scoffing at my enthusiasm, ironical of Bee’s most cherished preferences, patient with his wife’s serious love of society, and chivalrously tolerant, as only the American man can be, of the prejudices of his travelling family.
I notice that he is taking on a certain amount of true culture. He is broadening. Jimmie is beginning to let his emotions out; however, very gradually, with a firm, nervous hand on the throttle-valve, with the sensitive American’s fear of ridicule as his steam-gauge.
I watched Jimmie as he first saw the Achensee. The colour came into his face, his eyes brightened, and he clenched his hands—a sure sign of feeling in Jimmie.