There is one thing particularly noticeable about the charm which French shop-windows in one of the smart streets like the rue de la Paix exercises upon the American woman, and that is that it very soon wears off, and she sees that most of the things exploited are beyond her means, or are totally unsuited to her needs. I defy any woman to walk down one of these brilliant shop-lined streets of Paris for the first time, and not want to buy every individual thing she sees, and she will want to do it a second time and a third time, and, if she goes away from Paris and stays two months, the first time she sees these things on her return all the old fascination is there. To overcome it, to stamp it out of the system, she must stay long enough in Paris to live it down, for, if she buys rashly while under the influence of this first glamour, she is sure to regret it.
Dresden and Berlin differ materially from Paris in this respect. Their shop-windows exploit things less expensive, more suitable to your every-day needs, and equally unattainable at home. So that if you have gained some experience by your mistakes in Paris, your outlay in these German cities will be much more rational.
Leather goods in Germany are simply distracting. There are shops in Dresden where no woman who appreciates bags, satchels, card-cases, photograph-frames, book-covers, and purses could refrain from buying without disastrous results. I remember my first pilgrimage through the streets of Dresden. Between the porcelains and toilet sets, the Madonnas, the belts, and card-cases, I nearly lost my mind. The modest prices of the coveted articles were each time a separate shock of joy. If these sturdy Germans had wished to take advantage of my indiscreet expressions of surprise and delight, they might easily have raised their prices without our ever having discovered it. But day after day we returned, not only to find that the prices remained the same, but that, in many instances, if we bought several articles, they voluntarily took off a mark or two on account of the generosity of our purchases.
Dresden is a city where works of art are most cunningly copied. You can order, if you like, copies of any but the most intricate of the treasures of the Green Vaults, and you will not be disappointed with the results. You can order copies of any of the most famous pictures in the Dresden galleries, and have them executed with like exquisite skill. Nor is there any city in all Europe where it is so satisfactory to buy a souvenir of a town, which you will not want to throw away when you get home and try to find a place for it. Because souvenirs of Dresden appeal to your love of art and the highest in your nature. Leather you will find elsewhere, but the Dresden works of art are peculiarly its own.
In Austria manners differ considerably both from those of Paris and upper Germany. I should say they were a cross between the two. We shopped in Ischl, which has shops quite out of proportion to its size on account of being the summer home of the Emperor, and there we met with a politeness which was delightful.