* * * * *
’Twas thus the baron built
his tower; and, as the story tells,
A fragrance rare bewitched the air whene’er they rang the bells.
A merrier music tinkled down when
harvest-days were long:
They seemed to chime at vintage-time a catch of vintage-song;
And when the vats were foamed with
must, if any loitered near
The minster tower at vesper hour, above him he would hear
Tinglings, as of subsiding trills, athwart
the purple gloom,
And every draught of air he quaffed would taste of vineyard bloom.
MARGARET J. PRESTON.
BERLIN AND VIENNA.
The pre-eminence of London and Paris in the European world is unquestioned, and, so far as we can foresee, permanent. Although England is withdrawing herself more and more from the affairs of the Continent, and becoming a purely insular and quasi-Oriental power—although France has lost the lead in war and politics, and does not seem likely to regain it—yet the capitals of these two countries hold their own. In the accumulation of wealth and population, in science, letters and the arts, London and Paris seem to be out of reach of competition. Other cities grow, and grow rapidly, but do not gain upon them. Even Berlin and Vienna, which have become so conspicuous of late years, will remain what they are—local centres rather than world-centres. The most zealous friend of German and Austrian progress can scarcely claim for Berlin and Vienna, as cities, more than secondary interest. Nevertheless, these minor capitals are not to be overlooked, especially at the present conjuncture. One of them is the residence of the most powerful dynasty in Europe: the other is the base of an aggressive movement which tends to free at last the lower Danube from Mohammedanism. If, as is possible, the courts of Berlin and Vienna should decide to act in concert, if the surplus vitality and population of the German empire, instead of finding its outlet in the Western hemisphere, should be reversed and made to flow to the south-east, we should witness a strange recuscitation of the past. We should behold the Germanic race, after two thousand years of vicissitude, of migration, conquest, subordination and triumph, reverting to its early home, reoccupying the lands from which it started to overthrow Rome. The Eastern question, as it is called, forces itself once more upon the attention of Christendom, and craves an answer. Twenty years ago it was deferred by the interference of France and England. France is now hors de combat, and England has better work elsewhere. Berlin, Vienna and St. Petersburg have the decision in their hands. It would be a waste of time to speculate upon coming events. Even the negotiations plying to and fro at this moment are veiled in the strictest secrecy. Possibly no one of the trio, Bismarck, Andrassy and Gortschakoff,