Speaking of Indian summer, the only approach to it I have seen was in the hazy atmosphere at the West Ende Halle. October outdoors has been an almost totally disagreeable month, with the exception of some days, or rather parts of days, when we have seen the sun, and experienced a mild atmosphere. At such times, I have liked to sit down on one of the empty benches in the Hof Garden, where the leaves already half cover the ground, and the dropping horse-chestnuts keep up a pattering on them. Soon the fat woman who has a fruit-stand at the gate is sure to come waddling along, her beaming face making a sort of illumination in the autumn scenery, and sit down near me. As soon as she comes, the little brown birds and the doves all fly that way, and look up expectant at her. They all know her, and expect the usual supply of bread-crumbs. Indeed, I have seen her on a still Sunday morning, when I have been sitting there waiting for the English ceremony of praying for Queen Victoria and Albert Edward to begin in the Odeon, sit for an hour, and cut up bread for her little brown flock. She sits now knitting a red stocking, the picture of content; one after another her old gossips pass that way, and stop a moment to exchange the chat of the day; or the policeman has his joke with her, and when there is nobody else to converse with, she talks to the birds. A benevolent old soul, I am sure, who in a New England village would be universally called “Aunty,” and would lay all the rising generation under obligation to her for doughnuts and sweet-cake. As she rises to go away, she scrapes together a half-dozen shining chestnuts with her feet; and as she cannot possibly stoop to pick them up, she motions to a boy playing near, and smiles so happily as the urchin gathers them and runs away without even a “thank ye.”
A TASTE OF ULTRAMONTANISM
If that of which every German dreams, and so few are ready to take any practical steps to attain,—German unity,—ever comes, it must ride roughshod over the Romish clergy, for one thing. Of course there are other obstacles. So long as beer is cheap, and songs of the Fatherland are set to lilting strains, will these excellent people “Ho, ho, my brothers,” and “Hi, hi, my brothers,” and wait for fate, in the shape of some compelling Bismarck, to drive them into anything more than the brotherhood of brown mugs of beer and Wagner’s mysterious music of the future. I am not sure, by the way, that the music of Richard Wagner is not highly typical of the present (1868) state of German unity,—an undefined longing which nobody exactly understands. There are those who think they can discern in his music the same revolutionary tendency which placed the composer on the right side of a Dresden barricade in 1848, and who go so far as to believe that the liberalism of the young King of Bavaria is not a little due to his passion for the disorganizing operas of this transcendental writer. Indeed, I am not sure that any other people than Germans would not find in the repetition of the five hours of the “Meister-Singer von Nurnberg,” which was given the other night at the Hof Theater, sufficient reason for revolution.