Fourthly, I would reorganize the sexes, and distribute them accord
ing to the will of the Creator. This as a tribute of respect, if nothing
Fifthly, I would do away with those great long compounded words :
* " Verdammt" and its variations and enlargements, are words
which have plenty of meaning, but the sounds are so mild and in
effectual that German ladies can use them without sin. German ladies
who could not be induced to commit a sin by any persuasion or com
pulsion, promptly rip out one of these harmless little words when they
tear their dresses or don t like the soup. It sounds about as wicked as
our "My gracious." German ladies are constantly saying, "Ach!
Gott ! " " Mein Gott ! " " Gott in Himmel ! " " Herr Gott ! " " Der
Herr Jesus 1 . " etc. They think our ladies have the same custom, per
haps ; for I once heard a gentle and lovely old German lady say to a
sweet young American girl: "The two languages are so alike how
pleasant that is ; we say Ach 1 Gott 1 you say Goddam. "
A Tramp Abroad 305
or require the speaker to deliver them in sections, with intermissions foi
refreshments. To wholly do away with them would be best, for ideas
are more easily received and digested when they come one at a time
than when they come in bulk. Intellectual food is like any other ; it is
pleasanter and more beneficial to take it with a spoon than with a
Sixthly, I would require a speaker to stop when he is done, and not
hang a string of those useless " haben sind gewesen gehabt haben
geworden seins " to the end of his oration. This sort of gew-gaws
undignify a speech, instead of adding a grace. They are, therefore, an
offense, and should be discarded.
Seventhly, I would discard the Parenthesis. Also the re-parenthesis,
the re-re-parenthesis, and the re-re-re-re-re-re-parentheses, and likewise
the final wide-reaching all-enclosing King-parenthesis. I would require
every individual, be he high or low, to unfold a plain straightforward
tale, or else coil it and sit on it and hold his peace. Infractions of this
law should be punishable with death.
And eighthly and last, I would retain Zug and Schlag, with their
pendants, and discard the rest of the vocabulary. This would simplify
I have now named what I regard as the most necessary and impor
tant changes. These are perhaps all I could be expected to name for
nothing ; but there are other suggestions which I can and will make in
case my proposed application shall result in my being formally employed
by the government in the work of reforming the language. .
My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought
to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours,
French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest,
then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If
it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside
among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.
A FOURTH OF JULY ORATION IN THE GERMAN TONGUE, DELIVERED
AT A BANQUET OF THE ANGLO-AMERICAN CLUB OF STUDENTS
BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK.
GENTLEMEN : Since I arrived, a month ago, in this old wonderland,
this vast garden of Germany, my English tongue has so often proved a
useless piece of baggage to me, and so troublesome to carry around, in
306 A Tramp Abroad
a country where they haven t the checking system for luggage, that I
finally set to work, last week, and learned the German language. Also !
Es freut mich dass dies so ist, denn es muss, in ein hauptsachlich degree,
hoflich sein, dass man auf ein occasion like this, sein Rede in die
Sprache des Landes worin he boards, aussprechen soil. Dafiir habe ich,
aus reinische Verlegenheit, no, Vergangenheit, no, I mean Hof-
lichkeit, aus reinische Hoflichkeit habe ich resolved to tackle this
business in the German language, um Gottes willen ! Also ! Sie mussen
so freundlich sein, und verzeih mich die interlarding von ein oder zwei
Englischer Worte, hie und da, denn ich finde dass die deutsche is not a
very copious language, and so when you ve really got anything to say,
uVe got to draw on a language that can stand the strain.
Wenn aber man kann nicht meinem Rede verstehen, so werde ich
ihm spater dasselbe ubersetz }| wenn er solche Dienst verlangen wollen
J^ Jiaben werden sollen sein hatte j ( I don t know what wollen haben werden
. . . sollen sein" "KaTteTrreaB?rbuT"i notice they always put it at the end of a
Yvtj I German sentence merely for general literary gorgeousness, I sup-
This is a great and justly honored day, a day which is worthy of
the veneration in which it is held by the true patriots of all climes and
nationalities, a day which offers a fruitful theme for thought and
speech; und meinem Freunde, no, memen Freund<?, mein Freun-
des, well, take your choice, they re all the same price; I don t know
which one is right, also ! ich habe gehabt haben worden gewesen
sein, as Goethe says in his Paradise Lost, ich, ich, that is to say,
ich, but let us change cars.
Also ! Die Anblick so viele Grossbrittanischer und Amerikanischer
hier zusammengetroffen in Bruderliche concord, ist zwar a welcome and
inspiriting spectacle. And what has moved you to it ? Can the terse
German tongue rise to the expression of this impulse? Is it Freund-
lichkeiten? Nein, o nein ! This is a crisp and noble word, but it fails
to pierce the marrow of the impulse which has gathered this friendly
meeting and produced diese Anblick, eine Anblick welche ist gut zu
sehen, gut fur die Augen in a foreign land and a far country, eine
Anblick solche als in die gewohnliche Heidelberger phrase nennt man ein
" schones Aussicht ! " Ja, freilich natiirlich wahrscheinlich ebensowohl !
Also ! Die Aussicht auf dem Konigsstuhl mehr grosserer ist, aber geist-
lische sprechend nicht so schon, lob Gott!. Because sie sind hier
A Tramp Abroad 307
zusammengetroffen, in Bjruderlichem concord, ein grossen Tag zu feiern,
whose high benefits were not for one land and one locality only, but
have conferred a measure of good upon all lands that know liberty
to-day, and love it. Hundert Jahre voriiber, waren die Englander und
die Amerikaner Feinde ; aber heute sind sie herzlichen Freunde, Gott
sei Dank ! May this good fellowship endure ; may these banners here
blended in amity so remain ; may they never any more wave over oppos
ing hosts, or be stained with blood which was kindred, is kindred, and
always will be kindred, until a line drawn upon a map shall be able to
say: " This bars the ancestral blood from flowing in the veins of the
descendant ! "
LEGEND OF THE CASTLES
CALLED THE "SWALLOW S NEST" AND "THE BROTHERS," AS CON-
DENSED FROM THE CAPTAIN S TALE
In the neighborhood of three hundred years ago the Swallow s Nest
and the larger castle between it and Neckarsteinach were owned and
occupied by two old knights who were twin brothers, and bachelors.
They had no relatives. They were very rich. They had fought through
the wars and retired to private life covered with honorable scars.
They were honest, honorable men in their dealings, but the people had
given them a couple of nicknames which were very suggestive, Herr
Givenaught and Herr Heartless. The old knights were so proud of
these names that if a burgher called them by their right ones they
would correct them.
The most renowned scholar in Europe, at that time, was the Herr
Doctor Franz Reikmann, who lived in Heidelberg. All Germany was
proud of the venerable scholar, who lived in the simplest way, for great
scholars are always poor. He was poor, as to money, but very rich in
his sweet young daughter Hildegarde and his library. He had been all
his life collecting his library, book by book, and he loved it as a miser
loves his hoarded gold. He said the two strings of his heart were
rooted, the one in his daughter, the other in his books ; and that if
either were severed he must die. Now in an evil hour, hoping to win a
marriage portion for his child, this simple old man had entrusted his
small savings to a sharper to be ventured in a glittering speculation.
But that was not the worst of it : he signed a paper, without reading
it. That is the way with poets and scholars ; they always sign without
reading. This cunning paper made him responsible for heaps of things.
A Tramp Abroad 309
The result was that one night he found himself in debt to the sharper
eight thousand pieces of gold ! an amount so prodigious that it simply
stupefied him to think of it. It was a night of woe in that house.
" I must part with my library, I have nothing else. So perishes
one heartstring," said the old man.
"What will it bring, father? " asked the girl.
" Nothing ! It is worth seven hundred pieces of gold; but by auc
tion it will go for little or nothing."
" Then you will have parted with the half of youi heart and the joy
of your life to no purpose, since so mighty a burden of debt will remain
"There is no help for it, my child. Our darlings must pass under
the hammer. We must pay what we can,"
" My father, I have a feeling that the dear Virgin will come to our
help. Let us not lose heart."
" She cannot devise a miracle that will turn nothing into eight thou
sand gold pieces, and lesser help will bring us little peace."
" She can do even greater things, my father. She will save us, I
know she will."
Toward morning, while the old man sat exhausted and asleep in his
chair where he had been sitting before his books as one who watches by
his beloved dead and prints the features on his memory for a solace in
the aftertime of empty desolation, his daughter sprang into the room
and gently woke him, saying,
"My presentiment was true! She will save us. Three times has
she appeared to me in my dreams, and said, Go to the Herr Give-
naught, go to the Herr Heartless, ask them to come and bid. There,
did I not tell you she would save us, the thrice blessed Virgin ! "
Sad as the old man was, he was obliged to laugh.
"Thou mightest as well appeal to the rocks their castles stand upon
as to the harder ones that lie in those men s breasts, my child. They
bid on books writ in the learned tongues ! they can scarce read their
But Hildegarde s faith was in no wise shaken. Bright and early
she was on her way up the Neckar road, as joyous as a bird.
Meantime Herr Givenaught and Herr Heartless were having an
early breakfast in the former s castle, the Sparrow s Nest, and
flavoring it with a quarrel ; for although these twins bore a love for each
other which almost amounted to worship, there was one subject upon
310 A Tramp Abroad
which they could not touch without calling each other hard names,
and yet it was the subject which they oftenest touched upon.
" I tell you," said Givenaught, "you will beggar yourself yet with
your insane squanderings of money upon what you choose to consider
poor and worthy objects. All these years I have implored you to stop
this foolish custom and husband your means, but all in vain. You are
always lying to me about these secret benevolences, but you never have
managed to deceive me yet. Every time a poor devil has been set upon
his feet I have detected your hand in it incorrigible ass! "
" Every time you didn t set him on his feet yourself, you mean.
Where I give one unfortunate a little private lift, you do the same for a
dozen. The idea of your swelling around the country and petting
yourself with the nickname of Givenaught, intolerable humbug !
Before I would be such a fraud as that, I would cut my right hand off.
Your life is a continual lie. But go on, I have tried my best to save you
from beggaring yourself by your riotous charities, now for the thou
sandth time I wash my hands of the consequences. A maundering old
fool ! that s what you are."
"And you a blethering old idiot!" roared Givenaught, springing
" I won t stay in the presence of a man who has no more delicacy
than to call me such names. Mannerless swine! "
So saying, Herr Heartless sprang up in a passion. But some lucky
accident intervened, as usual, to change the subject, and the daily quar
rel ended in the customary daily loving reconciliation. The gray-headed
old eccentrics parted, and Herr Heartless walked off to his own castle.
Half an hour later, Hildegarde was standing in the presence of Herr
Givenaught. He heard her story, and said,
" I am sorry for you, my child, but I am very poor, I care nothing
for bookish rubbish, I shall not be there."
He said the hard words kindly, but they nearly broke poor Hilde-
garde s heart, nevertheless. When she was gone the old heart-breaker
muttered, rubbing his hands,
" It was a good stroke. I have saved my brother s pocket this time,
in spite of him. Nothing else would have prevented his rushing off to
rescue the old scholar, the pride of Germany, from his troubles. The
poor child won t venture near him after the rebuff she has received from
his brother the Givenaught."
But he was mistaken. The Virgin had commanded, and Hildegarde
A Tramp Abroad 311
would obey. She went to Herr Heartless and told her story. But he
" I am very poor, my child, and books are nothing to me. I wish
you well, but 1 shall not come."
When Hildegarde was gone, he chuckled and said,
" How my fool of a soft-headed soft-hearted brother would rage if
he knew how cunningly I have saved his pocket. How he would have
flown to the old man s rescue ! But the girl won t venture near him
When Hildegarde reached home, her father asked her how she had
prospered. She said,
"The Virgin has promised, and she will keep her word; but not in
the way I thought. She knows her own ways, and they are best."
The old man patted her on the head, and smiled a doubting smile,
but he honored her for her brave faith, nevertheless.
Next day the people assembled in the great hall of the Ritter tavern,
to witness the auction, for the proprietor had said the treasure of Ger
many s most honored son should be bartered away in no meaner place,
Hildegarde and her father sat close to the books, silent and sorrowful,
and holding each other s hands. There was a great crowd of peopie
present. The bidding began,
" How much for this precious library, just as it stands, all com
plete?" called the auctioneer.
" Fifty pieces of gold I "
" A hundred ! "
" Five hundred !"
A brief pause.
" Five forty ! "
A longer pause, while the auctioneer redoubled his persuasions.
"Five forty -five! "
A heavy drag the auctioneer persuaded, pleaded, implored, ii
was useless, everybody remained silent,
"Well, then, going, going, one, two, "
312 A Tramp Abroad
" Five hundred and fifty ! "
This in a shrill voice, from a bent old man, all hung with rags, and
with a green patch over his left eye. Everybody in his vicinity turned
and gazed at him. It was Givenaught in disguise. He was using a
disguised voice, too.
" Good ! " cried the auctioneer. " Going, going, one, two, "
" Five hundred and sixty ! "
This, in a deep harsh voice, from the midst of the crowd at the other
end of the room. The people near by turned, and saw an old man, in
a strange costume, supporting himself on crutches. He wore a long
white beard, and blue spectacles. It was Herr Heartless, in disguise,
and using a disguised voice.
" Good again ! Going, going, one, "
" Six hundred ! "
Sensation. The crowd raised a cheer, and some one cried out,
" Go it, Green-patch ! " This tickled the audience and a score of
voices shouted, " Go it, Green-patch ! "
" Going, going, going, third and last call, one, two, "
" Seven hundred !"
" Huzzah ! well done, Crutches!" cried a voice. The crowd
took it up, and shouted altogether, " Well done, Crutches ! "
"Splendid, gentlemen! you are doing magnificently. Going,
"A thousand! *
" Three cheers for Green-patch ! Up and at him, Crutches ! "
" Going, going, "
And while the people cheered and shouted, " Crutches " muttered,
" Who can this devil be that is fighting so to get these useless books?-
But no matter, he shan t have them. The pride of Germany shall have
his books if it beggars me to buy them for him."
" Going, going, going, "
" Three thousand!"
" Come, everybody give a rouser for Green-patch ! "
And while they did it, "Green-patch" muttered, "This cripple
is plainly a lunatic; but the old scholar shall have his books, neverthe
less, though my pocket sweat for it"
" Going, going, "
" Four thousand ! "
A Tramp Abroad 313
" Five thousand ! "
" Six thousand !"
" Seven thousand ! "
4 * Eight thousand!"
"We are saved, father! I told you the Holy Virgin would keep
her word!" "Blessed be her sacred name! 5 said the old scholar,
with emotion. The crowd roared, " Huzza, huzza, huzza, at him
again, Green-patch! "
" Going, going, "
" TEN thousand ! " As Givenaught shouted this, his excitement was
so great that he forgot himself and used his natural voice. His brother
recognized it, and muttered, under cover of the storm of cheers,
" Aha, you are there, are you, besotted old fool? Take the books,
I know what you ll do with them ! "
So saying, he slipped out of the place and the auction was at an end.
Givenaught shouldered his way to Hildegarde, whispered a word in her
ear, and then he also vanished. The old scholar and his daughter em
braced, and the former said, "Truly the Holy Mother has done more
than she promised, child, for she has given you a splendid marriage por
tion, think of it, two thousand pieces of gold ! "
"And more still," cried Hildegarde, "for she has given you back
your books; the stranger whispered me that he would none of them,
the honored son of Germany must keep them, so he said. I would I
might have asked his name and kissed his hand and begged his blessing;
but he was Our Lady s angel, and it is not meet that we of earth should
venture speech with them that dwell above."
THE daily journals of Hamburg, Frankfort, Baden, Munich, and
Augsburg are all constructed on the same general plan. I speak of these
because I am more familiar with them than with any other German
papers. They contain no "editorials" whatever; no " personals,"
and this is rather a merit than a demerit, perhaps; no funny-paragraph
column; no police court reports; no reports of proceedings of higher
courts; no information about prize fights or other dog fights, horse
races, walking matches, yachting contests, rifle matches, or other sport
ing matters of any sort; no reports of banquet-speeches; no department
of curious odds and ends of floating fact and gossip; no "rumors"
about anything or anybody; no prognostications or prophecies about
anything or anybody; no lists of patents granted or sought, or any ref
erence to such things; no abuse of public officials, big or little, or com
plaints against them, or praises of them; no religious columns Satur
days, no rehash of cold sermons Mondays; no "weather indications";
no " local item " unveilings of what is happening in town, nothing of
a local nature, indeed, is mentioned, beyond the movements of some
prince, or the proposed meeting of some deliberative body.
After so formidable a list of what one can t find in a German daily,
the question may well be asked, What can be found in it ? It is easily
answered: A child s handful of telegrams, mainly about European
national and international political movements; letter-correspondence
about the same things; market reports. There you have it. That is
what a German daily is made of. A German daily is the slowest and
saddest and dreariest of the inventions of man. Our own dailies infuri
ate the reader, pretty often; the German daily only stupefies him.
Once a week the German daily of the highest class lightens up its heavy
A Tramp Abroad 315
columns, that is, it thinks it lightens them up, with a profound, an
abysmal, book criticism; a criticism which carries you down, down,
down into the scientific bowels of the subject, for the German critic is
nothing if not scientific, and when you come up at last and scent the
fresh air and see the bonny daylight once more, you resolve without a
dissenting voice that a book criticism is a mistaken way to lighten up a
German daily. Sometimes, in place of the criticism, the first-class daily
gives you what it thinks is a gay and chipper essay, about ancient
Grecian funeral customs, or the ancient Egyptian method of tarring a
mummy, or the reasons for believing that some of the peoples who
existed before the flood did not approve of cats. These are not un
pleasant subjects; they are not uninteresting subjects; they are even
exciting subjects, until one of these massive scientists gets hold of
them. He soon convinces you that even these matters can be handled
in such a way as to make a person low-spirited.
As I have said, the average German daily is made up solely of cor
respondence, a trifle of it by telegraph, the rest of it by mail. Every
paragraph has the side-head, "London," "Vienna," or some other
town, and a date. And always, before the name of the town, is placed
a letter or a sign, to indicate who the correspondent is, so that the
authorities can find him when they want to hang him. Stars, crosses,
triangles, squares, half-moons, suns, such are some of the signs used
Some of the dailies move too fast, others too slowly. For instance,
my Heidelberg daily was always twenty-four hours old when it arrived
at the hotel ; but one of my Munich evening papers used to come a full
twenty-four hours before it was due.
Some of the less important dailies give one a tablespoonful of a con
tinued story every day ; it is strung across the bottom of the page, in
the French fashion. By subscribing for the paper for five years I judge
that a man might succeed in getting pretty much all of the story.
If you ask a citizen of Munich which is the best Munich daily jour
nal, he will always tell you that there is only one good Munich daily,
and that it is published in Augsburg, forty or fifty miles away. It is
like saying that the best daily paper in New York is published out in
New Jersey somewhere. Yes, the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung is
" the best Munich paper," and it is the one I had in my mind when I
was describing a " first-class German daily " above. The entire paper,
opened out, is not quite as large as a single page of the New York
316 A Tramp Abroad
Herald. It is printed on both sides, of course ; but in such large type
that its entire contents could be put, in Herald type, upon a single page
of the Herald, and there would still be room enough on the page for
the Zeitung s "supplement" and some portion of the Zeitung s next
day s contents.
Such is the first-class daily. The dailies actually printed in Munich
are all called second-class by the public. If you ask which is the best
of these second-class papers they say there is no difference : one is as
good as another. I have preserved a copy of one of them ; it is called
the Miinchener Tages- Anzeiger, and bears date January 25, 1879.
Comparisons are odious, but they need not be malicious ; and without
any malice I wish to compare this journal, published in a German city
of 1 70,000 inhabitants, with journals of other countries. I know of no
other way to enable the reader to " size " the thing.
A column of an average daily paper in America contains from 1,800
to 2,500 words ; the reading matter in a single issue consists of from
25,000 to 50,000 words. The reading matter in my copy of the Munich
journal consists of a total of 1,654 words, for I counted them. That
would be nearly a column of one of our dailies. A single issue of the
bulkiest daily newspaper in the world the London Times often
contains 100,000 words of reading matter. Considering that the Daily
Anzeiger issues the usual twenty-six numbers per month, the reading
matter in a single number of the London Times would keep it in
" copy " two months and a half!
The Anzeiger is an eight-page paper; its page is one inch wider and
one inch longer than a foolscap page ; that is to say, the dimensions of
its page are somewhere between those of a schoolboy s slate and a
lady s pocket handkerchief. One-fourth of the first page is taken up
with the heading of the journal ; this gives it a rather top-heavy appear
ance ; the rest of the first page is reading matter ; all of the second page
is reading matter ; the other six pages are devoted to advertisements.