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man on his right, " you couldn't cut through a head
of hair like that." And he grinned, contrasting the
slack trade in decapitations with the good wages for
joiners. But inclined as they were for mercy, the
jury agreed that only one verdict was justified.

And then took place one of those dramatic dis-
entanglements which make the fame of lawyers and
bless the Acht-Uhr-Zeitung with twice its normal
sale. Herr Dr. Juris Gulch-Bremer rose, and said
confidently : " The defence will need but ten
minutes. I have an alibi. Fraulein Groen, my
client's maid, a woman of irreproachable past, will
prove that at the time when the crime was com-
mitted she was combing her mistress's hair in her
mistress's own room. Fraulein Groen, enter the
box ! "

At that moment the trial turned upside-down.
Fraulein Groen swore that from eight o'clock on the



168 THE HUMAN GERMAN

evening of the 13th she spent an hour dressing her
mistress's hair. " Had you a watch ? " asked Herr
Judge Schmuehl. " Remember, you're on your
oath." " I knew the time exactly," said Fraulein.
*' I was vexed because my young man had waited
for me since eight, and I didn't finish the hair till
nine."

The maid's proof was unshakable. Next followed
Frau Use Gastfreund, who swore that Fraulein
Groen had won the " No Lies Prize " at Sassnitz
school. And last came the maid's sweetheart. At
five minutes to nine, he swore, Fraulein Groen had
come down in an evil temper and said : "I am late,
as always. If only my mistress's hair was shorter,
then our walk out would be longer."

Acquittal was unanimous. Fraulein Bertha wept,
and laughed, and kissed her lawyer so gratefully
that Frau Dr. Gulch-Bremer swooned. Mistress and
maid drove home. When they reached the threshold
Bertha took off her second-best bracelet, which had
lost the green turquoise, and clasped it over the
faithful servant's wrist. " I won't forget your
loyalty, girl," she said with emotion. " Thank
Heaven, you hadn't to commit perjury. I detest
lies. . . . And now, dear Lotte, boil me some water
and get out my frock . . . but first take off my
hair and dress it thoroughly. Meantime I'll fry a
Schnitzel ... I'm hungry as a wolf. Have the



THE HUMAN LAW-BREAKER 169

hair ready by the time I'm back. I'm late already
for the Venus."

One of the minor clashes with law which happens
daily is distraint for non-payment of taxes. All rich
men enjoy this. The State drives them to it. It
says you must pay your quarterly taxes by the
middle of the second month. If you fail you get
a blue warning and three days' grace ; and you are
fined fivepence. If you do not pay you are dis-
trained on. The ^ate tolerates no delays, hears
no arguments, makes no allowance for accident.
In vain is objected that you're absent in Denmark ;
that the bank is closed till 3.0 ; that your wife is
being operated on for cancer, and they might just
wait till her death. Imperturbably the municipal
bailiff — refusing to take payment : " It is now too
late " — puts seals on your furniture, which no man
may take off. When you return from the Schell-
fischdorf holiday you find seals winking at you from
every corner : and so common is this with men of
position and wealth that visitors, seeing the seals on
the Erdmannsdorfer table, ask you to lend them a
pound.



CHAPTER XI

THE HUMAN PURITAN

Skin for Skin {Job).

HERR GAMRADT fears that his nation's
growing instinct for aesthetics is being
checked by a dullard police. Naked-
Culture — in German Nackt-Kultur — has been driven
from its last citadel in Munich. The Naked-Cul-
turists have been forbidden to hold an assembly at
which Munich's fairest — and bravest — were to show
all their skins. Thereby a blow unprovoked has
been dealt the truly beautiful, and the South
German form has lost its chance of redemption.

Naked-Culture was preached four years ago by a
graceful lady named Desmond. It has nothing to do
with Back to Nature, for Back to Nature is a move-
ment of health which abjures beauty, whereas Naked-
Culture is a movement of beauty which abjures
clothes. It consists — in essentials — in wearing
nothing in public. Did this happen in Paris it would
pass as Gallic corruption and the rush of curates
would sink the Calais boat. But Germans dress

even nakedness in weighty robes. They called

170



THE HUMAN PURITAN 171

Naked-Culture a science. Thinkers were soon
exalting Nakedness as an instrument of regenera-
tion ; and expounding its high relation to aesthetics,
metaphysics, art, spiritual aspiration, and the trans-
cendental verities. And vicious husbands, having
spent their evenings grinning at naked cultures,
fired off these convincing polysyllables at their
reproachful wives.

At first things went swimmingly — as people swam
before bathing dresses. Professors analysed the
culture in weighty journals. The Culturists started
organs of their own, and proved with dermal pictures
that naked beauty refines the all-too-human heart.
A catholic comprehensiveness was shown in stan-
dards. Incontinently fat ladies turned up, and
stared at the inordinately thin, who used their
physical exiguity as advertisements of drugs against
corpulence. Naked-Culture had fifty practical uses
apart from its regenerative reactions on the soul.
It established a standard of what a Prussian should
be. Those who were beautiful stood forth for the
imitation of sisters and brothers ; and those who
were ugly gave a badly needed warning.

The persecutions which track all reformatory
movements were faced with spirit. The artistically
pachydermatous police made war on the dermally
aesthetic. Bare skins, said prefects, are not to be
tolerated ; you must wear pocket-handkerchiefs, or



172 THE HUMAN GERMAN

at least directoire dresses. The Cult parried with
skill. It sent invitations to Prussia's Parliament ;
and asked members to satisfy themselves that skin
is no sin. The lawmakers accepted with ardour.
They came, saw, were conquered ; eight offered
marriage to Miss Desmond ; and all departed con-
verts to the irresistible Cult.

Unluckily moral fanaticism prevailed. Prefects
gained their despotic way ; and the elderly, in-
sensible Minister of Interior defended them. The
Cult was driven to hold its soirees in houses. Some
fled from Berlin to homes of artistic tolerance. The
policcless, amoral forest raised no objections. Cul-
turists held white pageants in the merry greenwood ;
and many a wanderer, a-tramp through virgin
thickets, stumbled on pictures rcsembhng the tale
on a Grecian urn.

In unrivalled Munich, shrine of high aesthetics,
the Culturists formed a devoted band. This might
have meant the ultimate exaltation of Naked-
Culture, for all nude things are lawful in the metro-
polis of art. But, alas, Munich is all-too-human.
Unworthy, base-living women gained control of the
Movement, and though their breasts were Phidian,
their hips Praxitilean, they ignored the refining talk
about aesthetics, metaphysics, art, spiritual aspira-
tion, and the transcendental verities. The propa-
ganda lost its philosophical justification. People



THE HUMAN PURITAN 173

called it names. And when the Cult announced a
congress at which three pearl-skinned graces would
dance naked before three hundred worshippers, the
police took Prussia's example, and said it must not
be.

Since Munich's downfall Nakedness has engaged
the public. Newspapers teem with *' The Campaign
Around Nakedness," " Should We Dance Naked ? "
and " Die Nackte Nacht von Berlin." These per-
plexities are not solved in accord with British
prejudice. Britons think that prudes are always
Britons. They believe that the high Continental,
impregnable in virtue past seduction, or in vice
past redemption, does not think of ill. In truth
German prudery burns fiercer than any. It fights
in the Press against naked dolls ; and brings Church
declarations that Tyrolean knee-breeches are lustful.
But morals have little to do with it. Politics
dominate. If you know how Herr Klopfleisch voted
on the 1 2th of January you can tell for a certainty
his view of naked dolls. All anti-Nakedites are
Conservative or Centre. Liberals, Radicals, and
Sociahsts are Nakedites. High-flying aristocrats,
who in England deride prudery as Radical narrow-
ness, are in Germany blushful prudes ; they shake
their heads in woe at sinful, skinful Radicalism.
And Radicals snort and gibe at Tory prude hypoc-
risy. The more meek, Pacifist, Nonconformist-



174 THE HUMAN GERMAN

Conscience your German is, the more emphatically
he worships the unclothed, and resents the despotic
State's interference with pictures, statues, poetry,
legs, piano-legs. Comic journals, being all pro-
gressive, are all Naked. They war on prude Junkers,
Centre-men, bureaucrats, and the Church ; they
condemn the law for forbidding Nakedness, the
pohce for suppressing it, the Courts for condemning
it.

The German prude when prudest is pruder than
the British. He rivals the lowan, Cabel Pillsmith,
who rejected an uncle's million, indecently left as a
legacy. Also he is subtler, more conscientious than
the Saxon. Where the slap-dash Saxon bids Fielding
be burnt, the meticulous Pruss, armed with pen-
knife and ink, painfully erases each incendiary
phrase. When he comes on pages strewn with
wickedness thick as the Milky Way, he has respect
for letters ; he pastes the pages together, and thus
he spares the book without spoiling the child. The
southern cleric, also school inspector, Grabstein, say
newspapers, fought through a whole library and
slew nine thousand words. The home of this just
man is Amorbach, itself a vicious word, reeking of
twin iniquities, love and drink. Herr Grabstein
dealt exemplary chastisement to winged words of
sin. The most shameful fairy tales were white-
washed. " The bear laid its head in the maiden's



THE HUMAN PURITAN 175

lap " appeared, " the bear laid its head in the
maiden's hand " ; decency in death was compelled
by forbidding a mourner to kiss a corpse, and " a
young officer who could not walk because he was
shot in the leg," " could not walk because he was
shot in the hand."

The pasting down of pages is done with assiduous
zeal, sometimes so happily that you do not know
what you miss, sometimes so that you gain. Letitia
found this when reading an English-censored book
from an Amberg library. During an impassioned
love-scene came the disturbing affirmation : " He
kissed Kate's rosy toes," Even worldly Letitia
jumped at the admission that Kate had shed her
stockings ; and from shock she dropped the book.
Thereon two pasted-down offending pages opened
out. The author had decently written " rosy lips,"
but the second censored page had an eulogy of
dinner, ending with the syllables " pota-."

Not only books and verse are watched by the
human Puritan. Statues and pictures suffer too.
The Naked Wife of Kahlberg is case in point. The
art-loving noble, von der Bleiche, bought Herr
Schmucker's Autumn Maid and gave it to Kahlberg-
Flittersdorf-Kleindorf-Hochdorf, four communes by
the Rhine. The communes set the naked maid on
Kahlberg's naked hill. The autumn maid adorned
the peak ; sun smiled on, rain wept along, her



176 THE HUMAN GERMAN

graceful legs ; even amateurs of the Kaiser- Allee
found the statue good.

But trouble came. The more decent burghers of
Kahlberg-Flittersdorf-Kleindorf-Hochdorf got red.
The more decent women jumped. They had never
seen their own naked frames, except in mirrors and
in front ; but the autumn maid flaunted her curved
back, and showed even the sole of a foot. The
young men fell from grace. They spent their
Sundays watching the Naked Wife ; and they ignored
their decent sweethearts. And a petition flew to
the Emperor, which you'll find in the Berlin
Tagehlatt.

" We German men and women of the communes
of Kahlberg-Flittersdorf-Kleindorf-Hochdorf with
all earnestness enter protest against the exposure
of a naked, the-morals-of-our-people-and-our-youth-
endangering, woman's statue near communications-
rich road on path of Rhine. Our good Kaiser and
King, Wilhelm II, thank we for his manlike protec-
tion of morals and Godfearingness — we believe,
however, not that the exposure of such Art in the
intentions of our all-honoured land's-father is." And
the villagers concluded that if the hereditary foe
heard of the Naked Wife he would take it as proof
of universal corruption and emasculation, and again
hurl his threatening legions across the German
Rhine. The petition flourished. Its prediction



THE HUMAN PURITAN 177

that France's legions would dash on Germany to
get sight of a Naked Wife showed peasant brains
versed beyond expectation in ethnopsychology.

But that was not all. A nameless petitioner, after
traducing with his pen, scaled the romantic Kahlberg
and spent his ink in blackening from head to foot
the Naked Wife. This might have ended the trouble.
The Colonial Secretary, Herr Privy Councillor Solf,
told the Reichstag there is natural repugnance
between white men and coloured maids ; and now
that the Naked Wife was darkened to Bantu black-
ness, her dangers to Rhenish men, her scheme to
cut out Rhenish women, seemed dead. But the
commune council, ignoring the country's wishes,
bid the autumn maid be scoured to whiteness ; and
they named Herr Lamphghter Feibel, the betrothed
of Fraulein Eulahe, to do the work. Herr Feibel
began squeamishly ; proceeded with interest ; and
as the negro wife returned to Caucasian seductive-
ness, felt a human, an all-too-human, glow. And
before the last black molecules had dissolved under
his sponge, he kissed the Naked Wife's wet lips. The
ink tinged his moustache. That was at six. At
eight, in a rainstorm, not with the old ardour, he
kissed EulaHe's wet face. The ink transferred itself.
" What did you do to-day ? " said Eulahe, holding
up a pocket-mirror. "I sponged the Naked Wife."
" Then take back your garnet ring," said Eulalie.



178 THE HTOIAN GERMAN

"I'll marry Herr Erich Breitbaum." Herr Feibel
grieved a little ; and some say he's inconsolable.
But when he contrasts Eulalie's hips with the Naked
Wife of Kahlberg's, he says it's all for the best.

In these things public authority is as wise as the
Tories, the Church, the people of Kahlberg-Fhtters-
dorf-Kleindorf-Hochdorf . Policemen censor theatres ;
procurors seize copies of Titian and Giorgione ;
courts condemn minor poets. Probably this is
done in mere zeal for a decent record of crime ; for
Germans, though lewd, are not debauched. There
is little consciously evil display ; and much of
what prudes ignorantly condemn as immodesty is
domestic, innocent fun. Owing to some congenital
grace in the people, things which in Western Europe
would reek of wantonness, are done without offence.
That was our reflection after a couple of hours with
Herr Gamradt at the Ice-Palace in Lutherstrasse, W.
It was an August evening ; and in summer the Ice-
Palace is given over to lounging, dancing, and riding.
For riding there are six exceedingly broad-backed
horses, most with men's saddles. For fifty pfennigs
each the respectable matrons and shop-girls of south-
west Berlin trot round the ring. Two thousand
persons drink, and watch. The respectable matrons
and shop-girls wear tight street skirts, without
petticoats ; and they choose to ride astride. A
tight street skirt is scanty on a cross-saddle. So



THE HUMAN PURITAN 179

the matrons and maids are pushed into the saddles,
pull their skirts far above their knees, expose all
their brightly coloured stockings, garters, inches of
lace, sometimes cross-sections of thigh ; and trot
round the circle, waving — those who have not to
grip tight with both hands — to their cavaliers.
It is pleasing. Herr Gamradt truly said that no
other nation of Europe could do it so innocently.
And he bade me note that the men about were
zealous to guard their maids from shame. As one
of the boldest horse-women, unclothed, save in
white from the waist down, reined her horse to a
standstill, a waiting cavalier seized her pale blue
stocking at a point two inches over the knee and
pulled it decently up.

That these things, without offence, happen in
society of honest character properly gives Herr
Gamradt cause for pride ; and he said quite truly
that " only French brains could fashion vicious
thoughts." His boasts were justified. In no country
is the corrupt aspect of the sex-question so benefi-
cially left alone. The nation digs up wit and humour
from a still more universal theme, which keeps it in
the sound eighteenth century in company of Tobias
Smollett. Its kinos, its music-halls, its comic post
cards are full of this graceful matter ; and mirthful
Ulk, which is spread in millions by the staid and
decent Tageblatt, trots it out every week.



180 THE HUMAN GERMAN

Justice does not treat these doubtful matters in
blundering British way. It is not enough to make
certain whether books or pictures are bad. Piercing
enquiry is held into the publisher's aim. If the
publisher swears that the aim was science, or art,
or instruction, he gets off, however gross his works.
The problem " What is Art ? " which has plagued
philosophers from Baumgarten to Tolstoy, is solved
once a day by experts who swear to Art's aims,
essence, and externals with the easy confidence of a
British handwriting expert swearing an armless man
has forged a cheque. In settling the question of a
publisher's aims the Court judges by the classes and
ages the work is sold to. Educated men, it assumes,
may safely read the obscene, but the obscene when
given to the uncultured mass has criminally vicious
effects. Perhaps because the educated are corrupt
beyond corruption. In reality, education means
money. Published at fifty marks the book is judged
harmless, published at fifty pfennigs it gets you to
gaol. On halfpenny post cards " Paris Salon "
pictures are crime ; in ten-mark engravings they are
art. A Court says that Zola's work is " the valuable
creation of a renowned author," and punishes a
working-class editor for printing it in bits. The
workman would read only occasional chapters and
fail to appreciate the intent.

The inevitable adjectives " objective " and " sub-



THE HUMAN PURITAN 181

jective " play a high role in these trials. Experts
wrangle all day the problem whether a work is
objectively bad or merely subjectively (in the views
and prejudices of classes and individuals) bad. A
work is criminally bad if it hurts the shame-feeHng
of the normal man. The Normalmensch is assumed
to be right. This is a fluid system ; and leads to
normal man developing quite abnormal modesty.
One such normal man resented a French rococo
lady exposed — exposed all over — in Pankow. The
picture was a copy ; and no man knew the original.
The shocked Court examined the copy, and com-
mented " no decent father would hang that in his
house." So all expected a thunderous judgment.
But here with fiery cheeks the shorthand-writer
rose and whispered something in the Judge's ear.
Next day the accused went free. The shorthand-
writer had seen the picture on a wall in Potsdam
Schloss.

Herr Gamradt writes to the Tageblatt that the
war on Naked-Culture, Giorgione, Titian, bare knees
and bare dolls will succeed ; and he regrets it.
" We are getting American. The decay of Naked-
Culture is a national loss. The easy native figure
whose recent progress gave hope even to exacting
judges will revert to its old asymmetry. For there
is now no standard of proportion, no criterion of
fatness, no way of teaching the art-thirsty citizen



182 THE HUMAN GERMAN

what is beautiful and what is base. Or for a lack
of a human standard we may be forced to look like
the Pythian Apollo and Venus Urania, and by such
presumptuous aspiring provoke the wrath of the
gods."



CHAPTER XII
THE HUMAN STATE

Auf dem Dache'sitzt ein Greis,

Der sich nicht zu helfen weiss {Students' Song).

HERR GAMRADT is lobbying the National-
Liberal Party to get a resolution through
the Reichstag. The resolution requires
the Chancellor to submit a Bill imposing an excise
duty on socks made in WolUnhoop. Wollinhoop,
as Herr Gamradt says in his favourite American,
is the limit. In the old days it lived not dishonestly
by fishing, wool, shoes, and making holes in spars ;
and though wool, shoes, and hole-making are vaguely
related to socks, Wollinhoop made no socks till
191 2. Now it makes them. Yet close by is sock-
making Stardammdorf, which since Prussia acquired
it by the Peace of Stockholm, has done nothing but
make socks. And when Wollinhoop (as Herr Gam-
radt says in American) butted in, the value of
socks descended by thirteen pfennigs a pair.

If Stardammdorf were in England — Herr Gamradt
admits — or even in New England, this would not
matter. Its citizens would ingeminate the penulti-

183



184 THE HUMAN GERMAN

mate syllable, and start competitive hole-making.
But Stardammdorf is Pomerania ; and its people,
though half at least of Scandinavian blood, have
been Prussian long enough to know that honest
men abstain from competing. And further to know
that it is the function of the universal State to
prevent the dishonest competing ; and generally
to prevent men doing what other men do not Hke,
and to help other men to do exactly as they like.
So that the State, being just at heart, spends most
of its time helping A against the oppressions of B,
and bringing things back to equilibrium by helping
B against the insufferable presumption of A.

Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt has no interest in socks —
when he served his year in the gth (Grosssaufer)
Jagers, he always wore "foot-clouts" (Fusslappen),
which you wind, putty wise, round your toes. But
the position of his brother, Herr Estate-Proprietor
Siegbert Gamradt, is different. Herr Siegbert
resides near Stardammdorf ; and sells the sock-
makers cheese ; the fall in socks has brought down
cheese ; and cheese has brought down Herr Estate-
Proprietor Gamradt : Herr Estate-Proprietor Gam-
radt thinks that the State should help ; and Herr
Dr. Ing. Gamradt thinks that the National-Liberals
should help the State to help. Dr. Gamradt will
gain his way. He expects a highly economical
debate which will last till Christmas ; a compen-



THE HUMAN STATE 185

satory duty will be put on Wolliiihoop socks ;
WoUinhoop will decay ; and such distress will
result that by Christmas 1915 an equilibrating duty
will be put on Stardammdorf socks. Thus things
will revert to their present bad stage ; and Herr
Estate-Proprietor Gamradt will invite Dr. Ing.
Gamradt to secede from National-Liberalism, and
join the Conservatives on condition that they plunge
for a bounty on Stardammdorf cheese.

" I have small faith in this," said Dr. Gamradt.
"I do it because I love my brother ; poor fellow,
he is twenty years older than I am ; and imagine !
he has a big property on his hands, and no children
to leave it to."

Herr Gamradt, though thus denying its omnipo-
tence, launched on praise of the universal State ;
and sardonically contrasted its beneficent works
with England's indifferent passivity. The EngUsh
State, he said, does nothing much but talk. He
had heard of the case of a lawyer of Hove who in
order to annoy a rival lawyer resident next door,
persistently copied his rival's clothes. When the
second lawyer bought a bright yellow tie, the first
lawyer bought a bright yellow tie. When the
second lawyer bought a cane made out of seaweed-
stalks, the first lawyer bought a cane made out of
seaweed-stalks. " That is still going on ; and neither
legislature nor administrative organs intervene to



186 THE HUMAN GERMAN

regulate the abuse. It is one of the defects of having
no centrahsed administration. By the way, is there
any good book on the rights of London boroughs in
extra-territorial drainage ? "

Herr Gamradt explained to me the very remark-
able system by which all men with grievances,
and many men without them, pester the hundred-
handed State. Farmers pester it most. For years
they have pestered it to protect them against
predatory Capitalism. The big farmers swear they
are being ruined by Finance. They hold that
Finance is a foe of farming ; and once they pestered
the State so persistently that they got passed a
Bourse Law which demorahsed the Bourse. The
Produce Exchanges were so confounded that most
of them shut down. Also Finance and Industry
worry the State to check predatory Landlordism,
but they do this, so far, with rather less success.

Small men always worry the State against big.
In particular, shopkeepers. They want the State


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