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and show. It is a place where traffic is thick and
thoroughfares thin ; where there are roaring spots
of amusement and tedium ; adequate international
thieves, and areas of Broadway-Piccadilly-Circus
kind with winking, coloured-light signs, and winking
coloured, light ladies. To concentrate these on
narrow space is Prussia's high aim. Newspapers
teem with them. When cabs clash in the Linden :
" That Berlin is indeed a world-city is proved by
the increasing accidents. ..." When a new Sport



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 95

Palace rises in Potsdamerstrasse : " Berlin's finally
attained maturity as world-city was yesterday made
plain at the opening ..." When Prince Bazaro-
vitch-Amuroff, who borrowed a million from Coun-
tess von und zu Hedergott, turns out to be Herr
Journeyman-Cobbler Stoff-Regensburg : " Every
genuine world-city draws adventurers. ..." Berlin
likes that. The more noise, sky-signs, kinos, cafes,
pickpockets, sins, the happier it is. Not that these
things always bring positive, measurable pleasure.
But they flatter pride ; they label a mere shapeless
house-heap a world-city ; and thriving Empires
need world-cities as they need armies and gaols. By
being a world-city Berlin confutes the old, resented
charge that it is a town of soldiers and bureaucrats,
a tedious provincial nest of order and virtue.

As a hearth of wickedness Berlin can decently
claim to be a world-city. It has even here, though
notoriously nowhere else, an individuality, a soul of
its own. Berlin's corruption is not Steinheil's mys-
terious murder, Humbert safes, or Thaw paranoia. It
is a lower middle-class corruption of spongers,
souteneurs, blackmailers, and fraudulent counts who
lack the courage to parade as dukes. The world-
city is a heaven for men who pass themselves for
what they are not. That is the fruit of the effective
pohce spy system devised by the Human Bureaucrat.
The world-citizen reasons that Herr Count's or



96 THE HUMAN GERMAN

M. le Vicomte's rank has been tested by the all-
registering police ; whereas all the police have done
is to drag Herr Count from his bath, and ask him
why he is a Protestant. Also Berlin more than other
world-cities has weak, self-indulgent, snobbish,
credulous people ; and it has a cultured Revolver-
Press which gathers in marks and pfennigs by hint-
ing at the vivid things it will print the week after
next.

That is Berlin's criminal character. In higher
matters its character is nill. It has attained the
state of all real world-cities, in that it abjures pro-
vincial individuality ; and wants eclectically the
best and the worst things of all the earth. Berlin's
amusements show no trace of Berlin. The high
amusements of the rich are mongrel ; the low amuse-
ments of the poor are mongrel. No citizen of the
World-City is so mean as not to pant for amusement
in foreign style. The once individual Prussian
Theatre is in woeful phght ; four theatres go bank-
rupt in twelve months ; the foreign cabaret, kino,
dance-local, bar, and ice-palace replace them — and
they go bankrupt too. The opulent world-citizen,
dressed in an engUsche Smoking, issues from an
amerikanische Bar and makes for a Palais de Danse
in Friedrichstadt. The meaner world-citizen dances
to six in the morning in a Bavarian hall, with the
wardrobe attendant in a green Tyrolean hat, waiters



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 97

in red Bavarian waistcoats, and painted Moabit
barmaids dressed as milkmaids of Swabia. With
this no foreign influences are absorbed. The World-
City takes only the words, phrases, clothes, manner-
isms, drinks of distant lands ; and is thereby made
" distinguished," for the native meaning of " dis-
tinguished," as cynic Bismarck said, is : " borrowed
from somewhere else."

Because it is a world-city, Berlin is largely shaped
— and misshaped — by America, for has not America,
between the North River and Hudson, the essential
world-city of the world ? But there is a difference.
New York is a mongrel place of mongrel contents,
while Prussian Berlin is Prussian in mongrel skin.
Often it is American skin. There are no skyscrapers
— Herr Jagow sees to that — but there are steel and
concrete houses built like cross-sections of sky-
scrapers. Fancy shops glow with pictures and post-
cards of clear-chinned young Americanised Germans
kissing with clean-shaven lips tempting Prussian
Gibson girls. America's bright, particular joy, the
" moving picture," planted by Manhattan culture-
bearers, is Berlin's highest joy. It has fostered a
whole specific kino-culture which circumscribes the
World-City brain ; and drives to flight all less exalted
thoughts. When Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt took
rachitic Kathie to Dresden, and set her down before
the Sixtine Madonna, she opened wide her sea-green

7



98 THE HUMAN GERMAN

eyes, and said : "It's splendid, papa. When will it
begin to move ? " Berlin worships the bar. There
are hundreds ; all with male barmaids behind, and
female barmaids before ; and young American-
English Germans with turned-up British breeches,
who suck whisky through straws, or swallow
** American drinks," whose names alone — a Rie
Highbowle, a Wasmay Cocktal, a Silver Juleppe
with Rom — make Americans drunk.

The passion for bars, cabarets, kinematographs
goes so far that you find them in private houses in
tedious suburbs. That is because of the housing
trouble. The World-City is overbuilt. Speculative
builders teem ; newspapers say there are fifty
thousand empty flats where the normal is half
that ; and house-owners are sad. So builders fit
out from the beginning whole floors as " dance-
locals," bars, kino-halls, and cafes ; and they let
these at high rents to speculative managers. Resi-
dential Berlin is thus made bright ; green squares and
silent side-streets grow to resemble Broadway in
colouring and the Bowery (old style) for Skandallen.
Because the centre is dull compared with the world-
cityfied suburbs, young Herr Lewi Gordon, dressed
in Smoking, motors out at four in the morning ;
and with him, astride his knee, comes Fraulein Rosa
Knischka, zealous to paint pale Schoneberg suburb
as ruddy as her name.



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 99

The finance of this opulent squalor is made easy
by an abundance of money for risky enterprises, and
by an abundance of bankruptcies. Swindlers with
plans to make the universe happy or drunk can get
the Berlin widow's gold ; and honest men intent
on prosperous bankruptcy can go bankrupt with
repute. Naturally, neither law nor moral doctrine
favours bankruptcy ; and mean-spirited persons —
clerks, small bureaucrats, and peddlers of Persian
carpets — keep solvent enough. But the high-
flyers, the men who live by sky signs, the men who
have made Berlin a world-city, break once a year ;
and every entertainment enterprise of respectable
size before reaching fiscal equilibrium takes some
months' vacation in the Receiver's house.

New theatres go bankrupt before playing a month.
In May — amid newspaper trumping " Berlin a
World-City ! " aU society meets at Blankow Opera
House ; in June, without the trumpetings, all
creditors meet. And that — though it ought to
frighten enterprise — is precisely the source of the
hotels, theatres, kinos, cafes, cabarets, and ice-
palaces, which make Berlin the world-city it is.
When Herr Building-Master Kleinstein has spent a
milhon marks on a cafe too inhumanly gorgeous for
a baby world-city, the enterprise smashes ; it is sold
months later for a quarter of a milhon to mild Herr
Cafe-Owner Huttmann, who since he need not pay



100 THE HUMAN GERMAN

interest on a wasted three-quarters of a million,
makes the business pay. So Berlin possesses things
which other world-cities cannot afford — precisely
because it cannot afford them. The town waxes in
world-cityism ; and tourists gape at gorgeous places
of recreation, stuck down somewhere in puny
suburbs, always three-quarters empty, yet somehow
keeping alive.

German entertainment bankrupts resemble Antaeus
and Wall Street's Olympians — touching the clay of
liquidation brings back their strength. But creditors
are evilly entreated. The ordinary creditor seldom
sees his money. The law favours the privileged
creditor, who gets his all before the unprivileged
creditor gets a pfennig. Six kinds of privileged
debtors get paid before the ordinary creditor's turn
comes. First come the debtor's employees ; next
the State and Municipality with claims for taxes ;
next the Church and the School ; and so on. So
the ordinary creditor ends as extraordinary creditor,
as creditor who has nothing to his credit at all.

The will to dance is strong in Berhn. " Dance-
locals" are everywhere; and their erotic-ecstatic-
bacchantics provoke decrees from Police-President
V. Jagow. As in all things, the world-citizens here
show industry. They dance all night. In the
country and suburbs even all morning. When you
awaken in a Spree Forest inn at seven on Sunday,



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY ,:,: ilQl

you hear what sounds like an earthquake. It is a
World-City tripper party just arrived ; and its way
of touring the Spree Forest is whirhng around a hall.

Most public balls are in Carneval. The World-
City observes Carneval more splendidly than merry
South Germany — with dearer drinks and cheaper
wit . And without local colour — except on the cheeks.
Every professional association has its ball. Men
mostly come as Rosenkavaliers ; women as babies.
The theatre world turns up strongly at the annual
Servants' Ball — a costume ball at which all appear
got up as servants. This ball endures from an age
when Prussian actors and actresses were servants
in the eye of the law ; and came under the same
stern servants' ordinance as to-day governs Hedwig's
relations to Letitia. When Letitia's brother Hubert
rushed through on his way to Moscow, he insisted
on seeing this Servants' Ball. He came back de-
hghted. '* They make up splendidly ; there was
hardly a man in the room who didn't look like a
footman ; and as for the women, your Hedwig
herself. ... By the way, as I was leaving the Phil-
harmonic ..."

" The Philharmonic ? " said Letitia. " You weren't
at the Philharmonic ? "

" I was," said Hubert. '* I know the place well.
Well, as I was saying, they looked exactly the part.
As I was coming out of the Phil ..."



102 ; ^ THE HUMAN GERMAN

" Then," said Letitia, " you were not at the
Servants' Ball. I told you to go to the Mozart
Hall. You were at the Ball of the Allied Metro-
politan Professions."

After seven years' hesitation, Letitia and I went
last Thursday to a public ball. We chose the ball of
the Theatre Artists' Association, because that is
the proudest, we thought, of World-City balls ; and
Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt affirmed that Covent Garden
" is not inside it." As the tickets warned us that
" Men in Smoking will not be admitted " ; and that
"ladies must come in evening - dress ('cut-out
gowns ')," we took Herr Gamradt 's assurance. We
were not disappointed.

On Friday morning, after getting to bed near five,
we awoke at half-past six with nightmare cries. We
had both had an evil dream. About fifty thousand
ladies in gowns cut out down to their slippers were
dancing to grisly death a single man like a sea-
anemone. The anemone was "in Smoking" and
smoked. Further on, about fifty thousand gentle-
men oysters in Smoking were dancing to death a
single lemon-like lady. Both of us yawned and slept.
That was all the subconscious self reconstructed
of the Theatre Artists' Ball, which began at eleven
on Thursday ; and is still — for all we know — going
uproariously on.

Later, before the waking brain flashed swift kine-



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 103

matograph flickers of what happened at BerUn's
proudest ball. There were :

A gentleman smoking a cigar in the middle of the
hall.

A tall dancer chewing an unlighted cigarette over
his partner's head.

An attractive blonde called Grete (all Berlin
blondes are Grete) in a yellow dress dancing with a
partner in a yellow skin. The pair abruptly stopped
their two-step ; and the man put his yellow hands
on Grete's naked shoulders, and began an impas-
sioned speech.

A cavalier, shaped like the Imperial Chancellor,
threading his way with a full champagne glass
through what fiction stylists call the giddy maze.
He intended the drink for his wife ; but seeing a
collision inevitable he gulped it down himself.

Two brave-looking men dancing with a stoutish
lady in transcendental flaming red. In front, as
was proper, the lady was tightly embraced by the
better-looking man, while the worse-looking fiercely
embraced her eyeless rear. In a whirl of Laocoon
inextricability the three thundered round the floor ;
and combined with a decent two-step a *' Push-
dance," and a wobbling danse de ventre.

Numberless public, but modest, kisses on lips,
breasts, and elbows.

The attractive thing about the proudest of Berlin



104 THE HUMAN GERMAN

balls was the artistic heterogeneity of types. Here
you contrast the World-City's multitudinous culture
with the egg-basket civihsation of London. At an
English ball there are practically only two dancers,
a man and a woman. At the Theatre Artists' no
two were alike in class, manners, physique, or dress.
There were fair, erect cavaliers with close-cropped
skulls and Mensur-duel scars ; there were pale
tuberculous aesthetes with long black hair and
finger-nails. There were dancers dressed — despite
the warning — " in Smoking " ; there were others
who obeyed the law to come in swallow-tails, and
with varicoloured waistcoats made themselves wholly
swallows. There were ladies as " cut out " as our
clotheless nightmare, who arrived with ladies in high
lace collars and high-laced boots. There were
superior gentlemen who sucked champagne through
straws, and watched the dancing with remote,
alienated sneers ; and there were uproarious blades
who hurled paper darts at Herr Johann Strauss in
the gallery, to make him repeat the two-step-^aws^-
de-ventre - push-dsince.

Letitia and I were pleased with our first public
ball. But some men are exacting. At a quarter to
three up came Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt, with a growl
that the evening was frigid and colourless, and that
he, for one, was now going home.

" I find it lively enough . . .," began I.



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 105

" You were not at the Naughty Boys' Ball," said
Dr. Gamradt. " The Ball der Bosen Buben." This
Artists' Ball, of course, is socially select, but give
me the Naughty Boys' for innocent jollity. At last
year's I saw, for instance :

" A gentleman forcing champagne ice down his
partner's back. A lady putting . . . But that's no
interest to a bloodless Briton. What do you think
of Lord Haldane ? "

Letitia made me pay for the Theatre Artists' Ball
by taking her to The Night of Berlin. The last time
we went to a theatre, she says truly, is ages ago ;
and yet it is clear in my memory. But not so clear
as the first time. This was soon after we first settled
in Berhn ; and what we went to see was Strauss 's
Bat at the Comic Opera. What seeing it took ! In
matters theatrical world-citizens show their usual
wise reserve towards strangers ; and not the Schone-
berg police towards an Englishman, or Hedwig
opening the door to an ambassador, is more suspicious
than a Berlin theatre agent when asked to sell you
a ticket. He declines to book you by telephone lest
you do not pay ; and there are times when to get a
seat at any price you must go to the theatre itself.
When, on personal petition, you do manage to get
booked, your work is only half done. The agent
charged us two shillings extra for booking comic
opera seats, but for this he merely gave us a



106 THE HUMAN GERMAN

receipt, and told us we must get the tickets at the
theatre.

As we drove to the theatre Letitia read aloud a
Spectator article on " British Anarchy and German
Organisation." There was one box-office with one
pigeon-hole for the whole theatre. It sold nine
different kinds of seats, from boxes to gallery, and
before this box-office a hundred persons crushed,
jostled, panted, manoeuvred to get a look at the list
of nine kinds of seats, and trod on a thousand toes.
A policeman kept disorder. I felt back in my school-
boy days when with sixpence burning in sweaty
fist, I waited at Hengler's Circus. Two persons were
dragged out by the policeman for not waiting their
turn ; and a young woman fainted. Later things
quieted ; but it took us fifteen minutes to get our
tickets ; and had it not been for " British Anarchy
and German Organisation " we should have been
bored to death.

Before starting from Schoneberg, Letitia and I
had trouble on the matter of dress. We dined in
our street clothes ; and it was my opinion that we
had no right to sit in the stalls. Letitia differed.
" Germans," she said, " are plain people. Here no
one changes." As result of my weakness in giving
way, we suffered a painful humiliation. It was true
that in general the stalls in the dress matter did not
differ from the top gallery ; they were filled with



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 107

men and women like ourselves in dusty daylight
dress. But, by malice of fortune, our seats happened
to be next the seats of the one handsomely attired
couple in the theatre. There was a good-looking,
youngish man in evening dress, and a fashionably
naked, unfashionably handsome wife. There was
no mistaking that this was a pair in society. Their
remote, distinguished air. . . . " It's a young guards'
officer," whispered Letitia. " Why do they clip
their moustaches } " " Probably it's one of the
Emperor's aides-de-camp," said I. " Why are they
all counts ? " asked Letitia. Certainly they were a
chilly pair ; and they looked at us, and at the
bourgeoisie close by, much as first-class passengers
from Waterloo to Putney look at third-class in-
truders. Our position was ugly ; and we did not
enjoy the opera at all.

At least, not the first two acts. But in the second
interval things unexpectedly brightened. We had
made for the restaurant. It was a whitewashed,
well-smoked hall, already so overcrowded with
beer-drinkers that only one table was free. As we
consulted the bill of fare, an agreeable bass voice
sounded over our shoulders. " Will you allow me ? "
I looked round. It was our auditorium neighbours,
the guardsman count and countess ; and they wanted
to share our table. Naturally we were flattered.
We nearly got into conversation. ** Ask him,"



108 THE HUMAN GERMAN

whispered Letitia, " if the Kaiser ..." I summoned
my courage. But at this moment the waiter planted
down two winking glasses of Munich ; the count's
white-gloved hand dived mysteriously into a coat-
tail pocket ; and out flew a greasy packet of pale
grey, rye-bread sandwiches, each embracing some
slices of Prague ham.

Visions Uke the count's are rarer now than then ;
for the World-City — even Letitia admits it — grows
smart. Smart is a vulgar word, ennobled, however,
in Herr Dr. Gamradt's Smartheit. Years ago the
sole smart Berliners were Britons. Indifferent^ cut
as were our clothes, journalistically unlicked as were
our manners, Letitia and I felt smart by contrast.
To-day we see rivals. This change does credit to
the World-City's industry, for Smartheit has meant
work. It is like aniline indigo, a synthetic triumph,
made after assiduous search into the real things'
nature. That proper study is indeed devoted to
such things, I judge after sitting to-day in the
Underground near a well-groomed young man who
was reading Der Gentleman : A Guide to Dress and
Manners. He was deep in a chapter called Der
Shawl, which tells how Der (englische) Gentleman in
evening dress wears a shawl to keep his collar clean.
And a catalogue looked through later, shows me
that the World-City book-market throbs with works
explaining how to tuck a table-napkin into your



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 109

collar, and how to present nice girls engaged to
other men with bouquets of roses which you have
not paid for. What, for instance, more useful than
Der Trousseau des Herrn ; ein Kalendarium der
Elegance. Verlag Fashion (1913) ? From the use
of " Gentleman " and " Fashion " you see that it is
our own England which is arbiter of elegances. It
is Der Gentleman, not Der Herr, Der Monsieur, Der
Gospodin, or Der Effendi, who smartens the World-
City up.

The daily, and the periodical, Press helps to quench
and awaken the thirst for social culture. Quite as in
degenerate Britain. Ten years ago " Society "
interests were not. Now even the lower middle-
class Lokal-Anzeiger prints columns on " Berlin
Society " ; and a weekly journal, The Elegant World,
does nothing else. Naturally this embryo smartness
looks pale on contrast with the high snobbism of our
England ; but Letitia admits that the World-City
progresses ; and that one generation hence it will
be as humanly smart, well-dressed, high-flying,
slang-tongued, and rude as London itself ; and all
in a synthetic, scientific, thunderingly Teutonic
way.

Social progress dictates restraint ; so with all its
glory of amusement Lokals, the World-City seldom
lets itself go. Indeed, only on the last day of De-
cember. On Silvester Abend. Probably no other



110 THE HUMAN GERMAN

world-city welcomes the year so terribly. It is the
one night you see many world-citizens drunk. Rest
of the year they swallow beer modestly — and small
beer at that — but as the Old Year is dying, all men
rise to Sekt ; and this exudes in bacchic wantonness
from their unaccustomed skulls. Shiny Friedrich-
strasse is impassable by men, impossible to women.
The World-City hits them, pushes them, kisses
them, pours things down their necks ; and bawls
incessantly into their twitching ears its Prosit
Neujahr !

With reason Silvester Night is a liquid night, for
it takes its name from a saint who douched — in
spiritless water — the Emperor Constantine. " But
Silvester," says Herr Gamradt, " did not worry
Constantine with Joke- Articles." Joke- Articles are
Berlin's Silvester joy. When you decide to enjoy
Silvester Night you lay in a stock of them. They
are in your pocket — among them some rubber
chocolates — as you take Fraulein Meta Teschendorff
to New Year Supper. Before hors d'ceuvres you offer
Fraulein Meta some chocolates. She puts one to her
tongue, and rejects it wryly. " Ha, ha ! " you
chuckle. " A Joke- Article ! " And you kiss her
hand. If you are really in love you bribe a waiter
to drop behind Fraulein Meta a tray of Joke- Article
tumblers. She screams with terror and faints.
When she comes to you console her, with a grinful



THE HUMAN WORLD-CITY 111

" Only Joke- Articles ! " Or you win her noiselessly
like this. You turn up at the Grunbein's Silvester
feast — in the Rankestrasse — with a dirty, blood-
stained bandage twisted round your thumb. The
host asks questions ; Fraulein Meta makes sym-
pathetic remarks ; the guests secretly think you
might have stayed away. When supper is over, and
everyone brims with Sekt, you slip off the bandage
stealthily. " What about your thumb ; where's
the bandage ? " asks someone. " There was no
bandage," you say. ** There was," he argues. A
dispute begins ; and it ends by your vowing the
guests imagined the bandage ; they've drunken
too much Sekt, and'll next see snakes. At the
moment when the young lieutenant on your right
is fiercely fumbling for his card, you slip on the
bandage, and chuckle insanely : " Ha, Ha, Ha !
'Twas only a Joke- Article." And everyone roars.

The World-City's Silvester Night is chiefly noted
for uproar ; its Christmas is noted for ordered
merriment. Christmas endures a month. In the
first days of December Christmas shopping starts.
That helps. Where slipshod Britons leave things
to the last, and on Christmas Eve thunder down
Regent Street armed with scent-bottles, aeroplanes,
diamond rings, and rocking-horses, the orderly
world-citizen brings home one gift a day ; and never
gets out of breath, or has to explain to his wife



112 THE HUMAN GERMAN

that somehow the hungry rocking-horse has
swallowed the diamond ring. Even Herr Pohce-
President Jagow does not forbid Christmas shopping;
he helps ; and on two Sundays of December allows
shops to be opened. There is a Silver Sunday and
a golden Sunday ; and on these shopping Sundays
busy world-citizens make for the squares and boule-
vards, which look like pine forests, and bring home
Christmas-trees, gingerbreads (for servants), hares
(to be eaten on Holy Night), and carp (to be boiled
in beer).

A genial simplification is the Wish-Ticket. Der


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