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Wunschzettel. The Wish-Ticket shows well the
Prussian's high command of the organisation of
life. It is a slip of paper on which men and women
with a right to Christmas presents write what they
desire. In sHpshod, unorganised England this
problem makes men grey ; and reckless husbands
purchase diamond earrings when their wives are
thirsting for Pekinese pups. The Wish-Ticket
spares such disappointment. The forethoughtful
wife, at least a week in advance, hands in a slip of
paper, making clear that she wants the Pekinese —
and the diamond earrings as well.

From the Wish-Ticket evil may come. Modest
persons fear to ask enough, and are sore at not
getting more. Greedy persons ask too much ; and
are wrathful at getting half. And under rarer


circumstances the Ticket may lead to grief, and
even wild as it seems — may dissolve united families.
The case of the Trotts of Doberitz and 13 Gesel-
brechtstrasse, Wilmersdorf, as told by Herr Dr.
Ing. Gamradt, shows plainly how.

Herr Actual Privy Councillor Trott shines in the
higher bureaucracy. Frau Privy Councillor Trott
is of no lower worth. They are a model pair. The
husband — twenty years expert in the Imperial
Insurance Office, pillar of the Evangelical Church
and synodal reform, zealot for bettering the toiler's
lot, and killing Socialism with kindness ; the wife
— dear, blacklead-haired, prim Frau Trott — ardent
in all good causes, lamp of the Women's Dress-
Reform Circle ; of the Hygienic Foot-Clothing
Union, of the League of German Mothers with Sons
in the Fleet. Such an inexpugnable couple seemed
proof against tragedy. Yet the Christmas Wish-
Ticket, which brings even the worthless rejoicing,
brought the deserving Trotts intolerable woe.

On December twelfth, when Christmas hove in
sight, Frau Privy Councillor Trott compiled a Wish-
Ticket imaging the motherly, disinterested spirit
which moved her. It was a Wish-Ticket which
mentioned not a single frivolous gift, and brimmed
over with objects rightly dear to every domesticated
wife. It asked for a tin-opener, eight pairs of thick
woollen stockings, six rubbing cloths (for the bath-


room), a Reformkorset (Court-Surgeon Schadeldick's
Patent, No. 3) and twelve calico aprons for Fanny,
the pudding-faced cook. A Wish-Ticket so modest
caused joy to Herr Privy Councillor Trott ; and he
vowed that the woollen stockings, the Reformkorset,
and Fanny's calico aprons should be the best that
money could buy.

And with his wife's homely Wish-Ticket nesthng
near his heart, and Puppchen, du hist mem Aiigen-
stern whistling from his lips, he paid his daily call
at the Babelsbergerplatz apartment, where Friiulein
Liebchen Gliihlicht waited in the style moderne
boudoir which she had asked him to buy after their
first delirious spree in the Cabaret Spider (corner of
Aschaffenburgerstrasse and Bayerischerplatz) . Friiu-
lein Liebchen wore a compelling Yuletide smile. And
after receiving Herr Privy Councillor Trott with a
warmth which, somehow, she had not displayed since
Christmas 1911, she gave him a red-ink Wish-Ticket
as long as his plan to reorganise the Synod.

A score of the things on the list unlearned Herr
Gamradt forgets. He remembers only "a set of
chinchilla furs," " a gold net-purse (with a plain
clasp, but get a good one)," "twenty-four pairs of
thin silk stockings," "the silver box we saw at
Schoen's with the make-up things," after which
followed a hst of intimate indispensables which
made the Ticket blush as red as its ink.


And all would have gone off well had not worthy
Herr Trott been made so distrait by his General
Synod reorganisation that he put salt in his tea,
wore his socks as mittens, and blew his nose in the
Reichspost. But on Christmas Eve, when Frau Privy
Councillor Trott opened before envious relatives the
box containing her husband's gifts, there first flew
out of it a handsome set of chinchillas. " In addition
to what I asked for ! " said Frau Trott. *' Generous
as ever ! But extravagant ! " Then she lifted some
paper ; and one after another flew out unblushingly
a silver box of rouge and depilatories, a bottle of
Strawgold hair-dye, a casket with the shameful
perfume Devilbreath, twenty-four pairs of silk
stockings so thin . . . But just at the moment when
six incalculable dualities, which would have been
white as snow had they not been transparent as ice,
sprang hissing out of the atrocious box, the door-
bell rang. Down the drawing-room rushed an ill-
washed, precipitate female, in whom thunderstruck
Herr Privy Councillor Trott recognised Klementine,
his Liebchen's inseparable maid.

" Fraulein Gliihlicht's compliments," said Klemen-
tine, hurling a second box on the table. " And she
says that you're late starting practical joking in
your old age. . . . And she says you may send round
for your greasy slippers and your ragged old dressing-
gown. ..." Frau Privy Councillor Trott looked


piercingly at Klementine and next at Herr Actual
Privy Councillor Trott ; then with the face of a
mother at the yawning grave of her first-born, she
interred the Christmas gifts.

Herr Dr. Gamradt wails that Berlin is pa3dng the
price of world-cityism, Smartness, Kino-Culture,
and cabaret chedness. Its soul and body are ill.
Its death-rate and infant death-rate are high ; and
a tenth of the children who reach the age for schooling
are put back as unfit. The illegitimacy rate is four
times greater than London's ; and despite this philo-
progenitive zeal the general birth-rate fell to half in
forty years. The conscript records point to decay.
Crime grows. Field-Marshals nursed on Old-
Prussian simplicity yearn for the days when the
other-worldly city had five theatres, all chronically
solvent, no kinos, no bars, no cabarets, one bath.
In those days people rejoiced seldom, and washed
never ; even the first of Wilhelms when he sought
ablution borrowed a hotel tub. Now there are so
many theatres that there are not enough plays. The
meanest clerks have baths in their apartments ;
and for brickets, formerly heaped in a kitchen corner,
the^question of Housing is solved.



Wenn der Bliiten Friihlingsregen
Ueber alle schwebend sinkt,
Wenn der Felder griiner Segen
Allen Erdgebornen blinkt {Goethe),

HAPPILY the bad World-City is framed by
regenerative Nature ; and spring and
summer come with heaUng, if meagre
joys. Meagre, for the North German Nature is
bare, and is not helped with art. There are few
lazy, opulent men with tastes for out of doors. And
fewer women. The World-City has no Thames, no
Hurlingham, no Brighton, not even a Southend.
Motor-cars are used for transporting doctors and
seltzer- water. Flat-races draw dowdy tens where in
Britain they draw resplendent hundreds. Things
are small. Partly the cause is Nature ; partly too-
human Nature. Brandenburg, after two centuries'
planting, still merits its derisive : " Sandbox of the
Holy Roman Empire." It has yellow sand and
pine-woods, broken by desiccating lakes, strewn
with desiccating orange-peel. Moneyed idlers who
want Nature yawn ; they prefer Dresden with its



dwarf Switzerland behind ; Munich on the brink
of the Alps ; even the minute but pleasant world-
villages high in Thuringia's hills.

Berlin's surrounding forests are Hampstead Heaths
given over to the honest workman and the dishonest
shopkeeper. On Sunday, these in millions make
their Fly-Out (their Ausfiug), and gulp beautifulh^
their weekly air, and beer. Lakes are fringed with
eating-dens, beer-gardens and cafes which sleep all
the week, and awaken on Sunday morn. The Fly-
Out is usually a blow-out. Oceans of beer, swimming
baths of coffee, Alps of sausage are swallowed. Yet
Berlin's twenty Hampsteads have not one restaurant
where you can get a human meal. Vienna Schnitzel
is the one resource. The reason is this. A lunch or
dinner in fastidious British sense is not sought by
the Flyer-Out.

Odious as is the beer-garden it stands economically
on the Flyer-Out's level. The Flyer-Out is too
thrifty to buy the graces of life. The restaurant's
profit is often what it makes on a ten-pfennig glass
of beer. By ordering a glass, or several glasses in
succession, the world-citizen establishes his claim
to a table for hours. He holds that a restaurant
has no right to profit from food. Prosperous work-
men, solid traders, haughty subaltern bureaucrats
bring, like our Comic Opera count, dinner in their
pockets ; and command the restaurant's plates.


Some bring coffee and sugar and pay only for water.
This Old-Prussian way is now decaying ; but there
are still gardens which hang the placard : " Patrons
may bring their own coffee," or simply, " No Coffee-

Beer-gardens have halls for dancing. Other
movement is rare. Seats in the beer-garden are
full ; the woods are empty. Herr Locksmith
Kwasnick, with wife and babes, sits all day at the
garden table ; and orders indiscriminately beer
for solid Martha, for cunning, ten-year-old Albrecht,
for snub-nosed, toddling Amalie. It's cheap. In
boastful mood, Herr Locksmith Kwasnick swears
that he once spent three marks of a morning. " It
was before we married," he adds. " We were
terribly in love," says Martha, " and two of the
marks sHpped from Franz's fingers, and rolled into
the lake."

Flyers-Out bathe. Mostly at Wannsee. Wannsee
is a pine-edged inlet of the blue Havel ; rich men
Hve there ; poor men come there, to bathe in Free-
bath and Familybath. Family bath is select. You
pay little and wear less ; at Freebath you pay
nothing, and wear next to nothing. Both have
beaches of yellow sand ; and you may swim far
into the Havel, and even dive from a platform. Few
do either. It is fashionable to sit and get sunburned ;
and thus save two marks, the price of Braunolin,


a popular sunburning specific which sells by buckets
in^t he' pale-faced World-City. Ever since an EngUsh
touring company showed young English lords shoot-
ing pheasants, it is smartisch to be sunburnt. Brauno-
ltn*s rival is Edelweiss, which makes you white again.
An unpleasant thing happened to Herr Assessor v.
Glenk, the active young jurist at Moabit Criminal
Court, who shares his Halensee rooms with Herr
Assessor Dorn. Herr v. Glenk incautiously went to
sleep on his left side in his boat at Tegel ; and woke
an hour later with his right cheek burnt a Socialistic
red, and his left cheek its habitual aesthetic snow.
Next morning his red cheek had changed to dark
brown. He took from Herr Dorn's collection a
bottle labelled Edelweiss ; rubbed in hard on the
right side only ; and thinking the fresh air would
hasten the bleaching of his cheek to judicial equi-
librium, he made for Moabit. Laughter met him.
Herr v. Glenk rushed out the mirror-backed hair-
brush which all assessors carry ; and saw with awe
that while his left cheek looked even paler than
before, his right had turned to ultra-ebony black.

Herr Assessor Dorn had cracked the bottle of
Braunolin, and recklessly poured the contents into
an Edelweiss bottle.

At Freebath the sexes, being poor and therefore
obscene, are kept decently apart — unless they
climb the fence. Familybath has a beach for mixed


bathers ; and, on the platform, separate halves for
Ladies and Gentlemen. Letitia restricts the word
Familienbad to the mixed bathing part ; after
seven years' study of German she translates, " Bad

Letitia has reason. She has seen bathing every-
where, she says, from red-hot Lido by Venetia's
shore where monkey Latins skip in strips of red
cotton to Sestroretsk on Finland's insipid gulf
where men and maids as bare as pine-trees wade
in side by side. But Family bath, though duller far
than Lido, and miles behind Finland for exiguity of
dress, leaves both these beaches behind for pleasant,
innocent freedom. And the dress is plain enough.
The world-cityman, with ladies, is not ashamed of
his bones. Sometimes he wears the irreducible
minimum imposed in English swimming-baths for
men only. In this adamic napkin he talks, flirts,
dances, plays games. Ladies approve. Most wear
cork-tight maillot, striped horizontally in red and
white ; and they look like models for picture-post-
cards. " Without troubling," as says Letitia, " about
the bath-robe which even disgusting Frenchwomen
wear," Fraulein Wanda and Fraulein Gundelinde
sprawl on the strand with worshippers, or gambol
on horizontal bars while the worshipper claps his
hands and their backs. When tired they come to
the platform restaurant, swallow huitcfbrods, and


drink. Letitia and I are grave and reverend persons;
but even we relax when a white-bearded notary,
naked to the waist and naked a Httle below, puffs
cigar-smoke in the face of a lady little less naked,
who eyes with passion his copper skin, and shares
his sandwich of ham. Such is Familybath. It is
dryly decorous compared with Freebath, where
every Sunday at twelve Frau Houseporter Thieme
laces a pink corset over her bathing-dress, and hops
merrily on her hands. " To the impure," says Herr
Gamradt, " nothing is impure." Neither Freebath
nor Familybath inflames Prussian blood. The way
is too expansive, too decorative, too bold ; the dress
is too glaring ; the skins are too red ; the drinks
too drowsy ; the cigars too like chimneys ; the sand
too like clay.

Bareness — perhaps a reaction from world-civic
sophistication — takes curative reality in the Back
to Nature cult. Back to Nature consists in showing
your back to Nature — and also your front. You
wander in August by the emerald Krahhiigel ; lose
your way ; and find it again in the middle of a
Midsummer Day's Dream. From a grassy clearing
in the pinewood comes laughter ; and on your eyes
flash threescore twinkling arms and legs. It is a
tent-colony of Back-and-Front-to-Nature world-
citizens. In the broad-barred maillot of Family-
bath. Over a dozen of them of all ages and shapes ;


an elderly, thin lady ; a still more elderly thinner
lady ; two middle-aged ladies ; two round reposeful
gentlemen ; a mother ; her sister ; her children Karl-
chen, Trudchen, Gustav, Maidie, Erny; their dog Kiiss-
chen. All — except Kiisschen — are in bathing-dress,
though no water is near; all are active and merry; papa
is drinking lemonade ; the elderly ladies are knitting;
Erny is hopping ; Trudchen is digging ; mamma is
playing with Karlchen ; Karlchen is playing with
Kiisschen ; Auntie is eating tree-cake ; ants are
eating Auntie. It is a pleasant holiday; and easy
to have. You need bathing dresses ; a tent ;
sausages, saucepans, tobacco ; and — for lady
colonists — adequate face-powder ; for a tent
colonist, as said Gamradt's Paulchen when he saw
little Kathie in her tub, is " nearly all face." It is a
calm life ; and brings back the good, unworld-citied
Germania of Tacitus when blue-eyed, red-nosed
giants roamed through trackless forests — heroic,
naked, and chaste.

August for world-citizens is not the month of
holiday. The schools close early in July ; and at
once parents with trails of spectacled infants fly
away for rest. They do not always seek the sea.
Some make for Tyrol, or even, despite heat, for
Venice, where fastidious, business-like Latins
despise and plunder them. Still, most world-
citizens are maritime. The poorer go to the slow,


insipid Baltic, which tastes Hke British spinach ;
the richer make for North Sea Norderney, where
they find salt water and Prince Biilow. Or for
Westerland on Sylt if fishers ; or for Borkum if spies.

Half a million leave Berlin in summer. The Baltic
is favourite, because it's near and cheap. You
reach it in four hours. Its coast is flat ; its cookery
flatter ; but its popularity flattering. Its scenery —
sand, pine-sticks and kinematographs — pleases
because it recalls Berhn. There are bits — chiefly
Riigen — with high chalk cliffs and beech-woods ;
and down Flensburg way are fjords. The North
Sea coast also is flat, but prices undulate. By the
North Sea you live splendidly in hotels ; by the
Baltic in furnished flats, or in boarding-house-hotels.
Also some Berliners go to the Harz ; and many
stay at home and rub in Braunolin.

The middle-class World-City tripper stands higher
than with us. He is specialised. He is never, as in
indiscriminate England, the mere grocer or clerk by
the sea. Everything about him reflects his holiday
mood. His equipment is beyond reproach. Instinct
for costume is strong. And not only when tramping
the sands. At Johannesthal flying-race, we lately
met Herr Dr. Ing. Gamradt in airman's dress, with
leather cap-flaps tightly pressing his ears. " So
you're flying ? " said admiring Letitia, while I
scowled enviously. " Not exactly, gracious lady,"


he answered. " That is, not now." In the middle
of luncheon he ran over and whispered, " But I'm
writing a book on Relative Efficiency of Seven Tested

When on July 7 Herr Gamradt with Frau Meize,
Paulchen, and rachitic Kathie makes for Baltic
Arendsee, no man is doubtful of their goal. Their
very boots, as Keswell says enviously, smack of
the wave. Herr Gamradt sports brief mustardy
breeches, and a green Tyrolean hat with cock's-
feather, and Frau Meize wears a mountaineering
skirt, and a yellow hat. Both carry spiked sticks to
help on the Baltic dunes. They do not take ice-
axes. Frau Meize wears driving gloves. Few tipsy
tars bound for Nelson's flagship ever looked more
seaside. But seven-year-old Paulchen pleases me
most. His very strut confirms the Kaiser's " young
Germany, like young England, is immersed in sport."
Paulchen wears a soldier's brass-rimmed Pickelhaube,
leather breeches four inches short of the knee with
silk arabesques, and a sweater. With correct
sporting negligence, Herr Gamradt 's bathing suit
swings round his neck. The luggage consists of a
dress-basket, four roomy suit-cases with embossed
geometry, three bags of fruit, and some sandwiches
that sweat.

Naturally in this get-up the Gamradts blend
harmoniously with the pine-clad flats, the furnished


flats, and the halcyon waters of the Baltic. And
they forget no amenities. Since the first of June
the Sunday newspapers have teemed with praises
of Travel-and-Bath-Things, miraculous seaside
luggage, knapsacks. Thermos flasks, "sport trousers,"
" English tourist capes," and slayers of — and makers
of — freckles. All these are englisch. The advertiser
proves it with sketch of a clean-shaven, hard-faced
tourist, fiercely biting a pipe, who blows out smoke
which inscribes the compelling words " JOHN-

Tyrolean dress is liked in the World-City. Often
we notice this. In August last year Anhalt railway
station was full of Tyrol peasants. They were
returning to their counting-house desks, their tasks
in the Rathaus, their . . . When waiting with
Letitia and Herr Gamradt for Frau Gamradt's
train from Niirnberg, we came across twenty, all
with sunburnt knees, short, embroidered jackets,
and hats full of Edelweiss and Alpine roses. It
seemed like the top of the Sonnjoch. When the
Munich train steamed in, out jumped more Tyro-
leans ; one with every dress detail complete, and
even a bramble scratch on his shin. In this un-
impeachable hillman I recognised my pleasant friend
Herr Tugendreich Biintig, who keeps the well-
ventilated Franzosisches Cafe in a street near
Schoneberg Park.


Herr Biintig was back from a fortnight spent by
rainswept Achensee, and later in the rose-flushed
Dolomites. He hailed in Schoneberg patois another
Tyrolean ; and presented him as Herr Brewer Blum
of Spandau. Then, looking kindly at his roasted
legs, he remarked that when you go to Rome you
must do as Romans do ; and when you go to the
Tyrol you must dress like Berliners. He explained
that most of the green-breeched, cock's-feathered
men you meet down Innsbruck way come from level
Brandenburg. *' The born Tyrolean's passion,"
said Herr Brewer Blum, " is to pose byronesquely
on crags in a morning-coat from Berlin. Whenever
I meet a round, white cragsman with broad, bare
knees, I hail him in good North-German ; when I
come on a sunburnt tourist in bowler hat I hail
him with ' Gruass Gott ! ' The finest of all Tyroleans
dwell west of the Tiergarten." And he explained
that jodel-singers mostly come from Bremen.

Herr Gamradt ascribes this Tyrolean verisimilitude
to the plasticity of the race. Germans, he boasted,
mould themselves to all things. In Guayaquil they
are Spaniards ; in Minnesota New Yorkers. A
German's instinct at home is to copy foreigners ;
his instinct abroad is to copy natives. " The
Britons and Germans," intervened Herr Blum,
" dwell at opposite poles. The German abroad
apes everything ; the Englishman abroad is stiJI


more intransigently English than at home. The
German in England speaks English so much that
he forgets German ; the Englishman in Germany
speaks English so much that he forgets whatever
German he knew. The German has a decent
sympathy for foreign ways ; the Englishman has
none. In England a German always turns up his
trousers ; in Germany an Englishman merely turns
up his nose. ..." He was developing this thesis.
But here sprang from the train a blue-eyed, straw-
haired giant in a Turkish fez and pale yellow knicker-
bockers. To escape the revelation that Smyrna is
peopled with transmuted Hessians, Letitia and I
made off.

The World-City obsession extends far from Bozen
and Innsbruck. Scandinavia in August is more
Berlinese than Berlin. Letitia and I did not know
that when we asked an expert where we might have
a rest from the World-City, who answered : " Try
Danish islands. The Danes hate the Prussians
and keep them away." We flew next week to
Danish Bornholm ; and — found ourselves home in

The virtue of Danish Bornholm in summer is that
it holds no Danes. There are only Germans. There
are German hotel-keepers, German waiters, German
porters, German guests. We stayed some weeks
in an hotel at Helligdommcn, which stands near


pigmy but decently romantic cliffs. During those
weeks we heard only once the Danish tongue; this
was from a Stettin seed-merchant who was learning
Danish from a phonograph. Though it lacks
Danes, Bornholm has charms ; you can dive deep
into blue water from granite cliffs, one foot to fifty
high. At sight of the granite cliffs Berliners chorus :
" Wonder-lovely ! " Herr Gamradt was furious
when told that down Ballinskellig way these cliffs
would be praised as " dacent big stones to take
to Cassidy's wake." Bornholm has small, emerald
woods, and a big, limp forest at Almindingen, whence
you can see all the island. There are ruins of Ham-
mershus, the governors' palace-fortress ; round
churches built for praying and defence ; runes ;
footsteps of glaciers ; and flourishing fields of wheat,
oats, barley, rye, and cows. There are fishing
and farming. That is Bornholm's joy. There are
harbours with squat boats ; and inland valleys that
flash with snow-white, white-timbered guards, shelter-
ing three sides of a square, with windless yards inside.
The weakness is famine. There is rich food in the
fields but none on the table. Hotels choke you with
oozy German Beefsteak and etiolated Atifschnitt ;
and there is one, universal soup, which as creme
danoise, creme portugaise, creme de Chine, and creme
Manhattan dwells for years in the memory and


Bornholm's world-citizens are of basest hue.
Nearly all are from Berlin, N. and E. Bornholm's
Danes might compensate, could you only find
them. But you cannot. Once Letitia and I drove
ten miles inland from the World-City cliffs ; and
entered a Danish farmyard to water our horse.
The Dane was a Saxon from Chemnitz. He said,
" There's not a Danish body in these parts." The
same afternoon while climbing over a cliff-ridge,
we observed six naked mermaids lying, fronts to
Nature, on a sun-kissed rock. They waved their
hands. " The savage natives," said Letitia, while
I rejoiced, assured that at last we had seen some
Danish bodies. We reached our hotel at dinner-
hour, in sheer emotion swallowing cr^me portugaise.
Brought thereby to our senses, we looked across the
dining-room. There were six empty chairs, the seats

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Online LibraryEdward EdgeworthHuman German → online text (page 7 of 20)