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Seen in Germany

Seen in Germany

Ray Stannard Baker

Author of

"Our New Prosperity," "The Boy's Book of Inventions"

Original Drawings by



45, Albemarle Street, W.

Printed at Tlie University Press, Cambridge, U. S. A.





1. Common Things Seen in Germany 3

How the German is governed in Small Affairs —
The Omniscient Policeman — Bowing — Shops
— Beer-Drinking — Barnum's Circus — Idea of
Americans — Machinery Age

II. The Kaiser ■> . 37

His Personality and his Passions

III. The German Private Soldier 61

Who he is and How he is Made

IV. A View of the German Workingman ... 97

His Daily Life, his Earnings, his Wife, his Food,
his Clothing, his Problems, and his Relations
with his Government

V. A German Professor 133

Professor Ernst Haeckel of Jena

VT. A Typical Scientific Institution 161

The Physical and Technical Institute at Charlotten-

viii Contents

VII. How THE Germans created a New Industry . 197

The Glass and Lens Manufactories of Jena

\ III. A German Venture in Practical Philanthropy . 227

Professor Abbe and his Profit-Sharing System

IX. How the Germans build Ships 237

The X'ulcan Shipyard of Stettin

X. Some New Educational Ideas in Germany . . 273

A Commercial University — History-Teaching by
Object- Lessons, School Gardens

XI. A Glimpse of German Student Life .... 287
A Corps Duel at Wollnitz

XII. The New Germany 313

Her Prosperity and her Problems



A German Policeman 9

Children's Sand Pile in Dresden, supported by the

City . 13

Outdoor Drinking Resort for German Students . . 19
Woman and Dog as Beasts of Burden, a Familiar

German Sight 23

A German Double-Deck Tram-Car 29

The German Kaiser 39

The Kaiser and Kaiserin 44

The German Crown Prince 47

The Kaiser among His Officers , . 50

Present Arms , 67

The Goose Step 69

Company Tailors 71

Drill on the Horizontal Bar 74

Bayonet Practice 77

Pontoon Bridge Building 79

Rifle Practice with Miniature Target ..... 82

Cavalrymen Tilting with Muffled Lances .... 85

Coat Inspection , . , . 88

The Soldier's Hour Off , . . . 90

Uniformed Street Sweepers loi

X Illustrations


Returning from Work — German Ship Yards . . . 105

Noon Hour iio

A Typical German Workman 120

Public Bath House in Chemnitz 128

Hacckel's Laboratory, Jena 137

Haeckel at his Microscope 141

Schiller's Lane, Jena 144

Professor Ernst Haeckel, drawn from life by George

Varian 149

Professor Haeckel lecturing in his Class Room . . 153
General View of the Reichsanstalt Building, in Char-

lottenburg 167

Prof. Dr. Kohlrausch, President of the Reichsanstalt 173
Dr. Day Experimenting with Thermometers . . . 179
Professor Hagen, Director of the Technical Depart-
ment of the Reichsanstalt 182

Testing Thermometers , 183

Measuring the Candle-Power of Electric Lamps . . 185

Making Crucibles 198

Removing the Crucible from the Eurnace .... 200

Pouring Molten Glass into Lens Mould .... 203

Putting Crucible into Cooling Furnace 206

Sealing up Cooling Eurnace 208

Polishing a Great Telescope Lens 210

In the Jena Glass Works. Blowing Chemical Glass 214
Blowing and Drawing Thermometer Tubes — the

Most Perfect in the World 219

Professor Abbe 228

Shipping the Rudder ........... 238

Illustrations xi

The " Deutschland " six months after her keel was

laid. Showing the keel, ribs, the second, or

*' false" bottom, and the girders which are to

support the decks 254

Bending a Ship's Rib 257

Captain Albers of the " Deutschland" 261

One of the Piston Heads of the "Deutschland" . . 267

Children at Work in School Garden 277

A Lesson in Tree Planting 281

In the Leipzig School Garden 283

The Inn at Wollnitz 289

Interior of a Corps Room where Drinking Bouts are

held 295

An Outdoor " Mensur" or Duel 299

A University Corps House 305




How the German is governed in Small Affairs — The
Omniscient PoHceman — Bowing — Shops — Beer-
drinking — Barnum's Circus — Idea of Americans
— Machinery Age

THE American who travels in Germany soon
makes the discovery that he has never
known what it really means to be governed.
He has always felt a calm assurance in the
superiority of his system of public administration, and
he has paid with liberality for the privilege of having
a President, a Governor, a Mavor, and a Ward Boss,
yet he has hardlv known that he was governed ! But
there is no such uncertainty here in the Fatherland.
For every pfennig that the German pays in taxes, he
expects and receives a pfennig's worth of government.
He enjoys being looked after, and if he fails to hear
the whirring of the wheels of public administration, he
feels that something has gone wrong.

^^ ; ■/■ ■'.;,, Sf;en in Germany

From the nioment of landing on German soil, the
American begins to feel a certain spirit of repression
which seems to pervade the land. At first it gives
him an uncomfortable impression of being watched ;
he feels the Wild West in him slowly suffocating: he
had not realized before that he was especially wild
western. But he soon finds that his attitude of mind
is undergoing a change. The brooding spirit of gov-
ernment no longer harasses him, and he finds himself
engaged in a humorous quest for what is " verboten."^
He begins to see the philosophy ot all this govern-
ment ; it relieves him of a load of responsibility to
have his conduct made clear for him by rules and
regulations. He feels grateful to the government
that informs him in a plainly printed sign that the
water in this trough is for horses, not for men. In
America he would be compelled to decide for himself,
and he might make the mistake ot allowing his horse
to drink from a man's trough. When he walks in
the park it is a comfort to have the seats labeled
clearly, " For Children," " For Nurses with Children
Only," and " For Adults Only." Thus the stranger
goes through Germany learning rules, and after a time
it becomes a passion to trace out all the minute rami-
fications of administrative supervision. One may
travel a long time in Germany and go home with the
comfortable feeling that there are still undiscovered

^ Ferboten, forbidden.

Common Thin


regulations awaiting another visit. There is one
drawback, however, to the full enjoyment of the quest.
It may be expressed in a simple rule: Always
discover the " verboten " before you are discovered.
This rule, if observed, will save the traveler much an-
noyance. An absent-minded friend of mine crossed
a bridge at Stettin on the left side, not knowing that this
was one of the " verbotens." He was taken with much
solemnity before a magistrate and fined fifty pfennigs
(twelve cents). He felt that the experience was cheap
at the price. The best way to discover " verbotens "
is to ride on a bicycle; they appear painted large at
every turn, and if you ride far enough you will con-
clude that all the especially interesting by-ways are
particularly " verboten " and that " verboten " is a
kind of profanity used by German policemen.

I never have seen the statute books of Germany,
but they must be voluminous beyond comparison, for
there is a law regulating almost every conceivable
human activity. If a thing is not mentioned in the
law books, it is to be presumed that it has no existence.
As a consequence, odd things happen in Germany.
Early in the year 1900 a company of capitalists began
operating automobile 'buses in Berlin, big glittering
caravans which tooted up and down the streets like
so many steam locomotives, running at a rate of speed
much greater than that of the ordinary trams.

Theoretically, the German dislikes being hurried,

6 Seen in Germany

but practically and individually he is quite as pleased
as the American to save five or ten minutes on the
journey to his office in the morning. As a result,
the new automobiles did such a flourishing business
that the other tram companies, which had long been
compelled by stringent laws to limit the speed of their
cars, made complaint to the police.

There must have followed a great searching of the
statute books. Every sort of vehicle from a wheel-
barrow up was mentioned and regulated, but there was
not a word about the automobile 'bus. Consequently
there was nothing to do but to let it pursue its wild
career until such time as a law could be devised and
passed. And this, like everything in connection with
the government, was a matter of deliberation, so that
by the time authority was bestowed upon the police
to limit the speed of the new vehicles, the automobile
company had cut in on its competitors and had
firmly established its position. Exactly the same
thing happened when the bicycle was first introduced
in Germany. For months bicycle riders rode when
and where they pleased, tipped over pedestrians and
generally demoralized the police ; now they are regu-
lated out of all comfort. There is a great fortune
awaiting the Yankee who will introduce flying ma-
chines in Germanv, and sell out before the machinery
of the law overtakes him.

A stranger in Germany soon makes the acquaint-

Common Things 7

ance of the police, little as he may desire it. A
German socialist once said: "It takes half of all
the Germans to control the other half," and one
who sees Germany's immense army, her cloud of
officials, great and small, and her omniscient police-
man, is inclined to believe that the socialist was
right. You have been in Germany a week, more
or less, when the policeman calls. At first you
cannot believe that he is really after you, and then
your mind runs back guiltily over your past. He
takes out his little book, one of a small library
of little books which he carries in his blouse, and
inquires your age, your nationality, and how long
you intend to stay. You learn subsequently that
a record of every person in the empire is carefully
kept, with full details as to his occupation, material
wealth, and social standing. If you move into a
new house, you must notify the police ; if you move
out, you must notify the police; if you hire a servant
girl, you must purchase a yellow blank and report
the fact, the girl also making a report. When she
leaves, you must send in a green blank stating
why she is dismissed, where she is going, and so
on. If you fail in any one of these multitudinous
requirements of the government, — and I have men-
tioned only a few of them, — there is a fine to pay,
each fine graduated to the enormity of the offence.
There are offences graded as low as two cents.

8 Seen in Germany

This paternal system of watchfulness and super-
vision by the police has made every German neigh-
borhood a sort of whispering gallery. Within a
few days after you move into new apartments, you
find that nearly every one in the block, from the
milkman up, knows who you are, what your busi-
ness is, and how long you expect to remain, and
your place in the social scale is fixed once for all
with mathematical precision. And directly you
begin to pay taxes, for the police have learned, in
some mysterious manner, just how much money
you have in the bank, and where it comes from ;
if you are earning a salary they also hear about
that, and all these facts speedily reach your neigh-
bors. A New England town with two sewing
societies is not to be compared for an instant with
a German neighborhood for sociability.

On the other hand, the labeling and cataloguing of
the population enables the police to watch the crimi-
nal classes and to keep them in subjection to an
extent quite astonishing. German cities are safer for
strangers, perhaps, than any other in the world. In
the same way, close police supervision in the matter
of garbage-disposal, street litter, sewage, and so on,
has been a factor in giving Germany a well-deserved
reputation tor clean, healthy cities. I have seen a
policeman stop a man, and order him to pick up a
bit of paper which he had thrown into the street.

A German Policeman

lo Seen in Germany

And there is this comforting thing to be said
about the activity of the poHce. In America the
other man is always elbowing you in street cars,
crowding in ahead of you at the theatre ticket-
window, and in general making city life uncomfort-
able. But the German has regulated the other
man into comparative respectability. For instance,
each 'bus and car is plainly labeled on the outside
with the number of seats that it contains, and
signs on the front and rear platforms show how
many persons may find standing room after the
seats have all been occupied. And when once the
car is filled, not another person is allowed to enter.

You see, also, on the end of each car a little
metallic rack with numbered compartments where
smokers may leave their cigars as they enter. In
the same methodical way the government opera-
houses are provided with long passageways in front
of the ticket-windows, just wide enough to admit
one person, so that in case of a crush to buy tickets
there is never any jostling or pushing, and the
new-comer must always take his place at the foot
of the line.

Another rule in some cities requires an opera-
goer who takes a cab to pay the driver his fare
in advance, so that there may be no crowding and
delays of the cabs at the door of the opera-house.
Indeed, the whole cab-service of Germany is regu-

Common Things i i

lated in a way to make the American envious
of German institutions. In most cities a large
proportion of the cabs are provided with " tax-
ameters " — little dials placed in front of the seat
and so arranged that they indicate just how much
the passenger owes at any given time. For instance,
when you take a cab in Berlin the indicator shows a
charge of fifty pfennigs (twelve cents) as soon as you
take your seat, and as you drive the figures change,
ten pfennigs at a time, and when you are ready
to stop you pay the sum indicated by the dial,
no more, no less. Thus there is no chance for
extortion on the part of the cabman, and no dis-
agreement as to charges, a feature of disagreeable
prominence in London and Paris. And it may
be said in passing, that the charges are generally
very low compared with those in American cities.
Indeed, there are not many things in Germany
that the government does not own or control, or
at least influence. When you travel, you must buy
your ticket of the government, for the government
owns all the railroad lines, you eat government sand-
wiches at the station, you send a telegram over
government wires. Your letters, of course, go by
government post, but so do your express packages,
and it may be said for the Germans that their con-
veniences for sending packages and money by mail
are much nearer perfect than ours. In America,

1 2 Seen in Germany

the influence of those mighty corporations, the
express companies, has prevented the development
in the highest degree of our postal system. In
Germany, one may send a package of almost any
size by mail at rates astonishingly low compared
with those of our express service. Packages may
also be ordered and sent C. O. D. by mail, for
a small fee, the postman collecting the money
from the purchaser and returning it to the seller, —
a system which greatly facilitates business in the
empire by doing away with much letter-writing,
and the expense of mailing bills and checks. In
the same way the Germans have perfected an un-
equaled svstem for the quick delivery of messages
in large cities. In Berlin, one may purchase what is
known as a rohr-postcard for twenty-five pfennigs
(six cents), write a message containing as many words
as the card will hold, and it will be specially delivered
almost anywhere in the city within an hour. It
is better by far and cheaper than the telephone,
for only comparatively few people have telephones ;
it is quicker and much less expensive than the
telegraph. Indeed, there is probably no system
in operation in the world which is at once so
universally of service to rich and poor, so prompt
and so cheap. It is much used for making all sorts
of appointments and in all manner of business trans-
actions. There is a great opportunity, certainly,

Common Things


for such a convenience in American cities; hut
the power and influence of our great telegraph and
telephone corporations will probably prevent its

Children s Sand Pile in Dresden, supported by the City

introduction for a long time to come. It may be
said in passing, also, that ordinary postal cards
may be sent in German cities for two pfennigs — less
than half a cent.

In Germany, the government owns the greatest

14 Seen in Germany

opera-houses, and if you would hear the best music,
you must listen to musicians who are paid from the
pubHc treasury. A government minister preaches
in the government-owned church that you attend
on Sunday, and if you are a student in a university,
the professor who lectures to you is a government
official. Sometimes you can even trace the govern-
ment inspector's stamp on the chop served at your
restaurant. And you are not at all surprised to see
children playing in municipal sandpiles in the parks
of Dresden. Then there are the cherries, — the big
luscious red cherries which come when you order
a compot with your meat. These, you hear, are
called Reichskirschen, " Imperial Cherries," and you
learn that the government has embarked, with rare
frugality, in the business of fruit-raising. Along
each side of the government railroad tracks there
is a strip of land which is utilized in places by
planting with rows of cherry-trees. These are culti-
vated with care, and no improper little German boys
ever climb up and steal the fruit. In the summer
the empire or the kingdom gathers its cherry crop,
and takes it to market, and later the imperial cherries
appear as a compot to delight the German palate,
and suggest the all-sufficiency of the governmental
machinery. The profits are credited in the state
revenues. I did hear that an account was kept
with each separate cherry-tree, but one is not com-

Common Things 15

pelled to believe all he hears, even though it be

All government in Germany smacks strongly of the
military camp. Many of the officials, especially those
of the lower grades, — such as policemen, firemen, and
so on, — are old soldiers who have won their places in
civil life by years ot faithful service as noncommis-
sioned officers in the army. They have all the
methodical habits of the barracks, and very naturally
they look upon the public as a great awkward squad
to be cajoled into subjection and proper discipline.
The awkward squad in this case submits the more
easily because every man in Germany has served his
time in the army, and knows how to put up with the
exactions of noncommissioned martinets. Indeed,
the exactness and order, the minuteness of regulation,
and the infinite detail of military life pervades the
entire social fabric of Germany. Everything, from
beer-drinking up, goes by rule, and most of these
rules have been set forth in books or pamphlets with
the characteristic thoroughness of the Teuton.

I shall not soon forget the dazzling effect presented
by a fine-looking, soldierly German whom I saw
coming down Unter den Linden at noonday in a
full dress suit, a tall hat, and white kid gloves. No
one seemed at all surprised at his appearance, and I
learned afterward that he was probably some new gov-
ernment official going to pay his respects to his chief.

1 6 Seen in Germany

and that every detail of his costume was prescribed in
the written order chat summoned him. A foreigner
in Germany is certain to make the most amusing mis-
takes in the matter of formality and informality of
dress. It may be said in passing that a German set
dinner is a horror of formality, but it is quite worth
while, for the excellence of the French cooking. On
the other hand, a German beer-dinner is the acme of
sociability and kindliness, a kind of easy familiarity and
simple enjoyment, by the side of which almost any
English or American dinner is icy with dignity. For
the Germans know how to enjoy their food and drink.
An English lady, the wife of a famous scientist,
gave me an amusing account of her experience at a
reception given by the wife of a German professor.
As soon as she came into the room, she was invited
to a place on a huge, soft sofa standing in a promi-
nent place at one side of the room. She much
preferred a chair, not only because it would be less
conspicuous, but much more comfortable. But when
she would have taken an empty chair, to her aston-
ishment it was promptly removed and occupied by
one of the German women, and she was finally com-
pelled to take a seat on the sofa. Presently another
English lady of rank appeared, and the wife of the
scientist was promptly invited to leave the sofa and
take a chair, and the new-comer, by hook and crook,
was induced to occupy the sofa.

Common Thines

gs 17

Afterward all these proceedings were made plain :
the sofa was the place of honor beyond all others, and
it must be occupied by the most important lady pres-
ent, whether she liked it or not.

Then there is the fine art of bowing. In Germany,
you lift your hat to men as well as to women. If
you meet General Schmoller, you raise your hat high
and bring it down to your knees with a full sweep
of the arm; if you meet Herr Schmidt, who is your
social equal, you tip your hat as much as he does his
— and no more; whereas, if you meet your tailor
you respond to his low bow by the merest touch of
recognition. To the initiated every man proclaims
his social position at every step, by his bowing. One
must remove his hat when he enters a store, though,
strangely enough, the same man who stands uncov-
ered while he is purchasing a pair of gloves will wear
his hat in the cafe next door. The Englishman, whose
neck is proverbially stiff" in the matter of bowing, al-
ways leaves behind him the smoke of offense when he
leaves a German shop, for he has invariably forgotten
to remove his hat. The German store-keeper is the
soul of politeness. He rushes out to open the door
for you when you leave, and whether you have bought
anything or not, he has an appreciative "thank you "
ready for you. Indeed, the spirit of thanks is one
of the pleasant things that the stranger encounters
in Germany. The elevator boy who takes you up to

iS Seen in Germany

your room thanks you heartily when you become
his guest, the waiter thanks you when he takes your
order, the barber thanks you when you sit down in
his chair. And I am sure that this is not done merely
with a view to ultimate tips, for many Germans tip
very sparingly ; it seems to me that it proceeds rather
from a very genuine friendliness which I have seen
manifested in so many other pleasant ways in Ger-
many. At least, I like to think so.

Speaking of the shops of Germany, nothing could
be finer than the window-displays of the book, art,
and flower stores ; they are fine, even after Paris,
especially in Munich and Dresden, and they are
brilliant compared with the ugly displays in London.
One walking up a city street in Berlin for the first
time is irresistibly attracted by the splendid window-
shows, not only of books and works of art, but of all
sorts of other things, and by and by he is so far
tempted that he enters the shop. And what a dis-
appointment ! From the appearance of the window,
he has anticipated greater glories within ; but here is
a stufi\^, dim little shop, ill-arranged, over-crowded,
and often dusty. And like as not he finds that a
greater part of the merchant's stock is in the window,
a part of that magnificent display, and that when he
asks to see a piece of goods, the clerk must go crawl-
ing into the window after it. Of course there are
fine shops in Germany, but they are not plentiful.


2b Seen in Germany

One day in a German book-store I picked up a
book of rules for drinking beer ; it was a good thick
book, and it must have required not a little study to
master it. Afterwards I found how thoroughly
some of these rules were observed. There are reg-
ular formula; of words to be followed, all set down
in clear type, so that even a wayfarer, though a fool,
may properly express his sentiments to his beer-drink-
ing companions. When you wish to drink with a friend

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