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HALF A GUINEA PER ANNUM & UPWARDS



THE DESIRABLE ALIEN

AT HOME IN GERMANY



THE DESIRABLE ALIEN

AT HOME IN GERMANY . BY VIOLET
HUNT . WITH PREFACE AND TWO
ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS BY FORD
MADOX HUEFFER ^ ^ ^ ^ ^




LONDON . CHATTO AND WINDUS
IN ST. MARTIN'S LANE , MCMXIII



TO

MRS. OSWALD CRAWFURD

WHO LED ME INTO
GERMANY



PREFACE

I SHOULD call this a very satisfactory book about a
country I mean that, at the end of reading it, the
reader will have been presented with a certain
number of views, and that those views square
roughly with my own or those of any other man
of good-will. And any book about a country upon
any other lines cannot well be a satisfactory perfor-
mance. Any man may say, " I know my Germany,"
as any other may say that he knows his London,
and he may, indeed, have a knowledge of a country
or of a city that is based upon long residence in
the one or the other and that is fortified by many
statistics. Yet countries, cities, and the hearts of
men, are regions so wide, or, as it were, streams
so profound, that it would appear that there is no
man fitted to write a book of a factual kind about
any city, any country, or, for the matter of that,
about any single human being.

For, as far as facts go, we have nothing but them
to go upon ; and facts are selected for us either by
blind Destiny that will have forced us into certain
paths, or by our own inborn predilections that set
us wandering about a country, directed to certain
regions by who knows what ? by the recommenda-

vii



viii PREFACE

tions of friends, in search of the footsteps of the
dead, or by the desire to slake the thirsts of our
geologists' hammers in certain exposed beds of
schist. Destiny might make you an Interpreter
situated at Essen, or a British Consular Represent-
ative at Frankfurt ! How different would be your
views of a country that for me is partly Muenster in
Westphalia, with its dark arcades and its history of
blood, and that is still more the Rhine between
Koblenz and Assmanshausen, where life lives itself
so pleasantly. Essen is all coal-dust, grime, and
the resounding of mighty hammers ; Frankfurt is
all banks, diamonds, gilding, prostitutes, theatres,
art centres. Which, then, is Germany, and could
any one soul give you uncoloured facts about both ?
It is unthinkable.

If you live in Frankfurt you will say that Germany
is the most cultured, the richest, the most practical
of all the States. You may realize that there is
Essen, where the guns come from. Or, if you live
on the Rhine, you may well say that the German
is the gayest, the most careless, the most musical,
of pleasant men since Ireland has become sober
and has cultivated a Middle Class.

It is probable that first impressions will colour
all that you see. The one-time Consul-General of
a Southern kingdom assured me solemnly, after he
had lived for fourteen years in England, that Eng-
land is the most dangerous of all countries. On
his landing at Dover he had come across some
three-card-trick gentry who had given him a rough
time ; it was the only adventure that ever occurred
to him in this country, yet he felt himself far safer



PREFACE ix

in his own country, where the gaols are filled with
revolutionists and forty men a day are shot in the
streets.

You will see this irresistible tendency at work in
the author of this book. Her first impressions came
from Milly of Paderborn, who was, thank goodness,
a good Westphalian, an echte Saeurlaenderin and
from the good Grimm ! So our author is predis-
posed to like the Germans, to look upon them with
a friendly and indulgent eye, to find them instinct
with all the old Germanic virtues of kindliness,
hospitality, modesty, and sobriety. You see, her
first impressions are formed by a Germany of the
pre-Franco-Prussian War type.

God forbid I should say that these early German
pieties have gone out of my countrymen ! But,
were I writing a book about Germany, I think that
I should see first what Bismarckism, Nietzscheism,
and agnosticism of the Jatho type have made of
the land of the good Grimm.

It is all so very bewildering, and statistics are of
no particular good. Last year I was sitting talking
to an Imperial Forester upon a stump in a wood
near his Foersterei. He insisted that he had been
taught in school that witches and warlocks exist.
He was a youngish, quite intelligent man. I said
it was impossible that he could have been taught
that in a German public school six years ago. He
said, " Wait !" and went into his cottage. He came
out with his school textbook of Goethe's " Faust " ;
he turned over the leaves until he came to the scene
of the Walpurgisnacht on the Brocken. "There !"
he said triumphantly. Yet statistics will prove to



x PREFACE

you that Germany is the best educated land in the
world.

God forbid that I should say that Germany is
not the best instructed of all lands. It probably is ;
though the most looked up to of all modern novelists
and thinkers of England of to-day lately assured me
that English primary instruction is by a long way
the best in the world ; we must not, however, say
so for fear of the ratepayers. He may be right.
Yet, as I have elsewhere related, I had once a small
servant who had just passed the sixth standard in
a national school and had just been confirmed. She
refused to accompany the family to Germany for
fear, if the ship sank in the Channel, the fishes
should eat her soul. . . .

So you have here a book of impressions. If I
did not like it I should not be writing this intro-
duction ; if I had not very much admired the kindly,
careless, inaccurate, and brilliantly precise mind of
the author, I presume the book would never have
been written. The blind destiny which watches
over these things would never have taken the writer
into my beloved country. For, after all, it is my
beloved country. ... A year or so ago I should
have said that I detested the Prussianism of the
congeries of nations that Germany is. Then came
the Agadir affair with its revelation of the inherent
financial weakness of the Kaiserreich. Now we
have the image of a Germany threatened with
immense Slav empires, kingdoms, and states. . . .
And I confess that I should hate the thought that
this proud people, full of free passions, should cease
to bulk large in the comity of the nations. ... I



PREFACE xi

should hate to think that one of the horned golden
standards that are borne at the heads of so many
regiments and their feet literally make the earth
tremble upon the Exerzierplaetze that one of these,
amidst the smoke of battle, should fall into alien
hands. The other day, over the door of a dormitory
in a French barracks, I read the words : " Soldiers !
Three standards of your regiment are in the Im-
perial Museum at Potsdam. Never forget !" Queer
words to read !

France is the darling of the nations the Playboy
of the Western world ! To France, in the end, we
all owe everything that in the realm of the ideas is
worth having. And I think that, in the bottom of a
sentimental heart, I should like to see France regain
her lost provinces, because France has been crest-
fallen about it. And I think all nature loves a
swaggerer and hates to see his downfall. For in
this dreary world there is so little happiness. . . .
But, if France regained its loss, Germany, to make
the fairy-tale complete, must have its place in the
sun, and Great Britain must lose nothing either. I
do not know how that quart is going to be got into
that pint pot. . . .

Anyhow, such a book as " The Desirable Alien "
can do nothing but good in the sense of letting
people understand each other better. It is better
than statistics of armaments, for these can be
manoeuvred to prove anything the writer likes ; it
is better than the pompous analysis of national
traits, better than the analysis of mineral wealths.
For it lets us come a little nearer, seeing that there
is no such thing as Germany as distinct from Eng-



xii PREFACE

land ; no such thing as England as distinct from
the wide lands from the Rhine to the Elbe. It
shows and that is the note of the modern world
that people are just people, taking twopenny tram-
tickets from Ealing to the City or from Ringstrasse
to the Domplatz, doing their best to keep their
ends up in the struggle of an industrial existence,
cultivating as best they may the muses upon a little
thin oatmeal, thinking precious little or nothing at
all about dark machinations for the flinging of
troops into either East Anglia or the flat lands
behind Borkum but just people like you and me
and the man who opens the, taxi-cab door for you
on the rank.

FORD MADOX HUEFFEtf.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAfiB

I. INTRODUCTION : HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN I

II. HAREM SKIRTS, STORKS, AND SOME SOCIAL

AMENITIES 17

III. SLEEPY HOLLOW 30

IV. UTOPIA 45

v. PAX GERMANICA: SERVANTS, FAIRY TALKS, AND

TAILORS 52

VI. BEER GARDENS V. BEAR GARDENS 65

VII. PRINCES AND PRESCRIPTIONS 88

VIII. BLUE PATES AND SCHOPPEN Io6

IX. CHESTS AND COSTUMES 124

X. WAITERS AND POLICEMEN 14!

XI. A LANDGRAFIN AND HER CONFESSOR 152

XII. LIONS AND LACE CURTAINS l6l

XIII. GRAND DUKES AND GIPSIES 173

XIV. GREAT DANES, GEESE, MICE, AND SCHOOLMASTERS 182

XV. " DRIZZLING " AND OFFICERS 198

XVI. HOW IT FEELS TO BE MEMBERS OF SUBJECT RACES 2IO

XVII. QUEENS DISCROWNED 22O

XVIII. BONES, BABIES, AND ANABAPTISTS 2$O

XIX. CELLE 258

XX. TRIER 269

XXI. " TAKE US THE LITTLE FOXES " 293

XXII. ENVOI 321



Xlll



THE DESIRABLE ALIEN

AT HOME IN GERMANY
CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION : HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN

SOME persons are, of course, born Germans ; some
achieve citizenship of that great and good nation.
Others, again, have the honour thrust upon them.
And one fine day I found myself in the last category
of all, with no reluctance, but through no fault of
my own.

And I took to my new position quite kindly ;
even some earth-shaking ceremonies through which
I, in common with my nation of origin, had lately
passed, did not awaken in me any unpleasant sense
of what I was forfeiting in the exchange. King
George was no King of mine, though he was doubt-
less to prove a very agreeable King to live under.
So it appeared to me on that particular day in June,
as I sat at ease on a deal bench covered with red
baize, built right over the statue of Disraeli, another
alien, whom one half of the English nation at least
regards as eminently desirable, and surveyed the
new King of England's acclaimed and gracious
progress through the capital of his lieges.



2 THE DESIRABLE ALIEN [CH. i

Everything all round me was fairly, orderly,
almost Germanly managed ; and that reminded me
of the folk-tale now quite embedded in the English
popular consciousness, of the "Oysters and the
Carpenter." The white roads shone in the sun;
the hoardings were painted in chaste linear sten-
cilled patterns ; the usually dirty buildings above,
where no hoardings could reach, seemed polished,
but King George's police had contrived to arrange
matters so beautifully ; they had taken such care
that everybody should see the Procession in safety
that in the end there was hardly anybody there to
see it! The whole thing was a triumph of order;
but where were the ordered ? The streets were
cleared for the people who were cleared away !

Just a week before the ceremony of the Corona-
tion I had marched, along with forty thousand
Englishwomen, through the streets of this alien
capital, clamouring peacefully, constitutionally, for
the gift of the vote ; and my legs still ached at the
mere thought of those five hours' stringent exer-
cise. But I now realized suddenly the fact that
when the vote was won, I, as an alien, would never
walk on those same legs to the poll along with my
fellow-workers, for I had chosen to belong to a
country where women do not even dream of eman-
cipation a country where a wife's income, though
not her capital, belongs to her husband, and where
that husband may divorce her, willy-nilly, if she
should even so much as insist on wearing colours
that happen to jar on him.

I brooded over all the privileges which I had
foregone as I sat, appropriately enough, on the



CH. ij HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN 3

English Foreign Office seats, among other desirable
aliens, or, as some people would prefer to phrase it,
with John Ruskin, among " persons of a certain
order in the abyss."

For cheap patriotism may run to such forms of
ignorant depreciation. I remember the noble rage
of the French father of a friend of mine who had
married an Englishman, as he recounted to me,
long afterwards, his son-in-law's grudging appre-
ciation of papa " Very intelligent for an English-
man !" Shortly before, he had informed him that
" clever " was a word for human beings, but that
" intelligent " could only be used of animals. Yet
these good people collected with me on the Foreign
Office stand were mostly foreign, all of them well
dressed, and presumably quite intelligent. They
were by no means downhearted or in the least
" out of it," for salutes were continually passing
between the un-English occupants of these benches
and the equally un-English occupants of the State
carriages. I saw my Grand Duke,* the " boss " of
my particular province, drive by with his Grand
Duchess. In our own principality, so I am told by
Joseph Leopold, his name is a name of awe; here

My august Sovereign, Ernest Ludwig Grossherzog von Hessen-
Darmstadt und bei Rhein, was, I do not know why, the only Sove-
reign Prince present at the Coronation of King George V. It is,
that is to say, considered a solecism to allow any crowned Sove-
reign to be present at this ceremony, because he must take prece-
dence of the British Sovereign, as yet uncrowned. Why, therefore,
one of the Grand Dukes of Hessen-Darmstadt should have been
present I do not know, for they certainly do not take rank below
any of the other confederate Princes of the German Empire.
J. L. F. M. H.



4 THE DESIRABLE ALIEN [CH. i

he is apt to get casually designated as " a German
Princeling" or "some Serenity or other." But he
is certainly excessively intelligent, and his Grand
Duchess as narrow and conventional as the most
straight-laced Duchess of the Dukeries ; while,
moreover, she of Hessen-Darmstadt has a good
deal more control of les mceurs in her department,
and possibility of asserting her wishes. In fact, she
has the powers of a Queen Consort.

In the distance, did I but raise my eyes, I could
see the chimneys of My Embassy. And in the road
below smart officers of My nationality rode abreast,
wearing the handsome uniform of Prussia ; but,
thank God I am advised to thank God I need not
call myself a Prussian, though, perforce, the Kaiser
a " sacred " Prussian has constituted himself my
First War Lord.

All this added immensely to the significance of
the Procession. I found it hardly possible to be
quite frivolous in the face of the tremendous volte-
face that I have made. The signs, the symptoms,
of it were all in the air on that English fete-day.
It remains intangible, mostly made up of symbols
and change of symbols ; but it gives one to think.

Artists are supposed to have less sense of
nationality less patriotism, if you like to put it
so than other people. And I hope I am an artist.
Anything to excuse my lack of sense of Empire !
I am sure I should duly say in a crisis : " My
country, right or wrong !" and I am glad to think
I did not flaunt my Pro-Boerdom during the war,
any more than I would choose to " swap " horses
in the middle of the stream. But in time of peace



CH. i] HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN 5

I am only too ready to say that my country is in
the wrong; and I do not think that the Germans,
therefore, got a very good bargain in me.

Yet my Tedescan sympathies were fairly de-
veloped ; the process was begun by my father and
mother, with prophetic insight, perhaps, from my
earliest years. German nurses cuffed me and hushed
me in my wicked and virtuous moods respectively,
till I knew their language a good deal better than my
own, and an order, to be respected and duly carried
out, had to be given to me in German. A German
nurse from Paderborn, called Milly, tried to implant
in me and my sisters, I fancy, the first glimmerings of
that meticulous attention to detail, that respect for
the printed word, that habit of patient martyrdom
to authority, which I consider distinguishes Milly's
fellow-countrymen and women. Even when, later,
I had a French nurse, she was only a German in
disguise, and had been turned out of Paris sent
away by the last train as a spy, at the beginning of
the siege. My Germanhood was obviously Fate.

The cook was in the habit of sending up three
lightly boiled eggs for the nursery breakfast. Milly
then arranged my two sisters and myself in a row
at stated distances from where she sat in the middle
with her spoon. Like a nestful of young ravens or
a posse of young calves, this careful woman fed us.
She took the three eggs seriatim, putting a portion
into each little open mouth in rotation, beginning
with the eldest. It was as much as our places were
worth to murmur, and that is how, now that I have
come to years of discretion, I understand why the
German system of State Insurance, which is the



6 THE DESIRABLE ALIEN [CH. i

model for the one that has been set up, amid tears,
in England, came to be so patiently tolerated, years
ago, in Germany.

For in so slight a matter as the degustation of
three eggs, three free-born English children were
aligned, tabulated, fitted into system, and we re-
belled far less than I have seen a troop of calves do,
fed in the same arbitrary way, on pailsful of skim
milk. Once and once only, at the age of four, I
rebelled against some other of Milly's petty laws of
the nursery. I called her a " nasty cat." Germans
hate cats ; and Milly felt it deeply. But no nursery
rights or privileges equally systematized they
were, too were mine until, at the end of three
days, I begged Milly's august pardon. Nowadays,
I should not hesitate so long as that, especially with
a German. For as often as I " come right up against "
this highly organized and quite arbitrary system do
I realize that in willing or even sulky subordination
lies the German strength, and in the studied ignoring
of the claims of the unit we are to read the sense of
citizenship. In England every man's house is, and
must remain, his castle, where he may practise any
abomination he pleases, even child torture, so long
as screams are not heard outside, and thus warrant
an officer of the S.P.C.C. in entering. The roadway
is also free to all, and the soil and the gravel which is
on it, witness the following illustration.

I lived, when in London, on a hill that is the curse
of horses in the winter months. A reluctant vestry,
much plagued of its more philanthropic represen-
tatives, was at last persuaded to dump down some
sand in the slipperiest places for the use of con-



CH. i] HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN 7

siderate carters. A German vestry would do this
as a matter of course. And no German child would
be so lost to all civic feeling as to make these heaps
of sand into a jumping ground. In England it was
beaten in throughout the whole day by hundreds of
little feet, and trodden into a hard, unmalleable crust,
so that the waggoners in their need were too lazy to
break it up to scatter under the labouring hoofs of
their horses. Besides, they had no spades. They
would have spades in Germany, and no German
policeman would in the first instance have allowed
children to make havoc of these heaps in Germany.

Germans seem to me to think of everything, to
know everything collectively, and yet to trust no
single person, individually, to do either. On the
front of every post-box these Allwissend warn them-
selves to look carefully, before posting a letter, to
see whether it bears a stamp or not, and whether
the sender has even omitted to put the address. A
wait in one of the tiniest of station waiting-rooms
represents amusement, coupled with instruction.
You can learn your duties as a travelling showman,
also how many live lions you are allowed to travel
with to a given spot. Do many people want to
travel with dead ones ? You may learn that it is
forbidden to give theatrical performances at all in a
waiting-room, place bicycles on the refreshment-
room tables, or carry trees across the line.

The German character reminds me of the brown-
bread ice, once fashionable as a ball supper refresh-
ment. Poetry and prose are in it most oddly
commingled. The romantic side of my own nature
seems to me to derive from and to have been fed by an



8 THE DESIRABLE ALIEN [CH. i

early and concentrated study of the great " Kinder-
und Hausmarchen" of the brothers Grimm. I
remember the winter's evening when the book was
first brought into our nursery, the leaping firelight,
the strange patterns made by the high nursery
fender on the ceiling, the proud, pleased face of
Milly. . . .

The first story that was read to us out of that
ugly red and gold and blue volume published by
Edmund Routledge, was " The Woodcutter's Child."
And from that moment, "Jack the Giant Killer,"
even " Beauty and the Beast," were forgotten ;
savage, unromantic, incomplete, they now seemed.
On the second night we read the weirdest story of
all not a child's story by any means. " Oh, if I
could but shiver !" It was horrible, grotesque, up
to the final incident, when the beautiful high-born
Princess pours the pailful of little fishes down the
naked back of the man who shivered then, and not
till then. Yet we children found romance in it;
found dim, unearthly terrors, that made us fall silent
and our eyes grow round, so that after that night
the story was tabooed by our elders, who would
never consent to read it aloud to us again. Milly
herself said it was vulgar.

As one grew older, one was promoted to the
study of the more actual, legendary contes of the
" Deutsche Sagen."

This, the second collection of the brothers Grimm,
concerns itself more with certain semi-historical per-
sonages, Graf this, Count that, who, when at home,
and, as one might say, thoroughly domesticated,
represent really that superior thief, called in German



CH. i] HOW ONE BECOMES AN ALIEN 9

legend the " Robber Baron." It is really he, who,
twice a day, is in the habit of descending from his
Schloss on the steep to rob the merchant, whom he
is able to perceive from his fastness, travelling
timorously along the valley below. It is also he
who, on pleasure bent, not business, descends to
hunt, to fish, to flirt with the Nixes of the stream,
or with some snaky Melusine or Lady of the Foun-
tain. Great families, so Grimm says, have sprung
from such alliances. Grimm tells us also of the
humble sort of Nix, who goes to market, fondly
hoping to pass her pretty self off for a proper
German Mddchen. She is, alas ! soon recognized
by the water that drips from the corner of her apron.
The Church, the Schloss, the Stream, the little self-
contained Dorf, with its houses drawn up close for
company, figure in all the tales. And so do the
deep, dark, puzzling woods that lie so near, into
which children may stray, and whence wild beasts
issue, of which nothing is known and all is feared.
I have never seen woods like those of Germany,
where one hears the screech of the wild cat in the
daytime as the light grows lower, where the very
toadstools have an unnatural colour, and the fairy
plant clusters on every bough. Do not Jorinde and
Joringel still wander there, looking for fern seed, and
does not the crooked, twisted witch, jealous of so
much happiness, lurk and peer, desirous to turn
each young lover into a bird and add him, then
and there, to the collection of birds of all sorts in
cages that fill her cottage. The value of birds in
Germany is made apparent in nearly every story.
They say that one reason why Germans more or



io THE DESIRABLE ALIEN [CH. i

less detest the French, is because that fervently
gastronomic nation prefers little birds simmering in
the pot to little birds singing in cages. And that is
also why there are so few cats in Germany.

I have seen them now, those woods, those streams,
those castles that I used, as a little child, to read
about carried away, entranced sitting in the hard
window-seat, overlooking a stony, regular London
street. And I was quite ready for that summer
morning about seven when, rising from my berth,
uncalled, alone, I leapt to the little window of my
cabin on the Rhine boat, and saw, in the golden



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