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List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
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who have done better things, paint professedly to suit Americans, and
not to express their own conceptions of beauty.  There is one who is
now quite devoted to dashing off rather lamp-blacky moonlights,
because, he says, the Americans fancy that sort of thing.  I see one
of his smirchy pictures hanging in a shop window, awaiting the advent
of the citizen of the United States.  I trust that no word of mine
will injure the sale of the moonlights.  There are some excellent
figure-painters here, and one can still buy good modern pictures for
reasonable prices.




FASHION IN THE STREETS

Was there ever elsewhere such a blue, transparent sky as this here in
Munich?  At noon, looking up to it from the street, above the gray
houses, the color and depth are marvelous.  It makes a background for
the Grecian art buildings and gateways, that would cheat a risen
Athenian who should see it into the belief that he was restored to
his beautiful city.  The color holds, too, toward sundown, and seems
to be poured, like something solid, into the streets of the city.

You should see then the Maximilian Strasse, when the light floods the
platz where Maximilian in bronze sits in his chair, illuminates the
frescoes on the pediments of the Hof Theater, brightens the Pompeian
red under the colonnade of the post-office, and streams down the gay
thoroughfare to the trees and statues in front of the National
Museum, and into the gold-dusted atmosphere beyond the Isar.  The
street is filled with promenaders: strangers who saunter along with
the red book in one hand,--a man and his wife, the woman dragged
reluctantly past the windows of fancy articles, which are "so cheap,"
the man breaking his neck to look up at the buildings, especially at
the comical heads and figures in stone that stretch out from the
little oriel-windows in the highest story of the Four Seasons Hotel,
and look down upon the moving throng; Munich bucks in coats of
velvet, swinging light canes, and smoking cigars through long and
elaborately carved meerschaum holders; Munich ladies in dresses of
that inconvenient length that neither sweeps the pavement nor clears
it; peasants from the Tyrol, the men in black, tight breeches, that
button from the knee to the ankle, short jackets and vests set
thickly with round silver buttons) and conical hats with feathers,
and the women in short quilted and quilled petticoats, of barrel-like
roundness from the broad hips down, short waists ornamented with
chains and barbarous brooches of white metal, with the oddest
head-gear of gold and silver heirlooms; students with little red or
green embroidered brimless caps, with the ribbon across the breast, a
folded shawl thrown over one shoulder, and the inevitable
switch-cane; porters in red caps, with a coil of twine about the
waist; young fellows from Bohemia, with green coats, or coats trimmed
with green, and green felt hats with a stiff feather stuck in the
side; and soldiers by the hundreds, of all ranks and organizations;
common fellows in blue, staring in at the shop windows, officers in
resplendent uniforms, clanking their swords as they swagger past. Now
and then, an elegant equipage dashes by,--perhaps the four horses of
the handsome young king, with mounted postilions and outriders, or a
liveried carriage of somebody born with a von before his name.  As
the twilight comes on, the shutters of the shop windows are put up.
It is time to go to the opera, for the curtain rises at half-past
six, or to the beer-gardens, where delicious music marks, but does
not interrupt, the flow of excellent beer.

Or you may if you choose, and I advise you to do it, walk at the same
hour in the English Garden, which is but a step from the arcades of
the Hof Garden,--but a step to the entrance, whence you may wander
for miles and miles in the most enchanting scenery.  Art has not been
allowed here to spoil nature.  The trees, which are of magnificent
size, are left to grow naturally;--the Isar, which is turned into it,
flows in more than one stream with its mountain impetuosity; the lake
is gracefully indented and overhung with trees, and presents ever-
changing aspects of loveliness as you walk along its banks; there are
open, sunny meadows, in which single giant trees or splendid groups
of them stand, and walks without end winding under leafy Gothic
arches.  You know already that Munich owes this fine park to the
foresight and liberality of an American Tory, Benjamin Thompson
(Count Rumford), born in Rumford, Vt, who also relieved Munich of
beggars.

I have spoken of the number of soldiers in Munich.  For six weeks the
Landwehr, or militia, has been in camp in various parts of Bavaria.
There was a grand review of them the other day on the Field of Mars,
by the king, and many of them have now gone home.  They strike an
unmilitary man as a very efficient body of troops.  So far as I could
see, they were armed with breech-loading rifles.  There is a treaty
by which Bavaria agreed to assimilate her military organization to
that of Prussia.  It is thus that Bismarck is continually getting
ready.  But if the Landwehr is gone, there are yet remaining troops
enough of the line.  Their chief use, so far as it concerns me, is to
make pageants in the streets, and to send their bands to play at noon
in the public squares.  Every day, when the sun shines down upon the
mounted statue of Ludwig I., in front of the Odeon, a band plays in
an open Loggia, and there is always a crowd of idlers in the square
to hear it.  Everybody has leisure for that sort of thing here in
Europe; and one can easily learn how to be idle and let the world
wag.  They have found out here what is disbelieved in America,--that
the world will continue to turn over once in about twenty-four hours
(they are not accurate as to the time) without their aid.  To return
to our soldiers.  The cavalry most impresses me; the men are so
finely mounted, and they ride royally.  In these sparkling mornings,
when the regiments clatter past, with swelling music and shining
armor, riding away to I know not what adventure and glory, I confess
that I long to follow them.  I have long had this desire; and the
other morning, determining to satisfy it, I seized my hat and went
after the prancing procession.  I am sorry I did.  For, after
trudging after it through street after street, the fine horsemen all
rode through an arched gateway, and disappeared in barracks, to my
great disgust; and the troopers dismounted, and led their steeds into
stables.

And yet one never loses a walk here in Munich.  I found myself that
morning by the Isar Thor, a restored medieval city gate.  The gate is
double, with flanking octagonal towers, inclosing a quadrangle.  Upon
the inner wall is a fresco of "The Crucifixion." Over the outer front
is a representation, in fresco painting, of the triumphal entry into
the city of the Emperor Louis of Bavaria after the battle of Ampfing.
On one side of the gate is a portrait of the Virgin, on gold ground,
and on the other a very passable one of the late Dr. Hawes of
Hartford, with a Pope's hat on.  Walking on, I came to another arched
gateway and clock-tower; near it an old church, with a high wall
adjoining, whereon is a fresco of cattle led to slaughter, showing
that I am in the vicinity of the Victual Market; and I enter it
through a narrow, crooked alley.  There is nothing there but an
assemblage of shabby booths and fruit-stands, and an ancient stone
tower in ruins and overgrown with ivy.

Leaving this, I came out to the Marian Platz, where stands the
column, with the statue of the Virgin and Child, set up by Maximilian
I. in 1638 to celebrate the victory in the battle which established
the Catholic supremacy in Bavaria.  It is a favorite praying-place
for the lower classes.  Yesterday was a fete day, and the base of the
column and half its height are lost in a mass of flowers and
evergreens.  In front is erected an altar with a broad, carpeted
platform; and a strip of the platz before it is inclosed with a
railing, within which are praying-benches.  The sun shines down hot;
but there are several poor women kneeling there, with their baskets
beside them.  I happen along there at sundown; and there are a score
of women kneeling on the hard stones, outside the railing saying
their prayers in loud voices.  The mass of flowers is still sweet and
gay and fresh; a fountain with fantastic figures is flashing near by;
the crowd, going home to supper and beer, gives no heed to the
praying; the stolid droschke-drivers stand listlessly by.  At the
head of the square is an artillery station, and a row of cannon
frowns on it.  On one side is a house with a tablet in the wall,
recording the fact that Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden once lived in it.

When we came to Munich, the great annual fair was in progress; and
the large Maximilian Platz (not to be confounded with the street of
that name) was filled with booths of cheap merchandise, puppet-shows,
lottery shanties, and all sorts of popular amusements.  It was a fine
time to study peasant costumes.  The city was crowded with them on
Sunday; and let us not forget that the first visit of the peasants
was to the churches; they invariably attended early mass before they
set out upon the day's pleasure.  Most of the churches have services
at all hours till noon, some of them with fine classical and military
music.  One could not but be struck with the devotional manner of the
simple women, in their queer costumes, who walked into the gaudy
edifices, were absorbed in their prayers for an hour, and then went
away.  I suppose they did not know how odd they looked in their high,
round fur hats, or their fantastic old ornaments, nor that there was
anything amiss in bringing their big baskets into church with them.
At least, their simple, unconscious manner was better than that of
many of the city people, some of whom stare about a good deal, while
going through the service, and stop in the midst of crossings and
genuflections to take snuff and pass it to their neighbors.  But
there are always present simple and homelike sort of people, who

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