Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

and small, of nearly every sort, I should think, in Bavarian waters.
The show in the fire-department was so antiquated, that I was
convinced that the people of Munich never intend to have any fires.

The great day of the fete was Sunday, October 5 for on that day the
king went out to the fair-ground, and distributed the prizes to the
owners of the best horses, and, as they appeared to me, of the most
ugly-colored bulls.  The city was literally crowded with peasants and
country people; the churches were full all the morning with devout
masses, which poured into the waiting beer-houses afterward with
equal zeal.  By twelve o'clock, the city began to empty itself upon
the Theresien meadow; and long before the time for the king to arrive
--two o'clock--there were acres of people waiting for the performance
to begin.  The terraced bank, of which I have spoken, was taken
possession of early, and held by a solid mass of people; while the
fair-ground proper was packed with a swaying concourse, densest near
the royal pavilion, which was erected immediately on the race-course,
and opposite the bank.

At one o'clock the grand stand opposite to the royal one is taken
possession of by a regiment band and by invited guests.  All the
space, except the race-course, is, by this time, packed with people,
who watch the red and white gate at the head of the course with
growing impatience.  It opens to let in a regiment of infantry, which
marches in and takes position.  It swings, every now and then, for a
solitary horseman, who gallops down the line in all the pride of
mounted civic dignity, to the disgust of the crowd; or to let in a
carriage, with some overdressed officer or splendid minister, who is
entitled to a place in the royal pavilion.  It is a people' fete, and
the civic officers enjoy one day of conspicuous glory.  Now a
majestic person in gold lace is set down; and now one in a scarlet
coat, as beautiful as a flamingo.  These driblets of splendor only
feed the popular impatience.  Music is heard in the distance, and a
procession with colored banners is seen approaching from the city.
That, like everything else that is to come, stops beyond the closed
gate; and there it halts, ready to stream down before our eyes in a
variegated pageant.  The time goes on; the crowd gets denser, for
there have been steady rivers of people pouring into the grounds for
more than an hour.

The military bands play in the long interval; the peasants jabber in
unintelligible dialects; the high functionaries on the royal stand
are good enough to move around, and let us see how brave and majestic
they are.

At last the firing of cannon announces the coming of royalty.  There
is a commotion in the vast crowd yonder, the eagerly watched gates
swing wide, and a well-mounted company of cavalry dashes down the
turf, in uniforms of light blue and gold.  It is a citizens' company
of butchers and bakers and candlestick-makers, which would do no
discredit to the regular army.  Driving close after is a four-horse
carriage with two of the king's ministers; and then, at a rapid pace,
six coal-black horses in silver harness, with mounted postilions,
drawing a long, slender, open carriage with one seat, in which ride
the king and his brother, Prince Otto, come down the way, and are
pulled up in front of the pavilion; while the cannon roars, the big
bells ring, all the flags of Bavaria, Prussia, and Austria, on
innumerable poles, are blowing straight out, the band plays "God save
the King," the people break into enthusiastic shouting, and the young
king, throwing off his cloak, rises and stands in his carriage for a
moment, bowing right and left before he descends.  He wears to-day
the simple uniform of the citizens' company which has escorted him,
and is consequently more plainly and neatly dressed than any one else
on the platform,--a tall (say six feet), slender, gallant-looking
young fellow of three and twenty, with an open face and a graceful
manner.

But, when he has arrived, things again come to a stand; and we wait
for an hour, and watch the thickening of the clouds, while the king
goes from this to that delighted dignitary on the stand and
converses.  At the end of this time, there is a movement.  A white
dog has got into the course, and runs up and down between the walls
of people in terror, headed off by soldiers at either side of the
grand stand, and finally, becoming desperate, he makes a dive for the
royal pavilion.  The consternation is extreme.  The people cheer the
dog and laugh: a white-handed official, in gold lace, and without his
hat, rushes out to "shoo" the dog away, but is unsuccessful; for the
animal dashes between his legs, and approaches the royal and carpeted
steps.  More men of rank run at him, and he is finally captured and
borne away; and we all breathe freer that the danger to royalty is
averted.  At one o'clock six youths in white jackets, with clubs and
coils of rope, had stationed themselves by the pavilion, but they did
not go into action at this juncture; and I thought they rather
enjoyed the activity of the great men who kept off the dog.

At length there was another stir; and the king descended from the
rear of his pavilion, attended by his ministers, and moved about
among the people, who made way for him, and uncovered at his
approach.  He spoke with one and another, and strolled about as his
fancy took him.  I suppose this is called mingling with the common
people.  After he had mingled about fifteen minutes, he returned, and
took his place on the steps in front of the pavilion; and the
distribution of prizes began.  First the horses were led out; and
their owners, approaching the king, received from his hands the
diplomas, and a flag from an attendant.  Most of them were peasants;
and they exhibited no servility in receiving their marks of
distinction, but bowed to the king as they would to any other man,
and his majesty touched his cocked hat in return.  Then came the
prize-cattle, many of them led by women, who are as interested as
their husbands in all farm matters.  Everything goes off smoothly,
except there is a momentary panic over a fractious bull, who plunges
into the crowd; but the six white jackets are about him in an
instant, and entangle him with their ropes.

This over, the gates again open, and the gay cavalcade that has been
so long in sight approaches.  First a band of musicians in costumes
of the Middle Ages; and then a band of pages in the gayest apparel,
bearing pictured banners and flags of all colors, whose silken luster
would have been gorgeous in sunshine; these were followed by mounted
heralds with trumpets, and after them were led the running horses
entered for the race.  The banners go up on the royal stand, and
group themselves picturesquely; the heralds disappear at the other
end of the list; and almost immediately the horses, ridden by young
jockeys in stunning colors, come flying past in a general scramble.
There are a dozen or more horses; but, after the first round, the
race lies between two.  The course is considerably over an English
mile, and they make four circuits; so that the race is fully six-
miles,--a very hard one.  It was a run in a rain, however, which
began when it did, and soon forced up the umbrellas.  The vast crowd
disappeared under a shed of umbrellas, of all colors,--black, green,
red, blue; and the effect was very singular, especially when it moved
from the field: there was then a Niagara of umbrellas.  The race was
soon over: it is only a peasants' race, after all; the aristocratic
races of the best horses take place in May.  It was over.  The king's
carriage was brought round, the people again shouted, the cannon
roared, the six black horses reared and plunged, and away he went.

After all, says the artist, "the King of Bavaria has not much power."

"You can see," returns a gentleman who speaks English, "just how much
he has: it is a six-horse power."

On other days there was horse-trotting, music production, and for
several days prize-shooting.  The latter was admirably conducted: the
targets were placed at the foot of the bank; and opposite, I should
think not more than two hundred yards off, were shooting-houses, each
with a room for the register of the shots, and on each side of him
closets where the shooters stand.  Signal-wires run from these houses
to the targets, where there are attendants who telegraph the effect
of every shot.  Each competitor has a little book; and he shoots at
any booth he pleases, or at all, and has his shots registered.  There
was a continual fusillade for a couple of days; but what it all came
to, I cannot tell.  I can only say, that, if they shoot as steadily
as they drink beer, there is no other corps of shooters that can
stand before them.




INDIAN SUMMER

We are all quiet along the Isar since the October Fest; since the
young king has come back from his summer castle on the Starnberg See
to live in his dingy palace; since the opera has got into good
working order, and the regular indoor concerts at the cafes have
begun.  There is no lack of amusements, with balls, theaters, and the
cheap concerts, vocal and instrumental.  I stepped into the West Ende
Halle the other night, having first surrendered twelve kreuzers to
the money-changer at the entrance,--double the usual fee, by the way.
It was large and well lighted, with a gallery all round it and an
orchestral platform at one end.  The floor and gallery were filled
with people of the most respectable class, who sat about little round
tables, and drank beer.  Every man was smoking a cigar; and the
atmosphere was of that degree of haziness that we associate with
Indian summer at home; so that through it the people in the gallery
appeared like glorified objects in a heathen Pantheon, and the
orchestra like men playing in a dream.  Yet nobody seemed to mind it;
and there was, indeed, a general air of social enjoyment and good
feeling.  Whether this good feeling was in process of being produced
by the twelve or twenty glasses of beer which it is not unusual for a

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com