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List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
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German to drink of an evening, I do not know.  "I do not drink much
beer now," said a German acquaintance,--"not more than four or five
glasses in an evening."  This is indeed moderation, when we remember
that sixteen glasses of beer is only two gallons.  The orchestra
playing that night was Gungl's; and it performed, among other things,
the whole of the celebrated Third (or Scotch) Symphony of Mendelssohn
in a manner that would be greatly to the credit of orchestras that
play without the aid of either smoke or beer.  Concerts of this sort,
generally with more popular music and a considerable dash of Wagner,
in whom the Munichers believe, take place every night in several
cafes; while comic singing, some of it exceedingly well done, can be
heard in others.  Such amusements--and nothing can be more harmless
--are very cheap.

Speaking of Indian summer, the only approach to it I have seen was in
the hazy atmosphere at the West Ende Halle.  October outdoors has
been an almost totally disagreeable month, with the exception of some
days, or rather parts of days, when we have seen the sun, and
experienced a mild atmosphere.  At such times, I have liked to sit
down on one of the empty benches in the Hof Garden, where the leaves
already half cover the ground, and the dropping horse-chestnuts keep
up a pattering on them.  Soon the fat woman who has a fruit-stand at
the gate is sure to come waddling along, her beaming face making a
sort of illumination in the autumn scenery, and sit down near me.  As
soon as she comes, the little brown birds and the doves all fly that
way, and look up expectant at her.  They all know her, and expect the
usual supply of bread-crumbs.  Indeed, I have seen her on a still
Sunday morning, when I have been sitting there waiting for the
English ceremony of praying for Queen Victoria and Albert Edward to
begin in the Odeon, sit for an hour, and cut up bread for her little
brown flock.  She sits now knitting a red stocking, the picture of
content; one after another her old gossips pass that way, and stop a
moment to exchange the chat of the day; or the policeman has his joke
with her, and when there is nobody else to converse with, she talks
to the birds.  A benevolent old soul, I am sure, who in a New England
village would be universally called "Aunty," and would lay all the
rising generation under obligation to her for doughnuts and
sweet-cake.  As she rises to go away, she scrapes together a
half-dozen shining chestnuts with her feet; and as she cannot
possibly stoop to pick them up, she motions to a boy playing near,
and smiles so happily as the urchin gathers them and runs away
without even a "thank ye."


If that of which every German dreams, and so few are ready to take
any practical steps to attain,--German unity,--ever comes, it must
ride roughshod over the Romish clergy, for one thing.  Of course
there are other obstacles.  So long as beer is cheap, and songs of
the Fatherland are set to lilting strains, will these excellent
people "Ho, ho, my brothers," and "Hi, hi, my brothers," and wait for
fate, in the shape of some compelling Bismarck, to drive them into
anything more than the brotherhood of brown mugs of beer and Wagner's
mysterious music of the future.  I am not sure, by the way, that the
music of Richard Wagner is not highly typical of the present (1868)
state of German unity,--an undefined longing which nobody exactly
understands.  There are those who think they can discern in his music
the same revolutionary tendency which placed the composer on the
right side of a Dresden barricade in 1848, and who go so far as to
believe that the liberalism of the young King of Bavaria is not a
little due to his passion for the disorganizing operas of this
transcendental writer.  Indeed, I am not sure that any other people
than Germans would not find in the repetition of the five hours of
the "Meister-Singer von Nurnberg," which was given the other night at
the Hof Theater, sufficient reason for revolution.

Well, what I set out to say was, that most Germans would like unity
if they could be the unit.  Each State would like to be the center of
the consolidated system, and thus it happens that every practical
step toward political unity meets a host of opponents at once.  When
Austria, or rather the house of Hapsburg, had a preponderance in the
Diet, and it seemed, under it, possible to revive the past reality,
or to realize the dream of a great German empire, it was clearly seen
that Austria was a tyranny that would crush out all liberties.  And
now that Prussia, with its vital Protestantism and free schools,
proposes to undertake the reconstruction of Germany, and make a
nation where there are now only the fragmentary possibilities of a
great power, why, Prussia is a military despot, whose subjects must
be either soldiers or slaves, and the young emperor at Vienna is
indeed another Joseph, filled with the most tender solicitude for the
welfare of the chosen German people.

But to return to the clergy.  While the monasteries and nunneries are
going to the ground in superstition-saturated Spain; while eager
workmen are demolishing the last hiding-places of monkery, and
letting the daylight into places that have well kept the frightful
secrets of three hundred years, and turning the ancient cloister
demesne into public parks and pleasure-grounds,--the Romish
priesthood here, in free Bavaria, seem to imagine that they cannot
only resist the progress of events, but that they can actually bring
back the owlish twilight of the Middle Ages.  The reactionary party
in Bavaria has, in some of the provinces, a strong majority; and its
supporters and newspapers are belligerent and aggressive.  A few
words about the politics of Bavaria will give you a clew to the
general politics of the country.

The reader of the little newspapers here in Munich finds evidence of
at least three parties.  There is first the radical.  Its members
sincerely desire a united Germany, and, of course, are friendly to
Prussia, hate Napoleon, have little confidence in the Hapsburgs, like
to read of uneasiness in Paris, and hail any movement that overthrows
tradition and the prescriptive right of classes.  If its members are
Catholic, they are very mildly so; if they are Protestant, they are
not enough so to harm them; and, in short, if their religious
opinions are not as deep as a well, they are certainly broader than a
church door.  They are the party of free inquiry, liberal thought,
and progress.  Akin to them are what may be called the conservative
liberals, the majority of whom may be Catholics in profession, but
are most likely rationalists in fact; and with this party the king
naturally affiliates, taking his music devoutly every Sunday morning
in the Allerheiligenkirche, attached to the Residenz, and getting his
religion out of Wagner; for, progressive as the youthful king is, he
cannot be supposed to long for a unity which would wheel his throne
off into the limbo of phantoms.  The conservative liberals,
therefore, while laboring for thorough internal reforms, look with
little delight on the increasing strength of Prussia, and sympathize
with the present liberal tendencies of Austria.  Opposed to both
these parties is the ultramontane, the head of which is the Romish
hierarchy, and the body of which is the inert mass of ignorant
peasantry, over whom the influence of the clergy seems little shaken
by any of the modern moral earthquakes.  Indeed I doubt if any new
ideas will ever penetrate a class of peasants who still adhere to
styles of costume that must have been ancient when the Turks
threatened Vienna, which would be highly picturesque if they were not
painfully ugly, and arrayed in which their possessors walk about in
the broad light of these latter days, with entire unconsciousness
that they do not belong to this age, and that their appearance is as
much of an anachronism as if the figures should step out of Holbein's
pictures (which Heaven forbid), or the stone images come down from
the portals of the cathedral and walk about.  The ultramontane party,
which, so far as it is an intelligent force in modern affairs, is the
Romish clergy, and nothing more, hears with aversion any hint of
German unity, listens with dread to the needle-guns at Sadowa, hates
Prussia in proportion as it fears her, and just now does not draw
either with the Austrian Government, whose liberal tendencies are
exceedingly distasteful.  It relies upon that great unenlightened
mass of Catholic people in Southern Germany and in Austria proper,
one of whose sins is certainly not skepticism.  The practical fight
now in Bavaria is on the question of education; the priests being
resolved to keep the schools of the people in their own control, and
the liberal parties seeking to widen educational facilities and admit
laymen to a share in the management of institutions of learning.  Now
the school visitors must all be ecclesiastics; and although their
power is not to be dreaded in the cities, where teachers, like other
citizens, are apt to be liberal, it gives them immense power in the
rural districts.  The election of the Lower House of the Bavarian
parliament, whose members have a six years' tenure of office, which
takes place next spring, excites uncommon interest; for the leading
issue will be that of education.  The little local newspapers--and
every city has a small swarm of them, which are remarkable for the
absence of news and an abundance of advertisements--have broken out
into a style of personal controversy, which, to put it mildly, makes
me, an American, feel quite at home.  Both parties are very much in
earnest, and both speak with a freedom that is, in itself, a very
hopeful sign.

The pretensions of the ultramontane clergy are, indeed, remarkable
enough to attract the attention of others besides the liberals of
Bavaria.  They assume an influence and an importance in the
ecclesiastical profession, or rather an authority, equal to that ever
asserted by the Church in its strongest days.  Perhaps you will get

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