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

The English Caf‚ was not far off, and there the Hunns and others also
made night melodious.  The whole air was one throb and thrump.  The
only refuge from it was to go into one of the gardens, and give
yourself over to one band.  And so it was possible to have delightful
music, and see the honest Germans drink beer, and gossip in friendly
fellowship and with occasional hilarity.  But music we had, early and
late.  We expected quiet in our present quarters.  The first morning,
at six o'clock, we were startled by the resonant notes of a military
band, that set the echoes flying between the houses, and a regiment
of cavalry went clanking down the street.  But that is a not
unwelcome morning serenade and reveille.  Not so agreeable is the
young man next door, who gives hilarious concerts to his friends, and
sings and bangs his piano all day Sunday; nor the screaming young
woman opposite.  Yet it is something to be in an atmosphere of music.


This morning I was awakened early by the strains of a military band.
It was a clear, sparkling morning, the air full of life, and yet the
sun showing its warm, southern side.  As the mounted musicians went
by, the square was quite filled with the clang of drum and trumpet,
which became fainter and fainter, and at length was lost on the ear
beyond the Isar, but preserved the perfection of time and the
precision of execution for which the military bands of the city are
remarkable.  After the band came a brave array of officers in bright
uniform, upon horses that pranced and curveted in the sunshine; and
the regiment of cavalry followed, rank on rank of splendidly mounted
men, who ride as if born to the saddle.  The clatter of hoofs on the
pavement, the jangle of bit and saber, the occasional word of
command, the onward sweep of the well-trained cavalcade, continued
for a long time, as if the lovely morning had brought all the cavalry
in the city out of barracks.  But this is an almost daily sight in
Munich.  One regiment after another goes over the river to the
drill-ground.  In the hot mornings I used quite to pity the troopers
who rode away in the glare in scorching brazen helmets and
breastplates.  But only a portion of the regiments dress in that
absurd manner.  The most wear a simple uniform, and look very
soldierly.  The horses are almost invariably fine animals, and I have
not seen such riders in Europe.  Indeed, everybody in Munich who
rides at all rides well.  Either most of the horsemen have served in
the cavalry, or horsemanship, that noble art "to witch the world," is
in high repute here.

Speaking of soldiers, Munich is full of them.  There are huge caserns
in every part of the city, crowded with troops.  This little kingdom
of Bavaria has a hundred and twenty thousand troops of the line.
Every man is obliged to serve in the army continuously three years;
and every man between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five must go
with his regiment into camp or barrack several weeks in each year, no
matter if the harvest rots in the field, or the customers desert the
uncared-for shop.  The service takes three of the best years of a
young man's life.  Most of the soldiers in Munich are young one meets
hundreds of mere boys in the uniform of officers.  I think every
seventh man you meet is a soldier.  There must be between fifteen and
twenty thousand troops quartered in the city now.  The young officers
are everywhere, lounging in the cafes, smoking and sipping coffee, on
all the public promenades, in the gardens, the theaters, the
churches.  And most of them are fine-looking fellows, good figures in
elegantly fitting and tasteful uniforms; but they do like to show
their handsome forms and hear their sword-scabbards rattle on the
pavement as they stride by.  The beer-gardens are full of the common
soldiers, who empty no end of quart mugs in alternate pulls from the
same earthen jug, with the utmost jollity and good fellowship.  On
the street, salutes between officers and men are perpetual,
punctiliously given and returned,--the hand raised to the temple, and
held there for a second.  A young gallant, lounging down the
Theatiner or the Maximilian Strasse, in his shining and snug uniform,
white kids, and polished boots, with jangling spurs and the long
sword clanking on the walk, raising his hand ever and anon in
condescending salute to a lower in rank, or with affable grace to an
equal, is a sight worth beholding, and for which one cannot be too
grateful.  We have not all been created with the natural shape for
soldiers, but we have eyes given us that we may behold them.

Bavaria fought, you know, on the wrong side at Sadowa; but the result
of the war left her in confederation with Prussia.  The company is
getting to be very distasteful, for Austria is at present more
liberal than Prussia.  Under Prussia one must either be a soldier or
a slave, the democrats of Munich say.  Bavaria has the most liberal
constitution in Germany, except that of Wurtemberg, and the people
are jealous of any curtailment of liberty.  It seems odd that anybody
should look to the house of Hapsburg for liberality.  The attitude of
Prussia compels all the little states to keep up armies, which eat up
their substance, and burden the people with taxes.  This is the more
to be regretted now, when Bavaria is undergoing a peaceful
revolution, and throwing off the trammels of galling customs in other


The 1st of September saw go into complete effect the laws enacted in
1867, which have inaugurated the greatest changes in business and
social life, and mark an era in the progress of the people worthy of
fetes and commemorative bronzes.  We heard the other night at the
opera-house "William Tell" unmutilated.  For many years this liberty-
breathing opera was not permitted to be given in Bavaria, except with
all the life of it cut out.  It was first presented entire by order
of young King Ludwig, who, they say, was induced to command its
unmutilated reproduction at the solicitation of Richard Wagner, who
used to be, and very likely is now, a "Red," and was banished from
Saxony in 1848 for fighting on the people's side of a barricade in
Dresden.  It is the fashion to say of the young king, that he pays no
heed to the business of the kingdom.  You hear that the handsome boy
cares only for music and horseback exercise: he plays much on the
violin, and rides away into the forest attended by only one groom,
and is gone for days together.  He has composed an opera, which has
not yet been put on the stage.  People, when they speak of him, tap
their foreheads with one finger.  But I don't believe it.  The same
liberality that induced him, years ago, to restore "William Tell" to
the stage has characterized the government under him ever since.

Formerly no one could engage in any trade or business in Bavaria
without previous examination before, and permission from, a
magistrate.  If a boy wished to be a baker, for instance, he had
first to serve four years of apprenticeship.  If then he wished to
set up business for himself, he must get permission, after passing an
examination.  This permission could rarely be obtained; for the
magistrate usually decided that there were already as many bakers as
the town needed.  His only other resource was to buy out an existing
business, and this usually costs a good deal.  When he petitioned for
the privilege of starting a bakery, all the bakers protested.  And he
could not even buy out a stand, and carry it on, without strict
examination as to qualifications.  This was the case in every trade.
And to make matters worse, a master workman could not employ a
journeyman out of his shop; so that, if a journeyman could not get a
regular situation, he had no work.  Then there were endless
restrictions upon the manufacture and sale of articles: one person
could make only one article, or one portion of an article; one might
manufacture shoes for women, but not for men; he might make an
article in the shop and sell it, but could not sell it if any one
else made it outside, or vice versa.

Nearly all this mass of useless restriction on trades and business,
which palsied all effort in Bavaria, is removed.  Persons are free to
enter into any business they like.  The system of apprenticeship
continues, but so modified as not to be oppressive; and all trades
are left to regulate themselves by natural competition.  Already
Munich has felt the benefit of the removal of these restrictions,
which for nearly a year has been anticipated, in a growth of
population and increased business.

But the social change is still more important.  The restrictions upon
marriage were a serious injury to the state.  If Hans wished to
marry, and felt himself adequate to the burdens and responsibilities
of the double state, and the honest fraulein was quite willing to
undertake its trials and risks with him, it was not at all enough
that in the moonlighted beergarden, while the band played, and they
peeled the stinging radish, and ate the Switzer cheese, and drank
from one mug, she allowed his arm to steal around her stout waist.
All this love and fitness went for nothing in the eyes of the
magistrate, who referred the application for permission to marry to
his associate advisers, and they inquired into the applicant's
circumstances; and if, in their opinion, he was not worth enough
money to support a wife properly, permission was refused for him to
try.  The consequence was late marriages, and fewer than there ought
to be, and other ill results.  Now the matrimonial gates are lifted
high, and the young man has not to ask permission of any snuffy old
magistrate to marry.  I do not hear that the consent of the maidens
is more difficult to obtain than formerly.

No city of its size is more prolific of pictures than Munich.  I do
not know how all its artists manage to live, but many of them count
upon the American public.  I hear everywhere that the Americans like
this, and do not like that; and I am sorry to say that some artists,

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: