In and Around Berlin
by Minerva Brace Norton
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

* * * * *

- Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected in this text. For a complete list, please see the end of this document. -

* * * * *








To my Countrymen and Countrywomen





I Dedicate this Book.



















It was seven o'clock of a gray November morning when we arrived in Berlin for our first residence abroad. The approach to the city reminded us of the newer parts of New York, and we found that the population was about the same. But here the resemblance ceases. New York is the metropolis of a great nation,—the heart whence arterial supplies go forth, and to which all returning channels converge; the cosmopolitan centre of a New World. Berlin is the increasingly important capital of the German Empire,—growing rapidly, but still the royal impersonation of Prussia and the Hohenzollerns; seated in something of mediaeval costume and quiet beside the river Spree; as content to cast a satisfied glance backward to Frederick the Great and the Electors of Brandenburg as to look forward to imperial supremacy among the Great Powers, and the championship of continental Protestant Europe.

There is one continuous thread woven through the old history and the new, and this appeared in the first hour of our stay. Everywhere on the streets the one thing most strange to our American eyes was the number of striking military uniforms mingled with the more sober garb of civilians. Officers of fine form and gentlemanly bearing, in uniforms of dark blue with scarlet trimmings and long, dragging, rattling swords, were commanding the evolutions of infantry in the main streets; while frequent glimpses of gold-laced light blue or scarlet jackets or of plumed and helmeted hussars animated the scene on the crowded sidewalks. Germany is, as it has been from the beginning, a military power.

We drove first to the home of an American friend. We were not prepared for the four long flights of stairs up which we were directed by the porter on the ground floor. "What reverses of fortune have come to A.," thought we, "that she lives in an attic!" The tenement was a good one, to be sure, when we found it,—large and lofty apartments with many windows, commanding a fine view. But to one unused to many stairs, and weakened by continuous illness in a long sea-voyage, the exhaustion of that first ascent was something to be remembered. It was, however, but the precursor of hundreds of similar feats, which our residence involved, as nearly all families live up several flights of stairs. Only once did we see an elevator in Germany. In the elegant hotel known as the Kaiserhof, the sojourning-place of princes, diplomatists, and statesmen, we took our seats in a commodious elevator, rejoiced at the thought of such an American way of getting upstairs. It was fully five minutes before we reached the moderate elevation of the corridor on which our rooms opened; the liveried and intelligent official in charge, evidently a personage of importance, meanwhile replying to our queries and enjoying our evident surprise at the slow motion, until we forgot our annoyance in the interest of the conversation which ensued before we reached our destination. Once I was toiling up the four flights which led to the residence of a cultivated German lady, in company with the hostess. "Oh," I said breathlessly, "would there were elevators in Germany!"

"Yes," courteously responded the lady; adding, with a resigned sigh, the conclusive words which indicated contentment with her lot, "but it is not ze custom."

It was late in the season, and our lodgings were not engaged in advance. Americans in increasing numbers make Berlin a winter residence, and by October the most desirable pensions generally have their rooms engaged. By the kind offices of our friend, our famishing party were provided with the rolls and coffee which compose the continental breakfast, and a fortunate entrance was, after much seeking, obtained for us to a most desirable boarding-house. Our own apartment was a large corner room, with immense windows looking north and east, and, like nearly all rooms in Berlin houses, connected by double doors with the apartments on either side. A fire was built before we took possession, but it was two days before we ceased to shiver. We looked for the stove of which we had heard. More than one of the five senses were called into requisition to determine which article of furniture was entitled to that designation. Across one corner of the room stood a tall white monument composed of glazed tiles laid in mortar, built into the room as a chimney might have been, with a hidden flue in the rear connecting it with the wall. A drab cornice and plaster ornaments of the same color set off the four or five feet above the mantel which surrounded it, and a brass door, about ten inches by twelve, was in the middle front of the part below. On the mantel were disposed sundry ornaments, including vases of dried grasses, and the hand could always be held upon the tiles against which they stood. In a small fireplace within this unique mass of tiles and mortar, the housemaid would place a dozen pieces of coal-cake once or at most twice a day, and after allowing a few minutes for the kindling to set it aglow, would close and lock the triple door, and the fire was made for twenty-four hours. In two or three hours after the lighting of the fire, the temperature of the room, if other conditions were favorable, might be slightly raised. To raise it five to ten degrees would require from six to ten hours.

In response to our request to the landlady for an addition of cold meat or steak to the coffee and rolls of the breakfast, and for more warmth in the room, accompanied by an expression of willingness to make additional payment for the same, the reply, given in a courteous manner, was that Americans lived in rooms much too warm, and ate too much meat, and that it would be for their health in Germany to conform to the German customs. However, some spasmodic efforts were made, for a season, to comply with the requests, which before long were wholly discontinued; and the strangers learned the wisdom of accommodating themselves "in Rome" to the ways of the Romans. This, however, was not accomplished without continued suffering. The meagre "first breakfast," served about half-past eight o'clock, was supplemented by a "second breakfast" of a cup of chocolate or beef tea, at about eleven, to those who were then in the house and made known their desire for it. But the days were short. Berlin is about six hundred miles nearer the north pole than New York, in the latitude of Labrador and the southern part of Hudson's Bay. The climate is milder only because the Gulf Stream kindly sends its warmth over all Europe, which lies in much higher latitudes than we are wont to think. Consequently the days in winter are much shorter than ours, as in summer they are longer. All the mid-winter daylight of Berlin is between the hours of eight A.M. and four P.M. With dinner at two o'clock, from which we rose about three, there was too little light remaining for visits to museums and other places of interest, so that the chief sightseeing of the day must be put into the hours between nine and two o'clock, often far from residence or restaurants; so the work of the day must be done on insufficient food, and the prevailing physical sensation was that of being an animated empty cask. We thus reached a settled conviction that however well the continental breakfast may serve the needs of Germans, with their slow ways of working, and their heavy suppers of sausage, black bread, and beer, late at night, an American home for Americans temporarily in Berlin is a consummation much to be wished.

It is almost with a feeling of despair that many a woman first unpacks her trunk in the Berlin apartment which, according to general custom, is to serve her for sleeping-room, breakfast-room, study, and reception-room. In a lengthened sojourn, in hotels, pensions, and private residences, I never saw a closet opening from such an apartment. Indeed, there were, in the houses I visited, no closets of any kind; unless an unlighted, unventilated cubic space in the middle of the house or near the kitchen—the upper half often devoted to sleeping room for domestics, and the lower to a general rendezvous of odds and ends—might be dignified with that name. A statement which I once ventured in conversation, as to the closets opening from nearly every room of an American house, was received with a look of incredulity and wonder. Neither did I see a real bureau in Berlin. A poor substitute was a portable piece of furniture, often quite ornamental, which opened by doors, exposing all the shelves whenever an article on any one of them was wanted. Here must be kept bonnets, hats, gloves, ribbons, laces, underwear, and all the thousand accumulations of the toilet; while a cramped "wardrobe" was the receptacle of shoes, cloaks, and dresses, hung perhaps three or four or five deep on the half-dozen wooden pegs within. Bathrooms were the rare exceptions. As a rule, bathing must be done with a sponge and cold water, in one's private apartment, where are no faucets, drains, or set bowls, but the ordinary wash-bowl, pitcher, and jar. Evidently German civilization does not rate the bath very high among the comforts of life.

An essential part of the furniture in the kind of apartment I am describing, is a screen to stand before each bed and wash-stand. The beds are invariably single, two or more being placed in a room when needed, the screens, by day, transforming the room into a parlor. There are no carpets. On the oiled or painted wooden floors rugs are placed before the beds, before the sofa, and under the table which always stands before it. One luxury is seldom wanting,—a good writing-desk, with pens and ink ready for use. It is no trouble to a German hostess to increase or diminish the number of beds in a room, the narrow bedsteads being carried with ease through the double doors, from room to room, as convenience requires.

Pictures are on the walls,—not often remarkable as works of art, but most frequently stimulants to love of country,—portraits of the Kaiser and the Crown Prince, and battle scenes in which glory is reflected on the Prussian arms. Every window is double; the two outer vertical halves opening on hinges outward, and the inner opening in the same manner into the room. Graceful lace drapery is the rule, over plain cotton hangings or Venetian blinds.

The arrangement of the bedding is peculiar. Over a set of wire springs is laid the mattress, in a closely fitting white case, buttoned, tied, or laced together at one end. This case takes the place of an under sheet. The feather pillow is in a plain slip of white cotton, similarly fastened. Over the whole a blanket or comfortable is laid, securely enfolded in another white case, which also serves instead of an upper sheet. Over this is the feather bed, usually encased in colored print, sometimes of bright colors. Under this one always sleeps. Over the bed, from low head-board to foot-board, is stretched by day the uppermost covering. Ours was of maroon cotton flannel, bordered in front by a flounce intended to be ornamental. The custom is to furnish clean cases and pillow-slips once a month, and it is difficult to secure more frequent changes of bed-linen.

Ventilation is something of which the Germans are particularly afraid. The impure air of schools, halls, churches, and other places of assemblage is dreadful, and a draught is regarded as the messenger of death. When our landlady found that we were in the habit of sleeping with our windows open, most emphatic remonstrance was made, with the assurance that this would never do in Berlin. However, like the drinking of water, against which also warnings are customary, the breathing of fresh air was to us followed by no harmful results.

These differences in habits and customs of household life, like the sounds of a strange language, affect the traveller unpleasantly at first. But differences in national customs are natural and inevitable, and one gradually becomes accustomed to them, and enabled to live a happy life in spite of them, as appreciation grows when acquaintance has made one familiar with many interesting and excellent aspects of existence here.



Holidays and birthdays are more scrupulously and formally observed in Germany than with us. There are cakes and lighted candles and flowers for the one whose birthday makes him for the time the most important personage in the family, and who sits in holiday dress in the reception-room, to receive the calls and congratulations of friends. Those who cannot call send letters and presents, which are displayed, with those received from the family, on a table devoted to the purpose; and the array is often quite extensive. The presents are seldom extravagant, consisting largely of the ornamental handiwork of friends and of useful articles of clothing for common use.

A genuine German family festival on Christmas eve is a pleasant thing to see. We accepted with pleasure the invitation of Frau B—— and her family, to be present at theirs. In a large salon adjoining that where the table was laid for supper, was another long table spread with a white cloth. Toward the farther end of the table stood a tall Christmas-tree, decked with various simple ornaments; and the candles on it were lighted with a little ceremony, the chubby granddaughter of three years pointing her bare arm and uplifted forefinger to the tree, and reciting a short poem appropriate to the occasion, as we entered the room, about half-past seven o'clock. Then the beautiful and winning child found her toys, her lovely wax doll and its cradle, and another doll of rubber, small and homely, on which, after the fashion of little mothers, she imprinted her most affectionate kisses. Suddenly the room was radiant with a contagious happiness. "The little Fraeulein," daughter of the hostess, just engaged by cable to a gentleman in America, had found his picture, wreathed with fresh and fragrant rosebuds, among her presents; and the smiles and blushes chased each other over her face, as the engagement was thus announced by her mother to the assembled guests. She answered her congratulations by more blushes and smiles, laying her hand on her heart, and saying with true German frankness, "Oh, I am so happy!" No presents hung on the tree, but those intended for each person were in a group beside a plate of cakes and bonbons, with a card bearing the name. Each of the company found his own, delicately assisted by the hostess and her daughters. Then the servants were called in, to find their presents on side tables, to receive and express good wishes and thanks, and to join in the general joy of the household over the engagement. After supper in the dining-room, we talked awhile, there was music from the piano, then the married daughter and her family withdrew with kind "good-nights;" and before a late hour all the other guests had done the same, not, however, until the national airs of America and of Scotland had been sung by all present, in honor of the guests from these countries.

Private hospitality is kind and open, but so far as our observation went, conducted within certain specified limits seldom overstepped. Order of precedence is carefully observed, and more honor is shown to age than with us. The best seat in the drawing-room is the sofa. A single guest would never be offered any other place, and among a number the eldest or the most honored would be invariably conducted there. Hence no one would venture to take this place of honor uninvited. Sometimes one is secretly glad of not being invited to crowd behind the table which usually stands, covered with a spread, inconveniently close before the sofa, and of having instead a chair, with a better support for the back.

One is expected to bow to the hostess and to each guest on coming to the table, and also on leaving it. Odd as this seems at first, it soon becomes a habit rather pleasant than burdensome, and one grows insensibly to admire the outward politeness of this German custom. Greetings and farewells are more ceremonious, even between intimate friends, than with us; and to omit a ceremonious leave-taking or to substitute a light bow and "good day" would not make a pleasant impression on a German hostess. Americans, especially young ladies, are much criticised for their independence and lack of courtesy. A German friend told me that a young American lady who had formerly been an inmate of her family called to bid her good-by before leaving Berlin. "I was amazed," she said, "at such politeness." It is not alone in matters of courtesy that young American ladies shock the Germans. Though a young lady has more freedom in Germany than in France and Italy, she is expected to conform carefully to the custom of going out in the evening or travelling only in company with a relative if a gentleman, or with an older lady. It is true that American girls are forgiven some liberties which no German girl would think of taking, on the ground of American customs; and a careful, well-bred young lady, from our side the water will seldom fall into serious trouble if she observes the rule of not going out unattended. But young ladies from America in Europe hold largely the honor of their country in their hands, and they ought to recognize this responsibility.

German politeness has also a reverse side. Perhaps the general absence of higher education among German women leaves them an especial prey to idle curiosity and gossip. Not only is one questioned freely as to the cost of any article of dress by comparative strangers, but questions as to one's family and private affairs are common, almost customary. Conversation which does not turn upon such things, or on others equally trivial and irrelevant, is the exception. The recital on their part, however, of personal and family history has a charming good-nature and simplicity, and often a touch of the homely and pathetic, which reach the heart of the listener. There were few tables where the conversation was not too loud for our comfort. No one seemed particularly to care for quiet talk with his neighbor, but the conversation at a long table was a rattling sharpshooting or a heavy cannonade from one end to the other, mingled with hearty laughter, while "Attic salt" was sparing. Table-manners, even among otherwise charming people, were often shocking to the taste of Americans. What we should call the first principles of good-breeding were freely contravened. The nicety and daintiness which in some favored American and English homes make of the family board a visible and tangible poem, were very rare in our German experience. And yet there are charming German tables and well-bred German ladies and gentlemen. One custom which we have been taught to regard as vulgar and profane is that of constantly using the names of the Deity by way of exclamation and emphasis in the most ordinary conversation. Being on sufficiently intimate terms with a German lady, we one day ventured to inquire deprecatingly about this habit. "Everybody does it," was her candid reply; and this was the only reason we ever heard.

"George Eliot" long ago complained of the inconvenience of perambulating Berlin streets, where you are pushed off the sidewalks and are in constant danger of involuntary surgical experience through contact with the military swords that clank and clatter in the crowd. There is still room for improvement in this respect. The owners of sabres often seem to take it for granted that the right of way belongs first of all to them and their weapons, and if any one is thus inconvenienced that is the business of the unlucky party. The streets and sidewalks are much wider and less crowded than those in Boston; but a collision on a Boston sidewalk is rare, while a half-dozen rude ones in an hour is a daily expectation in Berlin. A Berlin pedestrian "to the manner born," in blind momentum and disregard of all obstacles, has no equal in our experience.

It was told me that if you are run over by the swiftly driven horses in the streets, you must pay a fine for obstructing the way. Remembering that many regulations are relics of the times when laws were made for the good of the aristocracy who ride, and not for the vulgar crowd who walk, we did not try the experiment. Mounted policemen are to be seen, like equestrian statues, at the intersection of the more crowded thoroughfares, as Unter den Linden and Friedrich Strasse, and with a little care there is seldom need of delay in crossing. I heard of one poor cab-driver who was fined and cast into prison for injuring a lady who suddenly changed her mind and took a new tack while just in front of his horses. Regard for foot-passengers seems thus to have an existence in some cases.

Regard for women is not a thing to which German men are trained. A gentleman may not carry a small parcel through the street, but his delicate wife may take a heavier one to save the disgrace of her husband's bearing it. Among the middle classes, those couples who go out for a walk with the baby-carriage invariably regard the management of it as the wife's privilege, leaving to the father the custody of his pipe or cigar alone. If the baby is to be carried in arms, it is always the wife, not the husband, who bears the burden. Women in the humbler classes wear no bonnets in the street, although sometimes in cold weather they tie a little shawl or a handkerchief about the head. Their usual habit is, however, to go out in all weathers with the head as unprotected as the face, even for long distances. A maid follows her mistress to market, with a basket on her arm, often covered with an embroidered cloth, in which are placed the purchases of the careful housemother.

A huckster is frequently accompanied by a dog, both being harnessed to the little cart which holds the wares. Often the man will be free, while the woman and the dog side by side drag the cart to which they are tied, the woman usually knitting even when the air is cold enough to benumb her fingers. Women knit constantly in the streets about their other work, whether bowed down under huge bundles of fagots on their backs, serving milk at the houses, or doing many other things with which we should regard knitting as incompatible.

The best society is like the court, in being exclusive. It is difficult for strangers, in Germany as in America, easily to obtain desirable acquaintance, except by means of letters of introduction, and the friendship which comes with time and natural selection. Glimpses of home-life in cultivated circles are accordingly to be highly valued.

One delightful visit with supper, to which we were invited, began about six o'clock. That we might have more in common, the hostess, who herself spoke English with much intelligence, had invited a German lady who had resided in Boston to meet us. We were seated on the sofa and shown some of the many art treasures in the way of fine engravings which the home contained, the fancy-work of our hostess—a German lady seems never to be without it—lying neglected as the conversation rose in interest. Supper was served between eight and nine o'clock, at a round table accommodating the hostess and her three guests. Delicious tea, made from a burnished brass teakettle over an alcohol lamp on a stand beside the hostess, with white and black bread, five kinds of sausage, cold meat, and pickled fish, composed the first course. There was a second, composed of little cakes and apples.

Dinner, in our experience, was almost invariably good. First course, always soup and bread. Second, unless fish were served, some kind of meat, a variety of vegetables, among which green beans, spinach, and varieties of cabbage delicately cooked were prominent. This course was usually accompanied by cooked or preserved fruit. Third course, various puddings and cakes, all good, some delicious; never any pie. The luxury of dessert was sometimes omitted. It is not common in German families, except those frequented by American guests. Radishes and cheese form an extra course at some suppers. In hotels, of course, the simple family dinner of three or four courses is replaced by a more elaborate feast of many courses.

The anniversaries of the death of friends are remembered by dressing in black, burning candles before their portraits, and visiting their graves. There is also one day in spring which is celebrated as a kind of combination of All Saints Day and Decoration Day, when every one visits the cemeteries, leaving flowers and wreaths in memory of the loved and lost. Funeral services are held, both at the homes and in the churches, and are often accompanied by very impressive and majestic music. In at least one of the cemeteries there is a large and scientifically arranged crematory. A recent judicial decision, however, forbids cremation within the municipal jurisdiction.

Sundays, as is well known, are not observed in Germany as in England and Scotland. But in the parts of Berlin which we were accustomed to see on that day, including two miles or more between our residence and the central part of the city, the general sobriety and orderly appearance would compare favorably with that in the better parts of many American cities. We were asked on our first Sunday at the dinner-table if we would like to have seats secured for us at the opera that evening. Operatic performances and concerts are among the better entertainments offered on Sunday evenings. The laws are strict, however, regarding quiet in the streets and the closing of places of business until after Sunday morning service in the churches. In the finest residence portions of some American cities we have been frequently disturbed by the street-cries of hucksters during divine service on Sunday mornings, while the ear-piercing shouts of newspaper venders disturb all the peace of the early morning hours. Dime museums and other places flaunt their attractions in the faces of the crowd who gather at their doors, and many places of business seem to be always open. It was not our experience to see or hear anything like this in Germany. Even the law of despotic power is better than none at all,—often far better than enlightened law not enforced. Policemen in the streets of Berlin make short work with the luckless tradesman who leaves his blinds or doors open on Sunday before two o'clock P.M. Of course restaurants and places of food supply are open. To all outward appearance Berlin was a fairly well-ordered city on Sundays. One in search of evil, however, could doubtless find it, here as elsewhere.

Sunday afternoon is a favorite time for calls and family visits; and in the pleasant weather the genuine love for out-door life, which seems dormant in winter, blossoms out luxuriantly. Parents take their whole families to the numerous gardens in the suburbs for picnics on Sundays and the frequent holidays. Sunday hours at home are spent by most German ladies with the inevitable crochet-work or knitting,—even the most devout seeing no harm in this, nor in their little Sunday evening parties, with games and music.

One day in the year—Good Friday—is observed as scrupulously as was ever a Puritan Sunday. The organic Protestant Church of Germany—a union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches,—has small affiliation with the Church of Rome; but some observances which we have been accustomed to associate with so-called Catholicism have lingered with Protestantism in Germany. Good Friday was a solemn day in the family where we had our home. Bach's music, brought to light after a hundred years of deep obscurity by Felix Mendelssohn, and rendered, though at first with much opposition from musicians of the old school, in the Sing Akademie of Berlin, now lends every year, on the eve of Good Friday, its incomparable Passion-Musik to the devotion of the occasion. "There are many things I must miss," said a cultivated German to me, "but the Passion-Musik on the eve of Good Friday,—never! It makes me better. I cannot do without it." We found this music, at the time of which we speak, an occasion to be ever memorable for its wonderful power and pathos. The next morning we did not attend the service in the cathedral, where we wished to go, knowing that the crowd would be too great for comfort. On returning to our room from another service, a beautiful arrangement of cut flowers on the table greeted our senses as we opened the door. It was the thoughtful, affectionate, and devout offering of our hostess in reverent memory of the day. After dinner we entered the private parlor of the family for a friendly call and to express our thanks. No suggestion of knitting or fancy-work was to be seen. The hostess and her daughters, soberly dressed, were reading devotional books. "Do you not go out this afternoon?" I inquired. "No, one cannot go out," was the reply, indicating probably both lack of disposition and of places open for entertainment. Later, I ventured out for a walk. Only here and there could a team be seen, and the throng of pedestrians usually on the sidewalks in a bright spring afternoon seemed to have deserted the busy streets, in which comparative silence reigned.

"I am glad there is here one sabbath in the year," was our inward comment, "even though it falls on a Friday." Easter was a day of gladness in the churches, though elaborate adornments of flowers and new spring bonnets were not so prominent as in American cities. The respectable church communicant, even if he goes to church on no other day in the year, usually takes the communion at Easter.

Easter Monday was one great gala-day. All Berlin seemed to be in the streets in holiday attire; and, to our eyes, no other day ever showed such universal gladness reflected in the faces and demeanor of the people. "Prayer Day," answering somewhat to the original New England Fast Day, was solemnly observed in May; and the holidays of Whitsuntide dress every house and market-stall and milk-cart with green boughs, and crowd the railways and the steamers with throngs of pleasure-seekers.

The few weeks before Easter is a favorite season for weddings, and these are invariably celebrated in church. Even people in moderate circumstances make much display at the church ceremony, with or without an additional celebration at home. We were invited to one at the Garrison Church, which the soldiers attend, and where most of the pews on the main floor are held by officers and their families. We entered the church fifteen minutes before the hour appointed,—four o'clock. An elderly usher in a fine suit, with swallow-tail coat and a decoration on his breast, politely gave us liberty to choose our seats, as the invitations were not numerous and the church is large. A few persons, mostly ladies, were there before us, and had already taken the best seats,—those running lengthwise of the church, and facing a wide central aisle. We joined them, and while waiting felt more at liberty to inspect the church than at the service on a previous Sunday. The Grecian interior was undecorated, except that a mass of green filled the space to the right and left of the altar, beginning on each side with tall oleanders succeeded by laurels and other evergreens, growing gradually less in height, until they reached the pews in the side aisles. A rich altar-cloth of purple velvet, embroidered with gold, fell below the crucifix and the massive candles on either side, which are always seen in the Lutheran churches; and in the aisle below the chancel stood a square altar, covered with another spread of purple velvet, heavy with gold fringe and embroidery. Two chairs were side by side just in front of the high altar, and facing it. Six chairs facing the audience were on the platform on each side of the altar, directly in front of the mass of green I have described. Below the steps to the chancel about twenty chairs were placed on each side of the central aisle, and facing the altar. In each chair was a printed slip containing a hymn to be sung after the ceremony. About four o'clock a maid came in with the little granddaughter who on Christmas eve had spoken the poem at the lighting of the family Christmas-tree. When they were seated, the handsome little face, with its white bonnet and cloak, was seen in a side pew very near the altar. It seemed so like a dream,—the announcement of the engagement of "the little Fraeulein" at that Christmas party; and now the time has come when the bride is to belong to her mother and her home no more!

Ladies had long ceased looking impatiently at their watches, and were perhaps busy with their thoughts, as I was, when from the "mittel" door Court-preacher Frommel entered, his long white hair thrown back, and crossed through the transverse aisle to the robing-room opposite. Soon a signal given by an usher to the organist was the prelude to solemn music, which filled the church; and a stout clerical assistant, with a book under his arm, appeared at the rear door. Then Pastor Frommel, in his black robe and simple white muslin bands, took his place before the high altar and bowed in prayer, the two immense candles in tall candlesticks on either side the altar, now lighted, throwing their radiance on his silver hair. Meantime the bridal procession slowly moved down the side aisle toward the middle of the church, turned at the transverse aisle, crossed to the centre, turned again, now toward the altar, passing to it up the central aisle. The clerical personage with the service-book under his arm passed first. Then came the bride on the arm of the groom. There were a few orange-buds hidden here and there in the fluffy mass of her front hair; a veil of tulle was fastened behind them in a gathered coronet, and fell down over the folds of her white silk dress, whose train swept along the aisle to the length of a yard and a half. I saw no ornaments, save a wreath below the high, full, white ruche at the throat, perhaps of geranium leaves, and a full bouquet of pink rosebuds in the right hand. From my glance at the train of the bridal dress, I looked up to see six bridesmaids coming after, each on the arm of a groomsman. The first bridesmaid was a lovely sister of the bride, in a dress of cream-white silk without train, pink flowers in her hair, and carrying a large bouquet of full-blown cream and crimson roses. The second bridesmaid wore a dress of silk,—not ecru and not palest olive, but a shade between the two,—with a perfectly fitting corsage, likewise decollete, and for ornaments a necklace of large pearls, a bouquet, and flowers in her hair. The first groomsman was in civilian's dress; but the second was in all the glory of full regimentals, with scarlet trimmings and showy buttons. The third bridesmaid wore pink silk, with a bouquet at the centre of the heart-shaped corsage; but unlike the others, she had no flowers in her hair. Of the following bridesmaids, one wore pink silk of a paler shade, one was in lemon-color, and the last in palest mauve, with trimmings of garnet velvet. The bridesmaids filed to the right, and the groomsmen to the left, as they reached the altar, before which Pastor Frommel now stood. As the bride and groom approached, they remained a moment standing with bowed heads in silent prayer, as the custom is on entering a German church, and then took the two chairs which had been placed for them, facing the minister. I had been struck by the beauty of the widowed mother, as she followed the bridesmaids, leaning on the arm of her brother,—a fine-looking, dignified officer from Potsdam, in full uniform, with broad silver epaulettes. The black hair of the mother—dressed high and gracefully on the crown of her uncovered head, set off by a fine white marguerite and a yellow one—and her dark eyes and complexion were in strong contrast to the fair hair and light German complexion of the younger ladies. She was in a dress of garnet silk, fitting perfectly her tall and graceful form. The bridesmaids took the six chairs on the right of the altar, facing the audience and before the mass of greenery, which made an effective background for so much youth, beauty, and elegance; and the groomsmen took the corresponding chairs on the left. The mother and uncle parted at the steps below the altar, she taking the first chair on the right, and he on the left, with the central aisle between them. Next came two elderly ladies, in dark silk with long trains, with uncovered and ornamented hair, and white shoulder-shawls of silk or wool, each with a gentleman; and they were seated to the right and left respectively. The bride's eldest married sister came next, in a splendid robe of blue satin, with a long train, looking very young and distingue. She and her husband filed to the right and left, as the others had done. The second married sister of the bride followed, in a similar dress of pink satin; and her very handsome husband, in his full military suit, was a decided addition to the courtly-looking assemblage. These five ladies filled the front row of chairs on one side, as did the gentlemen accompanying them on the other side. Eight other ladies, all in full dress,—one wearing an ermine cape,—followed, each with a gentleman; and these were seated in the second row.

When for a few brief moments I first caught sight of all this elegance, I felt as though I were in a dream; then came a rush of emotion, because I loved the fair young bride, and was touched at the thought of the solemn place in which she stood,—forsaking home and friends and native land to go to what seems to these home-dwelling Germans a far, strange country, all for the sake of a young man whom a year ago she had never seen. I was as sorry for the mother, too, as I could be for one so handsome and so dignified. How fast one feels and thinks in such a time! Before the hush which followed the procession and the temporary change while all were finding their appropriate seats, the feeling of sympathy had given place to one of stimulated imagination, and this dim old soldiers' church, with the majestic music filling all its spaces, seemed merely the setting for some scene at a royal court in the olden time, where beauty and brilliance and grandeur were a matter of course.

The music ceased, all present rose, while Pastor Frommel read a brief service from the book, and said "Amen." Then we sat down again, and the pastor preached the wedding sermon, which we were told is a matter of course at a German marriage. The sermon over, the bride and groom stood up before him, and he looked down with a fatherly glance upon the bride whom he took into his own house to prepare for confirmation only a few short years ago, and whom he is now to send with his marriage benediction across the sea. In a sweet, calm voice he addressed them; then the bride hands her bouquet to her sister bridesmaid sitting near, and removes her own glove; the groom takes from his pocket a ring, and gives it to the minister, who places it on the bride's finger, speaking a few solemn sentences, of which only the last reaches my ears: "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." For the first time in the service, the bride and groom kneel before him who bends over them; then follows a prayer, and it is finished. They rise, and are seated an instant; then rise again as the pastor gives his hand in congratulation to the groom; and when he places his hand with a few words in that of the bride, she bends low over it and kisses it in a pathetic farewell. The pastor goes first. The bride and groom bow in silent devotion before the altar until the time seems a little long, then turn and come down the aisle, followed by their retinue as they went in, but twain no more. The mother wiped away a tear quietly once or twice during the service, the unmarried sister bridesmaid looked as sweet and calm as always she does at home, but the bride, silently taking farewell of friends and native land, was deeply moved. No one had any voice for the printed hymn, and the organ alone supplied its music. The newly married couple went in the first carriage which rolled homewards, the others followed without observing precedence, and a small and quiet home reception closed the day.

In a family where we found a home we were once asked, with other temporary residents, to attend a small evening gathering. At the usual hour of half-past eight we were led out to supper by the hostess. The table was very handsome with its fine linen and an elaborately embroidered lunch cloth extending through the whole length of a board at which fourteen were seated. I counted ten tall wine bottles, and at every plate except two, wine-glasses were standing. Several of the European ladies drank off three or four glasses as they might have done so much water. "You are temperance?" said a young lady from Stockholm at my left, in her broken English. I said, Yes; and on inquiry found she knew something of the great temperance movement in her own country, of which she told me over her wine. She said she thought a glass would do me good. I said, "No, it would flush my face and do me harm;" to which, without any intention of discourtesy, she replied simply, "I do not believe it." Five plates of various sizes were piled before each individual. The smallest was of glass, for preserved fruit and sweet pickles, four kinds of which were passed, all to be deposited, if one partook of all, on the same plate. The other plates and the whole service were of beautiful old Berlin china, white, with a line of dark blue and another of gilt around the edge of each piece, and the monogram of the grandmother to whom it originally belonged in the centre of each piece in blue letters. The first course was excellent chicken broth, served to each guest in a china cup, with a roll. The second course was cold roast beef and hot potatoes, served in three different ways, with rolls and plenty of wine. The third course was offered to me first by a handsome serving-maid lately from the country, with a clear face, bright dark eyes, dark hair, and rosy cheeks. Admiring her, I cast only a brief and doubtful glance on the large plate she bore, at one side of which were two lifelike sheep three or four inches high, with little red ribbons around their necks and standing in the midst of greenery. "This is confectionery," I thought, "and these are sugar sheep for ornament." Disposed on other parts of the plate were sundry rounds and triangles which looked peculiar; but my custom was, at German tables, "to prove all things" and "hold fast that which is good." So I decided on a creamy-looking segment, covered with silver-paper, and showing at the sides a half-inch thickness of what I hoped was custard-cake. The plate was next passed to a lady at my right, who cut a little piece off a white substance; and I thought, "She has ice-cream." Before I had touched my portion, a suspicious odor diverted my attention from the conversation. I found that the course was cheese and radishes, that my neighbor had "Dutch cheese," that the sheep were the butter and I had none for my roll, and that I had possessed myself of perhaps the whole of one variety of European cheese in tin-foil, the peculiar aroma of which was anything but agreeable to my cheese-hating sense. I begged a German Fraeulein who sat near and who was intensely enjoying the situation to relieve me, when she kindly took about one third of my delicacy, leaving the rest in solitary state until the end of that course. Fortunately, the non-winedrinkers were offered a cup of tea just here, and I ate my roll with it in thankfulness. My American friend laughingly made a remark to her German neighbor,—a tall and dignified lady, but very vivacious. She turned her head, saying in hesitating English, "Speak on this side; I am dumb in that ear." Meanwhile the conversation, not as at American tables a low hum, but rather the rattle of artillery, fires away, across the table, along its whole length, anywhere and everywhere, much sounding, little meaning, amid infinite ado of demonstration and gesticulation. The next course was the nearest approach to pie I saw at any German table,—apfeltochter,—a browned and frosted crust, nearly eighteen inches in diameter, between the parts of which was cooked and sweetened apple.

I noted the different nationalities at the table,—the mother and her daughters, Germans of the Germans; a buxom young girl from the country, a fine singer; the tall German, and the young Swedish lady of whom I have spoken; another Swedish lady from Gothenburg, tall, very dignified, with gray eyes and dark hair, an exquisite singer. Then there was Herr G——, also from Sweden, and Fraeulein von K——, a young Polish lady, with striking black eyes and hair and a laughing face. Other guests were two Norwegian gentlemen. One of them, tall, dark, and with the dress and bearing of a gentleman, said to my American friend, "Yes, I speak English very well" which we found to be the case. As I had mentally completed this summary, my friend said to me in a low "aside," "The young lady at your left is a free-thinker, the Polish lady is a Roman Catholic, Herr G——is a Jew; the rest Lutherans, except you and me." And one of us at home was of "Andover," and the other "straight Orthodox"!

Later, we adjourned to the drawing-room, spacious and handsome after the German fashion. I asked one of the daughters of the house, who I knew had spent some years in Russia, if the portrait of a middle-aged gentleman hanging near me, much decorated and with a gilded crown at the top of the frame, were not that of the late Czar (Alexander II.), when she replied, "It is our Emperor!" And I had seen his Majesty at least half a dozen times! But he was a much older man now. One of the Norwegian gentlemen sat down at the piano and played portions of a recent opera, and a game of questions and answers followed. Oranges and little cakes were served before the company broke up at the early hour of half-past eleven.

Concerts and even the opera and theatre begin early in Germany. Doors are open usually about half-past five, and the performance seldom begins later than six or seven. This interferes with the time of the usual evening meal, so that refreshments at these places are always in order. One of the most characteristic evenings maybe spent at the Philharmonie, where the best music is given at popular prices several times each week. Tickets seldom cost more than fifteen or eighteen cents, and may be bought by the package for much less. This is a favorite place with the music-loving Germans, and for many Americans as well. Nearly all the German ladies take their knitting or fancy-work. The large and fine hall is filled on these occasions with chairs clustered around small tables accommodating from two to six. Here families and friends gather, chat in the intervals, and listen to the music, quietly sipping their beer or chocolate, and supper is served in the intermission to those who order it. Smoking is forbidden, but seldom is the hour after supper free from fumes of smokers who quietly venture to light their cigars unrebuked unless the room gets too blue. Many entire families seem to make nightly rendezvous at these concerts, enjoying the music as only Germans do, and setting many a pretty picture in the minds of strangers. The concerts are over by nine or ten o'clock, but the performances at theatre and opera are frequently not concluded before half-past ten or eleven, and an after-supper at a cafe or at home is a consequent necessity. In one aspect of behavior at concerts, American audiences may well imitate our German friends. The beginning of every piece of music is the signal for instantaneous cessation from conversation. I do not remember ever having been annoyed during the performance of music, either in public or private, while in Germany, by the talking of any except Americans or other foreigners. To the music-loving Germans this is among the greatest of social sins.



The buildings of the Berlin University are somewhat scattered, but the edifice known by this name is situated opposite the Imperial Palace, in the finest part of the city. The building was once the palace of Prince Henry, brother of Frederick the Great. It is built around three sides of a court open southward to the street, guarded by a high ornamental iron fence. Before it are the sitting statues of the brothers Humboldt, in fine white marble, on high pedestals. That of Alexander von Humboldt, in particular, inspired me with profound admiration often as I passed it. Few statues are more fortunate in subject, in execution, or in position. The former reception-room of the palace is now the great aula of the University, and the old ball-room is transformed into a Museum. The Cabinet of Minerals and the Collections of the Zooelogical Museum are each among the most valuable of their kind in existence. The fine park to the north of the University is open to the public, and is best seen from the rear entrance in Dorotheen Strasse. Its quiet shades seem quite the ideal of an academic grove, if that can be in the middle of a great city. The Astronomical Observatory is upwards of half a mile south, in a park at the end of Charlotten Strasse; and the Medical Colleges are mostly to the northwest, near the great hospital.

This University, with its hundreds of professors, and nearly six thousand students annually in attendance, is now one of the foremost in Europe. Professors who, like Virchow, Helmholtz, and Mommsen, have a world-wide reputation, draw many to their classes; but there are other equally learned specialists with a more circumscribed reputation and influence. Hundreds of American students tarry each year for a longer or shorter term of study in Berlin, and it is rapidly gaining upon Leipsic as a centre for musical study also. No woman is allowed to matriculate in the University at present, although there are not wanting German women who, in advance of general public sentiment, affirm that this ought not so to be.

The Academy of Arts and the Academy of Science are housed in the conspicuous building opposite the palace of Emperor William I. and adjoining the University. The Science Academy is organized in four sections, physical, mathematical, philosophical, and historical, and has valuable endowments and scholarships. The Academy of Arts has one section devoted to higher instruction in painting, engraving, and sculpture, and one to music, eminent specialists in each branch composing the Board of Direction. The imposing building of the Institute of Technology, near the extremity of the Thiergarten, has a fine Technological Museum, and accommodation for two thousand students. Its organization grew out of the union of two previously existing institutions for the promotion of architecture and trade. It has now five sections, in which about one thousand students pursue the study of architecture, civil engineering, machinery, ship-building, mining, and chemistry.

Instruction in the science of war is given in all its departments, as might be expected. The War Office of the Government is in the Leipziger Strasse, adjoining the Reichstag, with one of the finest of ancient parks behind it, covering a space equal to several squares in the heart of the city. This park is elaborate and finely kept, but it is surrounded by high walls, within which the public is rarely admitted. Even its existence is unsuspected by most visitors. The large and elegant building of the War Academy in the Dorotheen Strasse has a war library of eight hundred thousand volumes and magnificent accessories. Its object is to educate army officers. There are three courses of study, promotion from which to the General Staff is made by examinations. The business of the General Staff is, in war, to regulate the movements of the army and to attend to the correct registration of material for war history. In peace, the time of the officers who compose it is devoted to a profound post-graduate study of the science and the art of warfare.

An important accessory to the privileges of the University is the Royal Library, opposite the main building and adjacent to the palace of Emperor William I. in the Opera Platz. It is possible, though not common, for ladies to be allowed the privileges of this library, consisting of over a million volumes and thousands of valuable and curious manuscripts. A card of introduction to the Director from an influential source gave me the great pleasure of the use both of the library and the fine reading-rooms. Considerable time was consumed in the preliminaries, and there was red tape to be untied, but in general no unnecessary obstacles were thrown in the way even of a woman. On my first visit, before the requisite permission to use the library had been obtained, I was treated as a visitor, and most politely shown the treasures of the institution by intelligent officials. A young man who spoke excellent English was given me as a guide by the distinguished Director-in-Chief. Classification of the books is carried to great minuteness, and it is but the work of a moment, to one familiar with its principles, to turn to any book of the million. The apartments are plain and crowded, although some of the rooms of the adjoining palace had recently been turned into the library, which is fast outgrowing its accommodations. The young librarian who acted as our guide was eager for information concerning American libraries, asking particularly about the size and classification of the Boston Public Library. It was a pleasure to respond to one so intelligent and interested, and I felt sure he would make good use of every scrap of trustworthy information. He showed us his books with pride, and gave many interesting particulars. He also displayed to us some of the treasures kept in glass cases and usually covered from the light. Here were Luther's manuscript translation of the Bible, Gutenberg's Bible, the first book printed on movable types, the ancient Codex of the time of Charlemagne, miniatures, illuminated missals, and other things of much interest. As my dinner-hour approached I begged off for that day from the cordially offered inspection of the celebrated Hamilton manuscripts. It is said that the highest-priced book ever sold was the vellum missal presented to King Henry VIII. by Pope Leo X., which brought $50,000. The missal was accompanied by a document conferring on the King the title of "Defender of the Faith." It is now in this collection, having been given by King Charles II. to an ancestor of the Duke of Hamilton, whose manuscripts were purchased by the German Government in 1882.

The tables of the reading-rooms for periodicals are well filled with magazines in all languages, and equal politeness is shown by officials. The apartments are in the second story, reached by a stairway ascending from a paved court off the Behren Strasse, in the rear of the Imperial Palace. No lovely spring-time memories are to us more vivid and attractive than those of the library reading-room, in the second story of the Library building, looking on the Opera Platz. Here, among many students of all nationalities from the University, I was wont to spend long delicious afternoons at a table of my own choosing, to which attentive officials brought the books of my selection, and where I was free to turn to books of reference on the shelves beside me. The room would accommodate perhaps two hundred, similarly employed. Among those I frequently met there were a German lady and an American gentleman whom I was so happy as to number among my friends. Intercourse between our tables was by smiles and nods, seldom crystallizing into words, but these were not wanted. Four centuries looked down upon us in portraits from the walls, and forty centuries were ours in the books below them. As the season advanced, the room was not full, and the long French windows stood open. Before them was a balcony facing the Platz, with its fountains, its shrubbery, and its flowers. The breath of spring and early summer was perfumed by mignonette and English violets, as it floated away from the murmur and the brightness of the brilliant scenes beyond up through every alcove of this quiet scholar's retreat.

Books in English, as in other languages, are many and finely selected, though some departments are incomplete. A month's preparation here for a trip to Russia and the far North was one of unalloyed pleasure; and many volumes from the library were, under the rules, kindly permitted to reach and remain on the study-table of my own room while I needed them. The department of Scandinavian travel was, however, much more scantily represented than Russia. Long shall I have reason to remember with gratitude the generous "open sesame" and the rich privileges of this library, which, more than most things that enjoy the epithet, truly deserves the name Royal.

As no woman can enter the Berlin University as a student, neither is it practicable for a lady, either as student or visitor, to find access to the Gymnasia, which, in the German sense of this term, are somewhat in the line of our American colleges. My windows looked into those of a fine new building across the street, devoted to the instruction of German youth. In through its doors there filed, every week-day morning, long lines of German boys and young men for the various grades of instruction; and a natural desire arose in the mind of an old teacher to "visit the school." But on application to an influential friend long resident in Germany, for a note of introduction to the Director of the Gymnasium, his hands were lifted in unaffected astonishment at the nature of the request, "A woman in a boys' school! oh, never! Ask me any other favor but that! Oh, it is impossible!" A German lady was more hopeful. She was intimate with the wife of the Director, and thought she could gain for me the coveted permission. But weeks lengthened into months, and still the right to enter even the enclosure sacred to the education of German boys was not obtained. So I studied the educational system at first on paper, and found many facts of interest. Attendance at the common schools is compulsory, all children of both sexes being required to attend, in separate buildings, from the ages of five to fourteen. Beyond this, the High School offers a training for practical life and business, and the Gymnasium a classical and scientific training leading to the special studies of the University. The course of study in the Gymnasia is similar to those of our colleges, some of the studies of the latter, however, being relegated to the University. A boy at nine years of age enters the Gymnasium for a course of nine years, in which Latin and Greek receive the chief emphasis. The same great division of opinion as to the comparative merits of linguistic and scientific training which exists in the rest of the world, agitates the German mind. The Gymnasium with its classical training is the child of the present century, and its growth all along has been disputed by those who claim greater advantages from a curriculum which lays chief stress on science, omitting the Greek and half the Latin, for a part of which modern languages are substituted. This has given rise to what are called the Real Schools, corresponding to our Scientific Schools. These receive their inspiration from the people rather than the learned classes, and are regarded as still on trial. Meantime, until quite recently, the graduates of the Gymnasia have had a monopoly of competition for positions as teachers and opportunity to practise the learned professions. A recent change allows graduates of the Real Schools to compete for teacherships. The graduates of Gymnasia only are allowed to enter the professions of Medicine and Law. The Prussian Gymnasia are about two hundred and fifty in number, and the Real Schools somewhat over one hundred. In point of military service, these schools are all on an equal footing, a pupil who completes a course of six years in either being obliged to serve but one year with the colors. It is said that a large number of those who graduate in these schools do so for the sake of thus shortening their term of military service. I was present at an evening entertainment offered by the older students of one Gymnasium to the friends of the school. It was a rendering, in Greek, of the Antigone of Sophocles, with considerable adjuncts of scenery, costume, and Greek chorus. A brief outline of the play in German was distributed to the audience. For the rest, a knowledge of Greek was the only key to what was said by experts to be well done.

But if this one personal glimpse of the scholarship of the higher schools for boys was all that could be obtained, I was more fortunate in finding access to the schools for girls. Not, however, without painstaking. It is by no means a matter of course for any visitor to knock at the door of a school-room for a call upon the school. The coming of visitors is uniformly discouraged; the teachers saying that the pupils are not used to it, and that their attention is thereby diverted from their studies. A lady of my acquaintance, resident for some years in Berlin, asked permission to visit the school which her little daughter attended, and was refused. A professional educator from abroad, especially a gentleman, if properly introduced, will find little difficulty in obtaining access to the schools; but a lady, who wishes to go unofficially, will need persistence and courage before she effects her object.

A friendly acquaintance with two German teachers smoothed the way, perhaps opened it, to a privilege I had hitherto sought in vain. At supper one evening I made an engagement to meet one of these ladies in the school to which she belonged, early the next morning. In the short Berlin days of mid-winter one must rise by candle-light to be in time for even the second hour of school, if living a half-hour distant. In one of the largest hotels of Berlin I saw, the week before Christmas, a little fellow, scarcely tall enough for seven years, departing for school in the morning, with his knapsack on his back, an hour before there would be daylight enough for him to study by. As he sturdily went forth from the elegant rooms and brilliantly lighted corridors into the cold gray dawn and the snowy streets towards the distant school, I said, "There is the way to train Spartans!" The schools begin at eight o'clock for girls, at seven for boys, though many go at later hours. Those who are not able to pay for instruction attend the "common schools," where tuition is free; but those who can must pay at the rate of from about five to seven dollars per quarter, in the schools denominated "public."

The school to which I went occupies a handsome modern brick edifice, and accommodates eight hundred girls. It was ten o'clock, when the recess which follows the stroke of each hour (ten minutes) is doubled, in order to give time for the "second breakfast"—bread and butter taken in basket or bag—by both teachers and pupils, to supplement the rolls and coffee partaken of by candle-light in winter, which form the first breakfast. The teacher whom I knew was waiting for me in the corridor, where the busy hum of hundreds of young voices filled the air. Handsome and substantial stone staircases fill the central portion of the edifice, lighted by a skylight, by windows where a transverse corridor reaches to the street, and by ground glass in the double doors leading to some of the class-rooms. It was a dark morning, and so the corridors were dim enough. Most of the pupils are in school from eight to one o'clock. Some of the younger ones come at nine, or even ten, and go home at twelve. I was told that instruction as to what to do in case of fire in the building is carefully given, but saw no fire-escapes, except the stairways. There was provision for ventilation in the class-rooms,—a register near the floor admitting pure warm air, and another near the ceiling giving exit to impure air. But this mode was quite insufficient to secure good air in most of the rooms. I was conducted to the Director of the school, without whose permission I could not enter. He was standing in the corridor on the third floor, surrounded by several girls, with whom he was talking in the manner of a paterfamilias,—an aged man, with a shrewd but kindly face. I was introduced, and the object of my visit stated. Bowing and leading the way to his office, he made a slight demurrer as to the profit I should reap, but freely accorded the permission, after making an entry, apparently from my visiting-card, in his register. My friend again took me in charge, and conducted me to another room, where I was introduced to the "first instructress," and to five or six other lady teachers, all of whom sat, in wooden chairs, around a plain wooden table, partaking of their luncheon. Two or three good photographs—one of the Roman forum—were in frames on the walls; a large mirror and a set of lock-boxes gave the teachers toilet accommodations; while baskets of knitting and other belongings bespoke this as the retiring-room of the lady teachers. The chief of these, a kind-faced matronly woman, spoke English imperfectly; but several of the younger ones spoke it very well, and one or two were of charming manners and appearance.

From a schedule hanging on the wall, I was shown the names and number of recitations for the day. "What would I like to see? How long can I remain? Will I come again to-morrow?" If the permission to visit a school be often difficult to gain, once received, it covers every recitation, and as many hours or days as the visitor chooses to devote to it. I was first conducted to a recitation in arithmetic. The room contained accommodations for fifty pupils, and the seats were filled by girls about thirteen or fourteen years of age. Wooden desks and seats (the outer row for three pupils each, the central for four each), a slightly raised platform for the teacher, with a plain desk and two chairs, several cases of butterflies and beetles, on the walls a map or two, a small blackboard behind the teacher's desk, in grooves, so that it may be elevated or lowered at pleasure, make up the furniture of the room. The light, as in every room I visited, was from one side, to the left of the pupils. The teacher—a man with gray hair and beard, but young enough as to vivacity and enthusiasm, and a gentleman in manners—bowed me to the chair he offered, and with a wave of the hand bade the children, who had risen on our entrance, be seated. The lesson was wholly oral and mental. Addition, subtraction, and multiplication were carried on by means of numbers, given out with so much vivacity and judgment that every eye was fastened on the teacher and every mind alert. Most of the right hands were raised for answer to every question, with the index finger extended; and the pupil selected was chosen now here, now there, to give it audibly. Rank was observed from left to right, the lower changing places with the higher whenever a failure above and a correct answer below paved the way. Large numbers were often used; for example, adding or subtracting by sixties, and multiplying far beyond twelve times twelve,—all apparently with equal facility. The second half of the hour was devoted to a visit to a class of younger girls. Another arithmetic class, taught by a younger gentleman; the pupils were in the eighth class, or second year at school,—age about seven. The room accommodated the same number, and was lighted and furnished in a similar way. Here figures were written on the blackboard by the teacher. The early part of the lesson had evidently been in addition; now it was subtraction, which was carefully explained by the pupils, and the hour closed by a few mental exercises in concert. In the ten minutes' recess which followed, I again chatted with the teachers in their private room. Thirty teachers are employed to teach these eight hundred girls,—twenty gentlemen and ten ladies. I said that in America the lady teachers largely outnumbered the gentlemen. The lady with whom I was conversing replied that the upper classes in girls' schools were all taught by gentlemen, as the ladies were not prepared to pass the required examinations for these positions. "The gentlemen have a course in the Gymnasium about equal to that in your colleges," she said, "and then pursue a course in the University, in order to fit themselves for teachers." "The expense of this is too much for ladies?" I inquired. "Yes; and they have not the opportunity. They are not admitted to the University of Berlin, and then—women have not the strength for such hard studies"! "How many recitations do you hear?" I asked. "The lady teachers, twenty-two per week; the gentlemen, twenty-four." "The salaries of the gentlemen are higher?" "Oh yes, much higher. They have families to support; and then, the ladies are unsteady,—they often marry."

I was now conducted to the upper division of the first class; girls in the last of the nine years' course of study,—ages about fourteen to sixteen. This was the only class reciting in English, which within a few years has been made a part of the required course, as well as French. They were reading in little paper-covered books, in German text, the Geisterseher of Schiller, and translating the same into English. The teacher was an English gentleman. He wrote occasionally a word on the blackboard, when he wished to explain or impress upon the memory a term or a synonym,—as, for instance, "temporarily," and the words "soften," "mitigate," "assuage,"—and corrected such mistakes in translation as "guess to" for "guess at," and "declaration" for "explanation."

The second division of this first class was in German history. Several of the pupils had historical atlases open before them, which covered the history of the world from the most ancient times to the present, prepared with that excellence which has made German maps famous. The compendium used for a class-book was a brief record of dates and events in Roman type, which is gradually but surely superseding the old German letters. The teacher talked of the quarrel between popes and emperors in the Middle Ages, and especially of the wars of the Investitures. Passing through the corridor after this recitation, I inquired the use of a library there, consisting of several hundred volumes, and was told it was for the use of the teachers; and that there was also one for the use of the pupils, from which they might draw books to read at home,—"some amusing and some instructive."

As "Religion" is marked in the schedule of instruction, and in the weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports sent to the parents, I asked to see the text-book, and was shown two or three. That for the younger pupils was simple, after the manner of our "Bible Stories," of the Creation, "Joseph and his Brethren," etc. That for the upper classes consisted of several catechisms bound in one, including "Luther's," and supplemented by a number of Psalms, as the 1st, 15th, 23d, 130th, to be committed to memory.

I asked if sewing and knitting were taught, and was answered in the affirmative. "Is there a teacher for sewing only?" I asked. "No; formerly there was, but now the teaching of sewing and knitting is distributed among all the lady teachers. The teachers have more influence with the pupils in this way." A wise remark; as only a sewing-teacher of exceptional force and ability can have an influence with the pupils to be compared with that of those who teach them literature. Embroidery is taught, but only "useful embroidery," as the beautiful initial-work on all bed and table linen in Germany is called. Some of that shown me in the sewing-room I now visited was exquisite, but was outdone, if possible, by the darning. Over a small cushion, encased in white cotton cloth, a coarse fabric of stiff threads is pinned, after a square has been cut out from it. This hole the pupil is to replace by darning, composed of white and colored threads. In this instance blue and white threads were woven about the pin-heads inserted at some distance outside the edges of the hole, one for each thread. The darning replaces the fabric, not only with neatness and strength, but in ornamental patterns. Squares, plaids, herringbone and lozenge patterns were done by this process in such a manner as to be very handsome.

We now descended to the ground floor, where was a large gymnasium, fitted up simply, but with a variety of apparatus. A teacher is employed for gymnastics only, but for the reason that until recently the other teachers have not had opportunity to prepare for the examinations, so strict in Germany on every branch. The children here were among the youngest in the school, and were well taught by a lady, but with nothing in the method worthy of special note. The last half-hour, I listened to a recitation in geography. Girls of ten to twelve were numbering and naming the bridges of Berlin, as I entered, and the recitation continued for some time on the topography and boundaries of their own city. A few general questions were given on Germany and its boundaries, and the passes of the Alps, especially the Simplon; and the First Napoleon came in for a little discussion. The whole method and result in this class were admirable.

The teachers seemed to expect I would come again on the morrow, as I had not visited all the classes; and my thanks for the hospitality and full opportunity of inspection which I had so much enjoyed, were mingled with the apology I felt was needed, that my engagements would not permit another visit to the school.

I next sought and obtained an introduction to a Girls' High School. This was under the patronage of the Empress Augusta, and was said, in furnishing and equipment, to be the best in the city. The building is a good one, and the furniture more nearly approaching to that of the best schools in American cities. We went into two or three classes, but were not particularly impressed, favorably or unfavorably, with the methods of instruction. Not so in the gymnastic rooms, where we went to view the exercises of the Normal class, soon to be graduated. No courtesy was shown us by the master in charge, but we were tolerantly allowed to take seats. Here were young women about eighteen years of age, going through some of the more active exercises, in a large and well-fitted room, without a breath of outer air, in sleeves so close that their arms were partly raised with difficulty; so tightly laced about the waist that the blood rushed to their faces whenever they attempted the running exercise sometimes required, and with long skirts and the highest of French heels! And yet this is a country in which a woman is not considered capable of instructing the higher classes in gymnastics!

I now essayed to visit a representative girls' school carried on by private enterprise. The one to which I obtained introduction—and this was always a particular matter, the time of the visit being arranged some days previous by correspondence—was under the patronage of the then Crown Princess, Victoria, whose portrait hung in a conspicuous place in the elegantly furnished drawing-room into which I was first shown. Soon the principal appeared,—a lady, who from a small beginning about fifteen years before had brought the enterprise to its present successful stage, with several hundred pupils in annual attendance. There were a number of governesses, and about thirty pupils resident in the family, the remainder being day-pupils. When asked what I would like to see, as this was a private school, and I knew nothing of its methods, I replied that I would leave the particulars of my visit to the lady in charge. She still hesitated, when I suggested that I should feel interested to visit a class in mathematics. The lady lifted her hands in astonishment. "Mathematics! for girls? Never! We aim to fit girls to become good wives and mothers,—not to teach them mathematics!" "Do you have no classes in arithmetic?" I asked. "Yes, some arithmetic; but higher mathematics would only be hostile to their sphere,—it is not necessary." "Not necessary, possibly," I replied; "but in America we do not think higher study hostile to the preparation of girls for their duties as wives and mothers." "But it is," she replied. "When girls get their minds preoccupied with such things, it interferes with the true preparation for their life." As I had come to learn this lady's ideas of education for girls, not to vindicate mine, I turned the discussion into an inquiry as to the ideal of culture she set before her pupils. "Girls attempt too many things," was the reply. "They come here, some from England and other places, anxious to learn music and languages and what not. I tell them it is impossible to do so many things well. If they wish to learn music, this is not the place for them. They may practise a little,—an hour or two a day, if they wish,—but it is folly to attempt the study of music with other things. We aim to give a thorough training in language and literature; not a smattering, but such an acquaintance as will enable them to understand the people whose tongue they study,—to look at life through their eyes, and to be thoroughly familiar with the masterpieces of their literature. Of course, German holds the first place, but French and English are also taught." I was taken to a class in German literature. The plain and primitive furnishing of the class-rooms was in noticeable contrast to the elegance of the parlors. The girls sat on plain wooden benches, with desks before them on which their note-books lay open. They used these as those who had been trained to take notes and recite from them. I had been told that the teacher in charge of this class was one of the most excellent in the city. The hour was occupied by a lecture on Lessing, a poet whom the class were evidently studying with German minuteness.

I also visited a class in reading,—younger girls, about ten or twelve years of age. They were admirably taught, both in reading and memorizing, the latter chiefly of German ballads. I saw no better teaching done in Berlin than that of this class. Its enthusiastic lady teacher would be a treasure in any land. The last visit of the morning was to a class in vocal music, taught by a gentleman. It was interesting as affording a view of the methods in this music-loving country, but did not differ materially from what would be considered good instruction and drill on this side the water. The teacher himself played the piano, the pupils standing in rows on either side.

In the teachers' dressing-room, a comfortable apartment for the teachers who came from without the building, I chatted a few moments with two or three ladies. One spoke English so well that I asked if it were her vernacular. She appeared gratified by the compliment; said she had been much in other continental countries, and had spent three years in England, with eighteen months beside in the United States. She mistook me for an Englishwoman, and confidently informed me that she had feared her English accent was ruined by the time spent "in the States." "Did you find it so?" I inquired. "No," she said; "fortunately I was able to correct it by stopping in England on my way back." She had evidently not met the gentleman who informed his English friends that they must go to Boston, Massachusetts, if they would hear English spoken correctly. While in Berlin I heard of a young American who was accosted by an Englishman with a question as to what language she spoke. "I speak American," was the reply, "but I can understand English if it is spoken slowly."

The wish to learn English is almost universal among Germans, and the schools have not been before public opinion in making it a part of the curriculum. The result as yet, however, judging from our observation, will justify greater painstaking and more practice, before a high degree of accuracy is reached among the pupils.



The greatest Protestant power of Continental Europe has no Court-churches worthy in appearance of companionship with its palaces and public buildings. But there are those of much historical and other interest, and in some of them the living power of Christianity bears sway. The Dom, or Cathedral, dating from the time of Frederick the Great, is far inferior, within and without, to the magnificent buildings which surround it, facing the Lustgarten, or Esplanade. Long ago royal plans were made to replace it by an edifice more worthy, but these have not been carried out, though since the accession of Emperor William II. measures have been taken looking toward the erection of a new cathedral.

The usual hour for Sunday-morning service is ten o'clock. The latitude of Berlin is over ten degrees farther north than that of New York and Chicago, and the sun at ten o'clock in winter is about as high as at nine o'clock in the latter cities. So it is only by special effort that a midwinter sojourner in Berlin can be at morning service. Within three minutes of the time appointed, on my first visit, the aged Emperor William entered the Dom and stood for a few minutes in the attitude of devotion, as did the other members of the Imperial household. The gallery on the left of the preacher was occupied by three boxes,—one for the Emperor, one for the Crown Prince and his family, and one for their retinues. The service proceeded in the language of the people,—that language created and preserved to Germany by Luther's translation of the Bible. A finely trained choir of some sixty singers led the music, all the people joining in the psalms and hymns; the Imperial family taking part in the service with simplicity and appearance of sincerity, as those who stood, with all present, in the presence of Him with whom is no respect of persons. The plain interior of the Dom has a painting behind the altar, and the large candles in immense candlesticks on either side were burning before a crucifix throughout the entire service. This we found true also in most of the other churches,—a reminder that, wide as was the gulf between the Lutheran Church and that of Rome, the former retained some customs which Puritanism discarded. Pews fill the central part of this cathedral, and the broad aisle skirting the side at the left of the front entrance has a few seats for the delicate and infirm of the throng which always stands there at the time for the morning service.

It was in this church that the departed Emperor William I. lay in state for the great funeral pageant when his ninety-one years of life were over. Here in the vaults many members of Prussia's royal family repose, and here many stately ceremonies have taken place. At the door of this cathedral Emperor William I., then Prince Regent, stood with uncovered head to receive the remains of Alexander Von Humboldt, which here lay in state in May, 1859, after the great scholar "went forth" for the last time from his home in the Oranienburger Strasse.

We attended a service at the oldest of the Berlin churches, the Nicolai Kirche, and found the sparseness of the audience in striking contrast with the crowds which frequented most of the other churches where we went. Standing-room is usually at a premium in the Cathedral, the Garrison Church, and the place, wherever it may be, in which Dryander preaches; and in nearly all the churches unoccupied seats are hard to find. This is due, not to the large numbers of church-going people in Berlin, but to the comparatively limited church accommodations. It is not too soon that the present Emperor has given order that the number of churches and sittings be immediately increased. In this city of about a million and a half inhabitants, there are only about seventy-five churches and chapels, all told; none very large, and some quite small. It is said that Dryander's parish numbers forty thousand souls, and that there are other parishes including eighty thousand and one hundred and twenty thousand each. Only about two per cent of the population attend church. Ties to a particular church seem scarcely to exist in many cases; those who go to Divine service following their favorite preacher from place to place as he ministers now in one part, now in another, of his vast parish, or going to the Court Church to see the Imperial family, or to some other which happens to offer fine music or some special attraction for the day. Churches do not need, however, to offer special attractions nor to advertise sensational novelties in order to be filled, and of course there are many humble and devout Christians found in the same places from week to week.

The Nicolai Kirche dates from before 1250 A.D. and the great granite foundations of the towers were laid still earlier. At this period the savage Wends and the robber-castles of North Germany were yielding to the prowess of the Knights of the Teutonic Order, and the powerful Hanseatic League was uniting its free cities and cementing its commercial interests, of which Berlin was erelong to be a part,—a League which was to sweep the Baltic by its fleets, and to set up and dethrone kings by its armies. Already the Crusades had broken the long sleep of the Dark Ages, and stirred the people with that mighty impulse which brought the culmination, in the thirteenth century, of the great church-building epoch of Europe in the Middle Ages. No great churches which they could not live to finish were begun by he frugal burghers of Berlin; but they had a style of their own in the brick Gothic, which is the most truly national architecture of North Germany. The Nicolai Kirche is a representative of these early times and of this national architecture, but its interior decorations show every variety of adornment which prevailed during five centuries after its founding. Not alone the history of art is represented on the inner walls of this venerable and unique edifice, but the municipal history, and the history of the "Mark of Brandenburg," and the Kingdom of Prussia as well.

Almost as ancient as the Nicolai Kirche is the Heiliggeist Kirche, behind the Boerse. Near this is the Marien Kirche, with its high spire, its Abbot's Cross—the emblem of Old Berlin—before the entrance, and on the inner walls its frescos of the Dance of Death, painted to commemorate the plague which ravaged Berlin in 1460. Adjoining this church, in the Neue Markt, Berlin's statue of Luther is to be erected. Of the same old time, and in the same old heart of Berlin, is the fine Kloster Kirche of the Franciscan monks, who had once a monastery adjoining. A morning's stroll or two enables one to inspect all these interesting old churches,—passing first to the Nicolai Kirche from the end of the tramway in the Fisch Markt, and then, by a convenient circuit, to each of the others, returning by the Museums and the Lustgarten. The Jerusalems Kirche, about three quarters of a mile south, is said to have been founded by a citizen at the end of the Crusades as a memento of his journey to Palestine; but its present ornamented architecture belongs to a modern reconstruction. An effective architectural group is formed by the two churches in the Schiller Platz, with the great Schauspielhaus, or Royal Theatre, between them,—a view which soon becomes familiar to one passing often through the central part of the city. The French Church, on the north side of the Theatre, we did not enter, and of the "New Church"—a hundred years old and recently rejuvenated—our most abiding memories are of an exquisite sacred concert given there in aid of a local charity. We made a pilgrimage to see the effect of this group by moonlight, but, perhaps because it had been too highly praised, we found the view rather disappointing. But we shall long remember a walk at evening twilight through this place, when early dusk and gleaming gas-jets around and within the square had taken the place of departing sunlight, which still bathed in radiance the gilded figures surmounting the domes in the clear upper air. Few of the hurrying multitudes stopped to look upward, but those who did could hardly fail to gain an impressive lesson from the inspiring and suggestive sight.

Frommel, the good man and attractive preacher who usually officiates in the Garrison Church, is one of the four Court-preachers, each of whom is eminent in his way. We sat one morning, with many others, on the steps to the chancel in the Garrison Church, as the house was crowded in every part. The spacious galleries were filled with soldiers in Prussian uniform, and many also were in the pews below. The soldiers were not there merely in obedience to orders. They listened intently, for Court-preacher Frommel has a message to the minds and hearts of men. His oratory is eloquent, scintillating; from first to last it holds captive the crowded audience. Never have I witnessed gestures which were so essentially a part of the speaker; hands so incessantly assisting to convey subtle thought and feeling from the brain and heart of the orator to the magnetized audience, whose faces unconsciously testified to a mental and spiritual uplifting. It was told me that the aged Emperor never travelled from his capital without the attendance of this chaplain, as well known for his simple Christian integrity and his ceaseless good deeds as for his wonderful eloquence.

Trinity Church, where for a quarter of a century Schleiermacher preached and wrought, is now ministered to by the worthy Dryander and his colleagues, who faithfully do what they can for the spiritual welfare of the immense parish. The edifice, of a peculiar model, stands in a central portion of Berlin, almost under the shadow of the lofty and famous hotel known as the Kaiserhof. On the Sunday mornings when Dryander preaches here, aisles, vestibules, and stairways are crowded until there is no standing-room, much less a seat, within sight or hearing of the popular preacher. His manner is simple, but very forceful and sympathetic, his earnest face and voice holding the audience like a spell.

The finest religious music in Berlin is rendered on Friday evenings at sunset, in the great Jewish synagogue in the Oranienburger Strasse, built at a cost of six million marks, and said to be the best in Europe. The spacious interior seats nearly five thousand, with pews on the main floor for men only, and galleries for the women. Three thousand burning gas-jets above and behind the rich stained glass of the dome and side windows give an effect remarkable both for beauty and weirdness. The building without loses much by its close surroundings of ordinary houses, but the Moorish arches and decorations within are unique and effective. Over the sacred enclosure, where a red light always burns, and which contains the ark "of the law and the testimony," a gallery across the eastern end holds the fine organ, and accommodates the choir of eighty trained singers. Christmas eve happened in 1886 on a Friday; so, before the later German Christian home festival to which we were invited, we wended our way to the Jewish weekly sunset service. Neither among the men nor the women was there much outward evidence of devotion. In the female countenances around me in the gallery the well-known Jewish physiognomy was almost universal. While the rabbi read the service, with his back to the audience, most followed in their Hebrew books; but one by one many men slipped out, as though they were "on 'Change" and did not care to stay any longer to-day. The women remained, but with a slightly perfunctory air in most cases. One old crone before me seemed touched with the true pathos which belongs to her race and its history. She followed the service intently, swaying her body back and forth in time with the beautiful music, and ever and anon breaking forth in a low, sweet, plaintive strain with her own voice. Oh the longing of such lives, waiting to find through the centuries the realization of a hope never fulfilled and growing ever more and more dim! My Puritanism had been scarcely reconciled to the crucifix and the candles of the Protestant churches in Berlin, but now, if my life and hopes had depended on the religion of this Jewish ceremonial, I would have given worlds to find a crucifix in the vacant space above their Sacred Ark. These sweet strains of exquisite music seem to give voice without articulation to the unrevealed, imprisoned longing of the Jewish heart for something better than it knows. I could only compare the feeling, in this cold, mechanical worship of the Fatherhood of God, as it seemed to me, with the vague disappointment of climbing stairs in the dark, and stretching out foot and hand for another which is not there. The Christmas torches were burning in the Schloss-platz and the market-places without, crowded for days and nights past with a busy multitude, making ready for the Christ-festival which was to light a Christmas-tree that night in every home in Germany. Even Jews could not resist the gladness; and their homes, like the rest, had every one its Christmas-tree and its fill of cheer, paying their tribute to the world-wide joy, even though they would not. But as I sat among them and went forth with them, I thought also of their ancestral line stretching back to Abraham through centuries of the most wonderful history which belongs to any race. Beside these Israelites, how puerile the fame and deeds of the Hohenzollerns! The sixty or seventy thousand Jews of Berlin hold in their hands, it is said, a large part of the wealth of the city; but they are proscribed, and it is thought by many, unjustly treated before the law.

The one English church in Berlin rejoices in a new and beautiful though chaste and modest edifice in the gardens of Monbijou Palace. The site, presented by the Emperor William I., is in the heart of the city, surrounded, in this quiet and beautiful place, by many interesting historic associations. The edifice was built chiefly through the efforts of the Crown Princess Victoria, who raised in London in a few hours a large part of the necessary funds, and who also devoted to this object, so dear to her English heart, presents received at her silver wedding. The service attracts on Sunday mornings, of course, all adherents of the Church of England, as well as many Americans, to whom the magnet of an Episcopal service is greater than that of the association of Christians of all denominations in the devout and simple worship of the Chapel in Junker Strasse, where the Union American and British service is held. One of the first places we essayed to find in Berlin was the chapel at present used by this organization. Our German landlady had unwittingly misdirected us, and we insisted on her direction, to the bewilderment of our cabman. Up one strange street and down another he drove, with sundry protests and shakes of the head on our part. We insist on "Heulmann Strasse." He stops and inquires. "Nein! nein!" he says, "Junker Strasse." "No! no!" we reply. He holds a conference with two brother drosky-men. Three Germans "of the male persuasion" outside insist on "Junker Strasse." Three Americans "of the female persuasion" inside insist on "Heulmann Strasse." "Nein!" says the man, with a determined air, and takes the reins now as though he means business. We lean back in our seats, resigned to going wrong because we cannot help ourselves, when lo! we draw up at the door of the building used by the American church in Junker Strasse. Those barbarous men were right, after all! Late; but how our hearts were warmed and cheered by the sight of a plain audience-room, holding about two hundred English-speaking people; the pulpit draped in our dear old American flag, and another on the choir-gallery! How precious were the simple devout hymns and prayers in our own tongue wherein we were born! There was an American Thanksgiving sermon,—eloquent, earnest, magnetic. Strangers in a strange land, we felt that we could never be homesick in a city where was such a service. This Union Church service was established some twenty-five or thirty years ago, Governor Wright, then United States Minister to Germany, being prominently connected with its beginnings. There is now a regular church organization, with the Bible and the Apostles' Creed as its doctrinal basis. For eight or nine years past, the present pastor, the Rev. J.H.W. Stueckenberg, D.D., born in Germany, but a loyal and devoted soldier and citizen of the American Republic, has, with his accomplished wife, been indefatigable in caring for the services, and administering to the needs—physical, social, and religious—of Americans in Berlin. The first gathering which we attended in the city was an American Thanksgiving Banquet, under the auspices of the "Ladies' Social Union" connected with this "American Chapel." Invitations were issued to an "American Home Gathering," for Thanksgiving evening, to be held in the Architectenhaus at six o'clock. Greetings, witty and wise, were extended to the assembled company of some two hundred, by a lady from Boston; grace was said by Professor Mead, formerly of Andover, and the American Thanksgiving dinner was duly appreciated, though some of us had in part forestalled its appetizing pleasures by attendance at a delightful private afternoon dinner-party, where the true home flavors had been heightened by the shadow of the American flag which draped its silken folds above the table, depending from candelabra in which "red, white, and blue" wax lights were burning.

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse