Diary of a Pilgrimage
Jerome K. Jerome
Part 1 out of 3
This etext was prepared by David Price, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
and Andrew Wallace, email email@example.com, from the 1919
J. W. Arrowsmith edition.
Diary of a Pilgrimage
Said a friend of mine to me some months ago: "Well now, why don't you
write a SENSIBLE book? I should like to see you make people think."
"Do you believe it can be done, then?" I asked.
"Well, try," he replied.
Accordingly, I have tried. This is a sensible book. I want you to
understand that. This is a book to improve your mind. In this book
I tell you all about Germany--at all events, all I know about
Germany--and the Ober-Ammergau Passion Play. I also tell you about
other things. I do not tell you all I know about all these other
things, because I do not want to swamp you with knowledge. I wish
to lead you gradually. When you have learnt this book, you can come
again, and I will tell you some more. I should only be defeating my
own object did I, by making you think too much at first, give you a
perhaps, lasting dislike to the exercise. I have purposely put the
matter in a light and attractive form, so that I may secure the
attention of the young and the frivolous. I do not want them to
notice, as they go on, that they are being instructed; and I have,
therefore, endeavoured to disguise from them, so far as is
practicable, that this is either an exceptionally clever or an
exceptionally useful work. I want to do them good without their
knowing it. I want to do you all good--to improve your minds and to
make you think, if I can.
WHAT you will think after you have read the book, I do not want to
know; indeed, I would rather not know. It will be sufficient reward
for me to feel that I have done my duty, and to receive a percentage
on the gross sales.
LONDON, March, 1891.
DIARY OF A PILGRIMAGE
My Friend B.--Invitation to the Theatre.--A Most Unpleasant
Regulation.--Yearnings of the Embryo Traveller.--How to Make the
Most of One's Own Country.--Friday, a Lucky Day.--The Pilgrimage
My friend B. called on me this morning and asked me if I would go to
a theatre with him on Monday next.
"Oh, yes! certainly, old man," I replied. "Have you got an order,
"No; they don't give orders. We shall have to pay."
"Pay! Pay to go into a theatre!" I answered, in astonishment. "Oh,
nonsense! You are joking."
"My dear fellow," he rejoined, "do you think I should suggest paying
if it were possible to get in by any other means? But the people
who run this theatre would not even understand what was meant by a
'free list,' the uncivilised barbarians! It is of no use pretending
to them that you are on the Press, because they don't want the
Press; they don't think anything of the Press. It is no good
writing to the acting manager, because there is no acting manager.
It would be a waste of time offering to exhibit bills, because they
don't have any bills--not of that sort. If you want to go in to see
the show, you've got to pay. If you don't pay, you stop outside;
that's their brutal rule."
"Dear me," I said, "what a very unpleasant arrangement! And
whereabouts is this extraordinary theatre? I don't think I can ever
have been inside it."
"I don't think you have," he replied; "it is at Ober-Ammergau--first
turning on the left after you leave Ober railway-station, fifty
miles from Munich."
"Um! rather out of the way for a theatre," I said. "I should not
have thought an outlying house like that could have afforded to give
"The house holds seven thousand people," answered my friend B., "and
money is turned away at each performance. The first production is
on Monday next. Will you come?"
I pondered for a moment, looked at my diary, and saw that Aunt Emma
was coming to spend Saturday to Wednesday next with us, calculated
that if I went I should miss her, and might not see her again for
years, and decided that I would go.
To tell the truth, it was the journey more than the play that
tempted me. To be a great traveller has always been one of my
cherished ambitions. I yearn to be able to write in this sort of
"I have smoked my fragrant Havana in the sunny streets of old
Madrid, and I have puffed the rude and not sweet-smelling calumet of
peace in the draughty wigwam of the Wild West; I have sipped my
evening coffee in the silent tent, while the tethered camel browsed
without upon the desert grass, and I have quaffed the fiery brandy
of the North while the reindeer munched his fodder beside me in the
hut, and the pale light of the midnight sun threw the shadows of the
pines across the snow; I have felt the stab of lustrous eyes that,
ghostlike, looked at me from out veil-covered faces in Byzantium's
narrow ways, and I have laughed back (though it was wrong of me to
do so) at the saucy, wanton glances of the black-eyed girls of Jedo;
I have wandered where 'good'--but not too good--Haroun Alraschid
crept disguised at nightfall, with his faithful Mesrour by his side;
I have stood upon the bridge where Dante watched the sainted
Beatrice pass by; I have floated on the waters that once bore the
barge of Cleopatra; I have stood where Caesar fell; I have heard the
soft rustle of rich, rare robes in the drawing-rooms of Mayfair, and
I have heard the teeth-necklaces rattle around the ebony throats of
the belles of Tongataboo; I have panted beneath the sun's fierce
rays in India, and frozen under the icy blasts of Greenland; I have
mingled with the teeming hordes of old Cathay, and, deep in the
great pine forests of the Western World, I have lain, wrapped in my
blanket, a thousand miles beyond the shores of human life."
B., to whom I explained my leaning towards this style of diction,
said that exactly the same effect could be produced by writing about
places quite handy. He said:-
"I could go on like that without having been outside England at all.
I should say:
"I have smoked my fourpenny shag in the sanded bars of Fleet Street,
and I have puffed my twopenny Manilla in the gilded balls of the
Criterion; I have quaffed my foaming beer of Burton where
Islington's famed Angel gathers the little thirsty ones beneath her
shadowing wings, and I have sipped my tenpenny ordinaire in many a
garlic-scented salon of Soho. On the back of the strangely-moving
ass I have urged--or, to speak more correctly, the proprietor of the
ass, or his agent, from behind has urged--my wild career across the
sandy heaths of Hampstead, and my canoe has startled the screaming
wild-fowl from their lonely haunts amid the sub-tropical regions of
Battersea. Adown the long, steep slope of One Tree Hill have I
rolled from top to foot, while laughing maidens of the East stood
round and clapped their hands and yelled; and, in the old-world
garden of that pleasant Court, where played the fair-haired children
of the ill-starred Stuarts, have I wandered long through many paths,
my arm entwined about the waist of one of Eve's sweet daughters,
while her mother raged around indignantly on the other side of the
hedge, and never seemed to get any nearer to us. I have chased the
lodging-house Norfolk Howard to his watery death by the pale lamp's
light; I have, shivering, followed the leaping flea o'er many a mile
of pillow and sheet, by the great Atlantic's margin. Round and
round, till the heart--and not only the heart--grows sick, and the
mad brain whirls and reels, have I ridden the small, but extremely
hard, horse, that may, for a penny, be mounted amid the plains of
Peckham Rye; and high above the heads of the giddy throngs of Barnet
(though it is doubtful if anyone among them was half so giddy as was
I) have I swung in highly-coloured car, worked by a man with a rope.
I have trod in stately measure the floor of Kensington's Town Hall
(the tickets were a guinea each, and included refreshments--when you
could get to them through the crowd), and on the green sward of the
forest that borders eastern Anglia by the oft-sung town of Epping I
have performed quaint ceremonies in a ring; I have mingled with the
teeming hordes of Drury Lane on Boxing Night, and, during the run of
a high-class piece, I have sat in lonely grandeur in the front row
of the gallery, and wished that I had spent my shilling instead in
the Oriental halls of the Alhambra."
"There you are," said B., "that is just as good as yours; and you
can write like that without going more than a few hours' journey
"We will discuss the matter no further," I replied. "You cannot, I
see, enter into my feelings. The wild heart of the traveller does
not throb within your breast; you cannot understand his longings.
No matter! Suffice it that I will come this journey with you. I
will buy a German conversation book, and a check-suit, and a blue
veil, and a white umbrella, and suchlike necessities of the English
tourist in Germany, this very afternoon. When do you start?"
"Well," he said, "it is a good two days' journey. I propose to
start on Friday."
"Is not Friday rather an unlucky day to start on?" I suggested.
"Oh, good gracious!" he retorted quite sharply, "what rubbish next?
As if the affairs of Europe were going to be arranged by Providence
according to whether you and I start for an excursion on a Thursday
or a Friday!"
He said he was surprised that a man who could be so sensible,
occasionally, as myself, could have patience to even think of such
old-womanish nonsense. He said that years ago, when he was a silly
boy, he used to pay attention to this foolish superstition himself,
and would never upon any consideration start for a trip upon a
But, one year, he was compelled to do so. It was a case of either
starting on a Friday or not going at all, and he determined to
He went, prepared for and expecting a series of accidents and
misfortunes. To return home alive was the only bit of pleasure he
hoped for from that trip.
As it turned out, however, he had never had a more enjoyable holiday
in his life before. The whole event was a tremendous success.
And after that, he had made up his mind to ALWAYS start on a Friday;
and he always did, and always had a good time.
He said that he would never, upon any consideration, start for a
trip upon any other day but a Friday now. It was so absurd, this
superstition about Friday.
So we agreed to start on the Friday, and I am to meet him at
Victoria Station at a quarter to eight in the evening.
The Question of Luggage.--First Friend's Suggestion.--Second
Friend's Suggestion.--Third Friend's Suggestion.--Mrs. Briggs'
Advice.--Our Vicar's Advice.--His Wife's Advice.--Medical Advice.--
Literary Advice.--George's Recommendation.--My Sister-in-Law's
Help.--Young Smith's Counsel.--My Own Ideas.--B.'s Idea.
I have been a good deal worried to-day about the question of what
luggage to take with me. I met a man this morning, and he said:
"Oh, if you are going to Ober-Ammergau, mind you take plenty of warm
clothing with you. You'll need all your winter things up there."
He said that a friend of his had gone up there some years ago, and
had not taken enough warm things with him, and had caught a chill
there, and had come home and died. He said:
"You be guided by me, and take plenty of warm things with you."
I met another man later on, and he said:
"I hear you are going abroad. Now, tell me, what part of Europe are
you going to?"
I replied that I thought it was somewhere about the middle. He
"Well, now, you take my advice, and get a calico suit and a
sunshade. Never mind the look of the thing. You be comfortable.
You've no idea of the heat on the Continent at this time of the
year. English people will persist in travelling about the Continent
in the same stuffy clothes that they wear at home. That's how so
many of them get sunstrokes, and are ruined for life."
I went into the club, and there I met a friend of mine--a newspaper
correspondent--who has travelled a good deal, and knows Europe
pretty well. I told him what my two other friends had said, and
asked him which I was to believe. He said:
"Well, as a matter of fact, they are both right. You see, up in
those hilly districts, the weather changes very quickly. In the
morning it may be blazing hot, and you will be melting, and in the
evening you may be very glad of a flannel shirt and a fur coat."
"Why, that is exactly the sort of weather we have in England!" I
exclaimed. "If that's all these foreigners can manage in their own
country, what right have they to come over here, as they do, and
grumble about our weather?"
"Well, as a matter of fact," he replied, "they haven't any right;
but you can't stop them--they will do it. No, you take my advice,
and be prepared for everything. Take a cool suit and some thin
things, for if it's hot, and plenty of warm things in case it is
When I got home I found Mrs. Briggs there, she having looked in to
see how the baby was. She said:-
"Oh! if you're going anywhere near Germany, you take a bit of soap
She said that Mr. Briggs had been called over to Germany once in a
hurry, on business, and had forgotten to take a piece of soap with
him, and didn't know enough German to ask for any when he got over
there, and didn't see any to ask for even if he had known, and was
away for three weeks, and wasn't able to wash himself all the time,
and came home so dirty that they didn't know him, and mistook him
for the man that was to come to see what was the matter with the
Mrs. Briggs also advised me to take some towels with me, as they
give you such small towels to wipe on.
I went out after lunch, and met our Vicar. He said:
"Take a blanket with you."
He said that not only did the German hotel-keepers never give you
sufficient bedclothes to keep you warm of a night, but they never
properly aired their sheets. He said that a young friend of his had
gone for a tour through Germany once, and had slept in a damp bed,
and had caught rheumatic fever, and had come home and died.
His wife joined us at this point. (He was waiting for her outside a
draper's shop when I met him.) He explained to her that I was going
to Germany, and she said:
"Oh! take a pillow with you. They don't give you any pillows--not
like our pillows--and it's SO wretched, you'll never get a decent
night's rest if you don't take a pillow." She said: "You can have
a little bag made for it, and it doesn't look anything."
I met our doctor a few yards further on. He said:
"Don't forget to take a bottle of brandy with you. It doesn't take
up much room, and, if you're not used to German cooking, you'll find
it handy in the night."
He added that the brandy you get at foreign hotels was mere poison,
and that it was really unsafe to travel abroad without a bottle of
brandy. He said that a simple thing like a bottle of brandy in your
bag might often save your life.
Coming home, I ran against a literary friend of mine. He said:
"You'll have a goodish time in the train old fellow. Are you used
to long railway journeys?"
"Well, I've travelled down from London into the very heart of Surrey
by a South Eastern express."
"Oh! that's a mere nothing, compared with what you've got before you
now," he answered. "Look here, I'll tell you a very good idea of
how to pass the time. You take a chessboard with you and a set of
men. You'll thank me for telling you that!"
George dropped in during the evening. He said:
"I'll tell you one thing you'll have to take with you, old man, and
that's a box of cigars and some tobacco."
He said that the German cigar--the better class of German cigar--was
of the brand that is technically known over here as the "Penny
Pickwick--Spring Crop;" and he thought that I should not have time,
during the short stay I contemplated making in the country, to
acquire a taste for its flavour.
My sister-in-law came in later on in the evening (she is a
thoughtful girl), and brought a box with her about the size of a
tea-chest. She said:
"Now, you slip that in your bag; you'll be glad of that. There's
everything there for making yourself a cup of tea."
She said that they did not understand tea in Germany, but that with
that I should be independent of them.
She opened the case, and explained its contents to me. It certainly
was a wonderfully complete arrangement. It contained a little caddy
full of tea, a little bottle of milk, a box of sugar, a bottle of
methylated spirit, a box of butter, and a tin of biscuits: also, a
stove, a kettle, a teapot, two cups, two saucers, two plates, two
knives, and two spoons. If there had only been a bed in it, one
need not have bothered about hotels at all.
Young Smith, the Secretary of our Photographic Club, called at nine
to ask me to take him a negative of the statue of the dying
Gladiator in the Munich Sculpture Gallery. I told him that I should
be delighted to oblige him, but that I did not intend to take my
camera with me.
"Not take your camera!" he said. "You are going to Germany--to
Rhineland! You are going to pass through some of the most
picturesque scenery, and stay at some of the most ancient and famous
towns of Europe, and are going to leave your photographic apparatus
behind you, and you call yourself an artist!"
He said I should never regret a thing more in my life than going
without that camera.
I think it is always right to take other people's advice in matters
where they know more than you do. It is the experience of those who
have gone before that makes the way smooth for those who follow.
So, after supper, I got together the things I had been advised to
take with me, and arranged them on the bed, adding a few articles I
had thought of all by myself.
I put up plenty of writing paper and a bottle of ink, along with a
dictionary and a few other books of reference, in case I should feel
inclined to do any work while I was away. I always like to be
prepared for work; one never knows when one may feel inclined for
it. Sometimes, when I have been away, and have forgotten to bring
any paper and pens and ink with me, I have felt so inclined for
writing; and it has quite upset me that, in consequence of not
having brought any paper and pens and ink with me, I have been
unable to sit down and do a lot of work, but have been compelled,
instead, to lounge about all day with my hands in my pockets.
Accordingly, I always take plenty of paper and pens and ink with me
now, wherever I go, so that when the desire for work comes to me I
need not check it.
That this craving for work should have troubled me so often, when I
had no paper, pens, and ink by me, and that it never, by any chance,
visits me now, when I am careful to be in a position to gratify it,
is a matter over which I have often puzzled.
But when it does come I shall be ready for it.
I also put on the bed a few volumes of Goethe, because I thought it
would be so pleasant to read him in his own country. And I decided
to take a sponge, together with a small portable bath, because a
cold bath is so refreshing the first thing in the morning.
B. came in just as I had got everything into a pile. He stared at
the bed, and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was packing.
"Great Heavens!" he exclaimed. "I thought you were moving! What do
you think we are going to do--camp out?"
"No!" I replied. "But these are the things I have been advised to
take with me. What is the use of people giving you advice if you
don't take it?"
"Oh! take as much advice as you like; that always comes in useful to
give away. But, for goodness sake, don't get carrying all that
stuff about with you. People will take us for Gipsies."
"Now, it's no use your talking nonsense. Half the things on this
bed are life-preserving things. If people go into Germany without
these things, they come home and die."
And I related to him what the doctor and the vicar and the other
people had told me, and explained to him how my life depended upon
my taking brandy and blankets and sunshades and plenty of warm
clothing with me.
He is a man utterly indifferent to danger and risk--incurred by
other people--is B. He said:
"Oh, rubbish! You're not the sort that catches a cold and dies
young. You leave that co-operative stores of yours at home, and
pack up a tooth-brush, a comb, a pair of socks, and a shirt. That's
all you'll want."
I have packed more than that, but not much. At all events, I have
got everything into one small bag. I should like to have taken that
tea arrangement--it would have done so nicely to play at shop with
in the train!--but B. would not hear of it.
I hope the weather does not change.
Early Rising.--Ballast should be Stowed Away in the Hold before
Putting to Sea.--Annoying Interference of Providence in Matters that
it Does Not Understand.--A Socialistic Society.--B. Misjudges Me.--
An Uninteresting Anecdote.--We Lay in Ballast.--A Moderate Sailor.--
A Playful Boat.
I got up very early this morning. I do not know why I got up early.
We do not start till eight o'clock this evening. But I don't regret
it--the getting up early I mean. It is a change. I got everybody
else up too, and we all had breakfast at seven.
I made a very good lunch. One of those seafaring men said to me
"Now, if ever you are going a short passage, and are at all nervous,
you lay in a good load. It's a good load in the hold what steadies
the ship. It's them half-empty cruisers as goes a-rollin' and a-
pitchin' and a-heavin' all over the place, with their stern up'ards
half the time. You lay in ballast."
It seemed very reasonable advice.
Aunt Emma came in the afternoon. She said she was so glad she had
caught me. Something told her to change her mind and come on Friday
instead of Saturday. It was Providence, she said.
I wish Providence would mind its own business, and not interfere in
my affairs: it does not understand them.
She says she shall stop till I come back, as she wants to see me
again before she goes. I told her I might not be back for a month.
She said it didn't matter; she had plenty of time, and would wait
The family entreat me to hurry home.
I ate a very fair dinner--"laid in a good stock of ballast," as my
seafaring friend would have said; wished "Good-bye!" to everybody,
and kissed Aunt Emma; promised to take care of myself--a promise
which, please Heaven, I will faithfully keep, cost me what it may--
hailed a cab and started.
I reached Victoria some time before B. I secured two corner seats
in a smoking-carriage, and then paced up and down the platform
waiting for him.
When men have nothing else to occupy their minds, they take to
thinking. Having nothing better to do until B. arrived, I fell to
What a wonderful piece of Socialism modern civilisation has become!-
-not the Socialism of the so-called Socialists--a system modelled
apparently upon the methods of the convict prison--a system under
which each miserable sinner is to be compelled to labour, like a
beast of burden, for no personal benefit to himself, but only for
the good of the community--a world where there are to be no men, but
only numbers--where there is to be no ambition and no hope and no
fear,--but the Socialism of free men, working side by side in the
common workshop, each one for the wage to which his skill and energy
entitle him; the Socialism of responsible, thinking individuals, not
of State-directed automata.
Here was I, in exchange for the result of some of my labour, going
to be taken by Society for a treat, to the middle of Europe and
back. Railway lines had been laid over the whole 700 or 800 miles
to facilitate my progress; bridges had been built, and tunnels made;
an army of engineers, and guards, and signal-men, and porters, and
clerks were waiting to take charge of me, and to see to my comfort
and safety. All I had to do was to tell Society (here represented
by a railway booking-clerk) where I wanted to go, and to step into a
carriage; all the rest would be done for me. Books and papers had
been written and printed; so that if I wished to beguile the journey
by reading, I could do so. At various places on the route,
thoughtful Society had taken care to be ready for me with all kinds
of refreshment (her sandwiches might be a little fresher, but maybe
she thinks new bread injurious for me). When I am tired of
travelling and want to rest, I find Society waiting for me with
dinner and a comfortable bed, with hot and cold water to wash in and
towels to wipe upon. Wherever I go, whatever I need, Society, like
the enslaved genii of some Eastern tale, is ready and anxious to
help me, to serve me, to do my bidding, to give me enjoyment and
pleasure. Society will take me to Ober-Ammergau, will provide for
all my wants on the way, and, when I am there, will show me the
Passion Play, which she has arranged and rehearsed and will play for
my instruction; will bring me back any way I like to come,
explaining, by means of her guide-books and histories, everything
upon the way that she thinks can interest me; will, while I am
absent, carry my messages to those I have left behind me in England,
and will bring me theirs in return; will look after me and take care
of me and protect me like a mother--as no mother ever could.
All that she asks in return is, that I shall do the work she has
given me to do. As a man works, so Society deals by him.
To me Society says: "You sit at your desk and write, that is all I
want you to do. You are not good for much, but you can spin out
yards of what you and your friends, I suppose, call literature; and
some people seem to enjoy reading it. Very well: you sit there and
write this literature, or whatever it is, and keep your mind fixed
on that. I will see to everything else for you. I will provide you
with writing materials, and books of wit and humour, and paste and
scissors, and everything else that may be necessary to you in your
trade; and I will feed you and clothe you and lodge you, and I will
take you about to places that you wish to go to; and I will see that
you have plenty of tobacco and all other things practicable that you
may desire--provided that you work well. The more work you do, and
the better work you do, the better I shall look after you. You
write--that is all I want you to do."
"But," I say to Society, "I don't like work; I don't want to work.
Why should I be a slave and work?"
"All right," answers Society, "don't work. I'm not forcing you.
All I say is, that if you don't work for me, I shall not work for
you. No work from you, no dinner from me--no holidays, no tobacco."
And I decide to be a slave, and work.
Society has no notion of paying all men equally. Her great object
is to encourage brain. The man who merely works by his muscles she
regards as very little superior to the horse or the ox, and provides
for him just a little better. But the moment he begins to use his
head, and from the labourer rises to the artisan, she begins to
raise his wages.
Of course hers is a very imperfect method of encouraging thought.
She is of the world, and takes a worldly standard of cleverness. To
the shallow, showy writer, I fear, she generally pays far more than
to the deep and brilliant thinker; and clever roguery seems often
more to her liking than honest worth. But her scheme is a right and
sound one; her aims and intentions are clear; her methods, on the
whole, work fairly well; and every year she grows in judgment.
One day she will arrive at perfect wisdom, and will pay each man
according to his deserts.
But do not be alarmed. This will not happen in our time.
Turning round, while still musing about Society, I ran against B.
(literally). He thought I was a clumsy ass at first, and said so;
but, on recognising me, apologised for his mistake. He had been
there for some time also, waiting for me. I told him that I had
secured two corner seats in a smoking-carriage, and he replied that
he had done so too. By a curious coincidence, we had both fixed
upon the same carriage. I had taken the corner seats near the
platform, and he had booked the two opposite corners. Four other
passengers sat huddled up in the middle. We kept the seats near the
door, and gave the other two away. One should always practise
There was a very talkative man in our carriage. I never came across
a man with such a fund of utterly uninteresting anecdotes. He had a
friend with him--at all events, the man was his friend when they
started--and he talked to this friend incessantly, from the moment
the train left Victoria until it arrived at Dover. First of all he
told him a long story about a dog. There was no point in the story
whatever. It was simply a bald narrative of the dog's daily doings.
The dog got up in the morning and barked at the door, and when they
came down and opened the door there he was, and he stopped all day
in the garden; and when his wife (not the dog's wife, the wife of
the man who was telling the story) went out in the afternoon, he was
asleep on the grass, and they brought him into the house, and he
played with the children, and in the evening he slept in the coal-
shed, and next morning there he was again. And so on, for about
A very dear chum or near relative of the dog's might doubtless have
found the account enthralling; but what possible interest a
stranger--a man who evidently didn't even know the dog--could be
expected to take in the report, it was difficult to conceive.
The friend at first tried to feel excited, and murmured:
"Wonderful!" "Very strange, indeed!" "How curious!" and helped the
tale along by such ejaculations as, "No, did he though?" "And what
did you do then?" or, "Was that on the Monday or the Tuesday, then?"
But as the story progressed, he appeared to take a positive dislike
to the dog, and only yawned each time that it was mentioned.
Indeed, towards the end, I think, though I trust I am mistaken, I
heard him mutter, "Oh, damn the dog!"
After the dog story, we thought we were going to have a little
quiet. But we were mistaken; for, with the same breath with which
he finished the dog rigmarole, our talkative companion added:
"But I can tell you a funnier thing than that--"
We all felt we could believe that assertion. If he had boasted that
he could tell a duller, more uninteresting story, we should have
doubted him; but the possibility of his being able to relate
something funnier, we could readily grasp.
But it was not a bit funnier, after all. It was only longer and
more involved. It was the history of a man who grew his own celery;
and then, later on, it turned out that his wife was the niece, by
the mother's side, of a man who had made an ottoman out of an old
The friend glanced round the carriage apologetically about the
middle of this story, with an expression that said:
"I'm awfully sorry, gentlemen; but it really is not my fault. You
see the position I'm in. Don't blame me. Don't make it worse for
me to bear than it is."
And we each replied with pitying, sympathetic looks that implied:
"That's all right, my dear sir; don't you fret about that. We see
how it is. We only wish we could do something to help you."
The poor fellow seemed happier and more resigned after that.
B. and I hurried on board at Dover, and were just in time to secure
the last two berths in the boat; and we were glad that we had
managed to do this because our idea was that we should, after a good
supper, turn in and go comfortably to sleep.
"What I like to do, during a sea passage, is to go to sleep, and
then wake up and find that I am there."
We made a very creditable supper. I explained to B. the ballast
principle held by my seafaring friend, and he agreed with me that
the idea seemed reasonable; and, as there was a fixed price for
supper, and you had as much as you liked, we determined to give the
plan a fair trial.
B. left me after supper somewhat abruptly, as it appeared to me, and
I took a stroll on deck by myself. I did not feel very comfortable.
I am what I call a moderate sailor. I do not go to excess in either
direction. On ordinary occasions, I can swagger about and smoke my
pipe, and lie about my Channel experiences with the best of them.
But when there is what the captain calls "a bit of a sea on," I feel
sad, and try to get away from the smell of the engines and the
proximity of people who smoke green cigars.
There was a man smoking a peculiarly mellow and unctuous cigar on
deck when I got there. I don't believe he smoked it because he
enjoyed it. He did not look as if he enjoyed it. I believe he
smoked it merely to show how well he was feeling, and to irritate
people who were not feeling very well.
There is something very blatantly offensive about the man who feels
well on board a boat.
I am very objectionable myself, I know, when I am feeling all right.
It is not enough for me that I am not ill. I want everybody to see
that I am not ill. It seems to me that I am wasting myself if I
don't let every human being in the vessel know that I am not ill. I
cannot sit still and be thankful, like you'd imagine a sensible man
would. I walk about the ship--smoking, of course--and look at
people who are not well with mild but pitying surprise, as if I
wondered what it was like and how they did it. It is very foolish
of me, I know, but I cannot help it. I suppose it is the human
nature that exists in even the best of us that makes us act like
I could not get away from this man's cigar; or when I did, I came
within range of the perfume from the engine-room, and felt I wanted
to go back to the cigar. There seemed to be no neutral ground
between the two.
If it had not been that I had paid for saloon, I should have gone
fore. It was much fresher there, and I should have been much
happier there altogether. But I was not going to pay for first-
class and then ride third--that was not business. No, I would stick
to the swagger part of the ship, and feel aristocratic and sick.
A mate, or a boatswain, or an admiral, or one of those sort of
people--I could not be sure, in the darkness, which it was--came up
to me as I was leaning with my head against the paddle-box, and
asked me what I thought of the ship. He said she was a new boat,
and that this was her first voyage.
I said I hoped she would get a bit steadier as she grew older.
He replied: "Yes, she is a bit skittish to-night."
What it seemed to me was, that the ship would try to lie down and go
to sleep on her right side; and then, before she had given that
position a fair trial, would suddenly change her mind, and think she
could do it better on her left. At the moment the man came up to me
she was trying to stand on her head; and before he had finished
speaking she had given up this attempt, in which, however, she had
very nearly succeeded, and had, apparently, decided to now play at
getting out of the water altogether.
And this is what he called being a "bit skittish!"
Seafaring people talk like this, because they are silly, and do not
know any better. It is no use being angry with them.
I got a little sleep at last. Not in the bunk I had been at such
pains to secure: I would not have stopped down in that stuffy
saloon, if anybody had offered me a hundred pounds for doing so.
Not that anybody did; nor that anybody seemed to want me there at
all. I gathered this from the fact that the first thing that met my
eye, after I had succeeded in clawing my way down, was a boot. The
air was full of boots. There were sixty men sleeping there--or, as
regards the majority, I should say TRYING to sleep there--some in
bunks, some on tables, and some under tables. One man WAS asleep,
and was snoring like a hippopotamus--like a hippopotamus that had
caught a cold, and was hoarse; and the other fifty-nine were sitting
up, throwing their boots at him. It was a snore, very difficult to
locate. From which particular berth, in that dimly-lighted, evil-
smelling place, it proceeded nobody was quite sure. At one moment,
it appeared to come, wailing and sobbing, from the larboard, and the
next instant it thundered forth, seemingly from the starboard. So
every man who could reach a boot picked it up, and threw it
promiscuously, silently praying to Providence, as he did so, to
guide it aright and bring it safe to its desired haven.
I watched the weird scene for a minute or two, and then I hauled
myself on deck again, and sat down--and went to sleep on a coil of
rope; and was awakened, in the course of time, by a sailor who
wanted that coil of rope to throw at the head of a man who was
standing, doing no harm to anybody, on the quay at Ostend.
Arrival at Ostend.--Coffee and Rolls.--Difficulty of Making French
Waiters understand German.--Advantages of Possessing a Conscience
That Does Not Get Up Too Early.--Villainy Triumphant.--Virtue
Ordered Outside.--A Homely English Row.
When I say I was "awakened" at Ostend, I do not speak the strict
truth. I was not awakened--not properly. I was only half-awakened.
I never did get fairly awake until the afternoon. During the
journey from Ostend to Cologne I was three-parts asleep and one-part
At Ostend, however, I was sufficiently aroused to grasp the idea
that we had got somewhere, and that I must find my luggage and B.,
and do something or other; in addition to which, a strange, vague
instinct, but one which I have never yet known deceive me, hovering
about my mind, and telling me that I was in the neighbourhood of
something to eat and drink, spurred me to vigour and action.
I hurried down into the saloon and there found B. He excused
himself for having left me alone all night--he need not have
troubled himself. I had not pined for him in the least. If the
only woman I had ever loved had been on board, I should have sat
silent, and let any other fellow talk to her that wanted to, and
that felt equal to it--by explaining that he had met a friend and
that they had been talking. It appeared to have been a trying
I also ran against the talkative man and his companion. Such a
complete wreck of a once strong man as the latter looked I have
never before seen. Mere sea-sickness, however severe, could never
have accounted for the change in his appearance since, happy and
hopeful, he entered the railway-carriage at Victoria six short hours
ago. His friend, on the other hand, appeared fresh and cheerful,
and was relating an anecdote about a cow.
We took our bags into the Custom House and opened them, and I sat
down on mine, and immediately went to sleep.
When I awoke, somebody whom I mistook at first for a Field-Marshal,
and from force of habit--I was once a volunteer--saluted, was
standing over me, pointing melodramatically at my bag. I assured
him in picturesque German that I had nothing to declare. He did not
appear to comprehend me, which struck me as curious, and took the
bag away from me, which left me nothing to sit upon but the floor.
But I felt too sleepy to be indignant.
After our luggage had been examined, we went into the buffet. My
instinct had not misled me: there I found hot coffee, and rolls and
butter. I ordered two coffees with milk, some bread, and some
butter. I ordered them in the best German I knew. As nobody
understood me, I went and got the things for myself. It saves a
deal of argument, that method. People seem to know what you mean in
a moment then.
B. suggested that while we were in Belgium, where everybody spoke
French, while very few indeed knew German, I should stand a better
chance of being understood if I talked less German and more French.
"It will be easier for you, and less of a strain upon the natives.
You stick to French," he continued, "as long as ever you can. You
will get along much better with French. You will come across people
now and then--smart, intelligent people--who will partially
understand your French, but no human being, except a thought-reader,
will ever obtain any glimmering of what you mean from your German."
"Oh, are we in Belgium," I replied sleepily; "I thought we were in
Germany. I didn't know." And then, in a burst of confidence, I
added, feeling that further deceit was useless, "I don't know where
I am, you know."
"No, I thought you didn't," he replied. "That is exactly the idea
you give anybody. I wish you'd wake up a bit."
We waited about an hour at Ostend, while our train was made up.
There was only one carriage labelled for Cologne, and four more
passengers wanted to go there than the compartment would hold.
Not being aware of this, B. and I made no haste to secure places,
and, in consequence, when, having finished our coffee, we leisurely
strolled up and opened the carriage door we saw that every seat was
already booked. A bag was in one space and a rug in another, an
umbrella booked a third, and so on. Nobody was there, but the seats
It is the unwritten law among travellers that a man's luggage
deposited upon a seat, shall secure that seat to him until he comes
to sit upon it himself. This is a good law and a just law, and one
that, in my normal state, I myself would die to uphold and maintain.
But at three o'clock on a chilly morning one's moral sensibilities
are not properly developed. The average man's conscience does not
begin work till eight or nine o'clock--not till after breakfast, in
fact. At three a.m. he will do things that at three in the
afternoon his soul would revolt at.
Under ordinary circumstances I should as soon have thought of
shifting a man's bag and appropriating his seat as an ancient Hebrew
squatter would have thought of removing his neighbour's landmark;
but at this time in the morning my better nature was asleep.
I have often read of a man's better nature being suddenly awakened.
The business is generally accomplished by an organ-grinder or a
little child (I would back the latter, at all events--give it a fair
chance--to awaken anything in this world that was not stone deaf, or
that had not been dead for more than twenty-four hours); and if an
organ-grinder or a little child had been around Ostend station that
morning, things might have been different.
B. and I might have been saved from crime. Just as we were in the
middle of our villainy, the organ-grinder or the child would have
struck up, and we should have burst into tears, and have rushed from
the carriage, and have fallen upon each other's necks outside on the
platform, and have wept, and waited for the next train.
As it was, after looking carefully round to see that nobody was
watching us, we slipped quickly into the carriage, and, making room
for ourselves among the luggage there, sat down and tried to look
innocent and easy.
B. said that the best thing we could do, when the other people came,
would be to pretend to be dead asleep, and too stupid to understand
I replied that as far as I was concerned, I thought I could convey
the desired impression without stooping to deceit at all, and
prepared to make myself comfortable.
A few seconds later another man got into the carriage. He also made
room for himself among the luggage and sat down.
"I am afraid that seat's taken, sir," said B. when he had recovered
his surprise at the man's coolness. "In fact, all the seats in this
carriage are taken."
"I can't help that," replied the ruffian, cynically. "I've got to
get to Cologne some time to-day, and there seems no other way of
doing it that I can see."
"Yes, but so has the gentleman whose seat you have taken got to get
there," I remonstrated; "what about him? You are thinking only of
My sense of right and justice was beginning to assert itself, and I
felt quite indignant with the fellow. Two minutes ago, as I have
explained, I could contemplate the taking of another man's seat with
equanimity. Now, such an act seemed to me shameful. The truth is
that my better nature never sleeps for long. Leave it alone and it
wakens of its own accord. Heaven help me! I am a sinful, worldly
man, I know; but there is good at the bottom of me. It wants
hauling up, but it's there.
This man had aroused it. I now saw the sinfulness of taking another
passenger's place in a railway-carriage.
But I could not make the other man see it. I felt that some service
was due from me to Justice, in compensation of the wrong I had done
her a few moments ago, and I argued most eloquently.
My rhetoric was, however, quite thrown away. "Oh! it's only a vice-
consul," he said; "here's his name on the bag. There's plenty of
room for him in with the guard."
It was no use my defending the sacred cause of Right before a man
who held sentiments like that; so, having lodged a protest against
his behaviour, and thus eased my conscience, I leant back and dozed
the doze of the just.
Five minutes before the train started, the rightful owners of the
carriage came up and crowded in. They seemed surprised at finding
only five vacant seats available between seven of them, and
commenced to quarrel vigorously among themselves.
B. and I and the unjust man in the corner tried to calm them, but
passion ran too high at first for the voice of Reason to be heard.
Each combination of five, possible among them, accused each
remaining two of endeavouring to obtain seats by fraud, and each one
more than hinted that the other six were liars.
What annoyed me was that they quarrelled in English. They all had
languages of their own,--there were four Belgians, two Frenchmen,
and a German,--but no language was good enough for them to insult
each other in but English.
Finding that there seemed to be no chance of their ever agreeing
among themselves, they appealed to us. We unhesitatingly decided in
favour of the five thinnest, who, thereupon, evidently regarding the
matter as finally settled, sat down, and told the other two to get
These two stout ones, however--the German and one of the Belgians--
seemed inclined to dispute the award, and called up the station-
The station-master did not wait to listen to what they had to say,
but at once began abusing them for being in the carriage at all. He
told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves for forcing their
way into a compartment that was already more than full, and
inconveniencing the people already there.
He also used English to explain this to them, and they got out on
the platform and answered him back in English.
English seems to be the popular language for quarrelling in, among
foreigners. I suppose they find it more expressive.
We all watched the group from the window. We were amused and
interested. In the middle of the argument an early gendarme arrived
on the scene. The gendarme naturally supported the station-master.
One man in uniform always supports another man in uniform, no matter
what the row is about, or who may be in the right--that does not
trouble him. It is a fixed tenet of belief among uniform circles
that a uniform can do no wrong. If burglars wore uniform, the
police would be instructed to render them every assistance in their
power, and to take into custody any householder attempting to
interfere with them in the execution of their business. The
gendarme assisted the station-master to abuse the two stout
passengers, and he also abused them in English. It was not good
English in any sense of the word. The man would probably have been
able to give his feelings much greater variety and play in French or
Flemish, but that was not his object. His ambition, like every
other foreigner's, was to become an accomplished English quarreller,
and this was practice for him.
A Customs House clerk came out and joined in the babel. He took the
part of the passengers, and abused the station-master and the
gendarme, and HE abused THEM in English.
B. said he thought it very pleasant here, far from our native
shores, in the land of the stranger, to come across a little homely
English row like this.
A Man of Family.--An Eccentric Train.--Outrage on an Englishman.--
Alone in Europe.--Difficulty of Making German Waiters Understand
Scandinavian.--Danger of Knowing Too Many Languages.--A Wearisome
There was a very well-informed Belgian in the carriage, and he told
us something interesting about nearly every town through which we
passed. I felt that if I could have kept awake, and have listened
to that man, and remembered what he said, and not mixed things up, I
should have learnt a good deal about the country between Ostend and
He had relations in nearly every town, had this man. I suppose
there have been, and are, families as large and as extensive as his;
but I never heard of any other family that made such a show. They
seemed to have been planted out with great judgment, and were now
all over the country. Every time I awoke, I caught some such
scattered remark as:
"Bruges--you can see the belfry from this side--plays a polka by
Haydn every hour. My aunt lives here." "Ghent--Hotel de Ville,
some say finest specimen of Gothic architecture in Europe--where my
mother lives. You could see the house if that church wasn't there."
"Just passed Alost--great hop centre. My grandfather used to live
there; he's dead now." "There's the Royal chateau--here, just on
this side. My sister is married to a man who lives there--not in
the palace, I don't mean, but in Laeken." "That's the dome of the
Palais de Justice--they call Brussels 'Paris in little'--I like it
better than Paris, myself--not so crowded. I live in Brussels."
"Louvain--there's Van de Weyer's statue, the 1830 revolutionist. My
wife's mother lives in Louvain. She wants us to come and live
there. She says we are too far away from her at Brussels, but I
don't think so." "Leige--see the citadel? Got some cousins at
Leige--only second ones. Most of my first ones live at Maestricht";
and so on all the way to Cologne.
I do not believe we passed a single town or village that did not
possess one or more specimens of this man's relatives. Our journey
seemed, not so much like a tour through Belgium and part of Northern
Germany, as a visit to the neighbourhood where this man's family
I was careful to take a seat facing the engine at Ostend. I prefer
to travel that way. But when I awoke a little later on, I found
myself going backwards.
I naturally felt indignant. I said:
"Who's put me over here? I was over there, you know. You've no
right to do that!"
They assured me, however, that nobody had shifted me, but that the
train had turned round at Ghent.
I was annoyed at this. It seemed to me a mean trick for a train to
start off in one direction, and thus lure you into taking your seat
(or somebody else's seat, as the case might be) under the impression
that you were going to travel that way, and then, afterwards, turn
round and go the other way. I felt very doubtful, in my own mind,
as to whether the train knew where it was going at all.
At Brussels we got out and had some more coffee and rolls. I forget
what language I talked at Brussels, but nobody understood me. When
I next awoke, after leaving Brussels, I found myself going forwards
again. The engine had apparently changed its mind for the second
time, and was pulling the carriages the other way now. I began to
get thoroughly alarmed. This train was simply doing what it liked.
There was no reliance to be placed upon it whatever. The next thing
it would do would be to go sideways. It seemed to me that I ought
to get up and see into this matter; but, while pondering the
business, I fell asleep again.
I was very sleepy indeed when they routed us out at Herbesthal, to
examine our luggage for Germany. I had a vague idea that we were
travelling in Turkey, and had been stopped by brigands. When they
told me to open my bag, I said, "Never!" and remarked that I was an
Englishman, and that they had better be careful. I also told them
that they could dismiss any idea of ransom from their minds at once,
unless they were prepared to take I.O.U.'s, as it was against the
principles of our family to pay cash for anything--certainly not for
They took no notice of my warning, and caught hold of my Gladstone.
I resisted feebly, but was over-powered, and went to sleep again.
On awakening, I discovered myself in the buffet. I have no
recollection of going there. My instinct must have guided me there
during my sleep.
I ordered my usual repast of coffee and rolls. (I must have been
full of coffee and rolls by this time.) I had got the idea into my
head now that I was in Norway, and so I ordered them in broken
Scandinavian, a few words of which I had picked up during a trip
through the fiords last summer.
Of course, the man did not understand; but I am accustomed to
witnessing the confusion of foreigners when addressed in their
native tongue, and so forgave him--especially as, the victuals being
well within reach, language was a matter of secondary importance.
I took two cups of coffee, as usual--one for B., and one for myself-
-and, bringing them to the table, looked round for B. I could not
see him anywhere. What had become of him? I had not seen him, that
I could recollect, for hours. I did not know where I was, or what I
was doing. I had a hazy knowledge that B. and I had started off
together--whether yesterday or six months ago, I could not have said
to save my life--with the intention, if I was not mistaken, of going
somewhere and seeing something. We were now somewhere abroad--
somewhere in Norway was my idea; though why I had fixed on Norway is
a mystery to me to this day--and I had lost him!
How on earth were we ever to find each other again? A horrible
picture presented itself to my mind of our both wandering
distractedly up and down Europe, perhaps for years, vainly seeking
each other. The touching story of Evangeline recurred to me with
Something must be done, and that immediately. Somehow or another I
must find B. I roused myself, and summoned to my aid every word of
Scandinavian that I knew.
It was no good these people pretending that they did not understand
their own language, and putting me off that way. They had got to
understand it this time. This was no mere question of coffee and
rolls; this was a serious business. I would make that waiter
understand my Scandinavian, if I had to hammer it into his head with
his own coffee-pot!
I seized him by the arm, and, in Scandinavian that must have been
quite pathetic in its tragic fervour, I asked him if he had seen my
friend--my friend B.
The man only stared.
I grew desperate. I shook him. I said:
"My friend--big, great, tall, large--is he where? Have you him to
see where? Here?"
(I had to put it that way because Scandinavian grammar is not a
strong point with me, and my knowledge of the verbs is as yet
limited to the present tense of the infinitive mood. Besides, this
was no time to worry about grace of style.)
A crowd gathered round us, attracted by the man's terrified
expression. I appealed to them generally. I said:
"My friend B.--head, red--boots, yellow, brown, gold--coat, little
squares--nose, much, large! Is he where? Him to see--anybody--
Not a soul moved a hand to help me. There they stood and gaped!
I repeated it all over again louder, in case anybody on the
outskirts of the mob had not heard it; and I repeated it in an
entirely new accent. I gave them every chance I could.
They chatted excitedly among themselves, and, then a bright idea
seemed to strike one of them, a little more intelligent-looking than
the rest, and he rushed outside and began running up and down,
calling out something very loudly, in which the word "Norwegian"
kept on occurring.
He returned in a few seconds, evidently exceedingly pleased with
himself, accompanied by a kindly-looking old gentleman in a white
Way was made in the crowd, and the old gentleman pressed forward.
When he got near, he smiled at me, and then proceeded to address to
me a lengthy, but no doubt kindly meant, speech in Scandinavian.
Of course, it was all utterly unintelligible to me from beginning to
end, and my face clearly showed this. I can grasp a word or two of
Scandinavian here and there, if pronounced slowly and distinctly;
but that is all.
The old gentleman regarded me with great surprise. He said (in
Scandinavian, of course):
"You speak Norwegian?"
I replied, in the same tongue:
"A little, a very little--VERY."
He seemed not only disappointed, but indignant. He explained the
matter to the crowd, and they all seemed indignant.
WHY everybody should be indignant with me I could not comprehend.
There are plenty of people who do not understand Scandinavian. It
was absurd to be vexed with me because I did not. I do know a
little, and that is more than some people do.
I inquired of the old gentleman about B. He did understand me. I
must give him credit for that. But beyond understanding me, he was
of no more use than the others; and why they had taken so much
trouble to fetch him, I could not imagine.
What would have happened if the difficulty had continued much longer
(for I was getting thoroughly wild with the lot of them) I cannot
say. Fortunately, at this moment I caught sight of B. himself, who
had just entered the room.
I could not have greeted him more heartily if I had wanted to borrow
money of him.
"Well, I AM glad to see you again!" I cried. "Well, this IS
pleasant! I thought I had lost you!"
"Why, you are English!" cried out the old gentleman in the white
hat, in very good Saxon, on hearing me speak to B.
"Well, I know that," I replied, "and I'm proud of it. Have you any
objection to my being English?"
"Not in the least," he answered, "if you'd only talk English instead
of Norwegian. I'm English myself;" and he walked away, evidently
B. said to me as we sat down:
"I'll tell you what's the matter with you, J.--you know too many
languages for this continent. Your linguistic powers will be the
ruin of us if you don't hold them in a bit. You don't know any
Sanscrit or Chaldean, do you?"
I replied that I did not.
"Any Hebrew or Chinese?"
"Not a word."
"Not so much as a full stop in any of them."
"That's a blessing," said B., much relieved. "You would be trying
to palm off one or other of them on some simple-minded peasant for
German, if you did!"
It is a wearisome journey, through the long, hot hours of the
morning, to Cologne. The carriage is stifling. Railway travellers,
I have always noticed, regard fresh air as poison. They like to
live on the refuse of each other's breath, and close up every window
and ventilator tight. The sun pours down through glass and blind
and scorches our limbs. Our heads and our bodies ache. The dust
and soot drift in and settle on our clothes, and grime our hands and
face. We all doze and wake up with a start, and fall to sleep again
upon each other. I wake, and find my neighbour with his head upon
my shoulder. It seems a shame to cast him off; he looks so
trustful. But he is heavy. I push him on to the man the other
side. He is just as happy there. We roll about; and when the train
jerks, we butt each other with our heads. Things fall from the rack
upon us. We look up surprised, and go to sleep again. My bag
tumbles down upon the head of the unjust man in the corner. (Is it
retribution?) He starts up, begs my pardon, and sinks back into
oblivion. I am too sleepy to pick up the bag. It lies there on the
floor. The unjust man uses it for a footstool.
We look out, through half-closed eyes, upon the parched, level,
treeless land; upon the little patchwork farms of corn and beetroot,
oats and fruit, growing undivided, side by side, each looking like a
little garden dropped down into the plain; upon the little dull
A steeple appears far away upon the horizon. (The first thing that
we ask of men is their faith: "What do you believe?" The first
thing that they show us is their church: "THIS we believe.") Then
a tall chimney ranges itself alongside. (First faith, then works.)
Then a confused jumble of roofs, out of which, at last, stand forth
individual houses, factories, streets, and we draw up in a sleeping
People open the carriage door, and look in upon us. They do not
appear to think much of us, and close the door again quickly, with a
bang, and we sleep once more.
As we rumble on, the country slowly wakes. Rude V-shaped carts,
drawn by yoked oxen, and even sometimes by cows, wait patiently
while we cross the long, straight roads stretching bare for many a
mile across the plain. Peasants trudge along the fields to work.
Smoke rises from the villages and farm-houses. Passengers are
waiting at the wayside stations.
Towards mid-day, on looking out, we see two tiny spires standing
side by side against the sky. They seem to be twins, and grow
taller as we approach. I describe them to B., and he says they are
the steeples of Cologne Cathedral; and we all begin to yawn and
stretch, and to collect our bags and coats and umbrellas.
HALF OF SATURDAY 24TH, AND SOME OF SUNDAY, 25TH
Difficulty of Keeping this Diary.--A Big Wash.--The German Bed.--Its
Goings On.--Manners and Customs of the German Army.--B.'s Besetting
Sin.--Cologne Cathedral.--Thoughts Without Words.--A Curious Custom.
This diary is getting mixed. The truth is, I am not living as a man
who keeps a diary should live. I ought, of course, to sit down in
front of this diary at eleven o'clock at night, and write down all
that has occurred to me during the day. But at eleven o'clock at
night, I am in the middle of a long railway journey, or have just
got up, or am just going to bed for a couple of hours. We go to bed
at odd moments, when we happen to come across a bed, and have a few
minutes to spare. We have been to bed this afternoon, and are now
having another breakfast; and I am not quite sure whether it is
yesterday or to-morrow, or what day it is.
I shall not attempt to write up this diary in the orthodox manner,
therefore; but shall fix in a few lines whenever I have half-an-hour
with nothing better to do.
We washed ourselves in the Rhine at Cologne (we had not had a wash
since we had left our happy home in England). We started with the
idea of washing ourselves at the hotel; but on seeing the basin and
water and towel provided, I decided not to waste my time playing
with them. As well might Hercules have attempted to tidy up the
Augean stables with a squirt.
We appealed to the chambermaid. We explained to her that we wanted
to wash--to clean ourselves--not to blow bubbles. Could we not have
bigger basins and more water and more extensive towels? The
chambermaid (a staid old lady of about fifty) did not think that
anything better could be done for us by the hotel fraternity of
Cologne, and seemed to think that the river was more what we wanted.
I fancied that the old soul was speaking sarcastically, but B. said
"No;" she was thinking of the baths alongside the river, and
suggested that we should go there. I agreed. It seemed to me that
the river--the Rhine--would, if anything could, meet the case.
There ought to be plenty of water in it now, after the heavy spring
When I saw it, I felt satisfied. I said to B.:
"That's all right, old man; that's the sort of thing we need. That
is just the sized river I feel I can get myself clean in this
I have heard a good deal in praise of the Rhine, and I am glad to be
able to speak well of it myself. I found it most refreshing.
I was, however, sorry that we had washed in it afterwards. I have
heard from friends who have travelled since in Germany that we
completely spoiled that river for the rest of the season. Not for
business purposes, I do not mean. The barge traffic has been,
comparatively speaking, uninterfered with. But the tourist trade
has suffered terribly. Parties who usually go up the Rhine by
steamer have, after looking at the river, gone by train this year.
The boat agents have tried to persuade them that the Rhine is always
that colour: that it gets like that owing to the dirt and refuse
washed down into it during its course among the mountains.
But the tourists have refused to accept this explanation. They have
"No. Mountains will account for a good deal, we admit, but not for
all THAT. We are acquainted with the ordinary condition of the
Rhine, and although muddy, and at times unpleasant, it is passable.
As it is this summer, however, we would prefer not to travel upon
it. We will wait until after next year's spring-floods."
We went to bed after our wash. To the blase English bed-goer,
accustomed all his life to the same old hackneyed style of bed night
after night, there is something very pleasantly piquant about the
experience of trying to sleep in a German bed. He does not know it
is a bed at first. He thinks that someone has been going round the
room, collecting all the sacks and cushions and antimacassars and
such articles that he has happened to find about, and has piled them
up on a wooden tray ready for moving. He rings for the chambermaid,
and explains to her that she has shown him into the wrong room. He
wanted a bedroom.
She says: "This IS a bedroom."
He says: "Where's the bed?"
"There!" she says, pointing to the box on which the sacks and
antimacassars and cushions lie piled.
"That!" he cries. "How am I going to sleep in that?"
The chambermaid does not know how he is going to sleep there, never
having seen a gentleman go to sleep anywhere, and not knowing how
they set about it; but suggests that he might try lying down flat,
and shutting his eyes.
"But it is not long enough," he says.
The chambermaid thinks he will be able to manage, if he tucks his
He sees that he will not get anything better, and that he must put
up with it.
"Oh, very well!" he says. "Look sharp and get it made, then."
She says: "It is made."
He turns and regards the girl sternly. Is she taking advantage of
his being a lonely stranger, far from home and friends, to mock him?
He goes over to what she calls the bed, and snatching off the top-
most sack from the pile and holding it up, says:
"Perhaps you'll tell me what this is, then?"
"That," says the girl, "that's the bed!"
He is somewhat nonplussed at the unexpected reply.
"Oh!" he says. "Oh! the bed, is it? I thought it was a pincushion!
Well, if it is the bed, then what is it doing out here, on the top
of everything else? You think that because I'm only a man, I don't
understand a bed!"
"That's the proper place for it," responds the chambermaid.
"What! on top?"
"Well, then where are the clothes?"
"Look here, my good girl," he says; "you don't understand me, or I
don't understand you, one or the other. When I go to sleep, I lie
on a bed and pull the clothes over me. I don't want to lie on the
clothes, and cover myself with the bed. This isn't a comic ballet,
The girl assures him that there is no mistake about the matter at
all. There is the bed, made according to German notions of how a
bed should be made. He can make the best of it and try to go to
sleep upon it, or he can be sulky and go to sleep on the floor.
He is very much surprised. It looks to him the sort of bed that a
man would make for himself on coming home late from a party. But it
is no use arguing the matter with the girl.
"All right," he says; "bring me a pillow, and I'll risk it!"
The chambermaid explains that there are two pillows on the bed
already, indicating, as she does so, two flat cushions, each one a
yard square, placed one on top of the other at one end of the
"These!" exclaims the weary traveller, beginning to feel that he
does not want to go to bed at all. "These are not pillows! I want
something to put my head on; not a thing that comes down to the
middle of my back! Don't tell me that I've got to sleep on these
But the girl does tell him so, and also implies that she has
something else to do than to stand there all day talking bed-gossip
"Well, just show me how to start," he says, "which way you get into
it, and then I won't keep you any longer; I'll puzzle out the rest
She explains the trick to him and leaves, and he undresses and
The pillows give him a good deal of worry. He does not know whether
he is meant to sit on them or merely to lean up against them. In
experimenting upon this point, he bumps his head against the top
board of the bedstead. At this, he says, "Oh!" and shoots himself
down to the bottom of the bed. Here all his ten toes simultaneously
come into sharp contact with the board at the bottom.
Nothing irritates a man more than being rapped over the toes,
especially if he feels that he has done nothing to deserve it. He
says, "Oh, damn!" this time, and spasmodically doubles up his legs,
thus giving his knees a violent blow against the board at the side
of the bed. (The German bedstead, be it remembered, is built in the
form of a shallow, open box, and the victim is thus completely
surrounded by solid pieces of wood with sharp edges. I do not know
what species of wood it is that is employed. It is extremely hard,
and gives forth a curious musical sound when struck sharply with a
After this he lies perfectly still for a while, wondering where he
is going to be hit next. Finding that nothing happens, he begins to
regain confidence, and ventures to gently feel around with his left
leg and take stock of his position.
For clothes, he has only a very thin blanket and sheet, and beneath
these he feels decidedly chilly. The bed is warm enough, so far as
it goes, but there is not enough of it. He draws it up round his
chin, and then his feet begin to freeze. He pushes it down over his
feet, and then all the top part of him shivers.
He tries to roll up into a ball, so as to get the whole of himself
underneath it, but does not succeed; there is always some of him
left outside in the cold.
He reflects that a "boneless wonder" or a "man serpent" would be
comfortable enough in this bed, and wishes that he had been brought
up as a contortionist. If he could only tie his legs round his
neck, and tuck his head in under his arm, all would yet be well.
Never having been taught to do any really useful tricks such as
these, however, he has to be content to remain spread out, warming a
bit of himself at a time.
It is, perhaps, foolish of him, amid so many real troubles, to allow
a mere aesthetical consideration to worry him, but as he lies there
on his back, looking down at himself, the sight that he presents to
himself considerably annoys him. The puffed-up bed, resting on the
middle of him, gives him the appearance of a man suffering from some
monstrous swelling, or else of some exceptionally well-developed
frog that has been turned up the wrong way and does not know how to
get on to its legs again.
Another vexation that he has to contend with is, that every time he
moves a limb or breathes extra hard, the bed (which is only of down)
tumbles off on to the floor.
You cannot lean out of a German bed to pick up anything off the
floor, owing to its box-like formation; so he has to scramble out
after it, and of course every time he does this he barks both his
shins twice against the sides of the bed.
When he has performed this feat for about the tenth time, he
concludes that it was madness for him, a mere raw amateur at the
business, to think that he could manage a complicated, tricky bed of
this sort, that must take even an experienced man all he knows to
sleep in it; and gets out and camps on the floor.
At least, that is what I did. B. is accustomed to German beds, and
doubled himself up and went off to sleep without the slightest
We slept for two hours, and then got up and went back to the
railway-station, where we dined. The railway refreshment-room in
German towns appears to be as much patronised by the inhabitants of
the town as by the travellers passing through. It is regarded as an
ordinary restaurant, and used as such by the citizens. We found the
dining-room at Cologne station crowded with Cologneists.
All classes of citizens were there, but especially soldiers. There
were all sorts of soldiers--soldiers of rank, and soldiers of rank
and file; attached soldiers (very much attached, apparently) and
soldiers unattached; stout soldiers, thin soldiers; old soldiers,
young soldiers. Four very young soldiers sat opposite us, drinking
beer. I never saw such young soldiers out by themselves before.
They each looked about twelve years old, but may have been thirteen;
and they each looked, also, ready and willing to storm a battery, if
the order were given to them to do it. There they sat, raising and
lowering their huge mugs of beer, discussing military matters, and
rising every now and again to gravely salute some officer as he
passed, and to receive as gravely his grave salute in return.
There seemed to be a deal of saluting to be gone through. Officers
kept entering and passing through the room in an almost continual
stream, and every time one came in sight all the military drinkers
and eaters rose and saluted, and remained at the salute until the
officer had passed.
One young soldier, who was trying to eat a plate of soup near us, I
felt quite sorry for. Every time he got the spoon near his mouth an
officer invariably hove in view, and down would have to go the
spoon, soup and all, and up he would have to rise. It never seemed
to occur to the silly fellow to get under the table and finish his
We had half-an-hour to spare between dinner and the starting of our
train, and B. suggested that we should go into the cathedral. That
is B.'s one weakness, churches. I have the greatest difficulty in
getting him past a church-door. We are walking along a street, arm
in arm, talking as rationally and even as virtuously as need be,
when all at once I find that B. has become silent and abstracted.
I know what it is; he has caught sight of a church. I pretend not
to notice any change in him, and endeavour to hurry him on. He lags
more and more behind, however, and at last stops altogether.
"Come, come," I say to him, encouragingly, "pull yourself together,
and be a man. Don't think about it. Put it behind you, and
determine that you WON'T be conquered. Come, we shall be round the
corner in another minute, where you won't be able to see it. Take
my hand, and let's run!"
He makes a few feeble steps forward with me, and then stops again.
"It's no good, old man," he says, with a sickly smile, so full of
pathos that it is impossible to find it in one's heart to feel
anything but pity for him. "I can't help it. I have given way to
this sort of thing too long. It is too late to reform now. You go
on and get a drink somewhere; I'll join you again in a few minutes.
Don't worry about me; it's no good."
And back he goes with tottering steps, while I sadly pass on into
the nearest cafe, and, over a glass of absinthe or cognac, thank
Providence that I learnt to control my craving for churches in early
youth, and so am not now like this poor B.
In a little while he comes in, and sits down beside me. There is a
wild, unhealthy excitement in his eye, and, under a defiant air of
unnatural gaiety, he attempts to hide his consciousness of guilt.
"It was a lovely altar-cloth," he whispers to me, with an enthusiasm
that only makes one sorrow for him the more, so utterly impossible
does it cause all hope of cure to seem. "And they've got a coffin
in the north crypt that is simply a poem. I never enjoyed a
sarcophagus more in all my life."
I do not say much at the time; it would be useless. But after the
day is done, and we are standing beside our little beds, and all
around is as silent as one can expect it to be in an hotel where
people seem to be arriving all night long with heavy luggage, and to
be all, more or less, in trouble, I argue with him, and gently
reprove him. To avoid the appearance of sermonising as much as
possible, I put it on mere grounds of expediency.
"How are we to find time," I say, "to go to all the places that we
really ought to go to--to all the cafes and theatres and music-halls
and beer-gardens and dancing-saloons that we want to visit--if you
waste half the precious day loafing about churches and cathedrals?"
He is deeply moved, and promises to swear off. He vows, with tears
in his voice, that he will never enter a church-door again. But
next morning, when the temptation comes, all his good resolutions
are swept away, and again he yields. It is no good being angry with
him, because he evidently does really try; but there is something
about the mere odour of a church that he simply cannot withstand.
Not knowing, then, that this weakness of his for churches was so
strong, I made no objection to the proposed visit to Cologne
Cathedral, and, accordingly, towards it we wended our way. B. has
seen it before, and knows all about it. He tells me it was begun
about the middle of the thirteenth century, and was only completed
ten years ago. It seems to me that there must have been gross delay
on the part of the builder. Why, a plumber would be ashamed to take
as long as that over a job!
B. also asserts that the two towers are the highest church towers in
the world. I dispute this, and deprecate the towers generally. B.
warmly defends them. He says they are higher than any building in
Europe, except the Eiffel Tower.
"Oh, dear no!" I say, "there are many buildings higher than they in
Europe--to say nothing of Asia and America."
I have no authority for making this assertion. As a matter of fact,
I know nothing whatever about the matter. I merely say it to
irritate B. He appears to take a sort of personal interest in the
building, and enlarges upon its beauties and advantages with as much
fervour as if he were an auctioneer trying to sell the place.
He retorts that the towers are 512 feet high.
"Nonsense! Somebody has imposed upon you, because they see you are
He becomes quite angry at this, and says he can show me the figures
in the guide-book.
"The guide-book!" I reply, scornfully. "You'll believe a newspaper
B. asks me, indignantly, what height I should say they are, then. I
examine them critically for a few minutes, and then give it as my
opinion that they do not exceed 510 feet at the very outside. B.
seems annoyed with me, and we enter the church in silence.
There is little to be said about a cathedral. Except to the
professional sightseer, one is very much like another. Their beauty
to me lies, not in the paintings and sculpture they give houseroom
to, nor in the bones and bric-a-brac piled up in their cellars, but
in themselves--their echoing vastness, their deep silence.
Above the little homes of men, above the noisy teeming streets, they
rise like some soft strain of perfect music, cleaving its way amid
the jangle of discordant notes. Here, where the voices of the world
sound faint; here, where the city's glamour comes not in, it is good
to rest for a while--if only the pestering guides would leave one
There is much help in Silence. From its touch we gain renewed life.
Silence is to the Soul what his Mother Earth was to Briareus. From
contact with it we rise healed of our hurts and strengthened for the
Amid the babel of the schools we stand bewildered and affrighted.
Silence gives us peace and hope. Silence teaches us no creed, only
that God's arms are around the universe.
How small and unimportant seem all our fretful troubles and
ambitions when we stand with them in our hand before the great calm
face of Silence! We smile at them ourselves, and are ashamed.
Silence teaches us how little we are--how great we are. In the
world's market-places we are tinkers, tailors, apothecaries,
thieves--respectable or otherwise, as the case may be--mere atoms of
a mighty machine--mere insects in a vast hive.
It is only in Silence that it comes home to us that we are something
much greater than this--that we are MEN, with all the universe and
all eternity before us.
It is in Silence we hear the voice of Truth. The temples and the
marts of men echo all night and day to the clamour of lies and shams
and quackeries. But in Silence falsehood cannot live. You cannot
float a lie on Silence. A lie has to be puffed aloft, and kept from
falling by men's breath. Leave a lie on the bosom of Silence, and
it sinks. A truth floats there fair and stately, like some stout
ship upon a deep ocean. Silence buoys her up lovingly for all men
to see. Not until she has grown worn-out and rotten, and is no
longer a truth, will the waters of Silence close over her.
Silence is the only real thing we can lay hold of in this world of
passing dreams. Time is a shadow that will vanish with the twilight
of humanity; but Silence is a part of the eternal. All things that
are true and lasting have been taught to men's hearts by Silence.
Among all nations, there should be vast temples raised where the
people might worship Silence and listen to it, for it is the voice
These fair churches and cathedrals that men have reared around them
throughout the world, have been built as homes for mere creeds--this
one for Protestantism, that one for Romanism, another for
Mahomedanism. But God's Silence dwells in all alike, only driven
forth at times by the tinkling of bells and the mumbling of prayers;
and, in them, it is good to sit awhile and have communion with her.
We strolled round, before we came out. Just by the entrance to the
choir an official stopped me, and asked me if I wanted to go and see
a lot of fal-lal things he had got on show--relics and bones, and
old masters, and such-like Wardour-street rubbish.
I told him, "No"; and attempted to pass on, but he said:
"No, no! You don't pay, you don't go in there," and shut the gate.
He said this sentence in English; and the precision and fluency with
which he delivered it rather suggested the idea that it was a phrase
much in request, and one that he had had a good deal of practice in.
It is very prevalent throughout Germany, this custom of not allowing
you to go in to see a thing unless you pay.
END OF SATURDAY, 24TH, AND BEGINNING OF SUNDAY, 25TH--CONTINUED
The Rhine!--How History is Written.--Complicated Villages.--How a
Peaceful Community Was Very Much Upset.--The German Railway Guard.--
His Passion for Tickets.--We Diffuse Comfort and Joy Wherever We Go,
Gladdening the Weary, and Bringing Smiles to Them that Weep.--
"Tickets, Please."--Hunting Experiences.--A Natural Mistake.--Free
Acrobatic Performance by the Guard.--The Railway Authorities' Little
Joke.--Why We Should Think of the Sorrows of Others.
We returned to the station just in time to secure comfortable seats,
and at 5.10 steamed out upon our fifteen hours' run to Munich. From
Bonn to Mayence the line keeps by the side of the Rhine nearly the
whole of the way, and we had a splendid view of the river, with the
old-world towns and villages that cluster round its bank, the misty
mountains that make early twilight upon its swiftly rolling waves,
the castled crags and precipices that rise up sheer and majestic
from its margin, the wooded rocks that hang with threatening frown
above its sombre depths, the ruined towers and turrets that cap each
point along its shores, the pleasant isles that stud like gems its
broad expanse of waters.
Few things in this world come up to expectation, especially those
things of which one has been led to expect much, and about which one
has heard a good deal. With this philosophy running in my head, I
was prepared to find the Rhine a much over-rated river.
I was pleasantly disappointed. The panorama which unfolded itself
before our eyes, as we sped along through the quiet twilight that
was deepening into starry night, was wonderfully beautiful,
entrancing and expressive.
I do not intend to describe it to you. To do justice to the theme,
I should have to be even a more brilliant and powerful writer than I
am. To attempt the subject, without doing it justice, would be a
waste of your time, sweet reader, and of mine--a still more
I confess it was not my original intention to let you off so easily.
I started with the idea of giving you a rapid but glowing and
eloquent word-picture of the valley of the Rhine from Cologne to
Mayence. For background, I thought I would sketch in the historical
and legendary events connected with the district, and against this,
for a foreground, I would draw, in vivid colours, the modern aspect
of the scene, with remarks and observations thereon.
Here are my rough notes, made for the purpose:-
Mems. for Chapter on Rhine: "Constantine the Great used to come
here--so did Agrippa. (N.B.--Try and find out something about
Agrippa.) Caesar had a good deal to do with the Rhine--also Nero's
(To the reader.--The brevity of these memoranda renders their
import, at times, confusing. For instance, this means that Caesar
and Nero's mother both had a good deal to do with the Rhine; not
that Caesar had a good deal to do with Nero's mother. I explain
this because I should be sorry to convey any false impression
concerning either the lady or Caesar. Scandal is a thing abhorrent
to my nature.)
Notes continued: "The Ubii did something on the right bank of the
Rhine at an early period, and afterwards were found on the other
side. (Expect the Ubii were a tribe; but make sure of this, as they
might be something in the fossil line.) Cologne was the cradle of
German art. Talk about art and the old masters. Treat them in a
kindly and gentle spirit. They are dead now. Saint Ursula was
murdered at Cologne, with eleven thousand virgin attendants. There
must have been quite a party of them. Draw powerful and pathetic
imaginary picture of the slaughter. (N.B.--Find out who murdered
them all.) Say something about the Emperor Maximilian. Call him
'the mighty Maximilian.' Mention Charlemagne (a good deal should be
made out of Charlemagne) and the Franks. (Find out all about the
Franks, and where they lived, and what has become of them.) Sketch
the various contests between the Romans and the Goths. (Read up
'Gibbon' for this, unless you can get enough out of Mangnall's
Questions.) Give picturesque account--with comments--of the battles
between the citizens of Cologne and their haughty archbishops.
(N.B.--Let them fight on a bridge over the Rhine, unless it is
distinctly stated somewhere that they didn't.) Bring in the Minne-
singers, especially Walter von Vogelweid; make him sing under a
castle-wall somewhere, and let the girl die. Talk about Albert
Durer. Criticise his style. Say it's flat. (If possible, find out
if it IS flat.) "The rat tower on the Rhine," near Bingen.
Describe the place and tell the whole story. Don't spin it out too
long, because everybody knows it. "The Brothers of Bornhofen,"
story connected with the twin castles of Sterrenberg and
Liebenstein, Conrad and Heinrich--brothers--both love Hildegarde.
She was very beautiful. Heinrich generously refuses to marry the
beautiful Hildegarde, and goes away to the Crusades, leaving her to
his brother Conrad. Conrad considers over the matter for a year or
two, and then HE decides that he won't marry her either, but will
leave her for his brother Heinrich, and HE goes off to the Crusades,
from whence he returns, a few years later on, with a Grecian bride.
The beautiful H., muddled up between the pair of them, and the
victim of too much generosity, gets sulky (don't blame her), and
shuts herself up in a lonely part of the castle, and won't see
anybody for years. Chivalrous Heinrich returns, and is wild that
his brother C. has not married the beautiful H. It does not occur
to him to marry the girl even then. The feverish yearning displayed
by each of these two brothers, that the other one should marry the
beloved Hildegarde, is very touching. Heinrich draws his sword, and
throws himself upon his brother C. to kill him. The beautiful
Hildegarde, however, throws herself between them and reconciliates
them, and then, convinced that neither of them means business, and
naturally disgusted with the whole affair, retires into a nunnery.
Conrad's Grecian bride subsequently throws herself away on another
man, upon which Conrad throws himself on his brother H.'s breast,
and they swear eternal friendship. (Make it pathetic. Pretend you
have sat amid the ruins in the moonlight, and give the scene--with
ghosts.) "Rolandseck," near Bonn. Tell the story of Roland and
Hildegunde (see Baedeker, p. 66). Don't make it too long, because
it is so much like the other. Describe the funeral? The "Watch
Tower on the Rhine" below Audernach. Query, isn't there a song
about this? If so, put it in. Coblentz and Ehrenbreitstein. Great
fortresses. Call them "the Frowning Sentinels of the State." Make
reflections on the German army, also on war generally. Chat about
Frederick the Great. (Read Carlyle's history of him, and pick out
the interesting bits.) The Drachenfels. Quote Byron. Moralise
about ruined castles generally, and describe the middle ages, with
your views and opinions on same."
There is much more of it, but that is sufficient to let you see the
scheme I had in my head. I have not carried out my scheme, because,
when I came to reflect upon the matter, it seemed to me that the
idea would develop into something that would be more in the nature
of a history of Europe than a chapter in a tourist's diary, and I
determined not to waste my time upon it, until there arose a greater
public demand for a new History of Europe than there appears to
exist at present.
"Besides," I argued to myself, "such a work would be just the very
thing with which to beguile the tedium of a long imprisonment. At
some future time I may be glad of a labour of this magnitude to
occupy a period of involuntary inaction."
"This is the sort of thing," I said to myself, "to save up for
Holloway or Pentonville."
It would have been a very enjoyable ride altogether, that evening's
spin along the banks of the Rhine, if I had not been haunted at the
time by the idea that I should have to write an account of it next
day in my diary. As it was, I enjoyed it as a man enjoys a dinner
when he has got to make a speech after it, or as a critic enjoys a
We passed such odd little villages every here and there. Little
places so crowded up between the railway and the river that there
was no room in them for any streets. All the houses were jumbled up
together just anyhow, and how any man who lived in the middle could
get home without climbing over half the other houses in the place I
could not make out. They were the sort of villages where a man's
mother-in-law, coming to pay him a visit, might wander around all
day, hearing him, and even now and then seeing him, yet never being
able to get at him in consequence of not knowing the way in.
A drunken man, living in one of these villages, could never hope to
get home. He would have to sit down outside, and wait till his head
We witnessed the opening scenes of a very amusing little comedy at
one of the towns where the train drew up. The chief characters were
played by an active young goat, a small boy, an elderly man and a
woman, parents of the small boy and owners of the goat, and a dog.
First we heard a yell, and then, from out a cottage opposite the
station, bounded an innocent and happy goat, and gambolled around.
A long rope, one end of which was fastened to his neck, trailed
behind him. After the goat (in the double sense of the phrase) came
a child. The child tried to catch the goat by means of the rope,
caught itself in the rope instead, and went down with a bump and a
screech. Whereupon a stout woman, the boy's mother apparently, ran
out from the cottage, and also made for the goat. The goat flew
down the road, and the woman flew after it. At the first corner,
the woman trod on the rope, and then SHE went down with a bump and a
screech. Then the goat turned and ran up the street, and, as it
passed the cottage, the father ran out and tried to stop it. He was
an old man, but still seemed to have plenty of vigour in him. He
evidently guessed how his wife and child had gone down, and he
endeavoured to avoid the rope and to skip over it when it came near
him. But the goat's movements were too erratic for him. His turn
came, and he trod on the rope, and went down in the middle of the
road, opposite his own door, with a thud that shook us all up
against each other as we stood looking out of the carriage-window,
and sat there and cursed the goat. Then out ran a dog, barking
furiously, and he went for the goat, and got the end of the rope in
his teeth and held on to it like grim death. Away went the goat, at
his end of the rope, and, with him, the dog at the other end.
Between them, they kept the rope about six inches above the ground,
and with it they remorselessly mowed down every living thing they
came across in that once peaceful village. In the course of less
than half a minute we counted fourteen persons sitting down in the
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