Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15,

Part 2 out of 5


From a time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary,
Munich has had the reputation of being an exceptionally unhealthy
place. All ancient towns have their legends of desolating plagues, the
record of an ignorant defiance of sanitary laws, but such stories are
especially numerous in the traditions of Munich, and are connected
with circumstances which show that epidemic diseases were formerly
extremely frequent and virulent in that City.

The absurd festival of the "Metzger-Sprung" (Butchers' Leap), which
takes place annually on the Monday before Ash-Wednesday, when
butcher-boys attain to the second grade of their apprenticeship by
dressing themselves in long robes trimmed with calves' tails, and
springing into the old fountain in the Marien-Platz in the face of an
admiring crowd, is held in commemoration of a similar frolic contrived
several hundred years ago by lads of the same trade during the
prevalence of a horrible epidemic, for the purpose of tempting the
frightened citizens out of their gloomy houses into fresh air and
merriment, which these sensible youths had concluded to be the best
safeguards against disease. The grotesque procession of the
"Schaeffler-Tanz" (Coopers' Dance), which occurs once in every seven
years, just before the Carnival, has a similar origin. One of the
favorite myths of Munich is that of an enormous dragon which lived in
the ground beneath the city and poisoned all the wells with his
venomous breath, until, being at last lured to the surface by seeing
his reflection in a mirror held above a certain spring, a brave
knight slew him and saved the people from further destruction. The
former imminence of danger from pestilence is shown also in the songs
of the night-watchmen, who every hour exhorted to prayer for exemption
from the plague, as well as from the terrors of fire, sword and

And this evil fame still clings to Munich, in spite of all that has
been done to improve its condition, and of all that has been written
to purge it of its contempt. Efforts of the latter kind have indeed
been prodigious, increasing with the growing importance of the place
as a centre of education in science and art. Local medical authorities
issue from time to time ingenious pamphlets on hygienic
investigations, with particular application to the suspicion under
which their city labors in this regard; the newspapers keep up the
whitewashing process with diligence, not forgetting to hold up
frequently before their readers the sanitary shortcomings of Vienna
and Berlin; nay, the traveler is met at the very threshold of his
hotel by a tiny tract containing not only a list of the principal
sights, but also a comforting assurance that the climate is not so bad
as has been represented, and that by wearing sufficient wrappings and
avoiding the ordinary drinking water, strangers may hope to accomplish
their visit and escape unharmed. Surely no other city takes such
benevolent pains to reassure its inhabitants and instruct and warn its
stranger-guests: perhaps it is because deeds have not kept pace with
words that assertion and argument have hitherto failed of the desired
effect. The protracted, repeated cholera epidemic of 1873-74 may well
challenge a close observation of the situation, surroundings and
sanitary condition of Munich as a means of ascertaining the causes of
this exceptional visitation, as well as of the continual existence of
an indigenous disease which, more than almost any other, is dependent
upon circumstances within the power of man to control.

Instead, therefore, of constructing the cholera and the typhus out of
our "inner consciousness," as certain of the physicians and hygienists
of Munich, in true German fashion, appear disposed to do, let us look
at some of the facts of the case--facts sufficiently obvious to be
perceptible to any person of intelligence, and the nature of which is
so well understood as to be accepted at once as bearing closely upon
the subject in question.

And first, as to climate. Considering that the cholera, from which
Munich suffers more at every visitation than almost any other European
city, and typhus, which is always at home within its limits, are not,
properly speaking, climatal diseases, it would seem at first sight
unnecessary to consider the situation of Munich in this respect. But
while the principal object of the present paper is to indicate the
causes of the above-mentioned plagues, the fact should not be lost
sight of that nearly all known diseases flourish in this unfortunate
city, many of them owing to its exceptionally bad climate, while the
sudden and extreme changes of temperature which occur in every season
of the year have a tendency to aggravate those ills which find their
sources in more preventable conditions.

Munich stands upon a high, barren plain, sixteen hundred feet above
the level of the sea, exposed to the full power of the sun in summer,
brooded over by chilly fogs in spring and autumn, and swept the whole
year through by all the storms that accumulate upon the mountains
filling the horizon to the south and east. The air is mountain-air,
_minus_ the aroma and stimulus of evergreen forests, and _plus_ the
miasma of miles of marsh and peat-land and the foulnesses of the city
exhalations. It is the thin air of a high elevation, pleasantly
bracing to persons so fortunate as to possess nerves of iron and lungs
of leather, but extremely irritating to sensitive brains and delicate
chests, and too exhausting, after a time, in its demands upon the most
abundant vitality. It is the boast of certain physicians in Munich
that consumption is rare in that city, but the weekly report of deaths
would seem to contradict this assertion. Certain it is that diseases
of the throat and lungs are very common, especially during the spring,
and that all the rest of the year the whole population suffers more or
less from catarrh. Perhaps if there be less of consumption than one
would expect to find in such a climate, it is because those who would
otherwise be its victims are carried off early by acute inflammation
of the implicated organs. "Of course, if these die in the beginning,
they cannot die at a later period," as a recent medical writer has
wisely and wittily pointed out to certain amateur statisticians who
would fain reduce the mortality of Munich by leaving out of view the
immense percentage of infant deaths.

The evil effects of the harsh air are increased by the clouds of dust
which the wind is continually raising in the broad graveled
streets--dust the more irritating to eyes, nose and lungs because
largely composed of lime, and which dries with marvelous rapidity
after the frequent heavy showers and protracted rains for which this
region is also remarkable. It is the last resort of the citizens of
Munich, when driven out of every other defence of their climate, to
say, "But it is a good climate for the nerves." One would like to know
for _what_ nerves and _whose_ nerves, since strangers who reside here
for any length of time generally find that any constitutional tendency
to ailments in which the nerves are principally involved is increased,
instead of lessened; and among the natives themselves brain diseases,
strokes of all kinds, fits and cramps, are frequent and fatal, while
the enemy which they fear the most, and which presses them the
hardest, is known by them as "nervous fever," The air is too
stimulating for any but the most robust constitutions; and the sudden
blasts of fierce wind that continually interrupt the enjoyment of even
the few days of otherwise pleasant weather, and the intolerable glare
of the sun upon the dusty streets and squares and monotonous rows, of
light-colored houses, unrelieved, for the most part, by trees or vines
or any green thing, are perpetual irritants which must react
unfavorably upon the general health. Indeed, one begins at last to
find in the harshness of the climate some explanation, if not excuse,
for the roughness of disposition and manner which have made the people
of Munich a proverb among their countrymen and a terror to foreign

Another cause of the unhealthiness of Munich is the nature of the
soil. The ground upon which the city is built, as also the land for a
considerable distance round about, was formerly the bed of a lake, and
consists of a loose gravel to the depth of many feet, there being
scarcely enough earth upon the top to furnish subsistence for the
commonest grass and weeds, while trees, esculent vegetables and
flowers can only be raised by preparing a new soil, which must be
continually enriched by artificial means. A proverb says, "Scratch a
Russian and the Tartar shows through;" so one has only to stir the
soil of Munich to find just below the surface the coarse gravel,
defying cultivation. Of course, all the fluid matter deposited upon
the surface that does not exhale in the atmosphere percolates through
this loose stratum until it reaches the rock, where it stagnates and
corrupts, returning into the air in the form of poisonous gases,
instead of undergoing the healthy transformation which is effected in
all soils capable of sustaining vegetable life. If the fluid thus held
in solution were only the rain from heaven, the result would not be so
disastrous; but, unfortunately, there is scarcely any kind of filth
that is not allowed to contribute constantly to the subterranean
supply of moisture. It has been estimated that of the seventy-five
thousand tons of refuse matter which Munich furnishes within a year,
scarcely one-third is carried out of the city: the rest is suffered to
go into the ground upon the spot. Nor can that third which is gathered
up be considered as taken out of harm's way, since all of it that can
be regarded as manure is spread at once upon the neighboring fields,
whence it sends back its stenches upon every wind that blows.

The people of Munich, according to one of their most famous
chroniclers, have always been noted for their piety ("Fromm waren die
Muenchner zu jeder Zeit"), but they have never been celebrated for that
virtue of cleanliness which is said to be akin to godliness: indeed,
they are known amongst other Bavarians as _die dreckigen Muenchner_
("the filthy Munichers"); and certain it is that their city is far
behind the times in all sanitary matters. The introduction of sewers
is a very recent improvement. It will scarcely be believed that many
of the broad, showy streets which came into existence under the
patronage of Ludwig I. were laid out and built up without any
reference to this first necessity of all thoroughfares. Even the
Theresien Strasse has not long rejoiced in a "canal;" and the sewer
was laid in that finest part of the Gabelsberger Strasse which runs
past the Pinakothek and the Polytechnic School as late as the summer
of 1873, while the upper end of the same street, which is notoriously
unhealthy, is still unpaved and undrained. The Munich sewers, however,
are not so great a boon as one might suppose: indeed, they may be
considered as mere receptacles and condensers of the evil substances
and odors that would be promiscuously diffused. Owing to a want of
knowledge or of skill in their construction there is not sufficient
fall to carry away their contents, nor is there any system of flushing
to drive out the sediment and cleanse the pipes. Consequently, there
is a horrible odor ascending at all times from the open gratings, and
frequently the pipes become choked, so as to necessitate the
uncovering of the receptacle at a junction, and the taking out and
carting away of the hideous slime--an operation which, of course, adds
temporary intensity to the usual stench.

Another source of polluted air is the cellars of a great proportion of
the houses. Of course the families living in the several flats of each
building are all dependent upon one cellar, which is divided off into
compartments according to the number of stories in the house. These
compartments, however, are in many instances separated from each other
by a mere partition of laths or rough boards, so that any want of
cleanliness on the part of an individual house-keeper is sure to
disturb all her neighbors. Owing to the custom of allowing small shops
to be kept in the ground-floor of dwelling-houses there is apt to be a
mingling of articles for storage in the cellar such as is neither
agreeable nor wholesome. Thus, for instance, a dairywoman will fill
the shelves of her compartment with pans of milk: her next neighbor is
perhaps a small dealer in wood, coal and turf, and raises a dust
accordingly; the greengrocer opposite makes the air damp and bitter
with his heaps of neglected vegetables; while the butcher not only has
a right to hang up his newly-slaughtered animals and chop his
sausage-meat inside of his particular compartment, but may allow a
living pig or calf, whose death-hour has not yet arrived, to roam up
and down the dark passages, to the increase of the general dirt and
discomfort. In this connection it may be well to enter a protest
against the Munich regulation, or absence of regulation, which allows
every butcher to slaughter pigs, calves and sheep upon his own
premises. To say nothing of the shocking sights and sounds which are
thereby forced upon the attention of the dwellers in the neighborhood
of such shops, it is impossible, considering the defective drainage
and insufficient water supply, that the practice should not be of
serious injury to the public health. There are also many cellars which
are rented out entirely to fruiterers and green-grocers not living in
the buildings as a place to store their goods for the winter. In such
cases the cellars are apt to remain in a filthy condition, and the
smells that pour from the windows are at once a nuisance to passers-by
and a source of danger to the inhabitants of the houses. But it is not
only the living inhabitants of Munich that are corrupting the heavens
above, the earth beneath and the waters under the earth: the dead in
their graves are busy at the same work. It is a pity that all thinking
persons who still object to the practice of cremation as unnecessary
and impious could not be compelled to take up their residence for a
while in the neighborhood of the two great cemeteries of Munich: they
would not be long in crying out for the adoption of purifying flames
and the innoxious columbarium.

The Old (or Southern) Cemetery at the time of its first enclosure was
a short distance outside of the city, though not so far as it ought to
have been; but by degrees the streets have been extended to its very
walls, and property-owners build without hesitation handsome dwelling
houses whose windows look directly down upon that field of corruption,
piously denominated "God's Acre." The New Cemetery, on the north side
of the town, has been in use only five or six years, and was from the
beginning but a block or two removed from the nearest houses. The air
in the vicinity of the Old Cemetery is so laden with the smell of
death that even the natives are aware of it, while strangers generally
avoid a second visit. It is a rule that every seven years a portion of
the ground occupied by rented graves shall be dug over for new
tenants, the partially decayed remains found therein being brought
together and buried again in an indiscriminate heap. This method is
about as bad as it could be, but the graves that are left undisturbed
are not much less harmful to the living. These can be leased for a
period of seventy years, the lease to be renewed if desired, but never
for a longer term than seventy years without renewal. Whole
generations of families are thus buried together, each grave being dug
deep enough to hold several coffins one above another, the last one
coming to within a few feet of the surface. Now, when one considers
the nature of the soil, the closeness of the cemetery to the abodes of
the living, the frequency with which the earth is turned over, and the
great number of corpses which in a city of the size of Munich must be
interred every year, an idea can be formed of the disagreeableness and
unhealthiness of the cemeteries. Moreover, bodies are not brought
there to be buried at once, but are placed within twelve hours after
death in the dead-house, where they are allowed to remain forty-eight
hours before burial. This provision, which is in force in most of the
cities of Germany, is a wise one in view of the number of families
inhabiting a single house: it would seem also to offer additional
securities against the horrible fate of being buried alive, though the
time allowed is not sufficient to ensure certainty in suspicious
cases, and is apt to be infringed upon in seasons of epidemic. But, be
that as it may, the continual presence of scores of corpses lying in
open coffins, and separated only by glass doors from the hundreds of
spectators who come daily to gaze upon the ghastly sight, cannot be
otherwise than injurious to the general health. Also, the practice of
the citizens using the cemeteries as a favorite promenade, and of
spending hours in wandering amongst the graves, is highly pernicious:
it would seem as though the people of Munich had fed upon stenches so
long that they could not be satisfied with the ordinary smells of the
houses and streets, but must seek the fountain-head of corruption to
still their morbid craving for the odors of decay. During the height
of the cholera epidemic of the winter of 1873-74 an article appeared
in one of the newspapers, written by a citizen who signed himself "A
Constant Visitor of the Dead-houses;" and the article was answered by
an opponent who signed himself "Another Constant Visitor of the
Dead-houses;" as though no more worthy occupation could be imagined
than this of prowling like ghouls among the victims of the pestilence!

It is now time to speak of another principal cause of the
unhealthiness of Munich, perhaps the most important one of all--the
water. As before stated, Munich is situated on what was formerly the
bed of a lake: the ground, therefore, is full of springs, and from
these the water-supply of the inhabitants has always been obtained.
There is a well in the court of almost every house, in close proximity
to the vault, the refuse-pit and the drain, and well impregnated also,
doubtless, with that bugbear of Munich hygienists, "the
ground-water." The most ignorant citizen knows that the well-water is
not fit to drink, and avoids it as a beverage; still, its use
necessarily enters largely into all domestic arrangements. Children
are frequently thirsty, and cannot be kept from the pumps and
fountains; the poor are not able to afford a constant supply of beer
(and, for that matter, the beer itself is made with the same
material); it is used in cooking and for washing and bathing; and
though its impurities are lessened through boiling, it is so corrupt
that nothing short of complete distillation could make it wholesome
for either outward or inward application. Strangers are warned against
drinking it, and in numerous instances among the citizens bowel
complaints and typhus have been traced directly to its poison. It is
true that a small portion of the inhabitants are more favored in
respect to their water-supply. Within a few years the water of two
springs rising a little way out of the city, at Brunnthal and
Thalkirchen, has been introduced into a few streets and houses, and,
though by no means pure, it is vastly better than that of the wells.
But the whole yield from these sources is not sufficient for more than
a third of the inhabitants; and the Thalkirchner water has recently
been corrupted by the breaking in of the Isar, in consequence of an
attempt to enlarge the spring.

But besides the unfavorable nature of the climate and soil of
Munich--which cannot be helped--and the shameful condition of its
sewerage and water-supply--for which the city government is mainly
responsible--there are many accessory causes of disease to be found in
the habits and customs of the people. The open-air gatherings of the
Germans are, in many respects, a pleasant-and praiseworthy trait of
their social life, but the practice needs to be held in judicious
restraint to make it safe for the citizens of Munich. The changes of
temperature in that region are so frequent and so severe, and the
atmosphere at night is so heavily charged with moisture and malaria,
that the mere tarrying late in public gardens is dangerous; but when
to this source of danger are added the imbibing of copious draughts of
ice-cold beer and the eating of suppers of heavy food, such as
sausages, roast pork, radishes, etc., it is easy to see how a sudden
check of perspiration might react upon a gorged stomach and produce
the fevers and inflammation which abound.

Attention has been called to the peculiar soil of Munich as a
disadvantageous characteristic of the locality. There is, however, a
strip of land following the course of the Isar and bordering the city
on the north-eastern side, which is an exception to the general
barrenness, it having been gradually formed out of the soil and
vegetation brought down the river from more fruitful regions during
periods of inundation. It is a low, marshy, heavily-timbered tract,
which has been partially drained and laid out as a public park, the
so-called English Garden--spot beloved of the people for its welcome
shades, where artificial waterfalls, from the "Isar rolling rapidly,"
add chill to the natural dampness; where unwilling streamlets creep
slowly through tortuous channels toward a stagnant pond, and
pestiferous miasma, rising like incense at the going down of the sun,
broods over the meadows until his rising again. It was in one of the
streets bordering this park that the cholera broke out in 1873, and
there too, Kaulbach, one of its last victims, had his home. So
notorious is the spot as a breeding-place of typhus that it is
generally abandoned at sunset; but the same crowd that hurry out of
its dripping shades at twilight return in the early summer mornings
before the dew has dried on the grass or the poisonous damps have
exhaled from the glens and thickets.

So long as the sun is in the sky it is fine weather to a Municher, no
matter what wind may blow or what evil the earth may be bringing
forth. Thus, on Christmas Day of 1873, when the weather, though
unusually mild for the season, was still windy and chilly, and utterly
unfit for any open-air enjoyment other than a brisk walk, every
beer-garden in the city was filled with an eating and drinking
multitude; and this, too, when a cold was especially to be
deprecated, as the cholera was increasing every hour. And so on all
Sundays and feast-days and fast-days and fairs there is a general
pouring out of the population into places of amusement near and
remote, no matter what may be the state of the weather or what the
condition of the public health.

But, though the people of Munich are extremely fond of staying out of
doors, they are by no means lovers of fresh air in their houses. With
the dread of fever always before their eyes, they make all close when
they go to bed, forgetting that "the only air at night is night air;"
and, hardened by habit, they spend long winter evenings in
concert-rooms and tavern beer-halls, made stifling with tobacco smoke
and foul with accumulated breaths; while at home, especially among the
poorer classes, the air is purposely unchanged in order to economize
heat. Even the Odeon Music-Hail, the place where aristocratic concerts
are given, is so badly constructed with respect to ventilation that
when crowded, as it generally is, women frequently faint away, while
many persons avoid going there entirely through dread of the
discomfort and fear of its effects. So, too, the theatres show a
shameful negligence of the health and comfort of the audiences as to
this particular, the Royal Theatre especially becoming almost a "Black
Hole of Calcutta" by the end of a six hours' Wagner opera. The close
air of the crowded lecture-rooms of the Polytechnic School is a source
of positive injury to the students, and the same may be said of the
halls appropriated to pupils in the Academy of Art.

With respect to bathing, there is no danger of the people of Munich
being mistaken for an amphibious race. The tiny bowls and pitchers
that furnish an ordinary German washstand, and the absence of
slop-pail and foot-bath, are sufficient proof that only partial
ablutions are expected to be performed in the bed-chamber; while the
lack of a bath-room in even genteel houses, and the smallness and
rarity of bathing establishments, show that the practice is by no
means frequent or general among the better classes. The fiercest
radical who should find himself for a time in the midst of a crowd of
the populace would scarcely hesitate (supposing him to be possessed of
delicate olfactories) to bestow upon them the epithet of "The Great
Unwashed." Indeed, it would be hardly reasonable to expect that people
should indulge often in a full bath at home in a city where the water
must be drawn from wells, and carried up long flights of stairs in
pitchers and pails by women and children.

The notions of the lower classes with regard to dress have doubtless a
good deal to do with their health. The same notions prevail in most
parts of Germany, but are especially hurtful in a climate so severe
and variable as that of Munich. Thus, it is considered improper for a
servant-girl to wear a hat or a bonnet in the street when she is about
the business of her calling. On Sundays and holidays, indeed, or when
she has an outing in the afternoon, she may adorn herself with such an
appendage; but to go to market or to the grocer's with her head
covered would be a piece of presumption which would at once expose her
to ridicule from all the members of her class. Hence, all day and
every day women and girls may be seen in the streets without any
covering on the head, though, by way of compensation, most of them are
obliged to go about a good share of the time with their faces bound up
on account of swelled jaws and tonsils, the natural result of such
unnatural exposure. Occasionally, in the coldest weather some few,
more prudent than the others, wear a hood or a small shawl over the
head, but these cases are rare, and excepting in the depth of winter
such a precaution is not thought of, although the gusty, chilly
weather of spring and autumn and the frequent cold blasts that occur
in summer are quite as dangerous, if not prepared for, as are the
winter storms. As a general thing, a servant goes out on errands in
precisely the same clothes that she wears in the kitchen, and paddles
about in rain and snow in the thin, low house-shoes which, on account
of their cheapness, are the favorite foot-gear of the ordinary Munich

Children, too, are sent to school in the same unprotected manner: one
may meet them any day trooping through the streets, their bare heads
shining in the sun or glistening in the rain, according as the fickle
sky may smile or weep; and babies are drawn about in the open air,
two, and sometimes three of them, crowded into a small carriage and
sweltering under a feather bed which covers them to their chins, and
yet with their bald pates exposed to all the winds that blow. The
ignorant recklessness with which the changes of temperature are met is
well exemplified in the attire of little girls and young maidens who
participate in the religious processions which take place so
frequently in Munich, especially during the spring and early summer.
On such occasions, although the weather may be so chilly that the
bystanders are wrapped up to their eyes in shawls and cloaks, these
young creatures appear clad in thin white muslin dresses, with necks
and arms bare, and with no covering upon the head more substantial
than a wreath of flowers or a gauze veil: and in this condition they
march through the wet and windy streets, and settle down finally to a
prolonged service in a church as cold and damp as a cellar.

Another source of harm is the ordinary diet of the citizens. There is
probably no large city of the Old World where the lower classes are
able to obtain so much substantial food as in Munich. Indeed, there
is, properly speaking, no abject poverty in that city, although the
population, as a whole, possesses less wealth than is usually found in
capitals; one reason of this being the fact that many families who are
rich enough to choose their place of residence avoid Munich on account
of its notorious sickliness, while their places are filled by
tradesmen and artisans of all kinds, who must make a living at
whatever risk of life. But, at any rate, no one dies there of
starvation, and the great majority of the citizens are able to have
meat for dinner every day. Unfortunately, veal--and very young veal at
that--is the favorite dish of all classes, so that the benefit derived
from animal juices is not so great as it might be. During the recent
Franco-German war it was remarked that the Bavarian soldiers were able
neither to resist nor to endure so well as the troops of North
Germany; and by many this difference was ascribed to the habitual use
by the former of veal as the chief article of diet. There is no doubt,
too, that the immoderate drinking of beer tends to weaken instead of
strengthen the inhabitants, especially as so many of them drink when
they ought to eat, even beginning a day's work by chilling their
stomachs with this cold beverage, and necessitating thereby a
supplementary draught of "schnapps," thus creating excitement instead
of nourishment, and superinducing a second bad habit upon a first.
Pure Bavarian beer, taken in moderation, would be an excellent thing,
for its stimulating and nutritive properties are a good counterpoise
to the exhausting effects of the harsh climate; but, alas! this
renowned specialty of Munich is losing its ancient fame: the beer is
no longer under governmental inspection, and bitter is the general
complaint against the brewers on account of its alleged adulteration
through the use of foreign drugs and poisonous indigenous plants, to
say nothing of its dilution by the retailers with Munich water, itself
a poison sufficiently strong. For the rest, the amount of pork and
sausages consumed is enormous: the favorite vegetable is the
indigestible sauerkraut, and the bread in general use is uniformly
bad. Nor can tobacco be considered as otherwise than an article of
diet, since the men and boys are hardly ever seen without a pipe or
cigar in their mouths, while the women and girls spend the greater
part of their lives in an atmosphere blue and heavy with tobacco

Having now given many reasons why the citizens of Munich ought to be
sick, it is time to see to what degree effects correspond to causes in
the sanitary condition of the city. Munich is known all over the world
as a nest for typhus fever; nor will it soon be forgotten that within
a year it has suffered from two distinct outbreaks of cholera, besides
being the only city in Europe where that epidemic continued to rage
during the winter. The population is estimated at one hundred and
eighty-eight thousand, but this number is generally considered as
greater than the truth. Statistics show that between two and three
thousand sicken annually of typhus, and that of these between two and
three hundred die. Some idea of the special tendency to this disease
may be obtained by comparing the statistics of Munich with those of
Berlin, which is also an unfavorably situated and very unhealthy city.
In Berlin, the regiment most exposed to fever loses annually three
men: in Munich, the first regiment of artillery loses annually
thirteen men. In Berlin, of the whole body of the soldiery--over
eighteen thousand men--sixteen men die annually of typhus; in Munich,
where the number of the soldiers is only twelve thousand, fifty men
die annually of typhus. The disease, too, has been on the increase for
the last three years. In 1872 four hundred and seven persons died of
it, and during the first four months of 1873 one hundred and
twenty-two died. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that many persons
visiting Munich contract the fever there, but return home to sicken
with it, and that this number has greatly increased since the recent
facilities for travel have been extended in all directions from the
capital. If all these cases were to be added to the list of
victims--and they properly belong to it--the number would be appalling
indeed. Even that small body, the Bavarian Parliament, loses one or
more of its members every year from the same disease and yet these men
are more favorably situated than almost any others as regards
protective circumstances. So patent is the danger, and so many are the
instances of disease contracted during a short stay in the capital and
carried away to spread contagion in remote places, that frequently
persons chosen to honorable and lucrative official positions refuse to
accept because, in order to hold such situations, they must reside
temporarily or entirely in Munich. Finally, the general unhealthiness
of Munich cannot be questioned, since statistics show that nearly
fifty per cent, of the children born there die in infancy, and that
the death-rate for the whole population is nearly forty in a thousand.

But is there no help for this state of things? The foregoing account
of the principal causes of disease suggests naturally the means of at
least partial cure for the accumulated evils under which the benighted
city is suffering. It is true that the climate must always be
unfavorable to persons of a certain constitution, but its bracing air
is a tonic to those who are able to bear it, and its fierce winds
serve to sweep away many an impurity. It is true, also, that the soil
must always be in some degree a manufactory of injurious effluvia, and
that the vicinity of that long strip of marshy bottom known as the
English Garden must continue to be a source of mischief; but if the
dead had never been buried in the neighborhood of the town, and if the
excreta of the living had not from the beginning until how been
allowed to corrupt the air and the water, the occasional prevalence of
vegetable miasma would give comparatively little trouble. In fact, the
extreme backwardness of the people with regard to knowledge of, and
obedience to, the simplest sanitary laws is a great aggravation of
both their necessary and unnecessary ills. During the recent cholera
epidemic the physicians complained that all rational means of abating
the plague were continually thwarted by the ignorance and obstinacy of
the lower classes. Very few families kept remedies in their houses,
and yet in many cases medical aid was not applied for, lest the
regulations concerning the disinfection of furniture and the burning
of bedding, and other clothing should be enforced. There was the
greatest dissatisfaction with the prohibition against the holding of
public balls and other amusements wherein health would be particularly
exposed; and the foolish citizens crowded all the more into the
unventilated, tobacco-poisoned beer-cellars and concert-halls, and
persisted in supping on heavy food and cold beer in the open air, as
though on purpose to spite the over-anxious magistrates and doctors.
Nor was the stupidity confined entirely to the lower classes. People
who ought to have known better defied the cholera in excess of
rioting, while those of another turn of mind gave way to superstitious
fears, and as soon as they felt the first symptoms of the disease fled
to the cold, damp churches and wasted in prayer upon their knees the
few precious hours which, spent in a warm bed and under the influence
of proper remedies, might have ensured them the salvation of at least
their temporal life.

To go still higher. Although Munich had warning of the approach of the
epidemic months before it broke out, no sufficient means were adopted
by the authorities to fortify the city against its attack. All summer
long the street-drains sent up their concentrated stenches and the
undrained streets spread far and wide their promiscuous abominations.
The general daily disinfection ordered by the city government was
never thoroughly enforcedly the police, and as often as a lull
occurred in the virulence of the pestilence it was almost totally
neglected by the citizens. When the plague ceased for a few days in
the autumn, the chief medical authorities announced that it was at an
end; and when it broke out again, these wise ones comforted the public
by assuring them that it was only a "_Nach-epidemie_"--an _after
epidemic_--that is, a final effort of the mysterious poison, like the
last flashing up of an expiring flame. And yet this "after epidemic"
lasted more than five months, and was more virulent in its workings
than had been the three months' visitation in the previous summer! The
official reports and scientific discussions of the subject were
unsatisfactory to the last degree. The principal object seemed to be,
not to cleanse Munich and get rid of the pestilence, but to
substantiate the proposition that the variations in the sanitary
condition of the city are intimately connected with the rising and
falling of the ground-water _(grund-wasser)_--a theory which, whether
true or not, is of small practical value under existing circumstances,
since the ground-water, so far as quality is concerned, is entirely
beyond human control, while the drinking-water and the sewers are
capable of improvement.

It is but justice to say that a few physicians--who, having recently
come to Munich, are properly impressed with its sanitary deficiencies,
and one, at least, who, long a resident, has a thorough knowledge of
what is wanted, and sufficient common sense and courage to speak
out--do not hesitate to declare that the bad water and bad drainage of
that city are the principal causes of its everlasting typhus and its
frequent epidemics. But these men are in bad odor with their
colleagues, and are denounced on all sides as enemies of the fair fame
and prosperity of Munich. Certain physicians of high standing there
laugh at the fuss made about the water, and tell their patients, even
foreigners, to drink all the water they want; while it may be doubted
whether any, excepting the few referred to above, have any adequate
idea of the injury constantly accruing from the unwashed drains and
the crowded cemeteries.

And Munich will be visited with a succession of "after epidemics," and
physicians will continue to talk nonsense and make blunders and be at
their wits' end, so long as they persist in ignoring the true causes
of these plagues and in delaying to apply the only remedy. Water is
what Munich needs--pure water for the people to drink and to cook
with; plenty of water for them to bathe in; water to wash out the
vaults and drains; water for a daily flushing of the sewers. As long
ago as 1822 a competent authority pointed out an inexhaustible source
from which water might be obtained, with a fall sufficient to obviate
the necessity of any hydraulic works for its elevation. There is in
the Bavarian Mountains, not far away, a lake of remarkably pure water,
situated at such a height that the level would be above the loftiest
houses in Munich. The estimated cost of bringing the water into the
city is only five millions of gulden (about two millions of dollars).
It seems surprising that with this excellent opportunity at hand there
should be any hesitation about accepting it. And yet, after having
been possessed of the knowledge for more than fifty years, there was
only one vote in favor of the enterprise when the subject was
discussed in a meeting of the municipal and medical authorities a
short time ago. The proverbial thriftiness of the German is apt to
degenerate into stinginess when the object to be attained is of
general rather than individual benefit; and though Munich claims a
high place as an art-centre, it would take a long time to convince its
citizens that three hundred millions of kreuzers are but as dust in
the balance when weighed against the value to the world of Kaulbach.

One step, however, has been gained. The urgent need of an abundant
supply of good water, which is so patent a fact to all strangers
visiting Munich, is beginning to dawn upon the intelligence of the
community. The connection between cause and effect was so evident
during the cholera epidemic of last year that even Ignorance
recognized the Law, while Superstition dared only whisper of
"judgments," and refrained from attempting to propitiate the
destroying angel by religious mummeries until it was certain that his
wrath was nearly spent. But it is to be feared that, taking counsel of
penuriousness, an attempt will be made to utilize certain sources
which have recently been discovered near the city, and which are not
only insufficient, but impure, instead of bringing, once for all, a
full supply for every purpose from the neighboring mountain lake.

The dragon that haunted the soil of Munich in the old days is still
poisoning the springs and the atmosphere with his pestilent breath,
nor can he be tempted forth to his destruction until he shall see his
reflection mirrored in fountains of pure water.



When the _miserables_ of the horrible and fascinating old Paris that
people used to read about in the works of Eugene Sue and the elder
Dumas were drawn into the streets of modern Paris by the ragings of
the last revolution, people asked, "Where did these dreadful creatures
come from?" Not only did the well-to-do citizen of Paris, who has his
_habitudes_, and never departs from them, and knows nothing outside of
them, ask this question, but the American or English tourist who was
caught in Paris at the moment asked it. These frightful creatures were
not Parisians, surely? Parisians! Why the very word is redolent of
ess. bouquet! The well-to-do citizen, sipping his black coffee after
dinner in his favorite corner on the Boulevard, explained that they
came from the provinces--"Oui, they were provincials, these
_miserables_" And the tourist knew no better than the citizen where
the Communist demon came from, with his flaring torch, his red eyes,
his flying hair, his hoarse howl, his sturdy tramp, which trampled
civilization in the dust, and his reckless spirit, which let loose all
the devils of incarnate vice for a mad riot. There are no such
creatures as this under the shadow of the Madeleine! We never meet
them on the Boulevard des Italiens! They don't live in the Faubourg
St. Germain! There are none such in the Champs Elysees, even on
Sunday, when, as everybody knows, the lower orders invade the haunts
of the better classes--to wit, ourselves, the tourists.

Nevertheless, these very creatures are still in Paris in great
numbers. The most elegant tourist who has walked the streets of the
French capital this year, though he kept strictly to the choicer
quarters, has touched elbows with these creatures unconsciously; and
if he has ventured into the Belleville quarter, into the regions
beyond the Place of the Bastile, into the neighborhood of the Pantheon
or the Gobelins tapestry-mill, he has been jostled against, on the
narrow sidewalks of narrow streets, by thousands of them. They are not
such a conspicuous feature of the city's daily life now as they were
when the volcano of revolution was belching its lava torrent through
the streets; but they are there. They are not now occupied in the way
they were then; they make less noise; they dress more quietly; they
attend, in one way or other, to the business of getting a living. Some
are working at trades; some are playing at soldiers; some are keeping
cabarets; some are driving fiacres. I am morally certain the rascal
who drove me home from the Gymnase one night was a petroleum-flinger
at the most active period of his existence. "Give me your ticket,
cocher," I said to him; for the law requires the cabman to give to his
fare, without solicitation, a, ticket with his number, and the legal
rates of fare printed on it. He cracked his whip at the left ear of
his steed, and drove on without paying any attention. "Give me your
ticket," I repeated. This time he shrugged his shoulders--it requires
a really superhuman effort on the part of a Frenchman to refrain from
letting his shoulders fly up to his ears, whatever his determination
to control himself--but drove on in silence. Then I brandished my
umbrella, and punching him with that weapon in the back in an
energetic manner, repeated, "Cocher, oblige me with your ticket, tout
de suite." He turned round on his seat in a fury. "Ah, ca!" he roared,
thee-thou-ing me as an expression of his direst rage and power of
insult, "where hast thou come out of, then, that thou hast no sense
left thee at the last?" Yes, I am morally certain he helped burn the
Tuileries, that fellow!

Others of the former demons who howled in the Commune mobs are now
doing the congenial work of thievery which they did before the Commune
days, and especially during them. They are not the worst-looking of
the demons. A thief is generally a rather sleek-looking person in his
station. Rich thieves treat themselves to the best of broadcloth and
the shiniest of tall hats. Poor thieves usually at least shave their
faces, and try to look unforbidding. If they wear a blouse, it is
because they belong on a social scale which does not dream of wearing
a coat. The blousard of Paris may be either a thief or a working-man:
he is always the one or the other, and sometimes he is both.

The great mass of those who rioted in the Commune--the rank and file
of that turbulent army--may be found wherever there are blouses in
Paris. Occasionally, arrests are made, even now, of men who were
prominently active, unduly noisy, in that terrible time: the French
police has got a list of such, and will go on tracking them down and
bringing them to punishment for years to come, or until the next
revolution arrives. In a most respectable street in the Faubourg St.
Germain, where I lived, a quiet wine-seller next door to me was
arrested and his business broken up nearly two years after the war was
over, his only offence being that he had been too active a Communist.
Later, an industrious blousard of my acquaintance was arrested at his
work, and sent to prison for the same offence: he was a
carriage-maker. In the Rue de Provence an old woman who begged very
assiduously with a drugged baby, and whom I used to watch from my
window by the half hour, fascinated by her practical methods of doing
business, was hauled up one day on the same charge, and went her way
with the gendarme, to be seen no more. A meeker-looking old creature I
never saw as she leaned against the wall over the way, and collected
sous industriously from the passers-by, and hid them in a pocket in
the small of the poor baby's back; but I was told she displayed
tremendous energy as a petroleuse in those other days when robbery was
a better trade than even beggary. You may have observed, when you
have been returning home from the opera some night in Paris, in the
gloom succeeding midnight, a dusky figure moving along by the paved
gutter in the shadow of a large square lantern which he carries. The
lantern has a light only in front, and catches your eye as it glides
along two or three inches above the paving-stones, so that you see the
figure in the shadow behind it but dimly. Close down to the stones it
throws its glare for two or three feet about, and into that
glare-emerges a hook--an iron hook--which pokes and prods at>out in
the gutters, and now and then fastens like a finger on a wisp of paper
and disappears behind the lamp. Following the hook with your eye, you
see that it deposits the wisps of paper in a deep basket fastened on
the back of a man. The is shaggy, dirty and begrimed. He wears a hat
which he has at some fished out of a gutter, a ragged blue blouse, a
raggeder apron, which was in its brighter days a coffee-sack, and
wooden shoes upon his feet. A short pipe, sometimes alight, but more
often empty, is in a corner of his mouth. No one needs to be told who
he is or what his calling. In the argot of the blousards he is known
as the Chevalier of the Hook.

The ragpicker of Paris has been often written of, but what I have read
of him has never shown him to me in quite the colors I have found him
in by personal observation and inquiry concerning his ways of life. He
has been somewhat idealized in print, I find. Victor Hugo has
presented him in a light not unlike that of Cooper's noble
savage--with large difference of color and pose, of course. The
average Frenchman knows Cooper's noble savage as well as we know
Hugo's romantic ragpicker, and he knows nothing of the American Indian
besides. (It is a curious fact, which I may note in passing, that the
only American author whose writings appear to be really well known in
Paris to-day is Fenimore Cooper. Next to him stands Edgar
Poe--_Poaye_, as the French call him, pronouncing both the vowels.)
There is a street in the crowded quarter of Paris back of the Pantheon
which has the, reputation of being the especial haunt of the
ragpickers. It is called the Rue Mouffetard, and includes many of this
class of blousards among its population; but as there are over twenty
thousand ragpickers in Paris, it needs little argument to show that
they are not _all_ hived in the Rue Mouffetard. Great numbers live in
the Brise Miche quarter, behind the church of St. Mery; at Montmartre,
along the Canal de Bievre; in the purlieus of Belleville; out beyond
the Bastile; in fact, wherever there is dirt enough to suit their
tastes. For if the truth is to be written here, it must be said that
the ragpicker of Paris is the most degraded creature ever met in the
guise of a human being. I have met Digger Indians, too, in California.
There is something to be said in defence of the bestiality of a
Digger: he has not been exposed to the refining influences of
surrounding civilization; he was reared in darkness and ignorance; so
were his fathers before him for many generations; the white man and
his ways have just dawned upon the poor Digger's consciousness; and so
on. These things cannot be said for the ragpicker of Paris. He is
almost equally dirty with the Digger, and he lives in the gayest
capital of the world. He is also almost equally ignorant with the
Digger: neither can read or write; neither has any idea whether the
world is round or flat; neither is aware, save dimly, that there are
other lands and other peoples than his own; but the ragpicker is in a
city full of books and newspapers (and, oddly enough, is a principal
purveyor for the mills that make paper for printing); and the Digger
has the advantage in the comparison. The Digger lives in vicious
sexual relations, but in this particular point the comparison leaves
the Indian far in advance of his rival, for the ragpicker's customs in
this regard are worse by far than those of even the most degraded
Indians of America. There is nothing in any savage country more
horrible, more astounding and incredible than the practices of the
ragpickers of Paris in respect of the relations between the sexes.
They are so atrociously vile that it is difficult to state the truth
in cleanly words.

You may have heard that a ragpicker who has risen to the rank of a
boss in his trade, and so remains at home in a shop and goes out with
his hook no more, is called an _ogre_. A woman attaining this dignity
is called an _ogress_. The terms are not idle ones. Like many of the
words and phrases of slang they are based on the clearest conception
of the merits of the case. An ogre or ogress without a daughter, real
or adopted, lacks the first requisite for doing a successful business.
The ogre or ogress has his or her especial workmen, who go out and
scour the streets, bringing home their load, and being paid in board
and lodging simply. When there is a daughter in the business the
workmen are her husbands. The process of divorce is easy, and consists
simply in the ragpicker's returning with his _hotte_ (_la hotte_ is
the basket which hangs on the back) to some other ogre or ogress after
his daily or nightly tour of the streets. Marriage among the
ragpickers of Paris is so rare an incident as to be virtually no part
of their plan of life.

The Paris ragpicker is seldom seen in the streets by day: his most
profitable season is the night. And what meagre pickings are his at
the best! what despicable bits of paper, of twine, of coal-refuse, of
rejected food, bones, potato-skins, he gathers carefully in his hoard!
A bit of paper no larger than a postage-stamp he saves. A crust of
bread no bigger than a walnut is a prize, for rare are the households
in Paris in which a crust that is large enough to be visible to the
naked eye is allowed to be thrown into the street. Standing and
watching this poor wretch prodding in a gutter after hopeless
infinitesimals, I have pictured to myself what emotions would surge
through his breast if a New York garbage-barrel were to be set down
before him. I am not sure he would be able to refrain from fainting
away at sight of such a mine of wealth. Happy ragpicker of New York
who takes his morning stroll and his lordly pick from the contents of
the teeming barrels our servants set out on the pavement for him! _He_
does not have to work at night: he is a sort of prince, compared to
his Paris fellow. If a Paris ragpicker could have the monopoly of the
barrels in a single block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, I am
convinced he would retire from business at the end of ten years with
an independent fortune--that is, if with the New York barrels he could
have the Paris market and live on Paris fare. It is an old story that
in Paris nothing is wasted. The very mud in the streets is gathered up
and sold. There is a market for everything.

An important division of the army of blousards is that composed of the
street-sweepers of Paris. They share the Rue Mouffetard and the Place
Maubert with the ragpickers, and, like them, are scattered about in
various poorer quarters of the city. Ever-picturesque argot has given
them a name of ridicule, and calls them _les peintres_ and their
brooms their inspired brushes. Every tourist has seen those unhappy
wretches at work, sometimes alone, sometimes in gangs of three or
four, men and women together. There is no distinction of sex in this
branch of industry, as indeed there is in none of the lowest fields of
labor in Paris. Women and girls are quite often ragpickers; among the
street-sweepers they form a good half of the force; they are also
street--peddlers, dragging cartloads of vegetables about and crying
aloud their wares; they are porters, lugging bundles on their backs;
they are oyster-openers, hacking away with iron knife at coarse
shells; they even drive drays and big market-wagons; they split wood
and shovel coal, and in a hundred ways confound and confuse those
theorizers who pretend that male bone and muscle is by nature brawnier
than female. The female scavengers are quite as strong, quite as
coarse, quite as dirty, and can smoke their pipes with quite as much
gusto as their male compeers.

The scavengers are six thousand in number, and are employed by
contractors, who pay them at the rate of four to eight sous per hour.
They use up seventy thousand brooms a year, and the filth they gather
is rotted in pits and sold for manure, yielding about seven hundred
thousand dollars a year. Until the rubbish of New York streets is made
to yield a profit in a similar manner our streets will never be
cleaned as they should be. But I fear it is hopeless to expect that
New York streets will ever be cleaned as they are in Paris, from lack
of the human element that does the work in the French capital. A hard
ten hours' work would yield the Paris scavenger forty to eighty sous,
and on this sum he would be rich, for he can clothe and feed himself
on a sum which would scarcely buy a New York laborer what drink he
needs alone, to say nothing about food and clothing. But the Paris
scavenger is rarely privileged to work ten hours a day, and his
earnings the year round will barely exceed on an average twenty-five
cents a day. For this sum he can have sufficient food, and as for
clothing, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that he never buys any.
At various stages in his career he becomes possessed by a stroke of
fortune of some article of cast-off clothing, which he wears, as it
were, for life. Ordinarily, the poorest blousard has a new blouse once
in five or ten years, and a new pair of wooden shoes in the same time;
but the scavenger's apparel is for ever old, and he never lays it off.
I have seen thousands of men and women in Paris of whom it would be
mere idle dreaming to suppose that they undressed themselves at night.
Their clothing was practically as much a part of them as their skins.
It is only in the matter of lodging that the lowest classes of Paris
are hard pressed. Rents in Paris are high. Few families, even of the
better sort of blousards, have a home attractive enough to compete
with the fascinations of the street or the cafe. Even in the Rue
Mouffetard there are cafes where wine is sold at two sous the glass,
and even cheaper, which would put to the blush some of the most
frequented "saloons" of Broadway in point of elegance and comfort for
the lounger. Stuccoed walls, frescoed ceilings, huge mirrors, velvet
sofas, marble-topped tables, gleaming chandeliers, gilt and glitter
that would be called "palatial" in New York, make the place
attractive. Yet a man could hardly be too ragged to be welcome therein
if he had a few sous in his pocket.

The scavenger and the ragpicker, being the lowest grade of blousards,
do not always rise to the dignity even of a blouse. They wear a coat
sometimes, but it is a marvel of a coat, and was in the last stages of
tottering old age before it fell to the blousard. They wear leather
boots too sometimes, instead of the wooden shoes belonging to their
station, but they are boots which are but a mockery and a delusion,
and yield the wearer no comfort. A respectable blousard--a carpenter
or a shoemaker or a member of any honest trade--would scorn to be seen
in any other dress but his neat blouse, unless on some great day, a
fete, his wedding or at church, when he wears his only coat, or his
father's or a friend's. The blouse is in its sphere a badge of
respectability to the wearer, and honest blousards look upon the
assumption of a blouse by a thief as a gross imposition upon the
public at large and an outrage upon honest workingmen. There is a wide
range of quality in blouses, too. I bought one in the Rue Mouffetard,
to wear as a protection in some of my night-wanderings, for the sum of
forty cents: it was a plain frock of coarse stuff, with a string at
the neck. But there were blouses of several degrees of fineness in the
shop--some of very fine linen, tied with a white silk ribbon, and
neatly embroidered. The usual color of blouses is white, blue or
black. The material is often a coarse, warm cloth, such as one might
make a very respectable overcoat of, I should think. In cold weather
it is common to see men wearing two or even three blouses, one over
the other. Caps are sold at from twenty to sixty cents each in the
same street. It will be seen that clothing is inexpensive to the
blousard, and as the fashions _never_ change with him, he never lays
aside a garment till it is quite worn out.

One of the peculiar features of low Paris is the shop for the sale of
articles at the uniform price of one son. One before which I paused
in the Rue Mouffetard was presided over, by two women--evidently
grandmother and granddaughter. The former was as grotesque a type of
the jolly old _vendeuse_ of Paris as it would be possible to find. A
low, winey humor twinkled in her little black eyes, hidden in wrinkly
wads of fat; her nose glowed with good feeling; her toothless mouth
smirked good-naturedly. A worn shawl covered her chunky shoulders, and
a cap like a muslin and flannel extinguisher protected her bald old
head from the weather. The granddaughter, being young and rather
pretty, was less interesting as a picture of a curious type. The shop
occupied a corner, and seemed to literally overflow upon the sidewalks
of the two streets, so that care was needful in moving about to avoid
stumbling over the profuse array of objects which littered the way. A
group of old women were standing near, laughing and chattering in
toothless merriment over some mysterious cause of amusement, which I
grievously suspected to be myself, the apparition of a foreigner being
no doubt an uncommon one in that quarter. But the women of the shop,
having an eye to sales, were obsequiously polite to the stranger. I
engaged in conversation with the old woman, who proved quite
communicative, and set me off on a path of inquiry which yielded
information of curious interest.

"Voyez!" cried out the younger woman from behind the broad counter
open to the street, and spread with a literally innumerable variety of
articles--"Voyez! All one sou! your choice in the sale!"

To study the shop was to find many suggestions of the types of people
living in the surrounding buildings--alphabets and whistles for
children; playing-cards for gamesters; camphor cigarettes for
invalids; sewing-cases for work-girls; mirrors for coquettes; and toys
innumerable, "all one sou." In the grand shops on the fashionable
boulevards you may see the last new mode in toys--for no season goes
by in Paris without bringing some especial toy or toys to become "the
rage"--but in the Rue Mouffetard the toys are all classics. They have
been handed down from generation to generation precisely in the forms
you see them here. Babies who are now tottering grandfathers and
grandmothers played with the toys of the "boutique a un sou" in their
day, as the babies of the present do, and paid the same price for
them, in spite of the changes of time and the decreased purchasing
value of the son in most respects. I bought a large collection of
these toys purely as objects of curiosity, and it was really amazing
to see, when spread out on a table, what a collection I had gathered
for the incredible price of sixteen cents. Many of the toys would be
readily recognized as old acquaintances in America, but others, common
here for a hundred years past, I never saw at home. The articulated
monkey chasing his nose over the end of a stick; the wooden snake
undulating in a surprisingly life-like manner; the noisy "watchman's
rattle," which in our village was popularly supposed to be the
constant companion of the New York policeman on his beat; the
jumping-jack, the wooden sword, the whip and the doll,--all these are
household friends in the humblest American homes. But not so the frog
which jumps with a spring, the wooden hammers which fall alternately
on their wooden anvil by the simplest of contrivances, and the
horseman without legs, whose horse has a whistle instead of a tail.
How any one of these articles could be sold for a sou passed my
comprehension until I learned details so surprising as to throw this
one quite into the shade.

There are blousards whose whole lives are passed in carving these toys
from the wood of the linden tree, and daubing them with the most
flaming reds, the most glittering yellows, the most dazzling blues,
that ever colorist beheld. The toy whips with handles decorated with
gilt paper wrapped about them spirally are said to be exclusively made
by Israelites, but the ingenuity of the human mind has not devised an
explanation of this curious fact. The papier-mache sheep is one of
the most elaborately fashioned toys sold for a sou, and the mode of
making it is this: The workman takes old scraps of paper and mashes
them in water to a pulp: this he sticks around the inside of a rude
mould, which is in two parts, one for each side of the sheep. When the
two sides are moulded, he sticks them together and dips the whole in a
pot of white mucilaginous paint. When this coating is dry, he tattoos
the sheep according to his fancy, covers its back with a bit of
sheepskin, and ties a red string around its neck. And all this work
for a sou? is one's incredulous question. Why, our blousard would
think his fortune was made if he could get a sou for it. The retailer
in the Rue Mouffetard sells it for a sou: the man who made it would be
happy if he could sell it at the rate of eight sous the dozen, but,
like most other workers, he must deal with a middleman. No retailer
could take his stock off his hands in sufficient quantities: he must
sell to a wholesale dealer in the first place, and the wholesale
dealer sells to the little shopkeeper at eight sous the dozen. All
this work for half a sou, then! And when it is added that the workman
has to furnish the materials for his work besides, it really entitles
the toy to a niche in the realms of the marvelous. I have found my
eyes growing moist in New York as I listened to the tales of
sewing-girls who made coarse shirts at six cents apiece, and found the
thread, but such cases were exceptional, and could only be viewed in
the light of intolerable hardships; while the poor wretches who make
these toys at these prices are following the trade to which they were
bred, and which their fathers followed before them, and their only
fear is that they may be unable to get enough of this work to do. Each
of the other toys in my collection is made at the same or a smaller
price. The little lead candlestick is sold by the wholesale dealer at
_four_ sous the dozen. Whistles are sold at _two_ sous the dozen.
There are little watches of stamped brass with a crystal, movable
hands, and a cord of yellow cotton with an occasional gold thread
running through it, which are sold wholesale at seven sous the dozen.

"Voyez! Make your choice, brave parents! If the little one pulls in
pieces the object of his affection, no matter: it will not derange
your resources to replace it."

Courier, in the preface to his translation of Herodotus, tells us that
Malherbe, the courtier, used to say, "I learn all my French at the
Place Maubert," and that Plato, who was a poet and did not like the
lower orders, nevertheless called them his "masters of language." The
gamin of Paris, who is the father of argot, long ago gave to the
quarter of the city through which the Rue Mouffetard runs a name which
clings to it tenaciously. He called it the "quartier souffrant"--the
suffering quarter. A designation like this, given by a magazinist,
would be fitting enough, certainly, but received into the current
slang of Paris, it becomes a really striking phrase. It is nothing to
read of a suffering quarter, but it is almost startling to hear an
omnibus conductor call out, "Place Maubert! Rue St. Victor! Pantheon!
Quartier Souffrant! Anybody for the Suffering Quarter?" and to see a
rheumatic old woman, tottering with years and clad in dirty rags, get
down and go clattering off into the quarter to which she so palpably

The Rue Mouffetard, which in old times was a continuation of the Place
Maubert from the river Seine, then extended in an unbroken line to the
Barriere d'Italie, at the remote southern limit of the city of Paris.
The Haussmannizing reform which set in under the Empire went at the
horrible neighborhood with a sort of sublime fury of destruction.
Whole blocks of dark, forbidding buildings were obliterated by the
pickaxes of the blousards, who thus assisted at their own
regeneration. The result is, that there is a long and wide avenue now
stretching its lines of lamps into the distance from the point where
the Rue Mouffetard stops and the Avenue Gobelins begins. The old
street--the portion of it which remains--looks with a dazed and dirty
sorrowfulness up the broad, clean avenue which once was dirty and
narrow like itself. The work of transformation ceased with the
breaking out of the war with Germany. So did the like work in numerous
other quarters of the town which needed it quite as badly as the Rue
Mouffetard. But under the government of the Septennat the work has
been resumed in some degree. The double purpose is hereby served of
letting in light on the dark spots of the town, and of giving
employment to the needy blousards, who might get into obstreperous
moods again if crowded too hard by poverty and want. It seems at first
sight an awful destruction of property, this work of demolition, but I
believe it has been proved that the rise in value of the real estate
thus regenerated more than compensates for the losses sustained, in
the long run. All the blousard cares about the matter, however, is
that it gives him work, and that is what he craves.

To see gangs of brawny fellows tearing down walls, ripping off doors,
carrying away timbers on their shoulders when a street is in its
decaying stage, is to see a most interesting sight. At the entrance of
the street a sign is put up: "RUE BARREE." The front walls of
buildings torn away, winding staircases are seen climbing up with all
their burden of years upon them and all their secret weaknesses
exposed. Sometimes these stairways are of stone, sometimes of wood:
when the latter, if in a fair state of preservation, they are taken
away bodily, to be put up again in some remote quarter of the town.
Shop-windows are offered for sale for like purposes. At night the
scene is made lurid by the glare of triangular lanterns, which throw
out their warning red light, and the entrance to the street is
carefully guarded. Gradually the old buildings are taken to pieces and
removed, bit by bit. New walls of creamy stone, with modern windows,
handsomely carved cornices, stone piazzas, and the like, are built up.
The street has become widened where it was narrow, and straightened
where it was crooked. The very sidewalks on either side of the new
boulevard or avenue are as wide as was the whole of the old street
which has now disappeared. And with the old street the old tenants
have disappeared too. Handsome shops occupy the ground-floors, wealthy
citizens live in the richly adorned apartments on the upper floors.
The blousards who hived in the old street have found a nook in some
other old street, or they have fled to the suburbs--the best place for
them, as it is for all people of limited resources in all large towns.



If thou didst love me for imagined fame,
Or for some reason bred within thy mind
By teeming Fancy, till thy sense grew blind,
And wish and its possession seemed the same,
Was it my fault that I was not endowed
With all the virtues of thy paragon--
That clearer light did shine my flaws upon,
And showed the actual presence free from cloud?
Ah, no! the fault, if blame there be, was thine.
If thou hadst loved me for myself alone,
Thy love had lent its graces unto mine,
Until my frailties had to merits grown--
Till light, reflected from thy soul divine,
Had so transfused me that I too had shone.






The very stars in their courses seemed to fight for this young man.

No sooner had Wenna Rosewarne fled to her own room, there to think
over in a wild and bewildered way all that had just happened, than her
heart smote her sorely. She had not acted prudently; she had forgotten
her self-respect; she ought to have forbidden him to come near her
again--at least until such time as this foolish fancy of his should
have passed away and been forgotten.

How could she have parted with him so calmly, and led him to suppose
that their former relations were unaltered? She looked back on the
forced quietude of her manner, and was herself astonished. Now her
heart was beating rapidly; her trembling fingers were unconsciously
twisting and untwisting a bit of ribbon; her head seemed giddy with
the recollection of that brief and strange interview, Then, somehow,
she thought of the look on his face when she told him that henceforth
they must be strangers to each other. It seemed hard that he should be
badly used for what was perhaps no intentional fault. If anybody had
been in fault, it was herself in being blind to a possibility to which
even her own sister had drawn her attention; and so the punishment
ought to fall on her.

She would humble herself before Mr. Roscorla. She would force herself
to be affectionate toward him in her letters. She would even write to
Mabyn, and beg of her to take no notice of that angry remonstrance.

Then Wenna thought of her mother, and how she ought to tell her of all
these things. But how could she? During the past day or two Mrs.
Rosewarne had been at times singularly fretful and anxious. No letter
had come from her husband. In vain did Wenna remind her that men were
more careless of such small matters than women, and that it was too
soon to expect her father to sit down and write. Mrs. Rosewarne sat
brooding over her husband's silence; then she would get up in an
excited fashion and declare her intention of going straight back to
Eglosilyan; and these fitful moods prayed on the health of the
invalid. Ought Wenna to risk increasing her anxiety by telling her
this strange tale? She would doubtless misunderstand it. She might be
angry with Harry Trelyon. She would certainly be surprised that Wenna
had given him permission to see her again--not knowing that the girl,
in her forced composure, had been talking to him as if this avowal of
his were of no great moment.

All the same, Wenna had a secret fear that she had been imprudent in
giving him this permission; and the most she could do now was to make
his visits as few, short and ceremonious as possible. She would avoid
him by every means in her power; and the first thing was to make sure
that he should not call on them again while they remained in Penzance.

So she went down to the small parlor in a much more equable frame of
mind, though her heart was still throbbing in an unusual way. The
moment she entered the room she saw that something had occurred to
disturb her mother. Mrs. Rosewarne turned from the window, and there
was an excited look in her eyes. "Wenna," she said hurriedly, "did you
see that carriage? Did you see that woman? Who was with her? Did you
see who was with her? I know it was she: not if I live a hundred years
could I forget that--that devil in human shape!"

"Mother, I don't know what you mean," Wenna said, wholly aghast.

Her mother had gone to the window again, and she was saying to
herself, hurriedly and in a low voice, "No, you don't know--you don't
know: why should you know? That shameless creature! And to drive by
here! She must have known I was here. Oh, the shamelessness of the

She turned to Wenna again: "Wenna, I thought Mr. Trelyon was here. How
long has he gone? I want to see him most particularly--most
particularly, and only for a moment. He is sure to know all the
strangers at his hotel, is he not? I want to ask him some questions.
Wenna, will you go at once and bid him come to see me for a moment?"

"Mother!" Wenna said. How could she go to the hotel with such a

"Well, send a note to him, Wenna--send him a note by the girl down
stairs. What harm is there in that?"

"Lie down, then, mother," said the girl calmly, "and I will send a
message to Mr. Trelyon."

She drew her chair to the table, and her cheeks crimsoned to think of
what he might imagine this letter to mean when he got the envelope in
his hands. Her fingers trembled as she wrote the date at the head of
the note. Then she came to the word "Dear," and it seemed to her that
if shame were a punishment, she was doing sufficient penance for her
indiscretion of that morning. Yet the note was not a compromising one.
It merely said--

"DEAR MR. TRELYON: If you have a moment to spare, my mother
would be most obliged to you if you would call on her. I hope
you will forgive the trouble.

"Yours sincerely,

When the young man got that note--he was just entering the hotel when
the servant arrived--he stared with surprise. He told the girl he
would call on Mrs. Rosewarne directly. Then he followed her.

He never for a moment doubted that this note had reference to his own
affairs. Wenna had told her mother what had happened. The mother
wished to see him to ask him to cease visiting them. Well, he was
prepared for that. He would ask Wenna to leave the room. He would
attack the mother boldly, and tell her what he thought of Mr.
Roscorla. He would appeal to her to save her daughter from the
impending marriage. He would win her over to be his secret ally and
friend; and while nothing should be done precipitately to alarm Wenna
or arouse her suspicions, might not these two carry the citadel of her
heart in time, and hand over the keys to the rightful lord? It was a
pleasant speculation: it was at least marked by that audacity that
never wholly forsook Master Harry Trelyon. Of course he was the
rightful lord, ready to bid all false claimants, rivals and pretenders

And yet, as he walked up to the house, some little tremor of anxiety
crept into his heart. It was no mere game of brag in which he was
engaged. As he went into the parlor Wenna stepped quietly by him, her
eyes downcast, and he knew that all he cared to look forward to in the
world depended on the decision of that quiet little person with the
sensitive mouth and the earnest eyes. Fighting was not of much use

"Well, Mrs. Rosewarne," said he, rather shamefacedly, "I suppose you
mean to scold me?"

Her answer surprised him. She took no heed of his remark, but in a
vehement, excited way began to ask him questions about a woman whom
she described.

He stared at her. "I hope you don't know anything about that elegant
creature?" he said.

She did not wholly tell him the story, but left him to guess at some
portions of it; and then she demanded to know all about the woman and
her companion, and how long they had been in Penzance, and where they
were going. Master Harry was by chance able to reply to certain of her
questions. The answers comforted her greatly. Was he quite sure that
she was married? What was her husband's name? She was no longer Mrs.
Shirley? Would he find out all he could? Would he forgive her asking
him to take all this trouble? and would he promise to say no word
about it to Wenna? When all this had been said and done the young
man felt himself considerably embarrassed. Was there to be no mention
of his own affairs? So far from remonstrating with him and forbidding
him the house, Mrs. Rosewarne was almost effusively grateful to him,
and could only beg him a thousand times not to mention the subject to
her daughter.

"Oh, of course not," said he, rather bewildered. "But--but I thought
from the way in which she left the room that--that perhaps I had
offended her."

"Oh no, I am sure that is not the case," said Mrs. Rosewarne; and she
immediately went and called Wenna, who came into the room with rather
an anxious look on her face. She immediately perceived the change in
her mother's mood. The demon of suspicion and jealousy had been as
suddenly exorcised as it had been summoned. Mrs. Rosewarne's fine eyes
were lit by quite a new brightness and gayety of spirits. She bade
Wenna declare what fearful cause of offence Mr. Trelyon had given, and
laughed when the young man, blushing somewhat, hastily assured both of
them that it was all a stupid mistake of his own.

"Oh yes," Wenna said rather nervously, "it is a mistake. I am sure you
have given me no offence at all, Mr. Trelyon."

It was an embarrassing moment for two, at least, out of these three
persons; and Mrs. Rosewarne, in her abundant good-nature, could not
understand their awkward silence. Wenna was apparently looking out of
the window at the bright blue bay and the boats, and yet the girl was
not ordinarily so occupied when Mr. Trelyon was present. As for him,
he had got his hat in his hands; he seemed to be much concerned about
it or about his boots; one did not often find Master Harry actually
showing shyness.

At last he said, desperately, "Mrs. Rosewarne, perhaps you would go
out for a sail in the afternoon? I could get you a nice little yacht
and some rods and lines. Won't you?"

Mrs. Rosewarne was in a kindly humor. She said she would be very glad
to go, for Wenna was growing tired of always sitting by the window.
This would be some little variety for her.

"I hope you won't consider me, mother," said the young lady quickly
lady and with some asperity. "I am quite pleased to sit by the window:
I could do so always. And it is very wrong of us to take up so much of
Mr. Trelyon's time."

"Because Mr. Trelyon's time is of so much use to him!" said that young
man with a laugh; and then he told them when to expect him in the
afternoon, and went his way.

He was in much better spirits when he went out. He whistled as he
went. The plash of the blue sea all along the shingle seemed to have a
sort of laugh in it: he was in love with Penzance and all its
beautiful neighborhood. Once again, he was saying to himself, he would
spend a quiet and delightful afternoon with Wenna Rosewarne, even if
that were to be the last. He would surrender himself to the gentle
intoxication of her presence. He would get a glimpse, from time to
time, of her dark eyes when she was looking wistfully and absently
over the sea. It was no breach of the implied contract with her that
he should have seized this occasion. He had been sent for. And if it
was necessary that he should abstain from seeing her for any great
length of time, why this single afternoon would not make much
difference. Afterward he would obey her wishes in any manner she

He walked into the hotel. There was a gentleman standing in the hall
whose acquaintance Master Harry had condescended to make. He was a
person of much money, uncertain grammar and oppressive generosity: he
wore a frilled shirt and diamond studs, and he had such a vast
admiration for this handsome, careless and somewhat rude young man
that he would have been very glad had Mr. Trelyon dined with him every
evening, and taken the trouble to win any reasonable amount of money
of him at billiards afterward. Mr. Trelyon had not as yet graced his

"Oh, Grainger," said the young man, "I want to speak to you. Will you
dine with me to-night at eight?"

"No, no, no," said Mr. Grainger, shaking his head in humble protest,
"that isn't fair. You dine with me. It ain't the first or the second
time of asking, either."

"But look here," said Trelyon, "I've got lots more to ask of you. I
want you to lend me that little cutter of yours for the afternoon:
will you? You send your man on board to see she's all right, and I'll
pull out to her in about half an hour's time. You'll do that, won't
you, like a good fellow?"

Mr. Grainger was not only willing to lend the yacht, but also his own
services to see that she properly received so distinguished a guest;
whereupon Trelyon had to explain that he wanted the small craft merely
to give a couple of ladies a sail for an hour or so. Then Mr. Grainger
would have his man instructed to let the ladies have some tea on
board; and he would give Master Harry the key of certain receptacles
in which he would find cans of preserved meat, fancy biscuits, jam,
and even a few bottles of dry sillery; finally, he would immediately
hurry off to see about fishing-rods. Trelyon had to acknowledge to
himself that this worthy person deserved the best dinner that the
hotel could produce.

In the afternoon he walked along to fetch Mrs. Rosewarne and her
daughter, his face bright with expectation. Mrs. Rosewarne was dressed
and ready when he went in, but she said, "I am afraid I can't go, Mr.
Trelyon. Wenna says she is a little tired, and would rather stay at

"Wenna, that isn't fair," he said, obviously hurt. "You ought to make
some little effort when you know it will do your mother good. And it
will do you good too, if only you make up your mind to go."

She hesitated for a moment: she saw that her mother was disappointed.
Then, without a word, she went and put on her hat and shawl.

"Well," he said approvingly, "you are very reasonable and very
obedient. But we can't have you go with us with such a face as that.
People would say we were going to a funeral."

A shy smile came over the gentle features, and she turned aside.

"And we can't have you pretend that we forced you to go. If we go at
all, you must lead the way."

"You would tease the life out of a saint," she said with a vexed and
embarrassed laugh; and then she marched out before them, very glad to
be able to conceal her heightened color.

But much of her reserve vanished when they had set sail; and when the
small cutter was beginning to make way through the light and plashing
waves Wenna's face brightened. She no longer let her two companions
talk exclusively to each other. She began to show a great curiosity
about the little yacht; she grew anxious to have the lines flung out;
no words of hers could express her admiration for the beauty of the
afternoon and of the scene around her.

"Now, are you glad you came out?" he said to her.

"Yes," she answered shyly. "And you'll take my advice another time?"

"Do _you_ ever take any one's advice?" she said, venturing to look up.

"Yes, certainly," he answered, "when it agrees with my own
inclination. Who ever does any more than that?"

They had now got a good bit away from land.

"Skipper," said Trelyon to Mr. Grainger's man, "we'll put her about
now and let her drift. Here is a cigar for you: you can take it up to
the bow and smoke it, and keep a good lookout for the sea-serpent."

By this arrangement they obtained, as they sat and idly talked, an
excellent view of all the land around the bay, and of the pale, clear
sunset shining in the western skies. They lay almost motionless in the
lapping water: the light breeze scarcely stirred the loose canvas.
From time to time they could hear a sound of calling or laughing from
the distant fishing-boats; and that only seemed to increase the
silence around them.

It was an evening that invited to repose and reverie: there were not
even the usual fiery colors of the sunset to arouse and fix attention
by their rapidly-changing and glowing hues. The town itself, lying
darkly all around the sweep of the bay, was dusky and distant:
elsewhere all the world seemed to be flooded with the silver light
coming over from behind the western hills. The sky was of the palest
blue; the long mackerel clouds that stretched across were of the
faintest yellow and lightest gray; and into that shining gray rose the
black stems of the trees that were just over the outline of these low
heights. St. Michael's-Mount had its summit touched by the pale glow:
the rest of the giant rock and the far stretches of sea around it were
gray with mist. But close by the boat there was a sharper light on the
lapping waves and on the tall spars, while it was warm enough to
heighten the color on Wenna's face as she sat and looked silently at
the great and open world around her.

They were drifting in more ways than one. Wenna almost forgot what had
occurred in the morning. She was so pleased to see her mother pleased
that she conversed quite unreservedly with the young man who had
wrought the change, was ready to believe all that Mrs. Rosewarne said
in private about his being so delightful and cheerful a companion. As
for him, he was determined to profit by this last opportunity. If the
Strict rules of honor demanded that Mr. Roscorla should have fair
play, or if Wenna wished him to absent himself--which was of more
consequence than Mr. Roscorla's interest--he would make his visits few
and formal, but in the mean time, at least, they would have this one
pleasant afternoon together. Sometimes, it is true, he rebelled
against the uncertain pledge he had given her. Why should he not seek
to win her? What had the strict rules of honor to do with the prospect
of a young girl allowing herself to be sacrificed, while here he was,
able and willing to snatch her away from her fate?

"How fond you are of the sea and of boats!" he said to her. "Sometimes
I think I shall have a big schooner yacht built for myself, and take
her to the Mediterranean, going from place to place just as I have the
fancy. But it would be very dull by one's self, wouldn't it, even if
one had a dozen men on What one wants is to have a small party all
very friendly with each other, and at night they would sit up on deck
and sing songs. And I think they would admire those old-fashioned
songs that you sing, Miss Wenna, all the better for hearing them so
far away from home--at least, I should, but then I'm an outer
barbarian. I think you, now, would be delighted with the grand music
abroad--with the operas, you know, and all that. I have had to knock
about these places with people, but I don't care about it. I would
rather hear 'Norah, the Pride of Kildare,' or 'The Maid of
Llangollen,' because, I suppose, those young women are more in my
line. You see, I shouldn't care to make the acquaintance of a gorgeous
creature with black hair and a train of yellow satin half a mile long,
who tosses up a gilt goblet when she sings a drinking-song, and then
gets into a frightful passion about what one doesn't understand.
Wouldn't you rather meet the 'Maid of Llangollen' coming along a
country road--coming in by Marazion over there, for example--with a
bright print dress all smelling of lavender, and a basket of fresh
eggs over her arm? Well--What was I saying? Oh yes!, Don't you think
if you were away in the Adriatic, and sitting up on deck at night, you
would make the people have a quiet cry when you sang 'Home, Sweet
Home'? The words are rather silly, aren't they? But they make you
think such a lot if you hear them abroad."

"And when are you going away?--this year, Mr. Trelyon?" Wenna said,
looking down.

"Oh, I don't know," he said cheerfully: he would have no question of
his going away interfere with the happiness of the present moment.

At length, however, they had to bethink themselves of getting back,
for the western skies were deepening in color and the evening air was
growing chill. They ran the small cutter back to her moorings: then
they put off in the small boat for the shore. It was a beautiful,
quiet evening. Wenna, who had taken off her glove and was allowing
her bare hand to drag through the rippling water, seemed to be lost in
distant and idle fancies not altogether of a melancholy nature.

"Wenna," her mother said, "you will get your hand perfectly chilled."

The girl drew back her hand and shook the water off her dripping
fingers. Then she uttered a slight cry. "My ring!" she said, looking
with absolute fright at her hand and then at the sea.

Of course they stopped the boat instantly, but all they could do was
to stare at the clear, dark water. The distress of the girl was beyond
expression. This was no ordinary trinket that had been lost: it was a
gage of plighted affection given her by one now far away, and in his
absence she had carelessly flung it into the sea. She had no fear of
omens, as her sister had, but surely, of all things in the world, she
ought to have treasured up this ring. In spite of herself, tears
sprang to her eyes. Her mother in vain attempted to make light of the

And then at last Harry Trelyon, driven almost beside himself by seeing
the girl so plunged in grief, hit upon a wild fashion of consoling
her. "Wenna," he said, "don't disturb yourself. Why, we can easily get
you the ring. Look at the rocks there: a long bank of smooth sand
slopes out from them, and your ring is quietly lying on the sand.
There is nothing easier than to get it up with a dredging machine: I
will undertake to let you have it by to-morrow afternoon."

Mrs. Rosewarne thought he was joking, but he effectually persuaded
Wenna, at all events, that she should have her ring next day. Then he
discovered that he would be just in time to catch the half-past six
train to Plymouth, where he would get the proper apparatus, and return
in the morning.

"It was a pretty ring," said he. "There were six stones in it, weren't

"Five," she said. So much she knew, though it must be confessed she
had not studied that token of Mr. Roscorla's affection with the
earnest solicitude which most young ladies bestow on the first gift of
their lovers.

Trelyon jumped into a fly and drove off to the station, where he sent
back an apology to Mr. Grainger. Wenna went home more perturbed than
she had been for many a day, and that not solely on account of the
lost ring.

Everything seemed to conspire against her and keep her from carrying
out her honorable resolutions. That sail in the afternoon she could
not well have avoided, but she had determined to take some;
opportunity of begging Mr. Trelyon not to visit them again while they
remained in Penzance. Now, however, he was coming next day, and
whether or not he was successful in his quest after the missing ring,
would she not have to show herself abundantly grateful for all his

In putting away her gloves she came upon the letter of Mr. Roscorla,
which she had not yet answered. She shivered slightly: the handwriting
on the envelope seemed to reproach her. And yet something of a
rebellious spirit rose in her against this imaginary accusation; and
she grew angry that she was called upon to serve this harsh and
inconsiderate task-master, and give him explanations which humiliated
her. He had no right to ask questions about Mr. Trelyon. He ought not
to have listened to idle gossip. He should have had sufficient faith
in her promised word; and if he only knew the torture of doubt and
anxiety she was suffering on his behalf--She did not pursue these
speculations farther, but it was well with Mr. Roscorla that she did
not at that moment sit down and answer his letter.



"Mother," said Wenna that night, "what vexed you so this morning? Who
was the woman who went by?"

"Don't ask me, Wenna," the mother said rather uneasily. "It would do
you no good to know. And you must not speak of that woman: she is too
horrid a creature to be mentioned by a young girl, ever." Wenna
looked surprised, and then she said warmly, "And if she is so, mother,
how could you ask Mr. Trelyon to have anything to do with her? Why
should you send, for him? Why should he be spoken to about her?"

"Mr. Trelyon!" her mother said impatiently. "You seem to have no
thought now for anybody but Mr. Trelyon. Surely the young man can take
care of himself."

The reproof was just: the justice of it was its sting. She was indeed
thinking too much about the young man, and her mother was right in
saying so; but who was to understand the extreme anxiety that
possessed her to bring these dangerous relations to an end?

On the, following afternoon Wenna, sitting alone at the window, heard
Trelyon enter below. The young person who had charge of such matters
allowed him to go up stairs and announce himself as a matter of
course. He tapped at the door and came into the room. "Where's your
mother, Wenna? The girl said she was here. However, never mind: I've
brought you something that will astonish you. What do you think of

She scarcely looked at the ring, so great was her embarrassment. That
the present of one lover should be brought back to her by another was
an awkward, almost humiliating circumstance, Yet she was glad as well
as ashamed. "Oh, Mr. Trelyon, how can I thank you?" she said in a low
earnest voice. "All you seem to care for is to make other people
happy. And the trouble you have taken, too!"

She forgot to look at the ring, even when he pointed out how the
washing in the sea had made it bright. She never asked about the
dredging. Indeed, she was evidently disinclined to speak of this
matter in any way, and kept the finger with the ring on it out of

"Mr. Trelyon," she said then with equal steadiness of voice, "I am
going to ask something more from you; and I am sure you will not
refuse it."

"I know," said he hastily; "and let me have the first word. I have
been thinking over our position during this trip to Plymouth and back.
Well, I think I have become a nuisance to you--Wait a bit, let me say
my say in my own way. I can see that I only embarrass you when I call
on you, and that the permission you gave me is only leading to
awkwardness and discomfort. Mind, I don't think you are acting fairly
to yourself or to me in forbidding me to mention again what I told
you. I know you're wrong. You should let me show you what sort of a
life lies before you--But there! I promised to keep clear of that.
Well, I will do what you like; and if you'd rather have me stay away
altogether, I will do that. I don't want to be a nuisance to you. But
mind this, Wenna, I do it because you wish it: I don't do it because I
think any man is bound to respect an engagement which--which--which,
in fact, he doesn't respect."

His eloquence broke down, but his meaning was clear. He stood there
before her, ready to accept her decision with all meekness and
obedience, but giving her frankly to understand that he did not any
the more countenance or consider as a binding thing her engagement to
Mr. Roscorla.

"Mind you," he said, "I am not quite as indifferent about all this as
I look. It isn't the way of our family to put their hands in their
pockets and wait for orders. But I can't fight with you. Many a time I
wish there was a man in the case--then he and I might have it out--but
as it is, I suppose I have got to do what they say, Wenna, and that's
the long and short of it."

She did not hesitate. She went forward and offered him her hand, and
with her frank eyes looking him in the face she said, "You have said
what I wished to say, and I feared I had not the courage to say it.
Now you are acting bravely. Perhaps at some future time we may become
friends again--oh yes, and I do hope that--but in the mean time you
will treat me as if I were a stranger to you."

"That is quite impossible," said he decisively. "You ask too much of
me, Wenna." "Would not that be the simpler way?" she said, looking
at him again with the frank and earnest eyes; and he knew she was

"And the length of time?" he said.

"Until Mr. Roscorla comes home again, at all events," she said.

She had touched an angry chord. "What has he to do with us?" the young
man said almost fiercely. "I refuse to have him come in as arbiter or
in any way whatever. Let him mind his own business; and I can tell
you, when he and I come to talk over this engagement of yours--"

"You promised not to speak of that," she said quietly, and he
instantly ceased.

"Well, Wenna," he said after a minute or two, "I think you ask too
much, but you must have it your own way. I won't annoy you and drive
you into a corner: you may depend on that, to be perfect strangers for
an indefinite time--Then you won't speak to me when I see you passing
to church?"

"Oh yes," she said, looking down: "I did not mean strangers like

"And I thought," said he, with something more than disappointment in
his face, "that when I proposed to--to relieve you from my visits, you
would at least let us have one more afternoon together--only one--for
a drive, you know. It would be nothing to you: it would be 'something
for me to remember."

She would not recognize the fact, but for a brief moment his under lip
quivered; and somehow she seemed to know it, though she dared not look
up to his face.

"One afternoon, only one--to-morrow--next day, Wenna? Surely you
cannot refuse me that?" Then, looking at her with a great compassion
in his eyes, he suddenly altered his tone. "I think I ought to be
hanged," he said in a vexed way. "You are the only person in the world
I care for, and every time I see you I plunge you into trouble. Well,
this is the last time. Good-bye, Wenna." Almost involuntarily she put
out her hand, but it was with the least perceptible gesture, to bid
him remain. Then she went past him, and there were tears running down
her face. "If--if you will wait a moment," she said, "I will see if
mamma and I can go with you to-morrow afternoon."

She went out, and he was left alone. Each word that she had uttered
had pierced his heart; but which did he feel the more deeply--remorse
that he should have insisted on this slight and useless concession, or
bitter rage against the circumstances that environed them, and against
the man who was altogether responsible for these? There was now at
least one person in the world who greatly longed for the return of Mr.



"Yes, it is true," the young man said next morning to his cousin:
"this is the last time I shall see her for many a day." He was
standing with his back to her, moodily staring out of the window.

"Well, Harry," his cousin said, gently enough, "you won't be hurt if I
say it is a very good thing? I am glad to see you have so much
patience and reasonableness. Indeed, I think Miss Rosewarne has very
much improved you in that respect; and it is very good advice she has
given you now."

"Oh yes, it is all very well to talk!" he said, impatiently. "Common
sense is precious easy when you are quite indifferent. Of course she
is quite indifferent, and she says, 'Don't trouble me,' What can one
do but go? But if she was not so indifferent--" He turned suddenly:
"Jue, you can't tell what trouble I am in. Do you know that sometimes
I have fancied she was not quite as indifferent--I have had the
cheek to think so from one or two things she said--and then, if that
were so, it is enough to drive one mad to think of leaving her. How
could I leave her, Jue? If any one cared for you, would you quietly
sneak off in order to consult your own comfort and convenience? Would
you be patient and reasonable then?"

"Harry, don't talk in that excited way. Listen! She does not ask you
to go away for your sake, but for hers."

"For her sake?" he repeated, staring. "If she is indifferent how can
that matter to her? Well, I suppose I am a nuisance to her--as much as
I am to myself. There it is: I am an interloper."

"My poor boy," his cousin said with a kindly smile, "you don't know
your own mind two minutes running. During this past week you have been
blown about by all sorts of contrary winds of opinion and fancy.
Sometimes you thought she cared for you--sometimes no. Sometimes you
thought it a shame to interfere with Mr. Roscorla; then again you grew
indignant and would have slaughtered him. Now you don't know whether
you ought to go away or stop to persecute her. Don't you think she is
the best judge?"

"No, I don't," he said. "I think she is no judge of what is best for
her, because she never thinks of that. She wants somebody by her to
insist on her being properly selfish."

"That would be a pretty lesson."

"A necessary one, anyhow, with some women, I can tell you. But I
suppose I must go, as she says. I couldn't bear meeting her about
Eglosilyan and be scarcely allowed to speak to her. Then when that
hideous little beast comes back from Jamaica, fancy seeing them walk
about together! I must cut the whole place. I shall go into the army:
it's the only profession open to a fool like me; and they say it won't
be long open, either. When I come back, Jue, I suppose you'll be Mrs.

"I am very sorry," his cousin said, not heeding the reference to
herself: "I never expected to see you so deep in trouble, Harry. But
you have youth and good spirits on your side: you will get over it."

"I suppose so," he said, not very cheerfully; and then he went off to
see about the carriage which was to take Wenna and himself for their
last drive together.

At the same time that he was talking to his cousin, Wenna was seated
at her writing-desk answering Mr. Roscorla's letter. Her brows were
knit together: she was evidently laboring at some difficult and
disagreeable task.

Her mother, lying on the sofa, was regarding her with an amused look:
"What is the matter, Wenna? That letter seems to give you a deal of

The girl put down her pen with some trace of vexation in her face:
"Yes indeed, mother. How is one to explain delicate matters in a
letter? Every phrase seems capable of misconstruction. And then the
mischief it may cause!"

"But surely you don't need to write with such care to Mr. Roscorla?"

Wenna colored slightly, and hesitated as she answered, "Well, mother,
it is something peculiar. I did not wish to trouble you, but, after
all, I don't think you will vex yourself about so small a thing. Mr.
Roscorla has been told stories about me. He is angry that Mr. Trelyon
should visit us so often. And--and--I am trying to explain. That is
all, mother."

"It is quite enough, Wenna; but I am not surprised. Of course, if
foolish persons liked to misconstrue Mr. Trelyon's visits, they might
make mischief. I see no harm in them myself. I suppose the young man
found an evening at the inn amusing; and I can see that he likes you
very well, as many other people do. But you know how you are situated,
Wenna. If Mr. Roscorla objects to your continuing an acquaintance with
Mr. Trelyon, your duty is clear."

"I do not think it is, mother," Wenna said, an indignant flush of
color appearing in her face. "I should not be justified in throwing
over any friend or acquaintance merely because Mr. Roscorla had heard
rumors: I would not do it. He ought not to listen to such things: he
ought to have greater faith in me. But at the same time I have asked
Mr. Trelyon not to come here so often--I have done so already; and
after to-day, mother, the gossips will have nothing to report."

"That is better, Wenna," the mother said. "I shall be sorry myself to
miss the young man, for I like him, but it is better you should attend
to Mr. Roscorla's wishes. And don't answer his letter in a vexed or
angry way, Wenna."

She was certainly not doing so. Whatever she might be thinking, a
deliberate and even anxious courtesy was visible in the answer she was
sending him. Her pride would not allow her to apologize for what had
been done--in which she had seen no wrong--but as to the future she
was earnest in her promises. And yet she could not help saying a good
word for Trelyon.

"You have known him longer than I," she wrote, "and you know what his
character is. I could see nothing wrong in his coming to see my family
and myself; nor did you say anything against him while you saw him
with us. I am sure you believe he is straightforward, honest and
frank; and if his frankness sometimes verges upon rudeness, he is of
late greatly improved in that respect, as in many others, and he is
most respectful and gentle in his manners. As for his kindness to my
mother and myself, we could not shut our eyes to it. Here is the
latest instance of it, although I feel deeply ashamed to tell you the
story. We were returning in a small boat, and I was carelessly letting
my hand drag through the water, when somehow the ring you gave me
dropped off. Of course, we all considered it lost--all except Mr.
Trelyon, who took the trouble to go at once all the way to Plymouth
for a dredging-machine, and the following afternoon I was overjoyed to
find him return with the lost ring, which I had scarcely dared hope to
see again. How many gentlemen would have done so much for a mere
acquaintance? I am sure if you had been here you would have been
ashamed of me if I had not been grateful to him. Now, however, since
you appear to attach importance to these idle rumors, I have asked Mr.

So the letter went on. She would not have written so calmly if she had
foreseen the passion which her ingenuous story about the
dredging-machine was destined to arouse. When Mr. Roscorla read that
simple narrative, he first stared with astonishment as though she were
making some foolish joke. Directly he saw she was serious, however,
his rage and mortification were indescribable. Here was this young
man, not content with hanging about the girl so that neighbors talked,
but actually imposing on her credulity, and making a jest of that
engaged ring which ought to have been sacred to her. Mr. Roscorla at
once saw through the whole affair--the trip to Plymouth, the
purchasing of a gypsy-ring that could have been matched a dozen times
over anywhere, the return to Penzance with a cock-and-bull story about
a dredging-machine. So hot was his anger that it overcame his
prudence. He would start for England at once. He had taken no such
resolution when he heard from the friendly and communicative Mr.
Barnes that Mr. Trelyon's conduct with regard to Wenna was causing
scandal, but this making a fool of him in his absence he could not
bear. At any cost he would set out for England, arrange matters more
to his satisfaction by recalling Wenna to a sense of her position; and
then he would return to Jamaica. His affairs there were already
promising so well that he could afford the trip.

Meanwhile, Wenna had just finished her letter when Mr. Trelyon drove
up with the carriage, and shortly afterward came into the room. He
seemed rather grave, and yet not at all sentimentally sad. He
addressed himself mostly to Mrs. Rosewarne, and talked to her about
the Port Isaac fishing, the emigration of the miners and other
matters. Then Wenna slipped away to get ready.

"Mrs. Rosewarne," he said, "you asked me to find out what I could
about that red-faced person, you know. Well, here is an advertisement
which may interest you. I came on it quite accidentally last night in
the smoking-room of the hotel."

It was a marriage advertisement, cut from a paper about a week old.
The name of the lady was "Katherine Ann, widow of the late J.T.
Shirley, Esq., of Barrackpore."

"Yes, I was sure it was that woman," Mrs. Rosewarne said eagerly. "And
so she is married again?"

"I fancied the gay young things were here on their wedding-trip,"
Trelyon said carelessly. "They amused me. I like to see turtle-doves
of fifty billing and cooing on the promenade, especially when
one of them wears a brown wig, has an Irish accent and drinks
brandy-and-water at breakfast. But he is a good billiard-player--yes,
he is an uncommonly good billiard-player. He told me last night he had
beaten the Irish secretary the other day in the billiard-room of the
House of Commons. I humbly suspect that was a lie. At least, I can't
remember anything about a billiard-table in the House of Commons, and
I was two or three times through every bit of it when I was a little
chap with an uncle of mine, who was a member then; but perhaps they've
got a billiard-table now. Who knows? He told me he had stood for an
Irish borough, spent three thousand pounds on a population of two
hundred and eighty-four, and all he got was a black eye and a broken
head. I should say all that was a fabrication too; indeed, I think he
rather amuses himself with lies--and brandy-and-water. But you don't
want to know anything more about him, Mrs. Rosewarne?"

She did not. All that she cared to know was in that little strip of
printed paper; and as she left the room to get ready for the drive she
expressed herself grateful to him in such warm tones that he was
rather astonished. After all, as he said to himself, he had had
nothing to do in bringing about the marriage of that somewhat gorgeous
person in whom Mrs. Rosewarne was so strangely interested.

They were silent as they drove away. There was one happy face amongst
them, that of Mrs. Rosewarne, but she was thinking of her own affairs
in a sort of pleased reverie. Wenna was timid and a trifle sad: she
said little beyond "Yes, Mr. Trelyon," and "No, Mr. Trelyon," and even
that was said in low voice. As for him, he spoke to her gravely and
respectfully: it was already as if she were a mere stranger.

Had some of his old friends and acquaintances seen him now, they would
have been something more than astonished. Was this young man, talking
in a gentle and courteous fashion to his companion, and endeavoring to
interest her in the various things around her, the same daredevil lad
who used to clatter down the main street of Eglosilyan, who knew no
control other than his own unruly wishes, and who had no answer but a
mocking jest for any remonstrance?

"And how long do you remain in Penzance, Mr. Trelyon?" Mrs. Rosewarne
said at length.

"Until to-morrow, I expect," he answered.


"Yes: I am going back to Eglosilyan. You know my mother means to give
some party or other on my coming of age, and there is so little of
that amusement going on at our house that it needs all possible
encouragement. After that I mean to leave Eglosilyan for a time."

Wenna said nothing, but her downcast face grew a little paler: it was
she who was banishing him.

"By the way," he continued with a smile, "my mother is very anxious
about Miss Wenna's return. I fancy she has been trying to go into that
business of the sewing club on her own account; and in that case she
would be sure to get into a mess. I know her first impulse would be to
pay any money to smooth matters over, but that would be a bad
beginning, wouldn't it?"

"Yes, it would," Wenna said, but somehow, at this moment, she was less
inclined to be hopeful about the future.

"And as for you, Mrs. Rosewarne," he said, "I suppose you will be
going home soon, now that the change seems to have done you so much

"Yes, I hope so," she said, "but Wenna must go first. My husband
writes to me that he cannot do without her, and offers to send Mabyn
instead. Nobody seems to be able to get on without our Wenna."

"And yet she has the most curious fancy that she is of no account to
anybody. Why, some day I expect to hear of the people in Eglosilyan
holding a public meeting to present her with a service of plate and an
address written on parchment with blue and gold letters."

"Perhaps they will do that when she gets married," the mother said,
ignorant of the stab she was dealing.

It was a picturesque and pleasant bit of country through which they
were driving, yet to two of them at least the afternoon sun seemed to
shine over it with a certain sadness. It was as if they were bidding
good-bye to some beautiful scene they could scarcely expect to
revisit. For many a day thereafter, indeed, Wenna seemed to recollect
that drive as though it had happened in a dream. She remembered the
rough and lonely road leading up sharp hills and getting down into
valleys again, the masses of ferns and wild-flowers by the stone


Back to Full Books