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must insensibly become a book of contrasts. (of Germany ;-which would prove to the The more English the writer, the less likely satisfaction of all the world, that if their is he to form independent opinions. Free- cattle are not so prettily grouped, nor their dom from national predilection is at least trees so agreeably scattered, they possess as necessary as mental activity and honesty this material advantage, that they are conof intention.
tent in their condition, and always have The effect of this strong nationality is enough to eat. Mr. Howitt himself fully palpable in these volumes. Mr. Howitt is acknowledges this. He says that when an ever yearning towards his English home- Englishman visits Germany, he sees many stead; and while he is depicting German things from which he might derive valuable characteristics, cannot restrain himself from hints for improvement at home. reverting to customs endeared to him by early associations. The comparison under “He sees a simple and less severish state of such circumstances cannot be otherwise existence. He sees a greater portion of popthan unfavorable to Germany-be it in re- ular content diffused by a more equal distribuality just or unjust. Thus in speaking of tion of property: He sees a less convulsive
straining aster ihe accumulation of enormous the aspect of the country, he cannot resist fortunes. He sees a less incessant devotion to the recollection of the trim hedge-rows and the mere business of money-making, and, conpicturesque cottages of home:
sequently, a less intense selfishness of spirit; «Here look in vain,” he says, "for any
a more genial and serene enjoyment of life, a you thing like the green fields and hedge-rows of more intellectual embellishment of it with muEngland, with their scattered trees, groups of
sic and domestic entertainment. He sees the beautiful cattle and Aocks grazing in peace, inous taxation, of an enormous debt recklessly
means of existence kept by the absence of ruand sweet cottages, and farm-houses, and beau- and lavishly piled on the public shoulders, by tiful mansions of the gentry:. It is all one the absence of restrictions on the importation fenceless and ploughed field.”-Rural and of articles of food, cheap and easy of acquisiDomestic Life.
tion."-Experiences. It cannot escape the reader that in this description Mr. Howitt employs a variety We ask any man possessed of an average of the most captivating terms. When he share of common sense, which of these speaks of England, the fields of necessity pictures is the more substantially attractive must be green; nor is he satisfied with the sweet cottages and the misery, or the mere groups of cattle,—the cattle must bald, fenceless landscape with content and needs be beautiful; nor will he allow the an equitable distribution of means? Alas! flocks simply to graze-to heighten the syl- it is grievously to be feared that the inhabvan charm he must make them graze in itants of the sweet cottages would gladly peace; and the cottages must be sweet, and exchange conditions with the German peasthe mansions of the gentry must be beauti- 'antry, and compound all their hedge-rows ful. Of all intention wilfully to convey an and white gables for a little ease of mind unfavorable impression of Germany, by ex- and a sufficiency of wholesome fare. aggerating the pastoral beauties of England, But is it quite true that the external aswe fully acquit Mr. Howitt. It is quite pect of country life in Germany is so unevident to us that he never meant any thing promising ? Is it quite certain that disof the kind; on the contrary, he wrote of tance in this case, as in many others, has such things, of which there are numerous not lent a little enchantment to the view ? instances, unconsciously, out of that irre- The close pastoral landscape of England is pressible love of country which comes in undoubtedly very charming. It is a thing full food upon the heart in remote and not to be met with any where else. The strange scenes. But we refer to the pas- whole of Europe contains no parallel for sage for the sake of illustrating the insen- the garden beauty of the Isle of Wight. sible coloring such feelings inevitably im. But is there no other kind of beauty worthy part to books of this class.
of admiration except hedge-rows and catWere it a matter of much practical im- tle, cottages, groups of trees, and green portance, it would be easy enough to turn lanes ? Let us imagine a German visiting this enchanting picture inside out, and show England, and giving vent to his poetical how much misery and want are frequently spirit in this fashion : found lurking under all this beauty and . Here you look in vain for any thing like sweetness, and to draw from thence a con- magnificent ancestral forests of the growth trast with the social condition of the people of ages, and richly wooded valleys, and vast
401 mountains, with their weird solitudes and the odd differences between it and England, solemn forms, their swooping eagles, their it seems as if the traveller were going about, torrents, and their rocks. It is all one not to collect facts, but to flatter the natame region, pranked out with neat houses tional vanity at home. and cropped trees.'
This is certainly not the general tendenYet this would be quite as reasonable and cy of Mr. Howitt's first book upon Germaas well founded as Mr. Howitt's regrets for ny; for, although it is full of laments for the absence of English scenery in the broad the rural English sights and usages he misschampaign of Germany. It is curious es in the fatherland, it must be accepted enough that Mr. Howitt should expressly upon the whole as a most able exposition recommend the traveller on going to Ger- of the actual condition of the country, many, to cast away as fast as possible all bearing high and honorable testimony to Arcadian ideas ! all dreams about graceful the character and industry of the people. youths and maidens, and bands of music' It is in his second and smaller book that (Experiences, 6, 7); yet that he should hin- we find his dissatisfaction break out; and it self forget to profit by his own advice, so is in this volume chiefly we discover those far as to retain in his mind all the time the statements which we hold to be objectionmost Arcadian visions of the beauty and able. comfort of England, which he is perpetually Upon the whole, there is a marked disdrawing into contrast with the rugged fea- cordance in the spirit of the two volumes, tures of German life. It is not alone that not very easy of illustration or solution. he falls into the ordinary injustice of set- The larger and more tolerant work was pubting up the English standard to test another lished while Mr. Howitt was yet residing people by, but that he sets up the poetical in Germany—the other since his return to side of England against the prosaic side of England. He reserved his final indictment Germany. It is certain that when a trav- against the country until he had left it, a eller is far from his own country, he is apt course which is perfectly justifiable in itself. to carry with him vividly only the most But this will not account for the startling agreeable recollections of it—the pleasant opposition, not so much in matters of mere memories, the sunshine, the roses, the happy statement as in matters of feeling and judg. faces, and so on; dropping wholly out of ment, presented by these two books. When his calculation the thousand and one perty the first book appeared, Mr. Howitt was abdrawbacks, the small inconveniences, the solutely attacked for its Germanic enthusiabiding discontents of all kinds. And all asin and anti-English tendency. The imthis
, the aromatic essence of the distant and pression made by the second is precisely the the past, is urgently opposed by his imagi- reverse. How is this? nation to present discomforts, whatever they Mr. Howitt was singularly unfortunate may be, the unaccustomed ways, the disap- in his location. He got into a house where pointments occasioned less by any defi- the people were prying, curious, gossiping, ciency or unfitness in the elements of things, designing, and roguish. They seem to than by his own strangeness in the use or have entered into a regular system of anenjoyment of them, and the innumerable noyances, and to have taken extraordinary obstacles of the present which he stumbles pains to make him and his family uncomagainst in unfamiliar scenes. The com- fortable. This was an unpropitious begin. parison, consequently, is taken at the ut- ning, and its effects appear to have lingered most conceivable disadvantage. It is not with him to the last hour of his residence merely England against Germany, but the at Heidelberg: He never quite got rid of England of an excited fancy, relieved of the feeling of distrust and vexation with all its disagrémens, against the real work-a- which that intriguing landlady inspired day Germany, disenchanted of all its ro- him in the first instance. The conclusion
at which he arrives, drawn of course from Such comparisons are false in principle. his own experience and obeervation, is not Countries ought to be judged as they are, only that the German lodging-house-keepnot as they are not. li proves nothing to ers constitute a genus of sharpers, but that show that Germany is not England. We they are actually sustained, assisted, and knew that before. What we want exactly protected in their rogueries by an extento be informed about is the place itself, as sive combination amongst the surrounding it is; but if we are to be reminded inces-population! The wholesale imposition is santly of its inferiority to England, or of accomplished in this way.
Arriving a NOVEMBER, 1844.
stranger in one of these German towns, ate and become engaged in a mysterious and requiring lodgings, you are supplied conspiracy to cheat him. with a commissionaire, who takes you round If we were to treat statements of this de. from house to house where lodgings are to scription as Mr. Howitt himself treats most be let. This fellow is in the pay either of of his German topics, we might make a de the lodging-house keepers, or the hotel scent upon some of the bye-streets of Lonkeepers, and he will inevitably deceive don, and draw a picture of an English you; that is to say, he will try to secure lodging-house keeper, which would show you for his own client, who may in all hu- how far inferior in skill, boldness, and mag. man probability be just as respectable and nitude of ambition, these poor German comas honest as any body else. So far as this binators are in comparison with the same part of the commissionaire's scheme is con- genus in this country. It takes a whole cerned, it does not go for much. It is no-town in Germany, private families and all, thing more than happens every day in the to cheat a single lodger; while in London year in every town in Europe. But Mr. a single lodging-house keeper is quite Howitt adds, that the commissionaire car- enough to cheat a whole colony of lodgers. ries the deception still further. He not | The London scale of profit, too, is cononly cries up his direct employer, but never siderably higher, and, we need not add, cries down any body else. There is a sort that the London mode of extortion is conof national pride in the fellow (we suppose) siderably more systematic. But as we do which will not allow him to betray even thé not see how the case of the Germans would worst of his countrymen. No matter how be improved, by establishing the undenianotorious the character of a lodging-house ble fact that the case of the English is keeper may be, the unsuspicious stranger is worse, we will not waste time with the use. sure never to hear of it. The commission- less contrast. aire, says Mr. Howitt, is bribed to silence; Personal experience is the test people from which we are left to infer that in fact usually apply to matters of this nature. No the commissionaire is bribed by all the test can be much more fallacious; but it lodging-house keepers, in addition to that affords a popular, conventional, and easy particular member of the fraternity whom escape from the responsibility of any graver it is his especial duty to recommend. method of procedure. In this very town “In the second place,” continues our author, sert that we have known sundry instances
of Heidelberg then, we can confidently as“it is the interest of too many other people for any stranger to receive a warning. The shop- of the utmost honesty, frankness, and cordikeepers will
, of course, say nothing, because ality on the part of lodging-house keepers they wish you to settle and be customers, and towards their inmates. The town is not many of them hope to fleece you well too. very large. It occupies only a single street Even if you have letters to German families, running between the river and the hills
. they will not breathe a word. It is not their 'There would be no great difficulty in acbusiness; and it is a part of German caution not to offend their townsmen, especially the quiring in a couple of months a passing acknavish, who may do them mischief."-Ex- quaintance with the character of every in periences.
dividual in the town; and we assume at
once, that this circumstance is in itself an The last important part of this machine abundant protection against the class of ry of deception is supplied by the domestic frauds indicated by Mr. Howitt. There servants, who are in league with all the are people who have resided at Heidelberg, rest to keep their employers in utter igno- and who speak of the inhabitants in terms Ance of the true state of things around the very reverse of those employed by Mr. them; so that, according to Mr. Howitt, Howitt. We state this simply as a piece the moment a stranger enters a German of common justice. Here are two opinions town for the purpose of going into lodg-founded on opposite experiences. ings, the commissionaire of the hotel, with may, both must be right up to a certain the hotel-keeper himself in the back- point; but that part of the inquiry in which ground, the servants of the house, the own-alone the public at large, either of Gerers of the house, the tradespeople of every many or England, can be supposed to be kind and degree, and even the private fami- interested, lies beyond the limits of india lies, however respectable they may be, to vidual instances, and can only be reached whom the stranger may happen to carry by the more philosophical process of genletters of introduction, instantly confeder- eralization.
What is the national character of the But we owe it too many delightful recolGermans? Is it that of a sordid, knavish, lections, not to say of the Rhine, that we over-reaching race ? No. Mr. Howitt never heard of these numerous and daring himself explicitly asserts that they are not robberies until we read of them in Mr. slavishly devoted to money-getting. He Howitt's book. Many thousands of stran, even admits in this very book that they are gers traverse the Rhine daily during the honest. “The Germans,' he
a fine season in these steamers. The deck people, are a very honest people.'—Expe- is piled up with trunks and carpet-bags, riences, p. 11. Now it is only as a people and writing-cases and hat-boxes. We conwe have any interest in the investigation of fess we often wondered that where there their character. Let pettifogging chicane- was so much temptation, there should be so ry thrive in Heidelberg, and, if our author little theft ; and we were not very much will have it so, in all the small university surprised to find that some thefts were comtowns; let the tradespeople and the ser- mitted at last. But is it fair to draw these vants conspire to the crack of doom; the items into the indictment against GermaGermans, as a people, are a very honest ny? It is all very well for Mr. Hood to people—and we take that to be a very com- call out to the travellers on the Rhine to plete and sufficient answer to all the accu ' take care of their pockets. Mr. Hood is sation in detail that may be brought against a humorist and has the license of a motley; them. It is much to the purpose that this but it is only right to advertise such of his answer should be furnished by the author readers as do not happen to know better, of these books; since, however, we may that the whole region of the Rhine is much differ from him on some points, or he may more English than German. It is the frondiffer from himself on others, Mr. Howitt tier where the various races mingle; it is is an unexceptionable witness.
the high-way where extravagant foreigners The thieving propensities of the Ger- are always to be found setting an example mans appear to have struck Mr. Howitt of dissipation and vice of every kind : it is most forcibly on board the Ludwig steam- the last place where one looks for German boat plying on the Rhine. He says that virtue or German simplicity: it is in fact the Ludwig' was a regular den of thieves; repudiated by the Germans themselves, as that his carpet-bag was cut open on board being no longer distinguished by the Gerand plundered, and that several of the peo- man character in its native integrity. The ple connected with that vessel were after- best vindication of the people from the imwards sentenced for similar depredations putations which these inalpractices might to six years' imprisonment. He tells us, seem to cast upon them, is furnished with also, that at Cologne a case of eau-de-Co- bis invariable candor by Mr. Howitt himlogne, which he had left on the table at his self. hotel, was rified during his absence, and
“Vast numbers of our country people flock that the landlord, treating the affair, into the Rhine country, because it is easy of strangely enough, as a matter of course, access, because it is a very charming country replaced it at his own charge. It is pleas- so far as nature goes; but it is at the same ant to perceive in all these cases that, if time, with the exception of Prussia, the very there be robbery in the country, there is dearest part of Germany, and what is worse, also a compensatory principle resident some
it is the most corrupt and demoralized. It is where ; that the law overtakes the depre- the genuine German character in its primitive
not in the cities of the Rhine that you will find dators on the steamboats, and that, although truth and simplicity. It is a great thoroughtheft is a matter of course in the hotels, it fare of tourists, and that of itself is enough to is also a matter of course on the part of the stamp it as cor pt and selfish. True, it is a landlord to make restitution in full for the lovely country, and if you are content with the inevitable wrongs committed in his premi- charms of nature, you cannot well have a ses. So far, therefore, no great harm is pleasanter. But if you seek either the highest done. The river rogues carry on their state of German social culture in the purest
state of its moral simplicity, you must go farspeculations under the wholesome fear of ther.”—Experiences. six years' imprisonment, and the hotelkeepers are always ready to make good the All this while, then, we have been looking losses to which their guests are unavoidably at the Germans through the glasses of our exposed. We know no country where the own deformities. It is clear enough that evils of misappropriation of private property the 'genuine German character' is someis more successfully grappled with. thing very different from the German char
acter which is brought into contact with dull routine of habits, and secure a laugh tourists and migratory lodgers; and that if at the expense of his simplicity. His cookwe would ascertain what that genuine char- ery is atrocious, sauer kraut is a species acter is, we must go farther.' So that, af- of elaborate barbarianism, dawn-of-day ter all, it is we, the tourists, who are to breakfasts, twelve o'clock dinners, long blame for all the chicanery and fraud; we evenings, and suppers of sliced sausages who introduce the temptation, we who dif- and potato salads, make up a tableau of fuse around us a taste for profusion and human life which may well excite the risiluxury, who inspire the simple and plain- ble muscles of an Englishman. It is im dealing tradesman with new desires, and possible to conceive or invent any thing open to him new vistas of acquisition: it is, more completely opposed to his notions of in fact, our more highly refined civilization, the art of living. He is scarcely at breakwith its attendant train of hypocrisies and fast when the German has done dinner-he intrigues, which is begetting in Germany has hardly sat down to dinner when the all these fraudulent practices, against which German has done supper! What sort of Mr. Howitt so eloquently warns the inno- humanity can reside in these people! Let cent English public !
We sincerely believe this to be the exact We will go to Mr. Howitt's first book truth-neither more nor less. We sincere- for the answer. He is here describing ly believe that our civilization has been what he designates the singular moral working in Germany much the same sort of characteristics of the Germans;' and sinresults—making the necessary allowance gular they are in comparison with the for difference of circumstances—which it moral characteristics of May Fair on the has worked in a more frightful excess one hand or of our great, moving, bustling, amongst the aborigines of our colonies. money-grasping population on the other. If we would see the people in their true national development, we must 'go farther,' as Mr. Howitt says ; we must go
“ There is not a more social and affectionate beyond the reach of these blighting and people than they are. They are particularly
kind and attentive to each other; sympathize pernicious influences.
deeply in all each others's troubles and pleasAnd what do we find in those remote ures, successes and reverses. They form the districts? A primitive and laborious race strongest attachments and retain them through ---simple in their manners, calm, persever- life. Young men entertain that brotherly feel. ing, affectionate, unostentatious. A peo-ing for each other that you seldom see in ple free from the vices of a false refine- England. They go, as youths, often walking
with their arms about each other, as only ment-placing no stress upon money, even school-boys do with us. They put their arms
a means to an end-intellectual and over each other's shoulder in familiar convergrave, earnest and independent. We hard. sation in company, in a very brotherly way., ly understand this sort of character, it is so I say nothing of that hearty kissing of each unlike any thing to which we are accus- other on meeting aster an absence, that 10 an tomed. We can hardly comprehend a English eye, in great, rough-whiskered and whole people without some strong, low, in it. They make presents of memorials to
mustached men, has something very repulsive worldly motive power stirring up their pas- each other, and maintain a great and lasting sions and agitating them into action.
correspondence. The correspondence of many are apt to disbelieve in the phenomenon Germans is enormous. Ladies who spend the or to turn it into ridicule. We recognize, morning in household affairs, will also in the it is true, in the absence of frivolity, in the afternoon be as busy in writing to their nuweight and seriousness of the Germans,
iends It is in private, social intersomething more closely resembling our uine vivacity and hearliness of their character,
course alone that the Germans display the genSaxon qualities than we can discover in In the social and select circle of approved and any other part of Europe. German temper- approving friends, they throw off all formality
, ance, German phlegm, German industry, and become as joyous and frolicsome as 80 are perfectly intelligible to us; but we have many boys and girls. These same young men no notion of a solid man who places poetry that in the street will go by you as swift as a and metaphysics above worldly substance, steam-engine, and as dark as a thunder cloud, above the daily struggle for riches and per- They are ready to enter into any fun, to act
there become the very imps of mirth and jollity. sonal ambition. This puzzles us, and so by way of getting out of the difficulty, we each other without mercy."--Rural and Do
any part-to sing, to romp, to laugh, and quiz turn him into a joke. We pitch upon his | mestic Life.