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He adds that they have the faculty of
becoming children without becoming ridiculous. None but children in other countries can give themselves up to the full flow of their spirits, and throw themselves headlong with safety into their enjoyments. Yet the grave, phlegmatic Germans can do this! They can retain their boyhood and girlhood to the end of their lives, without even, says Mr. Howitt, “leaving go for an instant of the saving guidance of a manly discretion.’ This is something to compensate for the cheating at Heidelberg; this is something worthier of record and remembrance, and of standing out as a prominent and distinguishing attribute of the country, than the carpet-bag burglaries on the Rhine ! And these people, so natural, so festive in their domestic circles, so grave and earnest in their demeanor and their thoughts, understand the cultivation of pleasure—of pure pleasure—and enjoy it as thoroughly as any race under the sun.
“One thing is certain, that there are not in the world more attached, affectionate, and domestically happy people than the Germans; and is their wives are not qualified to solve a mathematical problem with them, to discuss some point of o: or politics, to enter into the religious questions of the day, or to decide on the excellence of some new work of taste; yet, on the other hand, they do not so much pester them with demand of expensive pleasures, huge parties, splendid dresses and equipages, and all the unsatisfying and greedy dissipations of a more luxurious state of society,
“The simple and unexpensive manner in which they entertain their friends, and pass away the winter evenings, might be introduced with infinite advantage into England. A simple cup of tea at six o'clock, music, perhaps a dance, and then as simple a supper of sandwiches, slices of sausage, a potato or other salad, a cake ornamented in various ways, but generally a sponge, a chocolate, or a fruit cake, a snow tart, with a few bottles of cheap wine,—these form the staple refreshments of these social evenings, which break up about ten or eleven o'clock.
“The young people on these occasions amuse themselves also with a vast variety of games, which in England would be thought rather adapted to children than to grown-up people; but which, however, occasion plenty of mirth, and indicate a state of society much more homely and ready to be pleased than ours. Among these stand eminent in favor • Die blinde Kuh,’ the blind cow; another name sor blindman's buff. They have various other games of forfeits. They write romances; each person furnishing a sentence without knowing what is written before him, so as to produce the most ludicrous medley.”—Rural and Domestic Life.
And so he goes on, enumerating the endless little innocent entertainments which fill up the evening. This way of life would kill a fashionable circle in London. At the first glance it seems to bring ennui, and the spleen, and the headache, and stupors, and vapors, and all oppressive social maladies along with it. And in like manner, a German house looks as if it were the place of all the world where an Englishman could do nothing but die. Yet it is astonishing how a little use reconciles us to these things; how, after a little time, we begin to find out, not only that they are really more endurable than we could have believed, but that they are preferable in the long run to the old modes in which we have been all our lives indulging—rugs and champagne, and suppers included. German life, like a German house, which Mr. Howitt must describe for us, improves wonderfully upon close acquaintance.
“The interior of German houses have, to English eyes, always a somewhat naked look. This arises, in a great measure, from the absence of carpets: you approach by uncarpeted stairs, and then find yourself on naked boarded floors. These floors are generally made of broad boards of pine, laid in squares of a large size in framework of oak. The pine is generall kept clean scoured, and the framework dar with paint or oil. In others, the floors are colored of a reddish yellow, with preparation of wax, which is keptbright and clean with a hard and heavily weighted brush. And here, contrary to the condition of the houses of the common people, and of too many of the lower grade of the burgher class, all is extremely neat and clean. The floors, though of deal, are so white, or are so bright when colored, that they give a very agreeable feeling of cleanliness, and the furniture, though often plain, is equally clean and neal too. There is an air of elegance about a good house, which makes up, in some measure, for the richness and wealth of ornament that we are accustomed to in England. In many cases, again, the floors are of hard and handsome wood, laid down in squares, or in graceful patterns of different colors, in a mosaic style, and richly polished. In the palaces and houses of the nobility and wealthy gentry, in winter, carpets are laid down, and in summer these inlaid floors are very tasteful, agreeably cool, and sometimes of singular classic beauty.”—Rural and Domestic Life.
We take these descriptions from Mr. Howitt for the sake of showing how Germany in its best and noblest aspects is estimated by a writer who has not scrupled to show it also in its worst.
One or two other points deserve to be specified.
In the second book, Mr. Howitt cautions the English traveller how he deals with German servants. We suppose it must be allowed that German servants are no better than other servants. But Mr. Howitt here insists that they are considerably Worse.
“The servants who speak English are a class who have learned it on purpose to live with the English, and are generally arrant thieves. They expect English wages, and have a per centage on all the bills they pay for you. Your cook rises at five o'clock in the morning, and goes to market. She buys the worst articles there, and charges you something more than for the best. She has often her kitchen below while your rooms are above, and you have no control over her actions, or a staircase serves her purpose. She and the other servants, who are commonly in league, have their connexions, who expect a good harvest out of the rich English, and are always coming and going with their covered baskets. If you do not take good heed, and it is almost impossible to have sufficient precaution, unless your wife do as the German ladies do, wear a great bunch of keys at her apron strings, lock every thing up, and get up at five o’clock too; without this, your stores of all kinds will flow freely out of the house, and your very wood for fuel will be sold by these rapacious servants. You are, in fact, in the hands of the Philistines, and you must get rid of them as fast as you can.”–Earperiences.
Upon this vivid outline of the rogueries of the German servants it is not necessary to make any other commentary than that which Mr. Howitt supplies us with in his first book. The system of abstracting things in covered baskets, and of levying contributions on the house-stores for the benefit of friends out of doors, is a system, we believe, which has been carried on from time immemorial all the world over, wherever there are lodgings to let, and for which the German servants ought not to be held much more culpable than English, or Scotch, or French servants. But it would appear from a statement in the other book, that these very servants are not only amongst the most laborious domestics on the face of the earth, but that they are kept under such strict surveillance as to render misconduct of any kind rather a hazardous luxury amongst them. First, of their laboriousness.
“Of German servants we may here say a word. The genuine German maid-servant is
one of the most healthy, homely, hard-working creatures under the sun. Like her fellows who work in the fields, barns, and woods, she is as strong as a pony, and by no means particular as to what she has to do. She wears no cap or bonnet at home or abroad. Has a face and arms as stout and red as any that our farm girls can boast; and scours and sweeps, and drudges on, like a creature that has no will but to work, and eat, and slee She goes to market with a bare head, and in a large cloak. She turns out on a Saturday afternoon, with all the rest of her tribe, with bucket and besom, into the street, and then, about three or four o'clock, makes a perilous time of it in the city. Before every door, water is flowing, and ło are flirting the dirty puddles about. Each extends her labors, not only to the pavement, if there be one, but to the middle of the street: so that they are, in fact, the city scavengers.”—Rural and Domestic Life.
Next of their characters.
“The conduct of servants, as well as every thing else in Germany, is kept strictly under the surveillance of the police. Each servant is furnished with a character book, which contains all legal regulations respecting servants, and the engagements between them and their employers, being quite a little code of menial services. In this book, when a servant leaves his or her place, the master or mistress writes his or her character. This book is then laid up at the police-office, and before a servant can procure a fresh place, this book must be fetched, and the character written in by the party whom the servant is leaving, and the book with all its characters must be taken to the party with whom the servant wishes to engage. Thus a powerful check is kept on the conduct of servants, and it is not easy for a bad one to get employ, or to avoid the sharp notice of the police-officers.”—Rural and Domestic Life.
Does the reader detect any inconsistency between the two statements? We confess we find a difficulty in understanding how a class whose conduct is so strictly watched and registered, and who depend upon the excellence of their character for their livelihood, can carry on with impunity such systematic depredations. At all events, if the disease be grievous, the remedy is easy, and no person, English or German, need submit to be plundered, if he will only take the trouble to ask a simple question of the police.
It was remarked by Madame de Stael, that there was no public opinion in Germany. The political institutions of the country have the inevitable object of suppressing that spirit of agitation which elsewhere assumes the functions of what is called public opinion. The press is restrained. The petty princes exercise complete authority. The public mind is calm and passionless. Mr. Howitt, speaking of the political condition of Germany in one book, refers indigmantly to the arbitrary control of the government, and says that the people are sunk into a state of contemptible slavery.
“Their situation presents the most singular and most admonitory spectacle in all history. A people of sixty millions in number; a people of all others most sensitive; a people singing brave songs, and using brave words, and cherishing brave thoughts of liberty,+yet without the daring and the moral firmness to set themselves free. The parents of liberty in Europe, and at the present day the most thoroughly enslaved. They have fallen from the high estate of the freest and most highspirited people of ancient Europe, to the most pliant, crouching to the yoke of the diplomatist of present Europe. One shout of actual resolve 4rom these millions, would scatter every throne, and make every bond crumble into dust; nay, closely woven as the net of diploinacy is around them, were there but the lion within it, a mouse were enough to set it free; but the habit of acquiescence has become the really enslaving chain of this great and intellectual people.”—Erperiences.
It would appear from this that the Germans were really in a miserable slough of despond, and that they were wholly deprived not only of the power to move, but of the desire to improve their political situation. In the other book we have the following picture of the actual state of the people in reference to the government, from the opposite tendency of which we leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.
“The prosperity of the nation is inimical to its emancipation. The princes, though despotic, are not surrounded by a splendid and
werful aristocracy, like the monarchy of
ngland. These were swept away or reduced by the revolutionary war. The princes, therefore, with no such body-guard to stand between them and the people, are obliged to govern with mildness. They are isolated and responsible, at least morally, for their own actions; and no prince in modern times has once dared to run violently counter to the sense of an educated people. If we make the King of Hanover the exception, the German sove. reigns are popular in their own persons, and this is a great persuasive to obedience and acquiescence in a form of government not the most favorable to real freedom. Then, there is no distress in the country; no mighty body of destitution and misery, as in our own manufacturing districts—millions in desperation, and
menacing change. Here, as in all Europe' exists a certain degree of poverty, a certain pressure of population, which seeks relief in emigration; but, on the whole, there is no country where the great mass of the people live in greater comfort and content. Such an extent of luxury, such a glittering aristocracy before their eyes, the restless ambition of mounting from rank to rank, have not, as with us, destroyed the ancient spirit of quiet enjoyInent. Ås live well, but not splendidly. The greatest portion of the people, the peasantry, live on their own property-live in the country all alike, and fully occupied with their labors. The middle classes again depend, in great numbers, on government for offices in the state, in all departments of the administration of justice, collection of duties and taxes, in colleges and schools. When, therefore, there is no great mass of distress to create a bitterness and coalition against the governinent, but on the contrary, a great body deriving substantial benefits from it, who shall be the first to sacrifice his present enjoyments for the more intellectual liberties of a free tongue and press? Who shall quarrel first with the constitution which affords him solid advantages, because it does not extend to him and others still more? The country is not commercial enough to have created such a wealthy middle class, as shall be independent enough of government, shall have cause of grievance enough and influence enough to lead the multitude to an attack. On the other hand, the government police is so complete, its cognisance is so extended to every part and into every matter, that a habit of obedience is induced which it is very difficult for any individual to break through.”— Rural and Domestic Life.
We believe this latter review of the political circumstances of the country to be the true one. We believe that freedom in Germany consists in the enjoyment of useful rights—rights which confer substantial prosperity upon the people. It is seen that every man has enough—that there are no great burdens to complain of no misdeeds consummated in high places at the cost of the blood and treasure of the bulk of the people—that there are no idlers pampered at the public expense—that, in short, the material progress of the people keeps pace with the power and progress of the government and the national institutions, and that thus harmonizing, thus moving onward equally and together, or if it suit the case better, standing still together, the people have no present cause for discontent, no sufficient excuse or necessity for popular revolt, while the government wisely maintains the security of a position which it could not relax without risk of disorganization, and durst not render more rigorous without danger to the established rule. We believe that such are the relations between the governed and the governing power in Germany—and that this relationship, however inapplicable to such a country as England, is, upon all accounts, the best that could be devised for the conservation of the multitude of small interests which intersect the surface of the Germanic empire.
Having spoken so freely concerning those passages in Mr. Howitt's books, which we deem open to objection, and having endeavored to show, for the satisfaction of the national sentiment, in some sort compromised by such passages, that Mr. Howitt elsewhere qualifies them all, more or less, we think it nothing more than justice to that gentleman's labors to add, that we consider his larger work on Germany to be the most valuable publication we possess in English on the general subject of which it treats. It does not need any recommendation at our hands; but we would not have it supposed that in pointing out a few slight faults, we are insensible to the merits of diligent research and sound feeling so conspicuously displayed in its pages.
Our object is to testify to the people of Germany the regard in which they are held in this country—to show them that, differing as we do in a variety of small social usages, we are prompt to recognise the more important features of resemblance and sympathy which exist between us; and which in some measure, give us a sort of common interest in their welfare and happiness. In conclusion, we beg to express our hearty concurrence in every syllable of the following passages—the truth and importance of which will be responded to, if we are not much mistaken, by every rightthinking man from one end of Germany to the other.
“Of all the continental countries, it is with Germany that we have been oftenest compelled to alliance by the intrigues and assumptions of other nations. It is with Germany that, least of all, through our whole history, have we had wars and rivalry. . . . By the union of England and Germany must peace be achieved, or war successfully waged. - But besides this there is no other continental nation with which, spite of our national dissim. ilarities, we have so many points of coincidence, or so kindred a character in literature, science, and social lise. . . . . For the present we may safely assert that there is no country in Europe in which there is so great an amount of comfort and contentment enjoyed. All are industrious, moderate in their desires, and dis
posed to . themselves in a simple and inexpensive sociality; music, books, the pleasures of summer sunshine and natural scenery, are enjoyments amply offered and widely partaken. The hurry and excitement of more luxurious countries; the oxygen atmosphere of such overgrown cities as Paris or London, have not reached even their largest capitals. Between the wild extremes of manufacturing misery and
aristocratic splendor, their life lies, like one of their own plains, somewhat level; but full of corn, and wine, and oil; and however the
track on which they are advancing may lead
them nearer to national greatness, it cannot
add greatly to the national happiness.”—Ru
ral and Domestic Life.
Egypt, ANs sent to FRANCE For Education.— Mr. Bonomi, who, as our readers know, accompanied Dr. Lepsius to Egypt, is now on his return to England. A letter from Marseilles, of the 23d ult., mentions that he arrived there on board the Elrashit, and was about to proceed with the Egyptian students, sent by the #. to complete their education at Paris. The mission includes the élite of “Young Egypt”—Huseyn Bey, son of the Viceroy, Ahmed Bey, son of Ibrahim Basha, and the sons of several other Bashas, with about nineteen young men selected from the military schools, in all thirty-six individuals. “The son of Mohammed Ali,” says our correspondent, “is a young man of about eighteen or nineteen, of elegant appearance and intelligent countenance. The son of Ibrahim is about the same age as his uncle, short, with fair complexion, affable manners, and a good deal of naïveté in his conversation. The chief of the expedition, Stefan Effendi, is a man of most prepossessing appearance; there is a modesty and intelligence in o: conversation quite remarkable. Among the students, I should distinguish, as the man of highest mark and capacity, a young Turk, Shakur Effendi, destined for the army, but of considerable literary attainments. The Princes and some of the Beys are likely to visit England.”—Athenæum.
Purcell's Anniversary.—The anniversary of Purcell was celebrated last week in Westminster Abbey, which holds his mortal remains. Purcell's epitaph records that he is “gone to that blessed place where only his harmony can be exceeded.” If this were true in Purcell's day, it is not so now, for it must be confessed that the harmony was sadly inharmonious in various parts of the service. The performance throughout was little better than a sort of annual “practice." The music of Purcell, Tallis, and our old English composers, demands the smoothest precision, delicacy, and thorough feeling in its performance, qualities all of which were wholly wanting on the occasion. The solo parts were generally feeble and hesitating, the tenor in the second anthem especially—his voice scarcely audible. Altogether, the result was very unsatisfactory and disappointing to the crowds who assembled on the occasion.—Athenæum.
BURNS AND BYRON.
From Tait's Magazine, (October.)
The late festival—an unprecedented one in Scotland—has not made the name of Burns better known, or more celebrated than it was before. His same was independent of any such public recognition. But we cannot help regarding it in a very important light, considering the many different opinions which have been expressed of his character. The festival was a formal national acknowledgment, both of his poetical genius and his social worth; not only unopposed by any one having a right to be heard on the subject, but ratified by the eager consent of many illustrious, many enlightened, and many honest, moral, and respectable inhabitants of the country. There was no effort required to make this acknowledgment. The proposal, of course, came at first from one individual, but the feeling of its
justice and its propriety, was universal; and
we are glad that cant and hypocrisy were disregarded, and that so many Scotsmen had the moral courage to . the cold sneer of the professing rigidly righteous; and to recognise, honestly and openly, claims which no other Scottish poet ever put forth so strongly to the admiration and affection of his countrymen. We mean not to say that there are not other names of which Scotland has good cause to be proud—names which are justly honored both in this country and throughout the empire; but no Scottish writer has presented so vividly the sturdy independence of his countrymen as Robert Burns. It was his own strongest characteristic; and the sympathy with it is deep and national. It is more of his character, as developed in his poetry, than of the poetry itself, that we wish to say a few words; and to contrast it with that of another man of genius, between whose works and those of Burns, however, either as regards fancy or creative power—the two great elements of poetical genius—we do not intend for one instant to institute any comparison. It is simply with the character of the two men of genius, as shown in their respective works, that we intend to deal; and we know of no more striking contrast than that which these characters, so exhibited, present. Though we had never read one word of the private history of either, we are inclined to think that our remarks would have been the same. Burns and Byron—the Peasant and the Peer Save the alliteration, there is little parallelism between them. In station, studies, aims, and objects, no two men were ever more widely different: in tone, expression, sentiment, and manner, no two poets ever presented a stronger contrast. . They were both reared in Scotland: they died at nearly the same age: both were determined enemies of cant, in all its shapes and disguises; and we know few other elements of thought or character in which they resembled one another. Burns was the robust poet of health, Byron
the fevered prophet of disease; and their works are as different as the glow of the one and the fire of the other. The song of the one was the charm by which he escaped from the pressure of worldly calamity; that of the other was the passion by which he immortalized his affliction, and rendered mental agony doubly poignant. , Burns dipped his pen in oil, to smooth with verse “the carking cares” of life; Byron plunged his in gall, to poison himself and mankind. The one looked at the best view of an indifferent prospect, and he brightened it with the sanguine hues of his own fancy; the other would see nothing but darkness in his splendid career, and his whole life and genius were devoted to deepen the shades. The oetry of the one resembles a pastorale of aydn; that of the other is like a sinfonia funebre of Beethoven. Burns was conscious of his own natural ability—knew perfectly well that his talents were far higher than his birth—and felt, at the same time, that, as a man, he had nothing to regret. While he made a true estimate of his own genius, asserted it, and gloried in it; he had no repinings at his humble station, no heart-burnings for higher. He was there, and he was there for good. He felt no petty enmity at those of a higher grade; his was none of the vulgar democracy which sneers at all above it. Where rank was united with worth, no one admired it more: where the union was embellished with wit, and learning, and genius, he was ready to worship. There was much honest admiration in him ; there was
His subjects had the worship of his heart and the allegiance of his genius—honesty, valor, love, sriendship, truth, independence. Manliness in all its forms, whether in the field, the senate, the sheiling, or the grove, was his favorite theme; and if for a moment his verse was tinged with misanthropy, the blot was speedily effaced by the healthy reasoning which a moment's reflection suggested. There is little of the o, of poetry about Burns; and, much as has been said about it, there is little licentiousness, properly so called. It is true he is often coarse, indelicate, unscrupulous in his F. but he is so, purely for the sake of the
umor or the satire—not for the sake of indelicacy. There is no gloating over vice, as in Juvenal—no painting of it for its own sake. “Holy Willie's Prayer” and “The Jolly Beggars” may be too strong for refined tastes; but the one is a richly-deserved castigation of