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victim of a too rigid adherence to the golden rule of the shop. The assistant had sold him a bit of gunpowder fuse, which on being ignited had blown the bowl of the pipe to smithereens, and the stem more or less down the owner's throat!
Now our German shopkeeper, if he has not got the exact article required, does not offer me a substitute, nor does he even quote the old formula of the really bad English shop: "We don't seem to have it in stock to-day, sir. The fact is that we are just sold out of it. But we shall have some more in tonight, if you would kindly call to-morrow or the next day."
me to the shop I want, and explains my requirements to the proprietor. Then with a courteous bow and a smiling adieu he returns to his own business. Not once or twice only, but a good half-dozen times has this happened to me. An English tradesman is civil enough, I grant you, but it is not his habit to go out of his way and guide a would-be customer to another shop in search of a needle if he himself happens to be a purveyor of pins. The German shop-girls, so far as I have seen them, do not But not seem quite as smartly turned out as our English "young ladies"; but they lose nothing by contrast in the point of either good manners or intelligence, and some of them, by reason of the semilow dress, have a distinctly picturesque appearance. man in the street, be he gentleman at large, student, tradesman, or peasant, is quite as anxious as the obliging shopman to ensure that I shall get to my required destination, and quite as ready to guide me thither if he thinks that I am likely to go astray. His explanations may be a little cumbrous and elaborate as contrasted with the London policeman's rapid "First to the right, second to the left, then straight on, on the lefthand side;" but his "Comm" when he sees that I am puzzled redeems the situation. The thing that troubles his mind is evidently not unwillingness to guide to guide the stranger, but rather an anxiety to convince the latter that the guide
Making no bones about the matter, he simply says that the article is not exactly in his line, but can be purchased, if the Herr happens to be going up the street, at such and such a shop, or if the Herr's way lies down the street, somewhere else. Whether he goes up the street or down is generally a matter of indifference to the Herr, but it is often difficult for him, even though the aid of much gesticulation is invoked, to comprehend exactly the rapid guttural directions.
"Bitte, langsam!" I suggest, having found in these words the key to many mysteries. But the shopkeeper has ready to hand a key which will open the door with greater certainty.
"Comm!" he says, by way of a compromise between English and German, and with that he leaves his shop to take care of itself, personally escorts
ἀγοραῖοι τινες, "certain lewd
fellows of the baser sort." A hard-bitten, hard-visaged dame, from whom the constant labour in the fields and constant exposure to all sorts and conditions of weather seem to have taken away not merely every trace of feminine comeliness but even the last vestiges of womanhood, aged beyond her years, aggressive, vituperative, in every way unlovely, such is the peasant woman who comes to our market. Add to an inward determination to have her own way, without fear or respect for her neighbour's feelings, a truly terrible form of body-armour, terrible alike for offensive and defensive purposes, and you arrive at a very fair specimen of veritable virago. For the marketbasket, large, knotty, and cumbrous, worn at the back, and capable of being hitched by a shrug of the shoulder this way or that from the right-hand neighbour's ear, shall I say, into the left-hand neighbour's eye, seems to fulfil all the purposes of a crocodile's tail; while
the heavy tread of the huge flat foot, cased in clump-soled shoes, once felt will not lightly be forgotten. Moreover, to the market-basket, formidable enough in itself, is often superadded a hard and stout open tub with two viciously projecting handles. When tub and basket are alike laden with the Saturday's stores for the following week, an occasional kettle or saucepan, some crockery, and a stray broomhead, I am inclined to recall the example of a Herodotean sentence as given in my boyhood by a form-master: "Awkward animals pigs is to drive, one man many of them very.' Substitute for that far better mannered animal "pig" a German marketing - woman, and for "drive" meet, and you have the situation. In a street or highway it is possible to escape destruction by slipping into the middle of the road, or passing by on the other side. But in the narrow gangways between the market - stalls, precipitate flight when feasible is the only resource.
Even then pursuit
may have to be reckoned with. For the lady, being out for a holiday as well as for business, is not quite happy until she has shouldered, elbowed, kicked, and basketed her way up every gangway and to every stall in the market-place. Once only this very badly trodden worm was forced to turn. I was in search of some edible apples, and was in the act of inquiring the price of some which I had pitched upon at one stall, when with a thump on the ear from her tub, and a
kick on the instep from her hoof, an old dame, who had apparently finished her purchases, warned me to "move on. I moved on to the next stall accordingly, only to be a second time dislodged by the same assailant. When at a third stall I ventured to offer a form of passive resistance and seemed inclined to stand my ground, the pertinacious foe, by a dexterous hitch of her shoulder, dug me hard in the ribs with the bottom of her basket, narrowly missed hitting me in the eye with the handle of her tub, and completing my discomfiture by planting a heavy heel on my toes, fairly carried the position. This was really too much for human endurance, and feeling sore all over, both in mind and body, I determined to retaliate in kind. Having concluded her business at the stall,-the business, I may say, consisted of sampling some of the fruit and then abusing the proprietor of the stall for selling rotten plums, she had turned, and after favouring me with a parting benediction in the form of a crack on the shoulder from her tub, was proceeding to force her way between two other ladies similarly equipped as herself, when I ventured to assist her progress. Seeing that the crowded state of the gangway would prevent her falling on her nose, I put my knee to the bottom of the basket, and hoisting for all I was worth, fairly set her trundling. A bull in a china-shop could hardly have caused a greater commotion. For once
set going, she burst through the ranks of her opponents like Achilles through the trembling herds of Trojans, and after treading on many toes, dashing her own tub and basket against many similar equipments, and discomposing many tempers, she was only brought up by a violent collision with the rear-guard of a solid column of basket-carriers which had got blocked. In the torrent of terrible recriminations and vituperations that ensued between the lady who had run amuck and the indignant dames who had suffered under the process, my own modest contribution to the the row that followed passed unnoticed by everyone except a little German student, who, having also suffered martyrdom at the old virago's hands, was overcome with delight. To "A Gentleman of France," it may be remembered, accrued a a firm friendship with one M. François out of an acquaintanceship inaugurated by treading upon the other's toe. So, too, from the trivial circumstance of having my toes trodden upon beyond endurance I date an interchange of courtesy with one or more German students. For when I see several of these young gentlemen politely take off their caps to me in the street, I know that my friend of the market - place is a member of the party.
I am only sorry that a deeprooted, and only too wellfounded, mistrust of my conversational powers in the German language has prevented me from prosecuting the acquaint
anceship still further. For the presence of these fresh-faced lads is a distinct and pleasing feature of the place. The Oxonian is at once struck by their very elaborate manner of greeting each other as well as outside acquaintances in the streets. At Oxford a nod, or a smile, or a wave of the hand, passed muster as a sufficient acknowledgment of a friend on the other side of the road: of the friend's friend, except when a lady was concerned, no notice of any kind was taken. But the young German, whose lack of courtesy is so often the topic of a letter or paragraph in an English newspaper, is, to my mind, almost inconveniently courteous, the almost incessant taking off of the head-dress being the more conspicuous when that head-dress assumes the form of a flat coloured cap, invariably worn on the back of the head. Out of sheer curiosity I took the trouble on one occasion to follow a trio of pink-capped students on their progress down a main street of the town, and I counted them take off their caps on no less than seventeen occasions, either to single students or other groups of students, in the latter case a distinct bow being made to each member of the group. Then, as one of my trio wore his cap rather askew, owing to the presence of a wound, the result of a "schlager" counter, patched up with lint and black sticking-plaster, I next had the curiosity to go to the same street on the following day and count the number of wounded warriors I met
while walking down one side of it. In all I encountered fortythree students, of whom the odd three wore patches to cover recent wounds, and either six or seven more had perceptible scars of old wounds, in the doubtful case the scar being so slight that it might have been the result of a slip of the razor. Without being in the least degree anxious to witness one of these passages of arms which in no way commend themselves to the English fancy, I found opportunity on two occasions for questioning German gentlemen on the subject of the students' duel. On one point both were agreed, that the duel is, like the public school boxingmatches, in a majority of cases merely a friendly though sharp trial of skill between picked men of rival corps; less frequently, like a schoolboy's fight, the result of a personal difference of opinion. But, while one of my informants condemned the practice, -not indeed on the score of brutality, but on account of the risk of blood-poisoning in the case of an unhealthy subject,
the other was wholly in favour of it.
"It tests a man's courage as well as his skill," was the argument, "and it gives confidence and experience to one who may later on in life be called upon to use his sword to keep his head in sober earnest."
From the latter gentleman I gathered also that the freshman's year only is spent in roystering: later on, when the young roysterer has won his spurs, he settles down to seri
ous work. "The first year drinking beer and fighting, after that much work."
It was easy, too, to gather from remarks let drop by my friend, who had gone through the training himself, that the German student is at once more thrifty and more serious than the average Oxford or Cambridge undergraduate. Where, for instance, the latter's hospitality commonly runs to port wine, and perhaps champagne, the German's ideas are rather those of the humbleminded though really sensible Welshman to be found within the precincts of Jesus College, Oxford. This individual, none the less to be commended because he is occasionally laughed at, considers that he has done all that is required of him when he invites a friend to his rooms after hall and calls for "A tankard of peer and the pasket." The "pasket," however,- a flat basket with partitions containing various kinds of fruit and sweetmeats duly priced, from which the host and guest help themseves according to their requirements, -is omitted by the yet more thrifty German; the "peer," a light lager ale costing about one penny for a large glass, apart from anything else, being considered sufficient entertainment. I was told, though it is hard to believe it, that a German student has been known to imbibe as many as fourteen or fifteen large glasses at a sitting. But even so the hard drinker only costs his entertainer the comparatively small sum of fifteenpence, a price
that I have seen charged in London for a single whiskyand-soda. For a large party of students, something under sixpence a-head may be quoted as the cost of sufficiently liberal entertainment. Even in the toper's case it is comforting to reflect that excessive potation tends rather to rotundity than inebriation; easy on the other hand to see where the fear of blood - poisoning comes in.
At this point it may not be out of place to remark that the Germans, by contrast with ourselves, seem to be an essentially sober nation. In the course of a two months' experience, wandering about the town a good deal and at various hours of both day and night, I have only come across one case of drunkenness. even there I may have been mistaken. For the man under suspicion was by no means either blind - drunk or offensively drunk, but I fancied at the time that he was certainly rather the worse for liquor. Thank goodness, we have outlived an age when in good society drunkenness passed as a venial offence. But I am afraid that there are many English villages in which almost as many working men will be found more or less intoxicated on a Saturday night as will be found sober. The notable absence of cases of drunkenness in this town struck me so forcibly that I asked a German friend whether the sobriety of the inhabitants was not exceptional.
"No, was the answer; "in