BRACE'S ROME LIFE IN GERMANY. * MR. BRACE is the American
who was detained in Hungary by the Austrian authorities, and who subsequently published a nartatiVe of his Hungarian travels, in which the particulars connected with his detention were not forgotten. His German experiences pre- ceded the Hungarian in point of time, though appearing later m print, and forming altogether a better book. There it less egotism with greater variety of life as well as place than in "Hun- gary in 1851." The author, indeed, appears often enough, but not so much as the hero of his own story. There is more informa-
• Home Life in Germany. By Charles Lasing Brace, Author of " Hunan in 1851." Published by Bentley. , , ,
tion, too, in the present book. The sphere of our traveller's ob- servations began at Hamburg, and extended to Vienna ; embracing intermediately an excursion to the Duchies during the war beiween them and Denmark, a twofold residence at Berlin, and visits to Dresden, Hanover, and Prague. Although narrative is frequent, the form of the book is not altogether that of travels, but rather of topics and scenes; each being selected respectively to exhibit some peculiarity of German life and character, or the most remarkable features of a place. For example, in the Duchies, "A Holstein Farm" presents the house, home, and its economy, of the better class of agriculturists in the Duchy: "Holstein and the Camps" induces a picture of the war as well as a story of it : the "Difficulties between Denmark and the Duchies" introduces the history, diplomacy, and politics of the case ; in which Mr. Brace appears to have scented the true object of Russia's interference. He was at Berlin at the time when the nation was called to arms to oppose Austria's advance into Hesse Cassel ; and he has a sketch of the first excitement of the Prussians, and their subsequent disgust, under the head of "War." Religion is a conspicuous question : among other chapters on the subject, "The German Pastor" gives an account of the labours of a zealous and eminent Berlin Protestant minister, with his opinions on German belief. "The German Catholics" introduces a sketch of the history and condition of the Reformed Romanist Church which sprang from Ronge's opposition to the Holy Coat of Treves. " Christmas " exhibits the festivities and good feeling which the season produces in Germany. A dinner party, or evening party, deals not only with that particular entertainment, but indicates a class ; and so on with many things exhibitive of manners, social life, politics, and religion, in Germany. This breaking-up of the book into short sections, and very often into separate chapters, renders it readable as well as various ; the attention not being called upon for too long a time together. Mr. Brace is a shrewd observer and practised writer, and has the vi- vacity of his countrymen—which is rather French than Saxon, with the rather important difference of being more forward than French politeness altogether allows. He has, however, more sen- sible views than his countrymen in general, worked into him by larger experience, and does not think everything must be wrong that is not American. Some of his remarks—as those on a taste for art and beauty—suggest things which are perhaps contrary to the blood as well as manners of his countrymen. Possibly active exercise as play may be against American manners too : " the almighty dollar" cannot afford the time. The chapter from which the following extract is taken is on "Winter Amusements at Berlin "; the particular theme is skating.
"I have never seen a more graceful exercise for women, and the most here were well accomplished in the science. It has only been tried among the ladies of Berlin for a few years, since one of the Princesses set the fashion, though now it is quite the mule. The most surprising thing to an American was the number of elderly men joining in the sport—men of station—the professor and students together, or the worn-out business man coming out to have one of the free sports of his youth over again. "I know of nothing in the habits of foreign nations which struck me at first as so entirely new as this love for out-door sports. In England, I did not pass through a village without finding the green cricket-ground ; and, be it remembered, not with boys at play on it, but men—men often of rank and character. Later in the season were the boat-races, where the whole population gathered ; gentlemen of the highest rank presiding, and the noble- man and student tugging at the oar as eagerly as the mechanic or waterman.
"In September, we were making our foot trip through the Highlands of Scotland, and we scarcely found an inn so remote which was not crowded with gentlemen, shooting, riding, or pedestrianizing through the moun- tains, and with the zest and eagerness of boys let out of school.
"On the Continent, with the exception of Hungary, there is not such a passion for exciting field-sports ; but the same love for the open air. In Paris, a pleasant day will fill the Champs Elysees with cheerful parties, sip- ping their coffee under the shade, or watching the thousand exhibitions going on in open assemblies. And in the provinces, the man who can have a spot six feet by ten in the free air, uses it to sip his wine, or take his pot-
"In Germany, the country-houses seem to be made to live out of doors, and people everywhere take their meals or receive their friends in balconies and arbours. Every city has its gardens and promenades, which are con- stantly full. There are open-air games too, where old and young take part ; and in summer, the studying classes, or all who can get leisure, are off on pedestrian tours through the Hartz, or Switzerland, or nearer home. "There is throughout Europe a rich animal lore of open-air movement, of plays and athletic sports, of which we Americans, as a people, know little. Prenotiman's nerves quicken in the sunlight, even as the organization of plants ; and a German would be very old and decrepid when he should no longer enjoy a real tumbling frolic with his children. The Englishman, cold lis he is in other directions, would lose his identity when his blood did not flow fresher at a bout of cricket, or a good match with the oar. We, on the other hand, are utterly indifferent to these things. We might pull at a boat-race, but it would be as men, not as boys; because we were determined the Yankee nation should never be beaten, not because we enjoyed it. We do not care for children's sports. We have no time for them. There is a tremendous, earnest work to be done, and we cannot spare effort for Play. It is unmanly to roll a ball in America. Our amusements are labours. An American travels with an intensity and restlessness which would of it- self exhaust a German ; and our city enjoyments are the most wearying and absurd possible.
" We like being together well enough, but our gregarious tendencies are nearly always for some earned object. We can crowd for a lecture or a poli- tical meeting, but as to gathering in a coffee-garden or in a park, it would be childish (or vulgar).
"We work too hard, and play too little."
It will have been observed from this extract, that Mr. Brace has a tendency to digress from his theme into criticism or remark on some cognate subject, or subject which is cognate in his own mind. TEven in description he seldom sticks to his text, but mingles his personal impression with an account of the thing; but his observations are often good. .Aa a specimen of the inner social life, these remarks on the economy of Berlin may be taken.
"Mr. C. entered soon, and we fell into pleasant conversation. In the course of it, I said something about this mode of occupying each an tage or story, and asked him whether it was general. He replied, that there were not half-a-dozen families in the city who leased a whole house. The houses had been originally built of a large size, by Frederick the Great, to fill up the space, and since that all who built had followed the same style. It was much cheaper, too, for each family. 'And we Germans, you know,' said he, have not the objection of you English to living all in the same house to- gether. It seems more gemiithlich.' "I thought then, and I have often thought since, in our large Ame- rican cities, as 1 have seen the immense burden of rents on young business men, how convenient and pleasant such an arrangement would be with us. For a man with fatally, a boarding-house is the last residence to be desired. And yet there is no other resort in our great cities, under these ex- orbitant rents. In this Berlin mode, each family can be private, carry on its own housekeeping ; and yet need not be at much more expense than in a respectable boarding-house.
"The more I see of the middle classes in Berlin—the lawyers, professors, merchants, &c.—the more I sin surprised at the economy shown everywhere. Hamburg seems luxurious by the side of it. No house with carpeting ; and few with rich furniture even. A family seems seldom to have more than two servants. In some houses of wealthy merchants, I have seen the dining- room furnished with beds in curtained alcoves, so contracted is the accom- modation. And in nearly all, some of the sitting-rooms are turned into bed- rooms, as the first thing with a German is to have a place in which to chat with his friends, and after that where to lay his head. I see, too, that the Hamburg bountiful dinners are not in vogue here ; and invitations are usually to supper—a substantial, plain meal. Yet there is the most constant and easy sociality everywhere; and it is apparent at once to the stranger, he is among people of the highest culture and refinement. Money seems to be spent readily on entertainments in music and art, and for social enjoyment ; but not much on mere luxury or display. "When a Berlin scholar, or man of business, gives a party, he does it in a simple, inexpensive way, generous enough in its provision, but that not of a very costly kind. If he would ride out with his family, he quietly takes a droschky (cab). None but a few of the superannuated noblemen sport our New York equipages. Something of all this is due, without doubt, to the small means of the people ; but more to their good sense. Towards the foreigner, there is less too of outward hospitality than in other German cities ; but the want is more than made up by the lively, easy, intellectual intercourse into which he can be admitted, and the genuine interest taken in him, if he has anything worth being interested in."
The mortification of the Prussians—bitter and stifling—at the withdrawal of their army before the hated Austrians and " beer- drinking " Bavarians, is well indicated. Here is a picture of a Viennese Democrat, which, if he has many like him, bodes danger for Austria on the first opportunity.
"April 1851.-1 went last evening to call on a mechanic, to whom a friend in Hamburg had given me a letter. He is living in one of the suburbs, in the third-floor of a large hote„e. He received me most heartily as an -Ame- rican. A dark-brewed, dark-haired man, who looks just the one for a leader in a desperate enterprise. I met him cordially, but let him lead the con- versation. He did not wait long. " I wish I was in America I I would go there, but there may be great events happen here in a few years, and I want to be on hand. Ach! you are happy there ! Here they have conquered. Nothing but tyranny and priestcraft for us !'
"'You saw the Revolution, I suppose ? ' " Ach, yea! I see you are to be trusted, from this letter, and I will tell you. I fought through every street with these accursed soldiers. We did not yield an inch without blood. Come to the window. You see that long line of blotches along those handsome house-fronts there?'
"'Those are from grape-shot. We lined those fine houses with picked shooters, and the soldiers could not get on a step ; and so the battery kept up a tremendous fire right through that broad street. They could not dis- lodge us until they got some men around in the gardens, in the rear of those houses. Mein Gott, what a time was that ! I had a company in that—you see it—that tall stuccoed building. There was no escape in the rear, and in front the grape swept like a tempest. So I went up to the attic, and a part of us kept up a continued fire, while the rest broke through the wall into the next house ; and so we went on from house to house, sometimes climb- ing over the roof. I went last, and lost but one poor fellow, who was picked off just as we were scrambling over a roof.'
" 'Have you any hopes of trying it again ?' said I.
" Certainly. This war shall never end till tyrants or people are gone. I know how the working men feel : give them another chance, and they will fight till the last man. We cannot bear this long! Taxes, spying— every damned annoyance of tyranny. We get little work, we have no kind of freedom, and then we are paying all the while for these immense armies. You have no idea of the brutal oppression here. Every day women are pub- licly scourged. You must have seen the Notizen on the walls ; and if I should go out with a white hat or a long beard, I would be in the guard- house in an hour !'
"So he went on, in tones earnest and passionate, telling of the wrongs and sufferings of the labouring classes ; the dark eye kindling at the thought of fighting the good fight over again with the hireling soldiery. A deter- mined dangerous man for the Austrian authorities when the next struggle comes!"