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On a Sunday we visited the theatre, a handsome rotunda, where we saw, the great favourite of the Germans, the tragedy of Mary Queen of Scots, between whom and the sanguinary Elizabeth the author effected an interview: there was no after-piece, as usual. The form of the theatre before the curtain was three parts of a circle; and the scenery, dresses and decorations were all handsome. The grand drop scene, used instead of a curtain, was sprinkled with gigantic heads, and had a very strange and whimsical appearance. Nothing could exceed the polite and profound attention paid to the business of the stage: if any one of the audience only whispered rather loudly, all eyes were turned towards him, and a buz of general disapprobation made him silent. In the box, next to that in which I sat, was a lady of fashion, remarkably deformed; in age, I should suppose, touching the frontier of desperation, dressed in a white robe, and a garland of artificial flowers; to attract more notice, she was knitting a rich silk purse: the whole of the party exchanged frequent glances with her; but, alas ! had she known what was passing between the eye and the mind, our homage would not have proved very acceptable.
In Dantzig, every thing partakes of that petty spirit which is toq, often engendered by traffic amongst small communities of mercantile men.
Heaven protect the being who visits this city without a commercial commission! As we were walking by the Bourse, we requested a German Jew, who had the appearance of a gentleman, to shew us the way to a commercial house to get some money exchanged; upon which he offered to accompany us. « Sir, think of troubling you: if you will only direct us, it will be 66 sufficient,” said my German friend and companion. « tlemen,” replied the descendant of Abraham, “ I beg you will not “ mention it; you will of course pay me for my trouble, and I shall “ be happy to attend you."
Having parted with my friend, who proceeded to Berlin, I went to Fare Wasser, with a view of embarking for Copenhagen, which would have considerably curtailed my journey to Husum; but the wind being contrary, and blowing a hurricane, and several English captains, who were there, assuring me that it frequently continued so for three weeks and a month together, after spending three cheerless days in hopes that a change might take place, I returned to Dantzig, where, without knowing a human being, for this city was not ori.
“ We cannot,
6 Oh! gen
ginally included in our route, I presented myself at the countinghouse of an elderly Englishman, a denizen of Dantzig, and in the presence of a host of clerks, detailed my story, and requested that he would be so obliging as to permit one of them, who spoke English, to attend me a few minutes to the post-house, that I might endeavour to overtake my friends. The hoary merchant, with an immoveable countenance, coldly looked at me, and briefly replied, “ It is our post « day; and, without saying another word, returned to his accompts. It reminded me of Gadshill and the Carrier, in the first part of Henry the Fourth.
« Gad. I pray thee, lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the stable. * Car. Lend thee my lantern, quotha! Marry, I'll see thee hanged first."
This Englishman had grown old in the traffic of Dantzig, and the generous spirit of his country had been indurated into the selfishness of accumulation.
The little Swede was now in the lowest state of depreciation : the post-master thought her unworthy of being drawn by a Prussian prancer, and absolutely refused to put a horse into the shafts ; at the same time he offered me a ducat, that is, nine shillings and sixpence, for her. I would have set fire to her, sooner than that he should have had her. The god of gold seemed to have made this spot his favourite temple, to have constituted a bag of corn his chosen altar, and to have recorded his oracles in a leger: the rampart of the town seem preserved only to repel hospitality and generosity. The Danitzickers keep a cash-account of civilities, and never indulge in festivity without resorting to calculation. A calculating countenance under a little bob-wig, shining brushed cocked-hat that has seen good service, a brown coat, waistcoat and breeches of the same colour, worsted stockings, a pair of shining little silver buckles, and an ivory-headed cane, denote the thrifty Dantzicker: the very beggar in the streets seems to expect a double proportion of bounty for his misfortune, and for the trouble of asking relief. As I was purchasing some articles at a grocer's for my journey, his wife held a little child in her arms, not old enough to speak, to whom I gave a pear, and
presently after I presented him with a gulden, a little coin, which he griped, apparently with the same instinct that would induce a young bear to rifle a honey jar, and dropped the fruit. The little grocer seemed
zauch pleased with his son's preference ; and, in German, as well as
countrymen settled, accident led me to the civilities of a polite and amiable young Dutchman, who had not staid long enough in Dantzig to lose every liberal sentiment. “ How strange,” said I, “ that amongst “ the residents of this place you alone should wish to serve an un“ fortunate solitary Englishman; and that, too, whilst our respective 4 countries are at war !” “ It is true, our countries are at war," said he, in good English ; “ but what is that to us? every man whom 6 I can serve is my countryman.”.
Through the medium of this gentleman, I hired a man to go with me all the way to Berlin (who, on such occasions is called a fuhrman), instead of going post, to avoid as much as possible, the galling pressure of Prussian imposition. To the friendly Dutchman I sold the little Swede for ten ducats, which he vowed he would brush up and paint, and drive with into the country. On the day preceding my departure, my Dutch friend related the following story. Being at church one Sunday, at Alkmaar, when that town was in the possession of the English forces, previous to the sermon the preacher prayed very fervently for the long life of his Majesty George III, and the prosperity of England. Scarcely had he finished this pious compliment, before an inhabitant entered, and announced that the English forces were retiring, and that the French were about to resume the protection of the place : upon hearing which, this Dutch vicar of Bray explained to his audience, that the supplication which they had just heard was coerced; but that now, being able to follow the spontaneous emotions of his own heart, he begged them to unite with him in offering up a prayer to the throne of grace, to bless and preserve general Brune and the French armies!
Before I met with the courteous Dutchman, the only consolation which I found was in sitting in the same room with the young Maitresse d'hotel du Lion Blanc, where, without knowing each other's language, we contrived to pass away the hours not unpleasantly. The beauty and sprightliness of this young woman produced the following jeu-d'esprit :
The sign of the house should be chang’d, I'll be sworn,
Where enchanted we find so much beauty and grace ;
And an angel expand her white wings in his place.
The young Dutchman translated it into German, and presented it to the fair one.
REFLECTIONS UPON A STUHLWAGGON-PRUSSIAN VILLAGES-MILITARY
MANOEUVRES-IRISH REBEL-BERLIN-LINDEN WALK-TOLERATION
-PRUSSIAN DINNER-CHEAP LIVING-THE PALACE-CADET CORPS.
THE traveller going to Germany will be under the necessity of changing his money as 'under:
Twenty-four good, or ninety Prussian groschen, are equal to one dollar, or three Prussian guilders.
N. B. Six Prussian dollars are equal to one pound English.
When the stuhlwaggon, that was to carry me to Berlin, a distance of upwards of three hundred English miles, in the stipulated time of eight days, drove up to the door, I observed that it had no springs, consequently I could not be detained on the road by their breaking; that I should be nearly jolted to death; but that would be an admirable substitute for want of exercise; that I should not be able to sleep by day, consequently I should sleep the better by night; that my driver could not speak English, nor I three words of German; ergo, we should associate like a couple of dumb waiters; and my reflections, if chance any should arise, would not be shaken. Having settled all these points in my mind, with infinite pleasure I passed the drawbridge of this seat of extortion and inhospitality, and as soon as we had cleared the suburbs and dropped into a deep sandy road, my heavy unimpassioned driver took from his waistcoat pocket a piece of dry fungus, and holding it under a flint, with a small steel struck a light, kindled his pipe, and was soon lost in smoke, and a happy vacuity of thought. Although the red leaves of retiring autumn were falling in showers from the trees, the country appeared very picturesque and rich. After we passed the town and abbey of Oliva, the latter celebrated for containing in one of its chambers the table on which the treaty of peace was signed between the crowned heads of Germany, Poland, and Sweden, called the treaty of Oliva, my driver turned into a by road, the inequalities of which I can compare to nothing but those of a church-yard, thronged with