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In a German Pension


”So that is the great secret of your English tea? All you do is to warm
the teapot.”
I wanted to say that was only the preliminary canter, but could not
translate it, and so was silent.
The servant brought in veal, with sauerkraut and potatoes.
”I eat sauerkraut with great pleasure,” said the Traveller from North
Germany, ”but now I have eaten so much of it that I cannot retain it. I am
immediat ely forc ed to–”
”A beautiful day,” I cried, turning to Fraulein Stiegelauer. ”Did you get
up early?”
”At five o’clock I walked for ten minutes in the wet grass. Again in bed.
At half-past five I fell asleep, and woke at seven, when I made an
’overbody’ washing! Again in bed. At eight o’clock I had a cold-water
poultice, and at half past eight I drank a cup o f mint tea. At nine I
drank some malt coee, and began my ’cure.’ Pass me the sauerkraut,
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please. You do not eat it?”
”No, thank you. I still find it a little strong.”
”Is it true,” asked the Widow, picking her teeth with a hairpin as she
spoke, ”that you are a vegetarian?”
”Why, yes; I have not eaten meat for three years.”
”Im–possible! Have you any family?”
”No.”
”There now, you see, that’s what you’re coming to! Who ever heard of
having children upon vegetables? It is not possible. But you never have
large families in England now; I suppose you are too busy with your
suragetting. Now I have had nine children, and they are all alive, thank
God. Fine, healthy babies–though after the first one was born I had to–”
”How WONDERFUL!” I cried.
”Wonderful,” said the Widow contemptuously, replacing the hairpin in the
knob which was balanced on the top of her head. ”Not at all! A friend of
mine had four at the same time. Her husband was so pleased he gave a
supper-party and had them placed on the table. Of course she was very
proud.”
”Germany,” boomed the Traveller, biting round a potato which he had
speared
with his knife, ”is the home of the Family.”
Followed an appreciative silence.
The dishes were changed for beef, red currants and spinach. They wiped
their forks upon black bread and started again.
”How long are you remaining here?” asked the Herr Rat.
”I do not know exactly. I must be back in London in September.”
”Of course you will visit Munchen?”
”I am afraid I shall not have time. You see, it is important not to break
into my ’cure.’”
”But you MUST go to Munchen. You have not seen Germany if you have
not
been to Munchen. All the Exhibitions, all the Art and Soul life of Germany
are in Munchen. There is the Wagner Festival in August, and Mozart and a
Japanese collection of pictures–and there is the beer! You do not know
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what good beer is until you have been to Munchen. Why, I see fine ladies
every afternoon, but fine ladies, I tell you, drinking glasses so high.”
He measured a good washstand pitcher in height, and I smiled.
”If I drink a great deal of Munchen beer I sweat so,” said Herr Homann.
”When I am here, in the fields or before my baths, I sweat, but I enjoy it;
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