The Angel and the Author
[Too much Postcard.]
The postcard craze is dying out in Germany--the land of its birth--I am told. In Germany
they do things thoroughly, or not at all. The German when he took to sending postcards
abandoned almost every other pursuit in life. The German tourist never knew where he
had been until on reaching home again he asked some friend or relation to allow him to
look over the postcards he had sent. Then it was he began to enjoy his trip.
"What a charming old town!" the German tourist would exclaim. "I wish I could have
found time while I was there to have gone outside the hotel and have had a look round.
Still, it is pleasant to think one has been there."
"I suppose you did not have much time?" his friend would suggest.
"We did not get there till the evening," the tourist would explain. "We were busy till dark
buying postcards, and then in the morning there was the writing and addressing to be
done, and when that was over, and we had had our breakfast, it was time to leave again."
He would take up another card showing the panorama from a mountain top.
"Sublime! colossal!" he would cry enraptured. "If I had known it was anything like that,
I'd have stopped another day and had a look at it."
It was always worth seeing, the arrival of a party of German tourists in a Schwartzwald
village. Leaping from the coach they would surge round the solitary gendarme.
"Where is the postcard shop?" "Tell us--we have only two hours-- where do we get
The gendarme, scenting Trinkgeld, would head them at the double- quick: stout old
gentlemen unaccustomed to the double-quick, stouter Frauen gathering up their skirts
with utter disregard to all propriety, slim Fraulein clinging to their beloved would run
after him. Nervous pedestrians would fly for safety into doorways, careless loiterers
would be swept into the gutter.
In the narrow doorway of the postcard shop trouble would begin. The cries of suffocated
women and trampled children, the curses of strong men, would rend the air. The German
is a peaceful, law-abiding citizen, but in the hunt for postcards he was a beast. A woman
would pounce on a tray of cards, commence selecting, suddenly the tray would be
snatched from her. She would burst into tears, and hit the person nearest to her with her
umbrella. The cunning and the strong would secure the best cards. The weak and
courteous be left with pictures of post offices and railway stations. Torn and dishevelled,
the crowd would rush back to the hotel, sweep crockery from the table, and--sucking