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great divisions of societyor the nobles and
the merchant Jews; on one side poverty and
pride; on the other, wealth and intellect.
The ugliest and most illiterate of pauper-
countesses would consider her glove soiled by
contact with the rosy fingers of the fairest
and most accomplished among bankers' wives.
The nobles so intermarrying and so looking
down contemptuously upon the brain and sinew
of the land, have, as a matter of course,
degenerated into colourless morsels of humanity.
How long they can remain uppermost is for
themselves to calculate, if they can; it is
enough for us who see good wine at the
bottom, and lees at the top, to know that there
must be a settlement impending.

For the inhospitality of Viennese society
there is one sufficient reason; it springs out of
the dread of espionage. In this city of Vienna
alone there are said to be four hundred police
spies, varying in rank between an archduke and
a waiter. Letters are not safe; writing-desks
are not sacred. An office for opening letters
exists in the post-office. Upon the slightest
suspicion or curiosity, seals have impressions
taken from them, the wax is melted over a jet
of flame, the letters are read, and, if necessary,
copied, re-sealed, and delivered. Wafers
are of course moistened by steam. You
cannot prevent this espionage, but it can be
detected (supposing that to be any consolation)
if you seal with wax over a wafer. One
consequence of the melting and steaming
practices of the Austrian post-office is
especially afflicting to merchants;—bills come
sometimes to be presented, while the letters
containing advice of them lie detained by
the authorities; acceptance, in the absence
of advice, being refused.

From the surveillance of the police officials,
perhaps not a house in Vienna is free. The
man whom you invited as a friend, and who is
dancing with your wife, may be a spy. You
cannot tell; and for this reason people in
Viennanaturally warm and sociableclose
their doors upon familiarity, and are made
freezingly inhospitable. Yet this grand
machine of espionage leaves crime at liberty.
Although murder is rare, or at least rare of
discovery, (there is a Todschauer, or
inspector of deaths, but no coroner's inquest),
unpunished forgeries and robberies of the
most shameless kind outrage society continually.
Many of the more distant provinces are
infested by gangs of organised banditti; who
will ride, during broad daylight, into a country
gentleman's courtyard; invite themselves to
dinner, take away his property, and insist on
a ransom for himself if he has no wish to see
his house in flames. When met by troops,
these bands of thieves are often strong enough
to offer battle.

But, although the Austrian police cannot
protect Austrian subjects, it can annoy not
only them, but foreigners besides. The
English are extremely liable to suffer. One
Englishman, only the other day, was ordered
to the frontier for a quarrel with his land-lady;
another, for keeping bad society;
another, for hissing a piece of music; three,
for being suspected of political intrigue; two,
for being newspaper reporters. The French
have lately come in for their share of police
attentions; and we have lost, from the same
cause, the company of two Americans. Among
the Austrians themselves, the very name of
the police is a word of terror. By their
hearths they dare barely whisper matter that
would be harmless enough elsewhere, but
dangerous here, if falling upon a policeman's

Recently there was a poem published which
professed to draw a parallel between a monarchy
and a republic. Of course it was an orthodox
and an almost rabid glorification of "sound"
absolutist principles. The poet sent a copy to
an Austrian noble; who, opening it carelessly,
and immediately noticing the word " republic",
handed the book back to a servant, with
a shudder, and a note to the author
acknowledging its receipt, and wondering that the
poet " should have thought him (the noble)
capable of encouraging republican principles!"
This note scarified the feelings of the
rhymer intensely. He hurried off to exculpate
himself and explain the real aim of his
book. He did this, and, of course, his book
was bought.

This is the state of Austria in 1851. Men
of all grades look anxiously to France: well
knowing that the events in Paris next year,
if they lead to outbreak, will be felt in Vienna
instantly. Yet Strauss delights the dancers,
and the military bands play their "Hoch
Lebe" round the throne. The nobles scorn
the merchants and the men of letters: who
return the noble scorn with a contemptuous
pity. The murmur of the populace is heard
below; but still we have the gayest capital in
all the world. We throng the places of
amusement. Dissipation occupies our minds
and shuts out graver thought. Verily,
Charles Stuart might be reigning in this


IN the city of my birth, there stood an
ancient building, known as Prior's College,
founded in remote antiquity for the reception
of one hundred blind men. The entrance
was in the High Street. It was a door-way
cut in a red-bricked wall, without a
porch, and surmounted by a broken and
almost obliterated carving in stone, of the
arms of the founder. Two walnut trees,
separated only from this entrance by a narrow
pavement, also of red bricks, made a shade
there in the summer time. When a boy, I
strayed there, often, leaning on the low gate,
and looking into the quadrangle beyond. Its
inmates were seldom met about the city; but
I used to see them within, walking on the