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often footsore and weary enough; but we pass
the pleasant streamlet that would woo us to
half an-hour's repose upon its banks; and,
keeping our appetites for the banquet, which
we fancy spread in the far Temple on the hill,
which we may perhaps never reach, we scorn
to gather the wild fruits upon the road-side,
which might renew our strength, and send us
on our way rejoicing.

I was wandering the other evening, with a
cigar just lighted, along the streets of a quiet
little German town, in the dominions of our
old friend, His Effulgency the Margrave of
Schwarzwurst-Schinkenshausen, while
indulging in this train of thought. The first
shadows of evening were just lengthening
along the old-fashioned streets, and the light
labours of a German workman's day were
already at an end. If you looked through
the open windows of any house you might
pass (I am speaking of the poorer quarters of
the town), the housewife had already
prepared for the return of her husband, and
was weaving and singing at the door.
There is something always very soothing
in this coming on of evening; and, after the
fierce heats of the long summer day, the
cheerful babble of the little streams that
hurried along the streets, sounded as refreshing
as the fall of fountains in the palaces of
kings. Let me explain this. In the town of
which I am writing, there is one of the
simplest and best sanitary arrangements for
carrying off the impurities of the city, that I
can remember to have seen. Every street
has a slight ascent, and on each side of it a
gutter cut tolerably deep, and rather more
than a foot broad. Down these gutters
flows a swift current, supplied by fountains
running into them at certain intervals,
sometimes two in a street. The descent
down which this current flows, added to its
natural force, makes it run very briskly.
The water is so plentiful that it looks always
clear and sparkling in the light either of the
sun or the moon, and babbling over the
inequalities of the stones. It is one of the
prettiest features of the town. Into it all
impurities are cast, and immediately carried
away by the brisk currentI fear, to the
river; but, the result is, that the streets and
the pavements are almost as clean as in the
little village of Broeck, near Amsterdam,
whose precincts have never been sullied by a
wheel.

The measured tramp of soldiers and the
fine music of a German military band, roused
me from my musings; and when I inquired
where they were going, a good-humoured
burgher took his pipe out of his mouth to
inform me, that His Effulgency the Margrave
was expected that evening to pay a visit to
their town, and that his faithful troops were
marching to receive him with military
honours. I followed them; and, shortly
afterwards, His Effulgency came in sight.
The cannons boomed out at long and irregular
intervals rather laughably, and as if
there was something not quite right about
them. Some half-dozen people tumbling one
over the other, and three in the Margravial
uniform (brown and yellow), raised a faint
hurrah; and a rabble rout of carriages and
four and one carriage and six, some dozen of
horsemen, grooms, and equerries, riding pell-mell
and very much at the mercy of their
cattle, straggled in; and His Effulgency, with
his wife, a good-natured body, and a regular
Margravial family party full of the flutter,
fuss, cackling, and importance of German
royalty, alighted at the palace.

There was His Excellency my Uncle,
looking the very picture of Mr. Harley as
Lord High Everything in a pantomine, every
inch a courtierwonderful for his talent for
walking backwards, and keeping his countenance
under what would have been to his
degenerate nephew very trying circumstances
indeed. There was the first Maid of Honour,
all verjuice and bottled-up scolding; and the
Mistress of the Robes, not yet quite recovered
from her dismay at the false diamonds given
to her in a ring by the Monocrat of all the
Tartars. There was the second Maid of
Honour, a sad, pale-faced lady, leaving girl-hood
behind her, and suspected of a penchant
for that stiff-backed equerry with his long
mustachios and dunder-pate, full of court
titles and pedigrees. Poor Maid of Honour,
poor fading flower, fading fast!

The hubbub died away. The fussy pageant
had passed, impressing every one but a
roving Englishman like me, with a grand
idea of the splendour of His Effulgency's
court; and I lit a fresh cigar and continued
that luxurious thoughtful sauntering which
has grown into a habit with me. I had not
gone far, however, when I perceived a large
room brilliantly lighted up, and gaily, but
simply, decorated with green leaves and
garlands. Presently company began to arrive.
Humble folk mostly. Men full-dressed in
wonderful handkerchiefs, buttoning behind
and sitting all awry, with what we call cut-away
coats, of all colours in the rainbow
except red and yellow, and of which the sleeves
were too long, and the collars too high, and
the skirts too short. The toilettes of the
ladies I am not clever enough to describe.
They seemed a thought too glaring, perhaps;
and the younger of them have got into a
shocking habit of wrenching all their hair to
the back of their heads, till the roots start
in a manner that must be quite painful. I
believe they call this "Coiffure à la Chinoise"
(a Chinese head-dress), but it has very much
the appearance of the preparation which a
determined person might make previous to
washing the face when it was excessively
dirtya comparison unfortunately often
suggesting itself too naturally.

I had watched the pleasant scene some time
from a little archway on the opposite side of
the road, which screened me from observation,

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