« 이전계속 »
of which he then blessed three times, his right hand being half immersed in the liquid. At this particular portion of the service there was shown, by the manner in which all present drew nearer to the font, a certain shade of anxiety, coupled at the same time with a wistful curiosity, the reason for which I did not fully comprehend till after the approaching rite had been performed, and which was now entered upon by the Papas. Receiving the child from its mother, but this time naked, and holding it under the arms in his powerful grasp, suspended over the surface of the oily water with its poor little legs hanging pendulously downward, he lowered it by a series of gentle drops and ascents into the water, in which it finally rested in a sitting position. The object of all these attentions was apparently so astonished with this, its, most probably, first acquaintance with water, that it showed no other sign of surprise than a widely distended mouth, into which, as was natural, the water poured like a cataract, when the priest immersed its plump little body. It was not in the nature of babyhood to undergo such treatment without offering a vigorous vocal protest, pitched in a high key. The infant in question constituted no exception to the rule, and so energetic, so staccato, became his song without words, that, being a bachelor with no experience of either babies in general or babies in particular, I began to dimly call. to mind the hearing or reading of such violent infantile grief sometimes ending in convulsions—a calamity which, if it happened in this case, would be doubly serious, as there was no medical man within miles of the spot. These anxieties, and the accompanying chorus from the baby choir in the women's gallery who had been sympathetically howling, were soon laid to rest by the Papas withdrawing the object of so much commiseration from the water, and, with the assistance of the mother, drying and dressing it in its original clothes, to which had been added a small scarlet cocked hat, that he perched sideways upon its head, and which, with the previous processes of drying and dressing, reduced it to comparative and, finally, to total silence. I should have mentioned that, previous to his conferring the order of the hat, he cut off, after much fumbling and a considerable expenditure of time owing to there being the reverse of a luxuriant growth, three locks of his trust's hair, which he cast into the font. Once more was the little involuntary wanderer committed to the godfather's custody, to whom it was secured by a broad, light-blue sash, or rather shawl, passed round the bodies of each, and tied in a big bow at the back of that good-natured, long-suffering man, whose chin and mouth had a soothing and cheering effect on the mind of the “mother's own,” ruffled by the recent watery rite. The christen
ing concluded by a prayer, lugubriously chanted by the two Papathes, who, together with the infant and its guardian, slowly made the circle of the font three times, bowing at each quarter of the circle. "The Bible was then given into the charge of the small censer bearer, who devoutly kissed it and the priest's hand from which it was received, and the whole party, headed by the godfather with his burden, still adorned by the blue sash, wended their way out of the church to the mother's cottage, situated not far distant.
Here all were received with glasses of the inevitable mastic, the spirit which forms such a conspicuous and preliminary feature in the hospitality of this part of the world. After passing a short time in chat, which chiely related to the ceremony that had just taken place, the godfather was presented by the mother with a handsome scarf, while he, on his part, presented the worthy Papathes with a fee of 25 drachmas, the midwife with a rather smaller sum, and all those who had been present in the church, including a goodly contingent of juveniles, with 10 lepta each. So ended this, to me, interesting ceremonial, which left me not only richer in experience, but with my stock of lepta increased by ten.
NEIL WYNN WILLIAMS.
NOTES AT A GERMAN BATH.
Villa Clara, Bad-Langeweile, June 18.—I arrived a week ago at my German bath, ordered thither, much to my disgust, for a couple of months. I am a middle-aged spinster, of no particular personal attractions, and a wearer of the “terrible blouse of no shape whatever,” that M. Ohnet says all English women affect when on their travels. My young cousin, however, who is my travelling companion, amply makes up for my deficiencies. Mattie is a pretty, healthy, English girl of seventeen, fresh from school, and imbued with the strong intolerance of youth for everything not British. Cheapness being an object, we have come to an entirely German pension, for the Teuton may be depended upon for always choosing the places where you get best value for your money. The twenty or thirty ladies boarding here are a noisy, gossiping, friendly crew. It seems “always afternoon” at Bad-Langeweile. Not that we are lotus-eaters in any literal sense of the word—for the water that we drink is unpleasantly medicinal—but one certainly becomes here forgetful of the lapse of time. We do exactly the same things every day-we drink, bathe, sleep, eat, in endless rotation. After the intolerably long one o'clock dinner the ladies retire to bed and to sleep for two hours or so, till the coffee appears, served on little tables under the luxuriant vines in the garden. Oh, those noisy dinners! No wonder the pensionnaires are tired. At dinner-time it is as if Babel itself were let loose, or like the monkey-house at the Zoo. Outside, in the flickering sunlight, the pines send forth their delicious scents, and the oaks wave their branches temptingly ; but no, we must forswear their proffered delights, and eat steadily through seven courses and a dessert. The Germans, however, do not flinch ; they know their duty and they go through with it bravely. The only thing to which they do object is having even the smallest scrap of window opened ; “Es zieht,” they murmur, if you make so bold as to open one little chink. But they are good old souls—in their way.
June 22. — Among the pensionnaires are two particularly belligerent elderly ladies, Frau Auerbach and Frau Biener Frau Auerbach is a well-to-do widow of fifty, red-faced, stout, very ill
natured, expensively dressed, and a confirmed hypochondriac. As to Frau Biener, she is a fat, square, old lady, a “Hausfrau” of the good old type. She knits interminable black worsted capes, and must certainly be a descendant of Mrs. Bayham Badger; for, like that celebrated lady, she has had two husbands, and airs their memories at every possible opportunity. She weighs, I should think, some 200 lbs., and is besides of so unprepossessing an exterior, that one could hardly imagine how anyone had ever got so far as to propose to her. Frau Biener is now in charge of her daughter-inlaw, Louise, a young woman not long married, pallid, lethargic, and dismally resigned to sit under her mother-in-law's large wing. Louise does not, however, like her relative, knit worsted capes : she does no work at all; she never does anything but sit and gaze sadly on her surroundings, only breaking the silence by occasionally remarking, with a faint gleam of a smile, “My husband is coming to fetch me to-day fortnight.” Mattie cannot stand Louise at all. She gets so cross with the poor bride's inanity that she can hardly sit at table with her; but then Mattie, as I said, is always a little intolerant. Frau Auerbach amuses her more, especially when she is quarrelsome, which, indeed, is generally the case. Even over discussing the rival doctors (the doctors and the “cure" here form the great topics of conversation) Frau Auerbach manages to be unpleasant.
“If there's anything to be found out, depend upon it, my dear Frau Biener, Dr. Frickel is the man to find it out,” she remarked today at dinner in her most domineering voice. “He says he never met with such a case as mine,” she went on proudly, “and it seems to him wonderful how I have kept up all these years. Ah, it is not everybody who has my great strength of mind."
(Frau Auerbach is Dr. Frickel's most paying nervous patient.)
This assertion roused Frau Biener. “H'm, h’m, I don't know," she responded ; “Frickel may be all very well, but Dr. Marx is the safe man.”
“Zickinger is the cleverest of all. He puts his finger on the very place,” here struck in pretty Elise, the waiting-maid, anxious to avert a quarrel. “Such brown eyes ! they exactly match his beard ! so young too-only thirty-two, and already Hofarzt!”
“Frickel is still younger, and his eyes are brown too,” here remarked Fräulein Bertha, a sentimental lady of six-and-twenty.
A young girl near us blushed, but said nothing.
Our pension, like Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes's boarding-house, boasts of a “young girl.” She is an object of deep interest to us all. Her name is Marie, and she appears to be entirely alone in the world. She has a dollish sort of prettiness, with blonde curls like a baby's, and a shell-pink complexion. She sits about and does nothing all day ; she is almost as idle as Louise, and quite as satisfied with herself.
June 25.—The young girl has a lover! She informed us of the great fact to-day, by the springs. Her “ Bräutigam " is young, handsome, rich-or so she says. Looking up suddenly to tall Mattie, she asks wonderingly :
“And have you not a bridegroom, too? or did you never have one?”
Mattie, who is only just seventeen, is much taken aback. She has never before felt the humiliation caused by the want of a “bridegroom,” but now she feels it keenly. So she confesses indiscreetly that she might have had one, only this spring, but
“But you do not love him,” continues the young girl in Englishvery bad English. “Oh! I love my 'Schatz' so," she continues; “I love him so."
Mattie shudders, then blushes to the roots of her hair-for the words have been loudly spoken, and some very evident English in the vicinity appeared to be amused. “Oh, would you mind saying 'like' instead of love,' next time?" she murmurs. “We never say 'love,' in English-we have no such thing!”
Marie is astounded at this assertion, and takes some time to get over it. As for Mattie she has not got over the shock to her feelings yet. Just now she is looking out into the starry night, her head leaning on her pretty round arms.
“You know,” I say apologetically, “we can't expect Germans to be quite like ourselves. They are much more effusive."
“I call it positively sickening,” says Mattie.
June 28.- The young girl's lover has arrived! She seemed quite bright-for her-on hearing the news of his approach, and she showed her joy by actually beginning to work on a square of white cotton crochet.
“ That's right-preparing to be a good housewife ! ” cries Frau Auerbach approvingly. Housewife indeed! We don't believe that Marie can write, and if she can read it is quite as much as we should expect from her. But then she is an adept at “laying the cards," which relaxation she appears to indulge in at least five times a daywhenever, indeed, she is not bathing or drinking. Mattie is quite sick of seeing her do it. And I, for my part, think the crochet not so much of an advance on the cards. All the ladies here crochet, and we imagine their rooms filled with dreadful squares and mats.