Library Of The Monastery Of Tepl.
Central Bathing Establishment, Marienbad.
The administration of such places as Marienbad, Homburg, Baden-Baden, and Meran is one of the fine arts. At least four prominent features are invariably found in all of them, - a well-appointed Kur-Haus, with ball-room, concert hall, and reading-room; orchestral music several times a day; a stately forest, lined with miles of admirably graded, well-swept paths; and finally a bountiful provision for that healthful custom of living, eating, and drinking in the open air, which renders summer life in Germany so charming. In most localities where people congregate, the claims of commerce take precedence of all others; but in these health-resorts the first consideration is to make all visitors comfortable and happy. Not without recompense, of course. The management must have its profit, and deserves it. But life in any place, which, from whatever motive, is controlled by an untiring wish to please, is well worth paying for. Moreover, one need not suppose that health-resorts are necessarily gloomy, with a perpetual suggestion of "Memento wort." True, for a certain number, health is the principal subject of all thought and action. But fully as many strangers take no cure, and need none; while even in the case of invalids the pursuit of pleasure usually remains paramount. Life at all European health resorts is very much the same, though this is not equivalent to saying that it is monotonous; at least it is not more so than any regular mode of life, if long continued. Day begins early at Marienbad. Already at five o'clock some restless patients fill their glasses at the springs, and stroll about an hour or two, according to the orders of their medical advisers. At six begins the music, and the drinkers gradually increase in numbers, till the promenade is thoroughly enlivened by a moving throng. Half of these people carry glasses of hot water taken from the fountains, and sip the liquid as they walk, while chatting gaily with their comrades, many of whom are pleasure-seekers, coming thus early merely for companionship. Among them are, of course, some representatives of what is often called the Land of Dollars. Many of these might be surprised to learn that this small corner of Bohemia indirectly named the monetary unit of the United States. Mining has always been among the Czechs a profitable industry, and in the sixteenth century large quantities of silver were produced in the valley known as Joachimsthal, near Carlsbad. From this coins were minted, which at first in jest, but later seriously and legally, were called thalers, from which the appellation "dollar" was derived.
A Street In Marienbad.
The Covered Promenade.
Among The Drinkers.
King Edward VII. AT MARIENBAD.
Of late years, in the month of August, Marienbad has beheld among its visitors the king of England. Dressed inconspicuously in a light gray suit, and crowned with nothing more imposing than a "Derby," or "Fedora," he makes his advent at the Kreuzbrunnen every morning about eight o'clock, drinks the amount of water which has been prescribed, and then walks briskly back and forth for half an hour along the shaded paths, accompanied by one or two friends. Unless one knew that Edward VII. was a "Kur-Gast"here, no stranger would suspect that this discreetly dressed and unobtrusive gentleman was the king of England and sovereign of the British Empire. Of course, the fact of his presence being known, he is immediately recognized by hundreds. Yet nothing could be less objectionable than the conduct of the crowd.
The mayor of Marienbad always issues a request that people shall not press upon and stare at the distinguished guest; and this, so far as I was able to observe, is carefully complied with by the promenaders. Accustomed for so many years to public scrutiny, King Edward has acquired the art of looking without noticing. Spectators do not catch his eye. The royal gaze goes over or below their faces. It is quite plain that, although vaguely conscious of their presence, he does not actually see them. This mastery of the optic nerve must be extremely difficult; but what a lesson it suggests to ordinary mortals! Does not the secret of a happy life consist in not observing things too closely? How true it is, that if we look for trouble we shall find it. Ah, the supreme felicity of not beholding all that others find to criticise, - the blemishes in works of art, the faults of friends, the small defects of character in those we love, the trifling exploitations of a tradesman, the imperfections of well-meaning servants, the one bad apple on a fruitful tree, the spots and not the splendor of the sun!