It is part of discretion, if not of valor, for even ladies to give these sons of Mars a wide berth; since it seems to be derogatory to a Prussian officer's dignity to swerve a hair's breadth from his chosen course for any one who does not wear a uniform, and gallantry to ladies is not carried by German soldiers to the extent of stepping courteously aside to let them pass. Frequently in restaurants and theatres more soldiers can be counted than civilians; and we can, therefore, understand the lament of the German matron when she cried, "Ach, du liebe Zeit! See the effect of war upon our children. If we have handsome, well-made boys, they join the military ; if we have girls, the military joins them."
Berlin has improved wonderfully in the last quarter of a century. The tourist who visited the Prussian capital about the time of the war with France would be delighted and surprised to-day at the amelioration of its avenues, the banishment of surface-drainings, the smoothness of its pavements the stateliness of its new buildings, and, above all, the elegant residence-quarter which has arisen near the Thiergarten, and in the direction of the Potsdam station. Its principal streets are worthy of admiration now, as almost ideal city thoroughfares. They are paved with asphalt, and in the early morning are washed thoroughly, a brigade of boys invariably following up the water-force with mops and sponges. These boys are uniformed, and work as systematically as if they formed a section of the army. In fact, a kind of military discipline appears to govern everybody in Berlin, high and low, rich and poor. Thus, if one takes a cab to the theatre, the driver is obliged, a moment before arriving, to stop and collect his fare, so that there shall be no delay in the crowd about the entrance. Once there, he merely leaves his passengers and drives immediately away. The glory not alone of the Unter den Linden, but of all Berlin, is the equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, a work of the famous sculptor Rauch. It represents the King in his usual dress, including his well-known military cloak and old three-cornered hat; and so remarkably life-like are his face and attitude that one can easily imagine him really seated upon his favorite horse, reviewing silently the restless crowd continually passing at his feet. On close examination of this work of art, my admiration was divided between the figure of the King and the elaborate decoration of the pedestal. Perhaps the latter is the greater artistic triumph; for on each of the four sides is an uninterrupted line of life-sized statues in bronze, some on horseback, others on foot, each alleged to be an accurate likeness of the hero or statesman whom it represents. Some of these figures are almost entirely distinct from their companions, forming as many separate subjects for examination, and the entire group appears so animated, that one almost expects to see it move along, - a splendid escort to that king, who was at once a soldier, poet, and philosopher.
The Column Of Victory.
The Unter Den Linden, Facing The Statue Of Frederick.
A Soldier's Farewell.
Frederick The Great.
A Street Scene In Berlin.
One day, as I was passing this monument, I found it utilized in a way that would no doubt have horrified the sculptor. A dozen men and women were standing by the railing, mournfully waving papers in the air, like shipwrecked mariners showing signals of distress. I soon discovered that these poor people were petitioners, seeking to attract the attention of the Emperor or Empress, if they should approach the windows of the neighboring palace. It seems that this custom is allowed; for, after a time, I saw a soldier come out of the Kaiser's residence, collect the petitions, and carry them in for the imperial inspection. Close by this statue on the Unter den Linden stands a sombre, melancholy looking structure, apparently in want of a second story. It is the Guard House of the Royal Palace. Here soldiers always stand in readiness to quell the slightest insurrection; or, in default of any such excitement, to hurry out, fall into line, and present arms to any royal or distinguished personage who happens to be passing. Accordingly, the sentinels have not a moment's peace. They must not only keep a sharp lookout for all approaching dignitaries, but must salute every officer who comes in sight; and as the number of officers on this Berlin promenade is almost beyond computation, the arms of the poor assume a virtue, if they have it not. The rules restraining them are rigidly enforced. They dare not, therefore, overcharge, although their fares are low. A drive for less than a quarter of an hour costs fifteen cents in a second-class droshky, and twenty-five cents in a first-class cab, for one or two persons; and since Berlin is compact, a short drive will take the tourist from his hotel to almost any point of interest. Still further to protect the passenger from being overcharged, some modern Berlin cabs have an automatic machine on the back of the driver's seat, which, in accordance with the number of revolutions of the axle, indicates on a large dial the exact fare. There can be no dispute. Figures are not supposed to lie, even if coachmen do.