One July night, in 1870, when Louis Napoleon's declaration of war against Prussia had become known, the streets of Paris echoed to one wild exultant cry, voiced from ten thousand throats, as frenzied crowds surged down the Boulevards, applauding, cheering, and deliriously shouting, "To Berlin! To Berlin !" And yet the men who shouted thus, in expectation of an easy victory, never beheld Berlin except perhaps as prisoners. Their dreams of a renewal of the first Napoleon's conquests were rapidly and cruelly dispelled. Still, as events have proved, there was in this Parisian cry a wonderful significance. Thereafter "To Berlin," the city of the conquerors, was to pass the military prestige till then held by France. "To Berlin" were to flow in golden streams five thousand million francs, which bleeding France gave up in payment for her rashness.
Prince Bismarck And His Dogs.
"To Berlin" also came amazing honors; for, as the Prussian King, even in the historic palace of Versailles, had been proclaimed Emperor of United Germany, so, from the German victories in France, Berlin arose to be not only chief of Prussian towns, but the political centre of the empire. Since then the cry of Germans also has been " To Berlin," and her increase in population surpasses that of any capital in Europe, except London.
A Corner In Berlin.
The rapid growth of many American cities can be readily understood because of the newness of the country and their extremely favorable situations; but Berlin has no harbor like the New York bay and no river like the Hudson, nor does it, like Chicago, lie upon the shore of a vast inland sea. Nevertheless, its future is apparently secure, not only as the seat of the Imperial Court and Parliament, the centre of German military art, and the possessor of a university with five thousand students and hundreds of professors, but, also, as a city of manufactures and a centre for a vast amount of commerce.
The House Of Parliament.
No one can understand the Fatherland, to-day, without a visit to this great metropolis. For Berlin is at once the brain and arm of that gigantic frame known as United Germany, and it is Berlin more than aught else which has transformed the Germany of peaceful legends and romantic ruins, into the greatest military power upon earth, - the Germany of blood and iron, of cannon and of conquest, of Bismarck and Von Moltke.
The tourist from the west enters Berlin at present by a path of steel, which renders the journey thither from the Rhine a trifling matter of a few hours. One's first arrival in a foreign city is at times annoying, but in Berlin the usual difficulties vanish at the start. However small his knowledge of the German tongue may be, he need not dread his first encounter with the Berlin hackmen. Nothing could be more admirably managed. Each traveler, as he leaves the train, is asked by an official if he desires a cab. No long reply is necessary. The simple words J a wohl are quite sufficient; and, in response, the tourist receives a metal check bearing a number. Holding this in his hand, as if about to pay his lunch-bill in an American restaurant, he walks to the exterior of the station. Here are apparently neither carriages nor drivers, but only an obsequious porter who takes the check and reads its number. This number corresponds, however, to one which glistens on the hat of an attendant coachman, who, though unseen, is eagerly waiting to hear it called. As soon as this is done, a carriage whirls around the corner and approaches. It is the cab assigned by lot, and the delighted tourist is driven in it to his destination. None but Americans can fully comprehend the blessed calm that falls upon the traveler's soul in consequence of this arrangement. For when we recollect the mobs of hackmen at our stations who, like a certain character mentioned in the Bible, go about like roaring lions seeking whom they may devour, we ask ourselves if Germany does not furnish us, in this respect, a greatly needed lesson.