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BLACK PINES OF BOHEMIA
By Mary King Waddington
MARIENBAD, August, 1905. ple; one can understand that they would HE pines looked black indeed go through any sort of fatigue and stand for
as we came in sight of Ma- hours in a line waiting for a glass of the rienbad, a straggling little wonderful water, that would give them a white village standing really semblance of humanity. As soon as they very high (we had been go- have had their glasses filled, they all start
ing up steadily since Eger), down the Promenade, walking and sipping. but looking as if it were in a hollow, so shut One is supposed to take the waters slowly, in on three sides by high hills-rather like a and always moving. One hour must elapse crescent in shape, with a long stretch of between the last glass of water and breakgreen meadows running down the valley. It fast, and we all toil slowly up the steep hills had been raining, and the great masses of to some high café for our first cup of tea, pines on the hillsides looked black and im- which never tastes as well anywhere else. penetrable, rising up into the gray clouds, King Edward is to arrive next week, and so low in some places that they made a great the “Kur” officials are very busy cleaning belt of mist along the sides of the moun- up. New paths and roads are being made, tains, the tops of the trees just emerging from alleys raked and cleared, and there is a gena sea of clouds. It was very damp and chilly, eral air of preparation for the royal guest. rather depressing; but the next day's beauti- Some of the old habitués are very interestful blue sky and bright sun quite effaced ing when they talk about Marienbad and the first melancholy impression.
the great changes in their recollections. It is a pretty little place. One long The whole place is owned and run by the street-the Kaiserstrasse-most animated monks of Tepl, who have a great establishwith hotels, shops, and people, and smaller ment, half monastery, half farm, at the litstreets running off on each side to the Prom- tle village of Tepl, about two hours' drive enade and baths. There are villas and from Marienbad. They have always ocapartment houses in every direction, all cupied themselves very much with the peolooking tempting, clean, and airy—a great ple around them, as well as with the counmany balconies with chairs and awnings. try-providing work for the men in the surEvidently everything is arranged for as rounding villages and developing to the much out-of door life as possible. The early utmost extent the resources of the region. morning hours at the Promenade are most It is the history of all great isolated monamusing and interesting for a student of asteries-one sees it so often in travelling. human nature in all its forms. One sees Many of them are beautifully situated, every type and hears every language under standing high generally, well protected by the sun. It is the height of the season, and hills or great forests behind them, with vinethere are three or four long rows of people yards and gardens covering the sunny slopes stretching quite far down the Promenade, -every inch cultivated. Once established all with glasses in their hands, advancing the monks gave all their energies to betterabout an inch at a time, and so afraid of ing the condition of the people and getting losing their places in the line that they all they could out of the land. Early in 1700 hardly move to let one pass through. There the monks of Tepl began to realize what a are some terrible monstrosities—such pro- treasure they possessed in the Kreuz and truding stomachs and massive legs and Ferdinand Brunnen of Marienbad, and set arms that one wonders how they can get to work quietly and laboriously to transtransported here in any kind of conveyance. form their wilderness of pine forests, bare One or two well-known figures, old habit- hills, and marshy meadows into the great ués, whom the people all stop and look at, health resort it has since become. They beas they would at the fat woman or the two- gan by piercing one or two roads and paths headed child at a country fair. Poor peo- through the thick forests, then a small hotel
and most primitive bathing establishment mans deck themselves with the blue cornwere built, and a few people, shopkeepers flower (the German Emperor's flower) on and small proprietors, were induced by the that day, and parade the Promenade rather monks to try their fortunes in the new vent- ostentatiously. Gallifet stood it once or ure. The success was complete and rapid. twice, and then absented himself for one or No foreigners came at first; the Kurgäste two days always at that epoch. When he were almost all Austrians and Germans, and returned once from one of these absences the life was most primitive and simple; butas he found a splendid basket of roses in his the fame of the wonderful cures spread, peo- rooms, with this inscription, “From the ple flocked there from all parts of the world, German Colony in Marienbad to the bravand to-day it is a charming place with every est soldier in France.” modern comfort and convenience.
We generally get down about seven The great mass of people go there to re- o'clock, and when it is fine the morning duce weight, but the waters are efficacious hours are delightful. Everyone is on the for many things; rheumatism, liver, stom- Promenade between seven and eight. One ach, a certain kind of heart trouble (too sees all one's friends and makes plans for the much fat around the heart), and any nervous day. The people are always an unenddisorder. I think the mud baths (most dis- ing source of interest to me. None of them agreeable to take) are wonderful for both look very ill---so different from the Riviera rheumatism and nerves; but I must say it and the Swiss sanatoriums, where one is surrequired a certain courage the first time to rounded by invalids, many of them young; plunge into that mass of black, liquid, bub- so pathetic to see them cut off from all the bling mud. One of the favorite walks in sports and pleasures of their age, dragging Marienbad is to the“Moorlager,” which pro- themselves along in the sun, trying to make vides all the mud for the baths. It is a curi- the most of a short life. Here they look ous black marsh-great blocks cut out of it, fairly comfortable, the stoutness evidently not unlike the peat marshes in Ireland and the result of easy living and too much good France. It quite reminded me of the “tour- food. Occasionally one sees someone with bières” (peat marshes) near us in the coun- crutches or a cane, but not often. try. It was a wild, desolate stretch of country The bits of conversation that one hears ---the mud quite black, every now and then a are amusing, always on the same subjectdull-yellow streak, which they told me meant how many kilos one has lost or must lose, iron, and equally black pine woods shutting how many miles one has walked, and how it in. Of course it goes through many prepa- little one can eat. I heard a German rations before it is used for the baths. woman the other day talking to some friends
We are taking up our regular Kur life, who were complaining bitterly of the duldrinking three or four glasses of the Kreuz- ness of the place. "Nothing to do, no casiBrunnen, and taking mud or ambrosia baths no, always the same things to eat. What —as they are prescribed by the doctor. I do you do with yourself?” “I eat small, think even without the waters one would get and I soon to bed," was the answer. back health and strength in this beautiful The evenings don't exist. Everybody pure air and perfectly quiet, well-regulated sups about eight o'clock; one strolls down life. Many people begin their day very early, the Kaiserstrasse, or up and down the tergoing down to the spring at five o'clock. race of the English Hill (on the other side of They tell us that General Gallifet, who has the Promenade, where almost all the hotels been coming here for years, was always the are filled with English), and by ten o'clock first at the springs. Everybody knows the there is scarcely a soul to be seen out of sturdy, soldierly figure that the slouched hat doors. However, it is a charming place, so and round military cape can't disguise. The restful to the eyes. The dark walls of pines girls at the springs, the policemen, the Tepl with long narrow paths cut through them monks, all know him, and he has a smiling so long that the opening to the sunlight seems good-morning for all.
miles away and the stretches of bright Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman told me meadow high up on the hills are quite beaurather a pretty story about him. He was tiful. We always go for our first cup of tea here several times on the 2d of September to the Egerländer café, which stands fairly (the anniversary of Sedan). All the Ger- high, about half an hour's walk from the
Promenade. The view of Marienbad and son, and after a quiet three weeks here start the valley is very extended, and one sees off again for Paris and New York, with less quite well from the terrace the crescent of trouble than we take to get back to France. hills which surround the little town. On a A good many Jews appear on Sunday mornfine morning everyone breakfasts outside. ing-an unmistakable nationality alwaysThere are quantities of little tables under the men and women walking in separate the trees, and the young waitresses have groups, never together. The men all look their hands full for about an hour and a half. alike, dressed in the long black caftan, with Some of the girls are very pretty; all dressed a broad-brimmed hat. They are short men in the Egerländer costume-a short skirt, generally, with crops of black curly hair, black bodice, white chemisette, and a black long beards, and very bright eyes; some of or dark handkerchief on their heads em- them wear ear-rings. They always seem broidered in bright colors. They are all absorbed in their conversation, and take numbered, have a silver number on the front very little notice of the crowd or of what of their bodices, and one hears cries for six, goes on around them. Some of the women eight, etc., all over the place. Number Six, are handsome—the elder ones with heavy a pretty, dark-eyed little girl, has adopted us. braids of well-oiled hair and a white silk or She is very quick and remembers what each lace fichu on their heads. I don't see many member of the party takes. Apparently other young ones. I fancy they are not allowed people find her quick, too, as we hear her to walk on the Promenade, where there is hailed from many tables as she passes along. such a promiscuous crowd of people. Rather “Sechs, Ich sterbe vor Hunger" (I am dying a striking trio passed the other dayof hunger) "Six, you have given my eggs three women, all very stout, the one in the to someone else,” etc. We asked her one middle, evidently a person of importance in day what she did in the winter when the sea- her class, was dressed in red velvet, a long son was over; and she answered us with a trailing skirt, a pearl necklace, three rows of smile and a blush that she went back to her large stones, two heavy gold chains, one village in the mountains and made her linen, hanging down below her waist, one crossing as she was going to be married. One of our her forehead, and a richly embroidered friends, a young Englishman, who was very white silk handkerchief on her head. The pleased with her, was anxious to give her a other two were in green satin dresses, also gold watch, but we all remonstrated vigor- with long trains, embroidered in bright colously, and thought the peasant fiancé, wait- ors, several gold chains, and the same white ing for his bride to return, would not be silk handkerchief on their heads. Everypleased to see her with a gold watch a gen- one turned to look at them, but they were tleman had given her.
evidently quite accustomed to being stared Sunday morning is interesting at the at, and made their way slowly and majestiSprings. The whole world turns out, and it cally through the crowd. is wonderful what passes when one is sitting There is a fair sprinkling of Austrian offion a bench in the sun. Many pretty women, cers, their uniforms so tight they can Austrians, tall and slight, dressed almost all hardly walk, and as they are generally very in very tight-fitting tailor costumes; many thin and narrow in the shoulders, they don't English, the women with their wonderful strike one as very stalwart warriors. The fresh complexions and practical garments, Hungarians and Bohemians one recognizes the men often in extraordinary tweed at once-dark, slight, with flashing eyes, clothes, impossible colors and loosely made, rather the gypsy type. Then pass three or but with a certain chic; three or four monks four singers from one of the neighboring from Tepl, usually very big men wearing cafés, in their national dress-extremely long black cloaks over white soutanes and short black skirts just below the knee, showbroad-brimmed hats, looking keenly about ing liberally very stout legs encased in thick and noticing everything; American families, white cotton stockings, red bodices, white the girls pretty, well dressed, curious about chemisettes, and the black fichu embroideverything, having generally been every- ered in bright colors on their heads. They are where and seen whatever there was to see, neither very young, nor very pretty-not half have automobiled all through England and so attractive as little Number Six at the EgerGermany, done a part of the London sea- länder, but they all look scrupulously clean.
A well-known figure is the Duc d'Or- Abbey. He looked so pale and weary that léans: tall, fair, well made, generally walk- day one was glad for him when the magnifiing quickly, with an equerry in attendance. cent pageant was over. He is a great walker and tennis player;
18th. thinks nothing of walking to Carlsbad and To-day is the Austrian Emperor's birthback across country. He passes almost un- day, and the little town has been in a fever heeded; only a few personal friends raise of excitement. The streets have been their hats. It is rather sad to see him lead- crowded since early morning, and the ing such a desultory life when one remem- Kaiserstrasse is quite picturesque with flags, bers what he was born to—“Fils de France draperies, and green wreaths. There is et Prince du Sang." I suppose if his grand- a continuous and confused sound of bells, father, the Duc d'Orléans, had not been drums, cannon, and bugles in the air. Milithrown from his carriage and killed things tary bands and various societies with banwould have turned out very differently for ners and local music are parading the him and for France. All the Orleanists streets. The flag has just been taken with who remember the grandfather speak of much pomp from the Tepl House near us him as a most intelligent, attractive man, by a small detachment of soldiers. There devoted to his country, and such a strong was quite a crowd, all the men saluting the personality. King Edward has arrived flag and remaining uncovered while the with a large suite and a splendid automo- band played the national air. There are bile. The Hotel Weimar, where he always busts and pictures of the Emperor all over stays, looks as clean and festive as possible, the place-one very good picture of him in and there is a general air of jubilee in the the bookshop, in uniform, on horseback. little place. The day he came we met bas- Birthdays must bring sad memories to the kets and gerbes of flowers all the morning Austrian Emperor, so much has gone out being carried to his rooms. One doesn't of his life, and the future of his empire so see many gardens or flowers in Marienbad. uncertain once he has gone. There is a general impression of green; There was a service in the church this branches of pines serve for decoration. morning, which King Edward attended. There is a big, helmeted policeman walking He looked very well in a blue Austrian uniup and down in front of the hotel, but there form. This evening the Promenade and are no special agents nor detectives. I sup- streets were quite brilliantly illuminated. pose there must be some about. Notices There were fireworks at the top of the Promare put up all along the Promenade: “The enade, and the band (a very good one) Kur guests are courteously requested during played from eight till ten--very late for Mathe stay of his Majesty the King of England rienbad. All the restaurants were crowded, in Marienbad to abstain from crowding and there was much drinking of chamaround him, running after him, or in any pagne and patriotic toasts to the Emperor. way annoying the exalted guest.—Signed, Yesterday we spent our afternoon in the Burgomaster."
pines. We went for our four-o'clock coffee It was absolutely necessary to warn the to Gladsden, a hunting-box belonging to public, for the King was so mobbed during Prince Schonberg. It is a beautiful drive the first days that it was very disagreeable from Marienbad, about an hour and a quarfor him—a perfect_sea of people surged ter straight uphill, and almost entirely from one side of the Promenade to the other through pine woods. One gets up quickly when he appeared, and he sent word to the enough with a light victoria and pair of authorities that he wouldn't come down to Hungarian horses, rather small, but very the Springs unless something was done. Of strong, who trot steadily up the steep hill. course everyone wants to see him, but now At the entrance of the park, or rather prithat the first excitement has passed the peo- vate woods, there is a notice put up, “No ple stand off more, and he is able to walk automobiles allowed.” The house is insig. up and down and take his glass like anyone nificant-a sort of double chalet connected else. He looks remarkably well, and walks by a gallery ; no garden or small park, but with a quick, light step—like a man of fifty. a great extent of moor and forest. "I believe I cannot realize that he is the same person I there is excellent shooting-big game. We saw crowned three years ago in Westminster had our coffee at the restaurant, which is
very good. Their spécialité is fresh trout, mounted by the bright-red cupolas one sees which one sees swimming about in a tank. so often in this country, and all through the You can choose your own fish. The restau- Tyrol. The gates of the court-yard stood rant is close to the chalet, a few yards only invitingly open, and we walked in unmodividing the lawn from the café, where every- lested by anyone—in fact, there was no one one sits outside at little tables, smoking and to whom we could apply for permission to drinking-so near that the family on the see the church. The place looked quite depiazza could almost hear everything that was serted. A stone cross stood in the middle said, and never could have a moment's pri- of the enclosure—the church and cloister vacy. The restaurant belongs to the Schon- facing the gates, a long row of low buildings, bergs, is managed by one of their régisseurs, apothecary's shop, carpenter's shop, forge, and supplies the food of the family. We etc., running down one side of the courtsaw a tray being carried into the house with yard. A farm wagon was coming out from cakes and coffee while we were waiting for one of the side gates, two teams of big white ours. It would seem strange to us, living in oxen drinking under a shed, a monk superinour places in the country, to have a public tending. We wanted to get into the church, garden under our windows, but it is a gen- as we had been told that was all we could see, eral custom in Bohemia and some parts of nowomen being allowed inside thecloister,so Austria, and it is the privilege of the régis- we crossed the court-yard and boldly opened scurs to have the restaurant in the domain. a door leading into a narrow passage, where
It was a lovely afternoon, and by five we were instantly confronted by two or three o'clock every table was taken, and there was monks who looked very doubtfully at three the usual variety of nationality—a Roman ladies standing on the threshold of the sanctsenator with his family; a French princess uary. We explained that we should like to with a party of friends; some of the King's see the church, and one of them opened a equerries; a pretty American actress; a Rus- side door, which led directly into it, and said sian prince with an enormous and well- he would send the sacristan. known stomach which rested on the table We didn't find it at all interesting: a great top. We walked about a little after coffee. deal of gold and heavy carving, and shiny The woods are well kept, come quite up to white statues which look like ordinary mathe house—and there are one or two large jolica, and as if they had been done yesterday. ponds, almost lakes, where they have excel- In a few minutes the sacristan appeared, and lent duck shooting in the winter.
explained some of the statues and tombs (all We drove back by Sangerbad, a beautiful patrons and founders of the monastery). He road, so wild and dark, the pines meeting told us the statues were all in wood-seven or sometimes over our heads, always making a eight layers of paint laid on, and highly glazed black wall on each side of the road, just let- at the last; also that the "Ornamentirung," ting us catch glimpses of the bright sunset of which he was very proud, was done more clouds above us. We met no conveyance of than a hundred years ago. any kind until we got close to Marienbad. We tried to persuade him to let us peneIt was really lonely.
trate into the cloisters as far as the library,
22d. where there are curious old missals, parchTo-day we have been to Tepl, about an ments, and maps (I should have liked to see a hour by rail from Marienbad. When we map of Marienbad as it was a hundred years arrived at the modest little station where no- ago), but he wouldn't hear of it. However, body but us and one man got out, and he finally opened a door leading into the cloiswhere there wasn't a vestige of a convey- ter, looked carefully around to see if no one ance of any kind, we were rather sorry we was near, and whispered that we might just hadn't driven over; but we found a friendly step inside, he leading the way on tiptoe. We porter who told us the walk was nothing- saw nothing very mysterious or interesting ten minutes—then carefully looking us over, —long broad white halls with big windows at added ten minutes for him-perhaps half an each end, and rows of cells on one side, all hour for us. The monastery looked charm- very spacious and sunny. The abbot's house ing in the distance against its dark back- stands just outside the cloister, but in the ground of pines. It is a grayish-white build- main building. As the church is the parish ing with two towers, gray at the base, sur- church for all the neighboring country, he is