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A PRUSSIAN acquaintance of mine, one of the party of foreigners who so offensively criticised my country. men to me when I was abroad last year, has been over here just now, and for the last week or so he has been favouring me with his remarks on all he hears us say about the present crisis in Germany. In confidence I will own to you that he makes himself intensely disagreeable. He has the harsh, arrogant, Prussian way of turning up his nose at things and laying down the law about them; and though, as a lover of intellect, I admire him, and, as a seeker of truth, I value his frankness, yet, as an Englishman, and a member of what the Daily Telegraph calls "the Imperial race," I feel so uncomfortable under it, that I want, through your kindness, to call to my aid the great British public, which never loses heart and has always a bold front and a rough word ready for its assailants.

My Prussian friend got a little mortification at the

beginning of his visit, and as it is my belief this mortification set him wrong from the first, I shall relate what it was. I took him with me down to Reigate by the railroad, and in the carriage was one of our representative industrial men (something in the bottle way), a famous specimen of that great middle class whose energy and self-reliance make England what it is, and who give the tone to our Parliament and to our policy. News had just come of the first bloodshed between the Austrians and Prussians now at war together in Germany. "So they've begun fighting," cried my countryman; "what fools they both are!" And he handed us Punch with that masterly picture in it of "Denmark avenged;" that scathing satire which represents the King of Denmark sitting with his glass of grog and his cigar, to gloat over the terrible retribution falling upon his great enemy Prussia for her misdeeds towards him. My Prussian glared at the striking moral lesson thus brought to his notice, but rage and contempt made him speechless. I hastened, with a few sentences taken from Mr. Gladstone's recent advice to the Roumanians, to pay my homage to the great principles of peaceful, industrial development which were invoked by my countryman. "Yes; war," I said, "interrupts business, and brings intolerable inconvenience with it; whereas people have only to persist steadily in the manufacture of bottles, railways, banks, and finance companies, and all good things will come to them of their own accord." Before I had finished we reached Reigate, and J

got my still speechless Prussian quickly out of the train.

But never shall I forget the flood when speech came at last: "The dolt! the dunderhead! His ignorance of the situation, his ignorance of Germany, his ignorance of what makes nations great, his ignorance of what makes life worth living, his ignorance of everything except bottles,-those infernal bottles!" I heard so much of all this that I am glad to forget it without going through it again with the British public. I only mention it to make the rudeness of expression in what follows less unaccountable.

The day before yesterday the Daily News published that powerful letter from Mr. Goldwin Smith, pronouncing in favour of the Prussian alliance. In great excitement I ran with it to my friend. "At last I have got something," I cried, "which will please you; a declaration by one of our best writers, in one of our best newspapers, for a united Germany under Prussian headship. She and we are thereupon to combine to curb France. Wherever I go, I hear people admiring the letter and approving the idea." A sardonic smile, such as Alexander von Humboldt used to have when he contemplated the late King of Prussia's missionary deaconesses, came over my Berliner's harsh countenance. "Good God!" said he, "the miracles that needle-gun is working! It is only a year ago you were threatening Prussia with France, and suggesting to that great and sagacious ruler, as you called him, the French Emperor, to take the Rhine Province from us; it is not six weeks since I saw him

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styled in this very newspaper, with the dignity usual in Englishmen at present, the arbiter of Europe.' He has done nothing in the meantime to injure you; he has done his best to keep well with you. How charmed he will be with his friends! But the declaration you are all so pleased at, who is it by?" "Mr. Goldwin Smith," I answered. "I know him," he said; "a good writer, but a fanatic." "Oh, no, no," said I; "a man of genius and virtue."

Without answering, my Berliner took the newspaper and read the letter. "He should have served under Nelson," he said, as he finished it; "he hates a Frenchman as he does the devil. However, it is true that a preponderance in the world such as the French, thanks to your stupidity, were fast getting, is enough to make any human being, let alone a Frenchman, unbearable; and it is a good thing to have a great Germany in the world as well as a great France. It would be a good thing to have a great England too, if you would let us. But pray what is to unite Germany and England against France? What is to be the ground of sympathy between actual England and actual Germany?" "You are a strong Liberal,” said I, so I can easily answer you. You are drawn towards England because of her liberalism, and away from the French Emperor because of his despotism." "Liberalism and despotism!" cried the Prussian; "let us get beyond these forms and words. What unites and separates people now is Geist."

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I had not the slightest idea what he meant, and

my looks told my bewilderment. "I thought you had read Mr. Grant Duff's chapters on Germany," said he. "But Mr. Grant Duff knows what he writes about, so I suppose you have not. Your great Lord Palmerston used to call Germany 'that country of d-d professors;' and the English public, which supposes professors to be people who know something, and hates anybody who knows anything, has always kept its mind as clear of my unfortunate country as it could. But I advise you, for the sake of the events now passing, to read Mr. Grant Duff's book. There you will find that in Berlin we oppose 'Geist,'—intelligence, as you or the French might say, to 'Ungeist.' The victory of 'Geist' over 'Ungeist' we think the great matter in the world. The same idea is at the bottom of democracy; the victory of reason and intelligence over blind custom and prejudice. So we German Liberals who believe in 'Geist' have a sympathy with France and its governors, so far as they are believers in democracy. We have no sympathy with English liberalism, whose centre is in the 'Ungeist' of such people as your wiseacre in the Reigate train."

"But then you play," cried I, "the game of the Tories; for listen to Mr. Goldwin Smith: The Tories in Europe, with the sure instinct of a party, recognise the great patron of reaction in the Emperor of the French.' You and we are to unite, in order to defeat the Tories and the Emperor of the French."


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