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have borrowed it from us, or we from the
Germans, the thirty-first of August seems
everywhere the last day of grace permitted to
partridges. To be sure one eats them often
enough in June, but then they call them

At about eight o'clock in the evening I
had finished my supper. The rain began to
patter in large drops against the windows,
and the wind puffed out little weary sighs
amongst the trees, as if Æolus was as much
bored as I was. I was tired of hearing the
village politicians in the Wirthsstube (bar)
talking of constitutions, and news a month
old; and I was still more tired of hearing the
two bagmen in an adjoining room torturing
a miserable piano out of its crazy wits, and
calling upon one another's hearts to "cease
that sad desponding," or "A cup to love and
father-land, to quaff." I had read over and
over again all the inscriptions on the window,
both in prose and verse; and learned, with
little satisfaction or advantage, that A. G.,
and Müller, and Schulze, had been there
before me. Fritz and Sophie, who announced
themselves as two lovers, might, indeed, have
afforded me, although only a looker-on, some
amusement if they had been there; but the
date showed that they had left since 1850.
I had ridden over on horseback, leaving my
guns and luggage to follow by the mail, and,
of course, they had not arrived; pens, paper,
books, maps, anything in the world that
might serve to pass away half-an-hour,
appeared out of the question. There was,
indeed, the Gazette of a little electoral town
in the neighbourhood, but no one, save an
alchemist, could ever extract anything, except
an after dinner nap, from a German
newspaper; there was also a list of the people
who had visited some baths somewhere during
the summer, my own name figuring among
them delightfully ill-spelled; but these sources
of amusement were soon exhausted, and I
was being reduced to the humiliating necessity
of occupying myself with an endeavour
to twiddle my thumbs different ways at the
same time, and being foiled in the attempt,
when a good fairy came to my aid, in the
shape of an almanack, which I discovered
half hidden by the tobacco-pouch of mine
host, and laying by in a forgotten corner.
To seize my prize and take it within the little
uncertain yellow haze of the solitary tallow
candle, was the work of a moment, for I
thought myself at least safe of an occupation
till bed-time, if it were only in counting the
number of saint's days and holidays there are
in the calendar. I was pleasingly disappointed,
however; the good fairy revealed herself (a
book is unquestionably feminine) to me in
the shape of a useful little manual, published
by Meinecke of Brunswick in 1851, and called
the "Post Almanach." As I was given to
understand that most of the facts related in
it have actually happened, and may be taken
as real chips of the German Post, perhaps
the reader may not be sorry to be made
acquainted with some of them. Let us
commence with the following, which the narrator
considers would make a good farce. I differ
with him. It is called a "Romance of the
Post Office," and runs thus:—

In a certain village, called Berlingen, in the
district of Mittlich, there lived a small farmer
named Johann Mentges. He was an honest
and industrious man, but, unluckily, no
favourite of fortune; perhaps because he
muddled himself with beer and pipes,—though
this is not alleged as the reason. With the
help, however, of a pair of strong arms, he
contrived to keep the wolf from the door,
though he got very near it; and, as time went
on, Johann Mentges found that he got rich
in nothing but debts, and as these must
be paid, he mortgaged his little property
for two hundred thalers, or about thirty

It is needless to say, Johann Mentges did
not prosper any the better after this; and as
the mortgagee found that he got neither
principal nor interest from a man who was
unable to pay them, he resolved to foreclose.
It was in this unhappy state of things, and
just as Johann, who had received notice of
his intention, was hopelessly bewildering his
brains behind his thirty-second pipe since
breakfast (he had no dinner), that the glazed
hat and yellow-worsted decorations of the
postman appeared before him. Johann sighed
heavily, something like the sigh of an
over-loaded camel when he won't get up, and
expecting it was some new notice, declaration,
or other legal botheration, of which he
had lately had more than enough, lie looked
despondingly at the postman, took a long puff
at his pipe, and refused to receive the letter
extended towards him.

"Courage, man," said the postman. "The
letter has five seals; it must contain money."
Johann pricked up his ears. "At all events
I must leave it here," said the postman, "for
the postage is paid and it is addressed to
you; also, atieu! " and with this usual
fare-well of his class he disappeared.

When he was gone, Johann took up the
letter, and peered round and about it in an
absent sort of way, and having concluded his
thirty-third pipe his heart failed him to open
it. At last, however, with a desperate effort
he broke the seals, and, instead of finding it to
contain fresh threats from his impatient
creditor, there appeared the beautiful vision
of five new bank-notes, exquisitely executed,
and of a hundred thalers each, which makes
just seventy-five pounds of our money.

To describe the feelings of Johann Mentges
at this unexpected stroke of good-fortune, is
very far beyond my power. They were the
more lively because it came as good-fortune
will, just as he had said good-bye to hope.
The whole thing was, however, as good as a
riddle, (Johann thought it better,) and he
could not for the life and soul of him make

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