All in a Life-Time

All in a Life-Time

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All in a Life-Time

All in a Life-Time

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Excerpt

I was born in 1856, at Mannheim, in the Grand Duchy of Baden. That was the old Germany, very different from the Prussianized empire with which America was to go to war sixty years later, and very different again from the bustling life of the western world to which I was to be introduced so soon and in which I was to play a part unlike anything which my most fanciful dreams ever pictured.

Indeed, those were days of idyllic simplicity in South Germany and especially in that little city on the Rhine. The life of the people was best expressed by a word that was forever on their lips, gemütlich, that almost untranslatable word that implies contentment, ease, and satisfaction, all in one. It was a time of peace and fruitful industry and quiet enjoyment. The highest pleasure of the children was netting butterflies in the sunny fields; the great events of youth were the song festivals and public exhibitions of the "Turners" and walking excursions into the country; the recreation of the elders was at little tables in the public gardens, where, while the band played good music and the youngsters romped from chair to chair, the women plied their knitting needles over endless cups of coffee, and the men smoked their pipes and sipped their beer and talked of art and philosophy--of everything in the world, except world politics and world war.

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