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The Initials A Story of Modern Life

The Initials
A Story of Modern Life
Title: The Initials A Story of Modern Life
Release Date: 2019-02-17
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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A Story of Modern Life
Electrotyped and Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, U.S.A.


Initial, adj. [Initial, Fr.; initialis, from initium, Lat.]

1. Placed at the beginning.

2. Incipient; not complete.—Johnson’s Dictionary.

Initial, ale. adj. Il se dit des lettres, des syllables qui commencent unmot. En termes de calligraphie et d’imprimerie, on appelle plus particulièrementlettre initiale, la lettre qui commence un livre, un chapitre, etc.

Il s’emploie aussi substantivement, au feminin, pour lettre initiale. Iln’a signé ce billet que de l’initiale de son nom, que de son initiale. Dansce manuscrit, les initiales sont en rouge.Dictionnaire de l’AcadémieFrançaise.

I think these quotations authorise me to call the followingpages “The Initials.” According to Dr. Johnson, theywould be intended to be “placed at the beginning;” wouldbe “incipient; not complete.” It is the public who havenow to decide whether what has been placed at the beginningis to have a continuation, whether what is incipient, and notcomplete, is to be formed and completed.

Un billet signé d’une initiale gave rise to all the events hererelated; proving the truth of the words of Bayley, in hisEssays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions, that,“In everything we do we may be possibly laying a train ofconsequences, the operation of which may terminate onlywith our existence.” Had those initials not excited curiosityor interest, the so-signed billet would have been thrown asideand forgotten, or directed to the post-town from whence itcame, there to seek the writer, or to be consigned to thedead-letter office. And so it will be with these “Initials,”should they awake no interest, nor excite a wish to knowmore; they too will be thrown aside and forgotten, or it maybe that the manuscript will be redirected to the place fromwhence it came, thence to be consigned to merited oblivionin the dead-letter drawer of an old writing-table, among anumber of truths dressed in fiction, which had been intendedfor publication under the names of Journals, Reminiscences,Tales, Novels, or whatever else they may have been entitled.

My greatest consolation, in case of failure, will be that Ihave neglected no business or duty for the purpose of scribbling;it has only been with me the means of beguiling someidle hours, with no pretension to any other object; the wishto give a slight sketch of German characters and life, suchas I have myself, in the course of many years, been familiarwith, or have heard them described by others, can scarcelybe considered a more serious occupation.

I have, perhaps, seen and heard enough to furnish me withample materials for something better. That I cannot usethem for the benefit of either myself or others, is my misfortune,not my fault. With this excuse, (if it be one,) Icommend myself to my publisher; and, supposing so adventurousa person to be found, through him to the public.


I. The Letter 7
II. The Initials 29
III. A. Z. 36
IV. A Walk of no Common Description 45
V. An Alp 61
VI. Secularised Cloisters 71
VII. An Excursion and Return to the Secularised Cloisters 89
VIII. An Alpine Party 108
IX. Salzburg 129
X. The Return to Munich 139
XI. The Betrothal 143
XII. Domestic Details 160
XIII. A Truce 176
XIV. A New Way to Learn German 187
XV. The October Fête, and a Lesson on Propriety of Conduct 195
XVI. The Au Fair, and the Supper at the Brewery 220
XVII. Lovers’ Quarrels 235
XVIII. The Churchyard 247
XIX. German Soup 251
XX. The Warning 263
XXI. The Struggle 268
XXII. The Departure 281
XXIII. The Long Day 286
XXIV. The Christmas-Tree, and Midnight Mass 292
XXV. The Garret 310
XXVI. The Discussion 318
XXVII. The Sledge 323
XXVIII. A Ball at the Museum Club 339
XXIX. A Day of Freedom 353
XXX. The Masquerade 362
XXXI. Where is the Bridegroom? 374
XXXII. The Wedding au Troisième 381
XXXIII. A Change 388
XXXIV. The Arrangement 395
XXXV. The Difficulty Removed 403
XXXVI. The Iron Works 407
XXXVII. An Unexpected Meeting and its Consequences 414
XXXVIII. The Experiment 423
XXXIX. The Recall 436
XL. Hohenfels 442
XLI. The Scheiben-Schiessen (Target Shooting Match) 450
XLII. A Discourse 459
XLIII. Another Kind of Discourse 464
XLIV. The Journey Home Commences 468
XLV. What Occurred at the Hotel d’Angleterre in Frankfort 474
XLVI. Halt! 481
XLVII. Conclusion 495



About twelve years ago (before the building of the BayrischenHof), the Golden Stag, kept by an old and very corpulentFrenchman, of the name of Havard, was consideredthe very best hotel in Munich. It was there that all crownedheads and royal personages took up their abode; and manyand bitter were the complaints of English families obligedto turn out of their apartments to admit of the turning inof an emperor, king, or archduke! In the month of August,however, such guests were unusual; and, accordingly, ayoung English traveller had remained for a week in undisturbedpossession of one of the most comfortable rooms inthe house. He seemed, however, thoroughly dissatisfiedwith it or with himself, walked impatiently up and down,looked long and listlessly out of the window, and then, withevident effort and stifled yawn, concluded a letter which hehad previously been writing. A few lines of this letter Ishall transcribe.

“I have continued to take notes most carefully of everythingI have seen or heard since I left you; but I fear, mydear sister, the travels or wanderings, or sketches with whichI intended to astonish the world on my return home, mustbe given up; for in the present day one can travel fromLondon

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