Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/182

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170
REAL POLITENESS.

Forest, that it was quite natural that I had failed to recognize her sooner. I had on my other suit, too, hut my German would betray me to a person who had heard it once, anyway. She brought her brother and sister, and they made our way smooth for that evening.

Well,—months afterward, I was driving through the streets of Munich in a cab with a German lady, one day, when she said,—

"There that is Prince Ludwig and his wife, walking along there."

Everybody was bowing to them,—cabmen, little children, and everybody else,—and they were returning all the bows and overlooking nobody, when a young lady met them and made a deep curtsy.

"That is probably one of the ladies of the court," said my German friend.

I said,—

"She is an honor to it, then. I know her. I don't know her name, but I know her. I have known her at Allerheiligen and Baden-Baden. She ought to be an Empress, but she may be only a Duchess; it is the way things go in this world."

If one asks a German a civil question, he will be quite sure to get a civil answer. If you stop a German in the street and ask him to direct you to a certain place, he shows no sign of feeling offended. If the place be difficult to find, ten to one the man will drop his own matters and go with you and show you. In London, too, many a time, strangers have walked several blocks with me to show me my way. There is something very real about this sort of politeness. Quite often, in Germany, shopkeepers who could not furnish me the article I wanted, have sent one of their employes with me to show me a place where it could be had.