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(geschreven door Julia Helen Heynemann)
Mrs. Whitehat Studies Art in a Dutch Village and Makes a Visit to the Ancient Cathrdral at Cologne
COLOGNE, Holland, Oct. 14, 1896 -
When the attractive lady, whose movements have been so veraciously chronicled
appeared one morning in the little Dutch village till that moment sacred to painters
she was greeted by her friends with what she felt was but a tempered enthusiasm.
She had taken a "run" up from Paris, she informed them genially, and had
thought to give them a jolly surprise. If a bird of paradise bad walked into the
chicken-coop in the back garden and had wished to fraternize with the decrepit
birds who brooded over their wrongs and their eggs with an expression of the deepest
melancholv, the astonishment could not have been more complete.
"Why in the world did you come?" demanded Miss Verdantina Grey, whose devotion
to her work was as intense as it was new. "You'll be so uncomfortable,
I and you have not the compensations of art."
"Can't I get 'em?" asked Mrs. Whitegat, anxiouely. "What shall I do to be saved?"
"It's not a disease," said Miss Verdantina, with a suspicion of temper in her voice.
"I warn you, you'll be miserable. We haven't time to notice little discomforts.
We can't entertain you. There's nothing to do. There are only three or four men. They all paint—"
"I used to paint when I was a child," interrupted Mrs. Whitehat, "I used to love it. I used to paint
all the pictures in my geography with colored chalk. Do you know I've always thought I had a talent
for it. I was thinking about it in Paris. * * * That's why I came!"
This brilliant conclusion seemed to afford Mrs. Whitehat as much diversion
as it did us.
"Do you always have to have smudges on your face to be a real artist?" she questioned
with that eager and serious look which made her thirst for knowledge a
thing not to be laughed at or scorned. "And I'm really ashamed to ask, but - but -
must - you - have all that magoo on the front of your skirt?"
"I don't know what you call 'magoo.' " said Miss Grey, with even more tartness
in her voice. "If you mean that I have paint spots on my dress, I know it. You
can't be thinking of the beauties of nature and try to render them and keep considering
whether you've got a little paint on your hands or skirts. I suppose you'd
go ont and paint just as you are dressed now, because you'd be afraid to put on
unbecoming clothes! Why, you'd be laughed at, all the little boys would run after you — "
Mrs. Whitehat was a picture to behold as she glanced down with dismay at her
tailor-made gown, new and immaculate, with flashes of silk in the lining. She recovered in an instant, however, and rose with dignity from the trunk on which she had b o een sitting. She removed
her picture-hat, the chiffon scarf that floated under her demure chin, and asked to be
shown to her room at once. She had an air of joyous determination about her that
made even Miss Grey pause and wonder.
An hour later she reappeared, and for an instant we failed to recognize her. She
would have passed unnoticed any artistic neighborhood in the worlds she might
have walked into the Hopkins Home unchallenged. She had grasped, with a wonderful
accuracy, the salient points of the artistic wardrobe. From what mysterious
corners of that Dutch peasant's house she

had evolved her picturesque attire we never discovered.
She asserted it was all from her inner I consciousness. Her hair was an elaboration
of disorder that would have made her fortune on the stage from its disheveled
masses; strings of it fell over her eyes and ears. She wore a crumped shirt waist,
with a careless tie. Her skirt, which seemed to be a little damp, was stained
and discolored, and hung longer on one side than on the other; a bit of braid dandled
from it. She wore a man's Scotch, fore and aft cap, and. with a superb attention
to detail, a smudge of brown paint ran from her cheek under her neck. There
was not a touch of exaggeration about her costume.
This was a promising beginning, but the next day it rained ! Mrs. Whitabat could
not bring herself to paint the model. The models in question were two diminutive
women, of 6 and 8, with ragged clothing and sticty white hair.
"If I could scrape them first !" the suggested.
So she read novels all day at the window.
It rained for three days, unceasingly; the vegetable garden was a mud patch;
the fields were soaked; the dampness was a thing to be felt.
On the morning of the fourth day Mrs. Whitehat appeared on the scene with a
glass of water, which she pointed at with a tragic gesture.
"I held it up to the light," she groaned. "I — was about to brush my teeth. I -
don't think it is a good habit to brush your teeth in Holland. The natives never do, and do you know the reason?"
"They have no toothbrushes," susgested Verdantina.
"They have no teeth," I offered timidly.

For sole answer Mrs. Whitehat held up the glass. The pollywogs were kicking
and splashing about with youthful abandon. We regarded them with the liveliest interest.
She packed her trunk tbat night. Art was, after all, she concluded, but a pastime,
a luxury; and no serious-minded person could hope to devote herself to it
with ardor and not find it a disillusionist.
Never have I heard such pessimistic views of the future of painting.
And on the firs! train in the early morning Mrs. Whitehat left the Dutch village
and her artistic longings behind her. By what means she prevailed upon Miss Grey
to join her, by what blandishments, tears, threats, prophecies and cajolings she induced
me to drop palette and brushes and depart for a trip on the Rhine, I leave the
intelligent reader to conjecture.
Cologne was a reward to us for our sacrifices. The great, cathedral, against the
night sky, towered loftily above the enormous railroad station, tbe swarming hotels
the incongruous rushing, modern streets, a mute monument of the superiority of
age. In the old days the ancient houses crept around it to its very feet, black, leaning,
old houses, almost as antique as the protecting towers. At great expense the
streets around it were cleared, great hotels were built and the railroad stations. The
improvement, from the picturesque standpoint, is distinctly questionable.
We attended mass in the morning, the beadle being finally induced to allow us
to enter.
He was as magnificent as a flamingo, that red-robed beadle; and never have two
feet been so ample a support. He seemed to push them along the stone pavement
like snowshoes. His intelligence was not as well developed.

"Strangers are not allowed here during service; come again between 12 and 1.
The guides cannot explain now."
After whispered protestations in flattering German we were graciously passed onward,
like culprits, and sternly marched by a brother beadle to three seats where

we might look up the dim aisles as into some gigantic forest and listen to
the mighty organ and the light, pure voices of the chorister boys, singing somewhere unseen
high above our heads. We hoped to see the cathedral on our return.

The Rhine steamer leaves at nine. It was a beautiful morning; the sunlight made the river almost intolerably
bright; the steamer was gayly decorated with flags and was already crowded with
people when we reached the landing. We found seats at last, and with shrill
whistles and toots we started. Then we glanced at our fellow-travelers. A young
man and a young woman on one side, most evidently on their wedding journey.
A large and interesting family of children with a beamingly affectionate, proud and
fond mamma on the other. All these, beyond question or doubt, loyal Americans.
Opposite four girls, dressed all alike, with large feet and large waists, red dresses,
black capes and blue hats, as evidently not Americans. Next to them a pearl powdery, bejeweled person, with a very remarkable poodle;
then a very large man, with a melan-

choly expression, who was claimed every now and then by some child of the large
family opposite, steadily read the newspaper; and beyond these were more shirt-
waisted, black-skirted damsels, and more men in straw bats, and frequent children
and little pet dogs.
The bride, who was a pretty little woman, with glasses, an infantile countenance
and a guidebook, was engaged in reading aloud descriptions written in the
German-English language which would have delighted Carlyle's heart. Here are
two verses from two poems. I would like to add that my veracity is my strong
point, and that he who runs or sails on the Rhine steamers may read.
See I the birds flying
High tbe blue air through,
See I the ships striving
In distant gray fog anew,
Is me, aa if in flight
The birds', words sing,
As in quick despite
To ships others cling.
And here is a verse from a Rhine wine song:
The Blocksmount Is a renowned stronghold.
And produces only windy lamentations.
here the devil and satellites is ever old
Expectorate their weirdly incantations.
Anyone who cannot understand that exquisite sentiment has no true poetic
Mrs. Whitehat settled herself for solid enjoyment. Here, at last, she was
going to see the far-famed Rhine, with its wonderful mountains and its ruined castles.

Every one has seen the Rhine, except a few million people who have not, but for
these unfortunates guidebooks exist — not in German-English.
Suffice to say that for the first hour, the wonderful purple nills, the castles around
which so many legends have been woven, were to be seen in the enchantment of a
flood of golden sunshine. The river sparkled blue and silver; the joy was uncontrolled.
After this tbere were shadows. The pearl powder lady, who was a singer, the informed us, crossed to our
side with her poodle in her arms. She had seen the Rhine countless times.
"Yap, yap," snapped the poodle.
She pointed out the Lorelei almost immediately and we gazed at a lonely rock
in the water with all tbe proper emotions. "You can almost imagine her sitting
there singing with her golden comb and her golden hair," sighed Mrs. Whitehat.
"I've always had an interest in her character; she was so frank and aboveboard in
her transactions."
"Singing with her golden hair!" repeated Verdantina.
"Mamma," cried one of the dear little American boys, punching his mother to
attract her attention, "what did you say this river was?"
"The Rhine, my darling. That wonderful river mother has so often told you about."
"Why is it the Rhine?" asked my darling.
"Edwin, listen to this," said the little bride : " Thereupon he took his zither
and sang an old morning song.
'"Ah, that Bounds,' indeed said the joy fully surprised, 'exactly as the song which
a poor captive knight in the north towersings when I pasture my sheep in the
neighborhood.' With these words the maiden sprang away."
"I don't t(h)ink," said Mrs. Pearlpowder, doubtfully, "that that was the Lorelei,
"I tink dis rock now coming is her." Mrs. Whitehat regarded her with deep indignation.
To have wasted her sentiments upon a commonplace rock was maddening.
The children on our left now began to clamor for food and, baskets being produced,
they were soon talking again with their mouths full of apple and bread and jam.
Every other moment one or the other would precipitate himself upon the melancholy
gentleman with the newspaper and drag him reluctantly to see some view.
The smallest hopeful, in a sailor dress, insisted upon climbing up Mrs. Whitehat' s
sleeve with jam my fingers to investigate her hat, upon which several bunches
of cherries bobbed in the breeze. The fond mother reproached the chile mildly,
and Mrs. Whitehat moved as far as she could, but the attractions were too alluring
and soon the little darling was pulling off the cherries and eating them blissfully.
"I feel like a murderer," said Mrs. Whitehat, "but I do hope they'll have an almost instantaneous
fatal effect." With reproachful glances at Mrs. Whitehat, the mother warded off that catastrophe,
and the baby shrieked with earpiercing yells into that irate lady's ear.
The poodle barked furiously, and there were strained relations for the rest of the day.
The little bride continued to read aloud, the pearl powder lady continued to give us her impressions
as to the scenery and to correct them later on. The dear little boy asked questions over
and over again, and punched his mother to attract her attention. The melancholy gentleman fell
asleep behind his paper, and the sun burned the skin from our noses.
Broken bits of conversation floated to us in this wise. It was all so romantic.
"Just think, dear," murmured the bride, "this is St. Goar, and the guidebook says it is 1300 years old."
"Didn't grow as fast as Chicago, did it?" said the young husband, looking at the
gray little village with most open contempt. On we steam past the Rudesheim, where
the sun glitters in the wings of the noble figure of Germania guarding her river.
Opposite is Bingen of "dying soldier fame," and behind are the vineclad hills.
On we steam past Coblentz with its tremendous fortresses; past the gloomy ruined towers
of Roland's castle, and tbe little bride reads the legends of the Lorelei and Bishop Hatto eaten by mice in his impregnable tower, black and terrible,
haunted by bis restless spirit. It is impossible to shudder with horror:
for that the poodle and the baby are excellent antidotes, lean only quote as
typical of all our sentiments another verse of that too delightful Rhine-Wine song:
On the Rhine, on the Rhine our vines grow,
Blessed be the charming, romantic Rhine,
Which its jovially sociable people well know
Yield freely the exhil-i-arating noble wine.
Van Dyck Brown.

San Francisco Call, Volume 80, Number 154, 1 November 1896