If you don't pay, you stop outside;
that's their brutal rule."
"Dear me," I said, "what a very unpleasant arrangement! And
whereabouts is this extraordinary theatre? I don't think I can ever
have been inside it."
"I don't think you have," he replied; "it is at Ober-Ammergau - first
turning on the left after you leave Ober railway-station, fifty
miles from Munich."
"Um! rather out of the way for a theatre," I said. "I should not
have thought an outlying house like that could have afforded to give
"The house holds seven thousand people," answered my friend B., "and
money is turned away at each performance. The first production is
on Monday next. Will you come?"
I pondered for a moment, looked at my diary, and saw that Aunt Emma
was coming to spend Saturday to Wednesday next with us, calculated
that if I went I should miss her, and might not see her again for
years, and decided that I would go.
To tell the truth, it was the journey more than the play that
tempted me. To be a great traveller has always been one of my
cherished ambitions. I yearn to be able to write in this sort of
"I have smoked my fragrant Havana in the sunny streets of old
Madrid, and I have puffed the rude and not sweet-smelling calumet of
peace in the draughty wigwam of the Wild West; I have sipped my
evening coffee in the silent tent, while the tethered camel browsed
without upon the desert grass, and I have quaffed the fiery brandy
of the North while the reindeer munched his fodder beside me in the
hut, and the pale light of the midnight sun threw the shadows of the
pines across the snow; I have felt the stab of lustrous eyes that,
ghostlike, looked at me from out veil-covered faces in Byzantium's
narrow ways, and I have laughed back (though it was wrong of me to
do so) at the saucy, wanton glances of the black-eyed girls of Jedo;
I have wandered where 'good' - but not too good - Haroun Alraschid
crept disguised at nightfall, with his faithful Mesrour by his side;
I have stood upon the bridge where Dante watched the sainted
Beatrice pass by; I have floated on the waters that once bore the
barge of Cleopatra; I have stood where Caesar fell; I have heard the
soft rustle of rich, rare robes in the drawing-rooms of Mayfair, and
I have heard the teeth-necklaces rattle around the ebony throats of
the belles of Tongataboo; I have panted beneath the sun's fierce
rays in India, and frozen under the icy blasts