In Tyrol

Abbott, Charles David

IN TYROL By CHARLES DAVID ABBOTT THE Tyrolese weather had been for a week at its worst. August rains had deluged the whole valley of the Inn and the mountains had disappeared from view. After a...

...But said he, "Born a Rumer, always a Rumer...
...Like most of the laboring Tyrolers beyond the age of fifty, he looked considerably older than he probably was...
...Would my sons fight for Austria...
...There isn't much any more, and what there is, isn't the same...
...What is the republic?- a lot of men in Wien fighting with each other...
...They bombarded me with questions...
...His rugged face had in it all the marks of a strong native intelligence, untutored doubtless, but no less keen for that...
...It is too cold for you to sit out here...
...they do not love her, they do not know her...
...I was so moved by his simple eloquence that I thought it indelicate to leave without first allowing him time to recover from his depression, but I had to return for supper and it was already nearly six o'clock...
...It was true then that we had to work for what we got, and it is just as true now, even though Austria is a republic...
...They are not fromm...
...They neglect the church...
...They say it is better now, and that we ought to like it, but I can remember when Austria was a happier country...
...She greeted me sympathetically and hurried in again for the beer...
...In the American republic is there always fighting...
...It would do no good to extol the advantages of a democracy, when all they had found in one was increasing poverty and the defection of their children from the only standards to which they trusted...
...No Austria, no Tyrol and the Germans on our shoulders...
...We loved him...
...I paid Frau Kieltrunk for our several beers and for Stollmark's Schnaps, and prepared to go...
...I confessed that peace did not always reign in Washington, and explained as best I could how there had to be conflict between two parties in order to keep the government going...
...He was silent for a minute or two...
...I read the newspapers too, but I can understand better what is going on, because I remember the days before the war...
...That's what we will come to...
...No-because they have no respect for Austria...
...Stollmark asked me...
...but he was still wiry, still a man in the prime of life...
...I tried to talk of more pleasant things, of the magnificence of the mountains, of the grandeur of the glaciers in the Zillerthal, but Stollmark had opened his heart and was not to be restrained from the complete confession of his opinions...
...The Socialists want their way, the Heimwehr wants whatever the Socialists don't want, and Austria never gets anything...
...Stollmark accompanied me into the clearing and said farewell with a final "Griiss Gott...
...It seemed somehow useless to argue against them...
...But now would I be happy in fighting for Austria...
...Come into the kitchen...
...I was both hot with the exercise and cold with the pervading damp...
...And what do Americans think of the republic...
...He was only by adoption, however, a genuine Arzler for he had been born in Rum, a village perhaps three-quarters of a mile from his present house...
...It was long before their excitement had sufficiently waned to permit them to speak of themselves, but finally I learned, piece by piece, their own histories...
...In response to my shout the woman who keeps the Aim, much surprised at having a patron on such a day, came out from her kitchen...
...After a Sunday, like the preceding days spent uninterruptedly in the stuffiness of a pension room, I was determined on the Monday to get a breath of purer air and to stretch my atrophying legs over some of the nearer hills...
...We can only pray for the Anschluss, and heaven knows that that will not really please us...
...Finally, having developed a thirst, I arrived at the Thaurer Aim upon which I had fixed as the terminus for my somewhat melancholy excursion...
...I was born under Franz Josef, and I was taken as a child to see him in Innsbruck...
...Yes," Stollmark put in...
...they know only the republic, and the republic to them is only an easy way of living...
...You should have seen Austria when she had the good Kaiser Franz...
...I don't see what the world is coming to when the young people have no regard for their elders and no love for the heilige Maria...
...His home was in the plain below at Arzl and there he had lived for the past thirty years, except for the period of the war, when he had been in the army on the Italian front...
...He was bent and wrinkled, his hair unkempt, the crevices in his unprotected neck noticeably dark with the dirt of the fields...
...Griiss Gott," he addressed me and shook me heartily by the hand...
...We have parties all right," he replied, "but they don't care about Austria...
...The beer soon appeared and with it a man obviously of the purest peasant stock...
...I went to the war for him...
...I labored up the steep and rugged path skirting the Klamm, and on over the sodden meadows, past the Rumer Aim and the crumbling limestone ravine...
...A fire seemed at that moment the most important thing in the world...
...They were for Austria and the Kaiser...
...the benches and tables in its little clearing had been turned on their sides, and there was no evidence of human activity either inside or outside, except a thin smoke that drifted from the chimney and refused to rise further...
...My sons won't believe that...
...like their cousins they expect to find easy money in the Hauptstadt, but they never find it...
...His sister still lived in her native hamlet, except in the summer, when she and her husband found it profitable to bring their cattle into the hills where the pasturage was better and where they could also count on Alpinists to take advantage of their hostelry...
...On discovering, however, that I was nothing more alarming than an American, they were joviality itself...
...It was hard walking...
...Conducted by my new friend, I moved into the kitchen, where we were soon a merry party: Frau Kieltrunk busily paring potatoes, the peasant and I drinking her beer, and all of us conversing...
...They both shook hands with me and wished me a good voyage back to America...
...It was a sad day when we lost the Kaiser...
...They were long years and very hard, but I did not grudge them...
...We will be like the Bavarians-all of Austria just a part of another empire...
...they smiled knowingly at the absurdity of prohibition, which was the one American peculiarity with which they were thoroughly familiar (evidently they were not devotees of the Innsbruck movies...
...My far from flawless German left them puzzled as to my nationality and they feared for a few moments, much to my amusement, that I might be Italian...
...It's the republic that will do it, but even that will be better than what we have now...
...No-because there is no Austria, there is only the republic...
...Things are not what they were even in Rum, and it's the young people who will never know any better...
...You're in a sweat, and there's no surer way to get pains in the back...
...They are full of large notions, but they never do anything...
...The clouds still hung on the peaks and the mists moved slowly over the lower ranges, but there was no sign of a renewed downpour when I left Miihlau shortly after lunch for a jaunt over the slopes that lie to the north between Innsbruck and Hall...
...They care only for themselves...
...The man, whose name was Stollmark, was Frau Kieltrunk's brother (her husband had gone on business to the valley) and he had merely dropped in for a social chat on his way home from the salt mines...
...The Kaiser didn't have to fight with anybody to do what he wanted, and he knew what was good for Tyrol, just as he knew what was good for Wien or Steiermark...
...They think they know everything," resumed Stollmark, "and they only waste their time...
...the air was almost too wet and thick for breathing...
...They don't know Tyrol, they don't care about Tyrol...
...he became at once all solemnity...
...My sons leave all the work to their father and me, while they go off to Innsbruck...
...I was by no means averse to falling in with this suggestion...
...They read in the newspapers about liberty and the glories of a republic, and they suppose there is no longer any reason for doing as their fathers have done before them...
...His gaiety was gone...
...I resuscitated a bench and table, and prepared myself for a chilly and uncomfortable Jause...
...Have you seen the Reich...
...here I would have a glass of beer before starting on the journey back to Miihlau...
...They have not even respect...
...Frau Kieltrunk, who had nodded her head approvingly at all her brother said, had something of her own to add...
...Frau Kieltrunk looked up from her culinary labors, "Ach, you Americans never had a kaiser...
...they required amplifications and further explanations of my accounts of Manhattan skyscrapers and of American prices...
...Now we have nothing to love but a lot of quarreling politicians who can do nothing to bring back the old Austria, even if they wanted it...
...The hut was the epitome of desolation...
...The curiosity of my companions had, of course, first to be satisfied...
...I started down the hill, and as I hurried I could see towering above me on a spur of the mountains, just emerging from the mists, the great stone pyramid, the Kaisersaule, which an emperor had built as a symbol of his regard for Tyrol...
...I fought for nearly the whole four years in the war, and I with wife and children in Arzl...
...His words were strong with sincerity...
...They knew the difficulties of their own conditions and they saw their only relief in the ways of the past...
...Frau Kieltrunk has a fire, and she will be happy to have you warm yourself...
...he spoke slowly, almost painfully...
...The republic is not the same...
...I hardly knew what to reply, and fell into some stupid remark about one republic being pleased to welcome another into her company...

Vol. 11 • April 1930 • No. 26


 
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