13th January (1919)

Germany is working entirely on paper money.  I have not seen a coin above ½ mark value, and as a rule even 10 pfennings are paper money, i.e. ½d.

The Rhine is now several feet lower than when we arrived; confined between walls, its width does not vary.  Powerful tugboats are forever hauling strings of barges up and down.  As an indication of the value some Huns place upon their iron crosses – one was sold to an artillery-man for 10 marks.  The shortage of food etc. seems to be acute, and one is forever being pestered with cadgers, whilst the more unscrupulous are making small fortunes trading their (and other’s) belongings to civilians.  Some fellows imagine that it is possible to live two lives, and that their post-war characters will not suffer from acts done in uniform in strange lands.

9.30 p.m.  The scheme of the opera (Tales of Hoffman) as far as I could guess is to portray several tales or legends told at a tavern gathering – the opera opening and closing with the tavern scene.  The act in which the well-known barcarolle occurs was of extraordinary sensuousness, as that theme would suggest.  The piece is of an uncommon, seductive and entertaining character.  In one act is a lady automaton, or mechanical doll, who walks, sings, and dances in a manner amazingly clever and machine-like.  Another scene appeared to depict the hallucinations of a girl dying of consumption.

Have I told you how the Huns raven for “chocolade” – they will sell their very souls for it.  Apparently it has been unobtainable for years, and was once their almost indispensible confection.

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