Alsatian Farm - Expo Vienna 1873

Alsatian Farm at the Exhibition Expo Vienna 1873

We shall refrain from accompanying the description of the Alsatian farm with any political allusion.
It is a model of rustic industry, placed in the Prater, like so many others, and we shall imitate the placidity of the peasant, a natural supporter of the logic of accomplished facts. The field fattened with blood provides him with more abundant wheat. Now he quietly ploughs the furrows where yesterday death reaped, and if, by chance, his plough, while digging the ground, has uncovered a skull, he signs himself piously, reassures the frightened horses by speaking softly to them, and continues his work of blessing. The work of the nurturer of mankind is so sacred that nothing should distract him from his work. Everything greens and blooms in Alsace, after as before, and the sun shines on the green carpet of the meadow undulated by the burial mounds of the buried soldiers. The hop sticks broken by the cuirassiers of Reischoffen in their desperate charge are already replaced by others ready to serve as a support for the perennial plant, and horses with shiny bellies graze in the meadows which still show, here and there, the feet of badly buried horses.

The houses of the Alsatian peasants are similar to the farmhouses of Swabia; they are composed of one floor and a garret, which serves as a bedroom for the peasant's young daughter, a precaution which prevents appointments at the window.

At present all these facsimiles of dwellings are bodies without souls. Once the Exhibition is opened, when the dried yellow corn is hung in long festoons below the cornices, when the box branch blessed at Easter is tied above the front door, when the young Alsatian girl, with her developed breast, with her black hairdo resembling a gigantic butterfly, where the tricolour cockade shines out of patriotic coquetry, will invite you, in passing, to taste her Strasburger Knofle (Flour dumpling), you will be charmed and you will then visit with sympathy this living memory of the farms of Alsace.

©L’Exposition Universelle de Vienne 1873