There is a Hotel Perkeo, there must be Clubs Perkeo, probably a suburb and steamboats of the same name, and the local oath "Per Perkeo!" has a harmless sound, but nothing could be more binding in Heidelberg. Momma thought his example a very unfortunate one for a University town, but the rest of us were inclined to admire Perkeo as a self-made man and a success.
The genius loci was doubtless cooling himself in the retirement of some luxurious hole among the ruins, and the dwarf Perkéo, famous in song and toast, had the best of it that day down in the cellar by the great tun.
The dwarf of the Elector Palatine, Perkeo, whose effigy or ghost springs from a magical box in the cave of Heidelberg, was a remarkable specimen of this science, very varied in its applications. It fashioned beings the law of whose existence was hideously simple: it permitted them to suffer, and commanded them to amuse.
At all events, one writes of Heidelberg but one thinks of Perkeo, as he swings from the sign-boards of the Haupt-Strasse, and stands on the lids of the beer mugs, and smiles from the extra-mural decoration of the wine shops, and lifts his glass, in eternally good wooden fellowship, beside the big Tun in the Castle cellar.
The Elector Charles Philip, whose court he jested for, certainly made no such mark upon his town and time as Perkeo did, and in that, perhaps, there is a moral for sovereigns, although the Senator advises me not to dwell upon it.
He isn't the patron saint of Heidelberg, because he only lived about a hundred and fifty years ago, and the first qualification for a patron saint is antiquity. As poppa says, there may be elderly gentlemen in Heidelberg now whose grandfathers have warned them against the personal habits of Perkeo from actual observation.
Emmeline found him very like her father, and confided her impression to Mrs. Malt. "But of course," she added condoningly, "poppa was different when you married him." Perkeo was not so sentimental as the Trumpeter of Sakkingen, and the Trumpeter of Sakkingen was not so sentimental as the Heidelberg University student.
In connection with Heidelberg I wish there were something authentic to say about Perkeo; but nobody would believe the quantity of wine he is supposed to have drunk in a day, which is the statement oftenest made about him, so it is of no consequence that I have forgotten the number of bottles.