The legs at length disappeared, for the curtain of the petticoats was dropped, and with it fell all the bright and glowing visions of boyhood, in which I had been indulging. I felt once more that I was neither in life's prime, nor a denizen of "bonny Scotland;" so I listened to certain suggestions which my young companion had for some time been making, and agreed to accompany him a little way down the course of the Bober, while he tried to fish. We went accordingly, but to no purpose. The Bober does not become a trout-stream till long after it has lost sight of the source from whence it springs, and we had our walk, with the conversation of the young burgomaster and a friend of his, a learned baker in the village, as our reward. The historical researches of the latter gentleman had been very extensive, and he possessed a laudable zeal to make this known. He was very curious to know whether Lord Cromwell were yet alive, or the king of England's head put on again. I did my best to satisfy him on these interesting topics; but I doubt whether I succeeded; for on my assuring him that there was no Lord Cromwell, and that the head of William IV. had never been cut off, he eyed me with a glance of peculiar distrust.
Thus passed a day at Shatzlar,—heavily enough, it must be allowed; for, ardent as my admiration of Wordsworth's poetry is, I confess that I have not succeeded in imbibing so much of his philosophy as to feel as he would doubtless have felt in a similar situation. Both mine and my companion's overwrought limbs, however, derived no slight advantage from the halt, and well it was that they did so, for the task which awaited them on the morrow was a hard one. After repeated consultations with the burgomaster, which ended invariably, on his part, with an entreaty that we would not think of an enterprise so Quixotic as crossing Schnee-Koppee at this early season, and without a guide, we made up our minds to go in direct opposition to his counsels, and after gaining the summit, to descend by the other side, and sleep at Schmiedeberg, or some other town in Prussian Silesia. Just, albeit sharp and cutting, is the aphorism of Madame de Stael, that there is no country in the world where the expression, "It is impossible," comes so frequently into use as in Germany. Propose to a German any undertaking which he has either never tried, or which might break through his every-day habits, and he will assure you that the thing is not to be accomplished. Urge him to increased exertions, or accelerated speed, and he will tell you that to do more, or move faster, is impracticable. And as to learning any new method of performing a given task, be it even the dressing of a dish for dinner, I question whether you could prevail upon him to attempt that by any influence short of positive compulsion. Yet in war the Germans are an enterprising people, and among the arts of peace they can boast, with truth, that some of the most important discoveries ever effected were effected by their countrymen. How strange that their domestic habits should be so thoroughly in contradiction to such qualities as enterprise in war and ingenuity in the application of mechanics.
Of this strange predilection to create difficulties for themselves and others, which, beyond all doubt, attaches to the German character, we were well aware; and took, in consequence, the burgomaster's cautions at little more than they proved, in effect, to be worth. Some obstacles, with a good deal of fatigue, we made up our minds to encounter; but, as the Duke of Wellington said in his speech to the cadets at Addiscombe,—a speech which I had the good fortune to hear, and am not likely soon to forget,—nothing great was ever accomplished without labour; and labour we were content to bestow, and fatigue to endure, even in the ascent of Schnee-Koppee. Accordingly at six in the morning, and carrying the heir of the hotel along with us, to point out the direct path through a forest, which it was necessary to thread, we sallied forth; and by seven were once more left to our own guidance, with the steep but grassy side of one of the ramifications of the mountain under our feet.
I shall never forget, to my dying day, the effect produced upon me by the first half of this ascent. The day was as bright and beautiful as ever shone out of heaven. Hot it was, but not intensely so, for the sun's power was yet trivial; and as the winds were hushed, except when from time to time a light breeze rustled among the foliage of the pine-woods, the stillness that prevailed around struck me as something quite sublime. In proportion as we rose, likewise, above the level of the valley, every sight and sound appeared to acquire a new charm. Beneath were wreaths of mist, rolling themselves slowly up the sides of the opposite mountains. Under their canopy villages and hamlets were reposing, from the chimneys of which long thin streaks of smoke curled upwards as if to join the cloud; while here and there a solitary cottage, a chapel, and even a gilt crucifix, gleamed to peculiar advantage from its own quiet nook. I have spoken of the silence as being quite sublime. Not that it was unbroken; for up the mountain's side came, by fits and starts, the tinkling of the bells, which in this country are suspended to the necks of the cattle when they are feeding; intermixed with an occasional whoop, or snatch of a song, or merry whistle from the cow-herd; while the branches over-head,—for we sat down in the skirts of a low pine wood,—were crowded with little birds, whose sweet but not loud notes completed one of the most exquisite concerts to which, in any part of the world, I have ever listened. And then the landscape,—what a picture was there. Bold conical hills, swelling one over another like waves of the sea, overtopped and looked down upon a succession of valleys, each more striking, both for richness and beauty, than the first; and forming altogether such a scene as must be witnessed to be felt, or even understood.
We could not spare much time to repose, even in such a situation as this; so we quitted our lairs, not without regret, and plodded onwards. The whole day's journey was, as may be imagined, interesting in the extreme. Before us was the peak of Schnee-Koppee, sharp, to all appearance, as the apex of a bee-hive, yet supporting a round tower, which we understood the burgomaster to have described as a chapel. Round this peak large fields of snow were lying, but the summit itself seemed clear. This pleased us exceedingly; indeed, every step which we took in advance helped to dispel a portion of the gloom in which our host had endeavoured to envelope the enterprise; for though there was no path, points of observation could everywhere be taken; and the woods, of the depths and horrors of which he had spoken so much, all proved easy of passage. On, therefore, we tramped, nothing doubting, till, after repeated dips and renewed ascents, each of which opened out to us fresh glories, some of them almost, but not quite equal, to those that lay behind, we arrived, about twelve o'clock, at the village of Kleine Oupa; the most elevated of all the spots on which, in this country of Bohemia, men have ventured to establish their permanent dwellings; and raised, I should conceive, little, if at all, short of four thousand feet above the level of the sea. For round them, in patches, among the stunted firs, the snow was still lying; even while the sun beat warmly overhead, and thin crops of rye,—the only grain fit to be cultivated at such a height from the plain,—seemed advancing to perfection.
Kleine Oupa is rather a hamlet than a village. It contains, perhaps, thirty houses, of which one is a parsonage,—for there is a church,—one a school-house, one a caserne, in which a party of jagers are quartered, and one which fulfils the two-fold duty of mill and gasthof. To this latter we bent our steps, and found in its tap-room rather better than the customary fare, that is to say, good white bread, as well as eggs and butter. These furnished forth, for hungry travellers like us, an excellent dinner; at the completion of which our journey recommenced, not to be delayed again, except for a brief space, at remote intervals, till we had accomplished the avowed object of our excursion.
Nobody can have climbed a mountain so high as even the loftiest in the highlands of Scotland, without observing the effect upon vegetation of the increasing severity of the climate as you approach the top. The last forest, worthy of the name, through which we passed this day, overhung Kleine Oupa; and even the remoter portions of it were stunted and unhealthy. Next came the ascent of what is called Swartzen-Koppee; that is, of a long black table-land, overtopping, by a considerable altitude, the rest of the mountains near, but still far beneath the level of Schnee-Koppee. Here vegetation entirely ceased. First, there were some straggling firs, the uppermost branches of which reached to my middle. Then there was heath in abundance, out of which we scared an enormous black cock; and finally, there was the bare brown rock, unclothed even with moss, and lying about in fragments, as if a thousand sledge-hammers had been employed for a century, in the vain endeavour to flatten or beat down the mountain. Here, then, we paused to look round, and had the day been propitious, we should have probably obtained as fine a view as from the peak of Schnee-Koppee himself. But, as almost always happens when you have travelled far to ascend a mountain, the atmosphere had become thick and foggy; so that our vision was bounded by limits far more narrow than we had flattered ourselves with finding. Still the panorama was very fine, and we enjoyed it much; after which, having Schnee-Koppee himself before us, we pushed on.
We had been obliged to pass a barrier or two of snow, in order to reach Swartzen-Koppee; but the snow was perfectly firm, and we suffered no inconvenience from it. The valley between Swartzen-Koppee and the peak beyond was quite clear; neither did a single flake rest upon the indistinct track, which the feet of travellers has, in the course of ages, marked up the face of the stony ridge which is called Schnee-Koppee. We therefore entered upon the task of ascending cheerfully, and found that there were no real difficulties to overcome. But we met with a little adventure, if such it deserves to be called, which appeared at the moment to be curious, and which has not yet lost all its interest with us. We were mistaken in supposing that we should be the first of this year's tourists to stand upon the top of Schnee-Koppee. Other wayfarers had been before us, and we saw them now descending in such a direction as to ensure our falling in with them during our upward progress. They proved to be three Dutch gentlemen, with a guide, who had come direct through Silesia from Schandau, and were able to tell us, when they discovered who we were, that a few days previously our friends at the baths were all alive and well. I need scarcely add that we stopped and chatted together, and finally parted as if we had been acquaintances of ten years' standing; for your bleak mountain's brow, like your cabin of an Edinburgh steam-ship, is an admirable concoctor of mushroom intimacies.
Having parted from our friends, not, however, without receiving from them some useful hints as to the descent into Silesia, we proceeded on, till we gained the loftiest peak of all. It is a huge cairn of loose stones, among which an innkeeper from Warmbrunn has built a tower; whither in the summer months he conveys food, wine, and beds, for all of which he, as may be expected, charges enormously. We had a pint of indifferent Rhine wine from him, which cost us a dollar, and we purchased a couple of long sticks, for which we paid twenty groschens more. But we were not induced, by his suggestions that sunrise and sunset were both exceeding glorious when watched from such a situation, to spend the night under his roof. On the contrary, after looking about us only to ascertain that the view, intercepted by the fog, was not to be compared with what we had seen in the morning, we wished him farewell; and, beholding at our feet the town of Warmbrunn, we plunged down towards it.
The ascent had been tolerably fatiguing; the descent was scarcely less so; and it proved to the full as tedious. The snow lay in extensive fields, to cross which occasioned a good deal of trouble, and when that was accomplished, we found ourselves diving through the heart of a thick forest. A road there certainly was, but whither it would lead us we could not tell; and though the glimpses which, from time to time, we obtained of the bold corries that indent the Silesian sides of the mountains, were uncommonly grand, we became, by degrees, too tired to enjoy them fully. Vainly, too, did we look about for some one to direct us aright. Two or three cottages, just under the cone, were the only haunts of men which we passed in our progress from the top to the bottom; and the solitary individual who met us,—a youth with a heavy burden on his back,—seemed to be a stranger. He could not tell us how to proceed, so we were left to push at a venture towards the point where we believed that Warmbrunn lay, though our sole guide was the indistinct remembrance of the observations which we had taken from the summit of the hill.
It is not worth while to relate how provokingly we missed our way, or to describe the resolution which urged us at last to pass directly through the wood. The latter movement proved to be, in one respect, a judicious one; for it carried us to the plane in a much shorter space of time than must have been consumed had we persisted in following the pathway. But it cut us off, for that night, from Warmbrunn; for we discovered, to our horror, that the place towards which our eyes had been directed from the moment they were permitted to penetrate the thick screen of branches, was not Warmbrunn, but a village, six English miles removed from it. There, however, in such a hotel as it could furnish, we were glad to pass the night; and if our fare proved somewhat homely, our beds were clean, and we slept like tops.
WARMBRUNN. THE OBJECTS AROUND. A DILEMMA. HIRSCHBERG. HOW TRAVELLERS MAY MANAGE WHEN THEIR PURSES GROW LIGHT. PASS FOR RUSSIANS, AND DERIVE GREAT BENEFIT FROM THE ARRANGEMENT. LANG-WASSER. GREIFFENBERG. THE PRUSSIAN LANDWEHR. GOLDEN TRAUM. SCENE IN THE VILLAGE INN. BERNSTADT. HERNHUT. THE HERNHUTERS. SYSTEM OF AGRICULTURE IN BOHEMIA. SCHLUKENAU. SCHANDAU.
We rose next morning at our usual hour, five o'clock, and having eaten our breakfast, and paid our bill, set out on the road to Warmbrunn. The latter place, which though nominally a mere village, has about it the air and general appearance of a first-rate country-town, can boast of a handsome schloss in its principal street, the residence of Count Schaff-Koatch. It is distant from Phthedorf, the village where we slept, about an hour and a half's walk, and can furnish excellent quarters at the Black Eagle for travellers, who, not being in a hurry, may desire to investigate the many curious and interesting objects which abound in the neighbourhood. For this province of Silesia is particularly rich in the ruins of old castles, one of which, likewise the property of Count Schaff-Koatch, occupies a very striking position on a projecting rock at the foot of Schnee-Koppee. Before us, however, these, and sundry allurements of a similar description, poured out their sweets in vain. There was no lack of inclination to linger in the vicinity certainly; indeed, it had formed part of our plan to do so; but the diminished weight of our purse led us, while sipping a little wine in the coffee-room of the above-named excellent hotel, to examine into the state of our finances, and we ascertained, to our horror, that we were worth no more than six-and-thirty swanzekers,—that is, eight Prussian dollars,—or, computing by the standard of English money, just one pound, four shillings. Now when it is considered that we were at least a hundred miles from home, that in every sense of the word we were in the land of strangers, acquainted but imperfectly with the language of the people about us, and totally unknown to high or low, it will easily be understood that we did not feel perfectly at ease, whatever course might be adopted, and saw, at once, that to delay our march even for the laudable purpose of inspecting the fine ruin near us, would be an act of madness. When, therefore, the landlord, with the civility of his craft and country, urged us to halt, were it only for a single day, I told him frankly how we were situated, adding, that we had wandered about for a longer period of time than we had allotted for the purpose, and must now hurry home as fast as possible.
Previous to this interesting conversation, and ere the condition of our funds had been fully ascertained, the appearance of a most promising river, which flows beside Warmbrunn, had tempted us to put together our rods; and we were actually preparing, after beds and supper should have been ordered, to set out for a day's fishing. The appearance of the rods created here the same sort of astonishment which had been called forth by them elsewhere; and we of course gratified the natives still more by exhibiting our lines and flies. I observed that mine host had been prodigiously smitten with my rod. He took it up, wielded it in all manner of ways, and pronounced it to be the most perfect thing of the kind that ever was seen; nay, he even questioned me, indirectly, as to the amount of money which would be demanded for such an article in England, and when I told him, pronounced that I had made an excellent bargain. No great while elapsed ere decisive proofs were afforded, that his was no barren admiration. "You are in want of money," said he, "I will buy your rod." I hardly know how I looked when this proposition came forth with all imaginable solemnity, but I made haste to decline it, and he had too much native good breeding to press his suggestion.
He was a civil man, and in offering to purchase my fishing-rod, meant to do me a kindness, while, at the same time, he gratified himself; so I gave him a fly, with which he was greatly delighted; I told him likewise how to use it. But if my unfortunate fly has since come into play, at the end of such a line and such a rod as the keeper of the Black Eagle produced, I am quite sure that it has caught no fish, if, indeed, it be not long ago "fathoms deep" under water. One of Mrs. Finn's red hackles would cut but a sorry figure as an appendage to some six yards of whip-cord, more especially after the said whip-cord should have been fastened, as my friend's was, to the extremity of a hazel wand, as thick and inflexible as the horn of a roebuck.
With us, however, the great question was, not whether the host of the Black Eagle was ever likely to become an expert fly-fisher; but how, with our scanty means, we were to reach Schandau, and at the same time, pay a visit to Hernhut, one of the principal points of observation which we had in view from the outset. The landlord assured us that we need be under no apprehensions, that a diligence went every day from Hirschberg, the chief town of the circle, which was distant from Warmbrunn not more than an hour's walk, and that we should both be conveyed to Hernhut, that is to say, sixty-five English miles of road, for the sum of three dollars at the utmost. This was cheering intelligence enough, but could we depend upon it? We feared not, and it was well for us that we listened to the advice of prudence, rather than to the whispers of inclination. We thanked him for the information which he had given us, paid our bill, and marched off to ascertain, at the post office in Hirschberg itself, how far it might or might not be authentic.
Though the route from Warmbrunn to Hirschberg conducted us over a dusty main-road, and the heat of the day was overpowering, we could not help stopping, from time to time, to look back upon the magnificent scene which we were leaving behind us. Viewed from this side, the Riesengebirgen offer a much bolder and grander outline than when looked at from Bohemia. Here, the mountains, instead of forming the back-ground and termination to numerous lesser ranges, spring, sheer and abrupt, out of the plain, and when loaded, as they happened to be to-day, with a bank of white clouds, which obscured none of their features, but seemed to nestle on the snow along their summits, the effect is altogether so sublime as to defy either pen or pencil to describe it. It was not without a sense of bitter mortification that we felt ourselves compelled to flee, as it were, from objects so enticing, of which our parting glances showed us that we had not seen half the beauties, and which we were destined, in all human probability, never to behold again.
We reached Hirschberg about noon, and found it to be both a larger and a more bustling place than any which, in the course of our rambles, we had yet visited. An old wall, with towers at intervals, though in ruins, encircles it, and it can boast of several churches, and a still greater number of spires. The streets are narrow, and the houses lofty, as is the case in almost all places which are or have been fortified; and the population appears to be dense. But our stay in it was too brief to permit our making any minute inquiries into their mode of employing themselves, though we could perceive, from the clumsy buildings which here and there over-hung the river, that there was some sort of a manufactory in the town.
We made, at once, for the post office, an establishment very different, in all respects, from that at Gabel, where functionaries, in the Prussian uniform, received us with great civility, and gave us the information of which we stood in need. It was by no means so satisfactory as we had been led to anticipate; indeed, we found on calculating the amount, that our seats in the diligence, as far as Hernhut, would sweep away the whole of our disposable stock, with the exception, I think, of a dollar and a half. Now, as the diligences never hurry themselves in Germany, any more than other people, twenty hours would be required to perform the journey to Hernhut, during which we could not very conveniently fast; and after all, when Hernhut was gained, we should still be forty long English miles from home. What was to be done? We looked at one another ruefully enough for a moment, then burst into a hearty laugh, and adjourning to an inn hard by, ordered dinner. We ate it with excellent appetites, though our only beverage was beer, and made up our minds to work our way on foot, while, like prudent people, we regulated our style of living according to the standard of our finances.
There was seated in the room of the hotel, into which we were ushered, a well-dressed man, evidently a traveller like ourselves, but one who travelled by some public conveyance. We entered into conversation with him, of course, and ascertained that he was a Hernhuter. What the term Hernhuter means, I shall find an opportunity to explain by-and-by; but at present my business is with the individual. To this gentleman, as soon as we had felt our way a little, I explained the precise nature of our situation, and consulted him both as to the route which it would be advisable to follow, and the probability of our stock holding out till we should arrive at our journey's end. A route he gave us cheerfully. We were to proceed as far as Greiffenberg that night, that is to say, twenty-one miles beyond Hirschberg. Next day, we might reach Loewenberg, which was twenty-four miles further; and the third day, after compassing about as many more, we should find ourselves in Hernhut.
"All this is very plain," said I, "but you forget the state of our finances. How are we two to exist for three days on seven dollars and a-half? and remember that, at Hernhut, we are two good marches from Schandau."
"You will exist very well," replied our acquaintance, "if you will only act with prudence. Don't let people know that you are Englishmen; for the most honest man among us considers it quite fair to charge an Englishman at least one-third more for everything than he charges a German."
We thanked him heartily for this hint; and having paid for our dinner the odd half dollar, we resumed our progress with exactly seven of these precious coins in our pockets.
We had compassed nine good miles already; and under any other circumstances than the present, should have as soon thought of flying to Schandau through the air, as of marching one-and-twenty more; but as the old proverb expresses it, "Necessity has no law." Every approach of fatigue was accordingly resisted by the aid of reflection; which suggested, truly enough, that to loiter, would involve us in difficulties and embarrassments, which, however transient they might be, could not fail of annoying us while they operated. But as we drew towards Greiffenberg, we remembered that it had been described as a large and thriving town, and a large and thriving town, we conceived, would not suit with the low condition of our exchequer. We accordingly resolved to stop short at some village a mile or two on this side of it; and at a place called Lang-Wasser, we found precisely the sort of hotel of which we were in search. It was just one degree elevated above a pot-house; and its owner contrived to accommodate us with a chamber to ourselves. Here, then, in the character of Russians, we fixed our head-quarters, and right well and cheaply we fared and were attended to.
I have nothing to say about Lang-Wasser, except that it is a small straggling township, of which the keeper of our hotel was the burgomaster; and that the great majority of the inhabitants being Roman Catholics, a Romish priest was in possession of the benefice. I found, likewise, that there prevailed among his flock, that attachment to their own communion which the Roman Catholics are never ashamed to avow, even though it may subject them to the charge of bigotry. One of the first questions put to us was, whether we were Catholics? and on our taking advantage of the equivoque, and replying in the affirmative, the tongues of the whole family seemed to be loosed. They had no predilection for the creed, or the worship, or the persons of their evangelical neighbours. How different, in this respect, has been the bearing of all among the Protestant population of Prussia with whom I have conversed. If the subject of religion chanced to be introduced at all,—and unless introduced by me, this never once happened,—it was treated as something not only not interesting to the feelings of the speaker, but of the power of which to excite an interest in anybody, he could form no notion. Is it not a pity that, under a government avowedly Protestant, such a line of policy should be taken up, as to root out all zeal for the truth, among such as profess to be its followers, while the followers of error continue enthusiastically attached to it?
We fared well that night, both as to eating and sleeping. Our supper was excellent, our beds clean, and the charge for the whole barely two shillings,—a practical illustration of the soundness of the advice which we had received from our friendly Hernhuter. It was difficult, indeed, to conceive how, even in Silesia, the people could afford to treat us as they did, for so small a sum. Yet we paid our bill without expressing, even by a careless word, that its amount surprised us; and restrained our very mirth till a turn in the road placed us beyond the hazard of being detected in its indulgence.
There had been a considerable fall of rain while we slept; so that at seven o'clock in the morning, when our march began, we had every prospect before us of a pleasant journey. There was no dust to annoy; the hedge-rows, on either hand, (for it must be remembered that, in all the states of Germany, the highways are planted, at the expense of the government, with a double row of trees,) sent forth an unceasing concert of sweet sounds, and the very people whom we met, seemed by their joyous countenances to confess the influence of the balmy atmosphere. And by the way, I must not forget to observe, that the costumes of the country people, both male and female, had varied a good deal since we commenced our ramble. In the neighbourhood of Tetchen, the smock-frock made its appearance among wagoners and even labouring men, while the women wore, as in Saxony, short bodice jackets with long skirts, red or red and white striped petticoats, and round their heads either a flaring red handkerchief, or a cap adorned behind with two enormous flies. As we penetrated further into Bohemia, the smock-frock among the men gave place to a cloth or velvetine jacket, and the cap was supplanted by a coarse steeple-crowned hat. It strikes me that the female portion of the community exhibited less love of change, till we reached Silesia; and then I looked twice before I could persuade myself, that Queen Elizabeth, and the dames and virgins of her day, were not returned to upper air. Long waists, with hips famously padded, reduced the shapes of such as had any shape, to the symmetry of a wasp, while round their necks were enormous, stiffly-starched ruffs, which stuck out so far, and rose so high, as to give to the red, round, blowsy faces which protruded over them, a tolerably exact resemblance to so many field-turnips. More comical-looking animals I have rarely seen, though they were evidently of a different opinion.
We passed through Greiffenberg about eight o'clock, and found it by no means the formidable sort of place which our fears,—the offspring of our poverty,—had represented it to be. An old town, built irregularly along the side of a hill, it seems to possess neither trade nor manufactures; indeed, a flour-mill or two, planted by the river's side, sufficiently marked it out as the head of a purely agricultural district. The view from the eminence above, is, however, exceedingly fine. Sweeping over a vast and fertile plain, throughout which abundance of wood is scattered, and resting from time to time upon some old ruin, one of which, called Kreifenstein Castle, and the property of Graff Schaff-Koatch, presents a peculiarly striking appearance, the eye finds its powers of vision bounded at last by the Riesengebirgen, which have as yet lost no portion of the sublimity of character that belongs to them, though they are now removed to a distance, as the crow flies, of at least twenty miles. We took what we suspected would prove to be our last distinct view of the magnificent range, not without experiencing a portion of that melancholy which never fails to arise out of a lasting separation even from inanimate objects, which may have gratified our tastes, or interested our imaginations.
We had met on the road as we trudged along, several small parties of soldiers; twos and threes, belonging to the landwehr, or militia of the country, of which the season for training was arrived. This was not, however, the commencement of our acquaintance with that remarkably fine-looking body of men. While we lingered in Hirschberg, doubtful what course to pursue, there marched past the window of the hotel about two hundred as superb infantry as I should desire to see; stout, well-made, soldier-like fellows, in the full vigour of manhood, well bearded and moustached, and altogether presenting the appearance of men who had served at least half-a-dozen campaigns, and were ready to serve half-a-dozen more. Their uniform resembled that of the Prussian infantry in general; that is to say, they wore blue, well-made coats, white trousers, chacos with small round white tufts, and hairy knapsacks on their backs. Their muskets were longer, and smaller in the bore than ours, and the barrels were fastened to the stocks by brass rings that encircled them. Nothing could exceed the order or regularity of their movements: their step, it struck me, was shorter than ours, but then it fell more rapidly; their equipments were decidedly neater; and above all, the load which each man carried was much less considerable. In one respect, however, and only in one, we have an advantage over them. They still adhere to the practice of carrying a large camp-kettle for each mess, whereas our tins suffice both for cooking and containing the meat when cooked, and with one of these each man is supplied.
I have elsewhere explained the process by which every male inhabitant of Prussia becomes in some shape or another, available for the military defence of the country. I need not now recur to the subject, further than by stating, that I have seen no portion of what is called the regular army, which would bear a moment's comparison with the half-battalion of landwehr, that passed me in the streets of Hirschberg. Neither is the circumstance greatly to be wondered at. Out of the two or three hundred men which composed that corps, one-half, perhaps, had done active duty, ere the new system of recruiting was introduced; when the term of service extended to fifteen instead of three years; and individuals were not, as they are now, turned over to the landwehr, with a military education still unfinished, and in many cases scarcely begun. The consequences were, that their carriage was more upright, their air more martial, and their style of march more orderly by far, than anything which I had an opportunity of observing, even in the garrison of Berlin. Something, too, is perhaps attributable to the more advanced ages of the landwehr. No one dislikes to see a frequent intermixture of beardless faces, either in a line or in a column; but an entire battalion of boys is not satisfactory. Now these men were in the full strength and vigour of their days. Their countenances were well bronzed, their moustachios rough, and the very dust that enveloped them told nothing against the general hardihood of their bearing. I looked upon them with unqualified respect, and said to my young companion, that if all the landwehr regiments be composed of similar materials, Prussia can have nothing to apprehend from any hostile movement on the part either of Austria, or of France.
We had received a route, as usual, from our host at Lang-Wasser, and corrected it in some trifling particulars, at the suggestion of a turnpike keeper,—an old soldier, as in Prussia these functionaries usually are, and a fine-looking, well-bred, and intelligent fellow. Among other places, we were to make, by the way, for a village called Golden Traum, where, as we hoped to reach it about noon, we proposed to eat our dinner. But we did not succeed in this point. Having been misdirected at an unlucky turn in a wood where two roads branched off from one another, we found ourselves, after an hour's toil, further from Golden Traum than ever, and were forced, not to retrace our steps, but to make our way as we best could, across the country, in order to reach it. We came in, accordingly, tired and somewhat out of humour, at one o'clock, to a poor but clean village beer-house, where the only viands produceable, were brown bread, butter, and sausages, a considerable quantity of which disappeared before persons whose appetites were a great deal too keen to be fastidious.
The situation of Golden Traum, overhanging the rocky and well-wooded bank of the river Queiss, is exceedingly striking, and the stream, being clear and rapid, held out to us the prospect of good sport. Encouraged, therefore, by the remembrance of the moderate charges at Lang-Wasser, we resolved to spend the remainder of the day here, provided our landlady could accommodate us with beds, and fare a little more delicate for supper. With respect to the latter of these points, it was soon and satisfactorily settled. We had our choice of beef and veal, and we chose of course veal's elder brother: but the report of the dormitory was not so satisfactory. There was no spare chamber in the house, but they would make up for us a couple of beds, with mattresses, sheets, &c., in the tap-room; and they assured us, that it would be entirely at our command by ten o'clock at the latest. As my companion appeared to think these dispositions excellent, and spoke vehemently in favour of the day's fishing, I consented to halt. We consigned our baggage to the care of the landlady, put our tackle in order, and descended to the stream.
Like many other things in creation, the Queiss was far from realizing the expectations which its flattering appearance had excited. There was little water in the channel, and that little contained few trout; but roach were there in abundance. Now a roach, either at the end of my line or on the table, happens to be my aversion, and finding that I was perpetually deceived by the avidity with which the scaly monsters seized my fly, I soon wound up. Not so my boy. With the most laudable perseverance he continued to flog the water, much to the detriment of the roach tribe; one of which, by the way, proved, when he brought him ashore, to be the largest of his species I had ever seen. The monster must have weighed a pound and a half at the least. But this was not all. Towards evening the trout began to show themselves, and the young Piscator caused some havoc among them. He caught about a dozen, the heaviest of which might have well nigh passed muster either at Troutenau or Eisenhammer.
We had been interrupted in our sport by a thunder-storm; the reverberations of which, as peal after peal smote against rock and fell, were very fine. The rain, however, which came down in torrents, was not quite so agreeable, and forced us to seek shelter in a mill, where I was a good deal amused by the sort of taste which the honest miller had displayed in ornamenting his best apartment. The walls were stuck round with engravings, one of which represented Jonah in two situations: first, smoking a pipe by the seaside, and afterwards working his way out of a huge fish's jaws; while close beside him was a ship, considerably less in point of size than the prophet. As to Nineveh, it stood upon a rock in the middle of the ocean, and had all its houses covered with bright red tiles. But that was nothing. There were several portraits of distinguished public characters here; and among others, Hawser Trunnion, a British admiral. I must say that the old commodore looked uncommonly well, with his flowing wig, just as Smollett describes it, and a pipe in his mouth.
We had ordered supper at seven; at half-past seven we reached the hotel, and found the meal ready. Alas! however, for the results of having issued our orders somewhat hastily. Instead of a substantial piece of roast beef, a basin of soup was placed before each, to which succeeded, sans potatoes, sans greens, sans any other vegetables of any sort, two small morsels of bouillie, boiled to tatters. We were not, however, to be put off with such sorry fare as this, so we begged our landlady to dress for us some of the fish which we had taken; and she set about it immediately. But long before the fish were ready, a multitude of new guests came pouring in, and we found ourselves in a situation which exceedingly amused us for a while, though in the end it grew tiresome.
The character of Russians had never sat upon us very easily. We were constantly afraid lest some one should address us in the Russian language, and we fancied that a demand for our passports, which might come at any moment, must inevitably convict us of an imposture. Seeing, therefore, that Golden Traum wore a singularly modest air, we resumed, on entering it, our proper lineage, and never laid it aside again till we reached home. Now, there happened to be in the village a bouerman, who had served under Blucher at Waterloo, and had seen, during the period of the occupation of Paris, a good deal of the English army. This man no sooner learned that two Englishmen were arrived, than he not only came himself, but brought all his neighbours to pay their respects to us. There was first the schoolmaster, a stout short man, highly impressed with the idea of his own dignity, and a determined smoker. There was the miller, the smith, the butcher, the sexton,—everybody, in short, who had a groschen or two to spend, and a stock of curiosity to be gratified. Nor did they come alone. Their wives and children followed them en masse, till the tap-room was crowded. What could we do? To devour our fish in the sight of the multitude, without offering to share it with them, might have impressed them with an unfavourable opinion of our country, while to afford even a morsel to each individual present, would have required thrice the amount cooked and even caught. We therefore adopted a middle course, seldom either a wise or a fortunate one, but in the present instance the only course within our reach. We distributed the trout among the parties who had occupied seats at our table; and won the hearts of the old soldier and his wife, the miller and his wife, the blacksmith and his wife, with all their children; who, seeing their mothers begin to eat, set up such a clamour that we were fain to hand over for their use all the bones, with such portions of flesh as chanced to adhere to them. Then followed sundry small flasks of schnaps, some cans of beer, and two or three bottles of sour country wine; under the influence of which the tap-room became, ere long, a scene of extraordinary hilarity. The old soldier raved about the "guten Anglesisch soldaden," and pronounced "der Hertoch von Wellington," worthy to take rank with Blucher himself. This, of course, drew from me sundry compliments to the valour and discipline of the Prussian army, till in a few minutes we were sworn brothers. "The French! what could the French do, or indeed all the world besides, against the English and Prussians united, who between them had restored peace to Europe, and dethroned Buonaparte;" but I am not quite sure that we decided the question by whom the battle of Waterloo was won,—a matter concerning which my friend appeared to be sensitive, and I, in the consciousness of having fact to fall back upon, felt altogether indifferent.
For an hour or two the scene was highly diverting, though I cannot say that it had the effect of confirming me in my opinions touching the constitutional sobriety of the German people. The good folks round me drank like fishes, and I must do the women the justice to observe, that in this sort of exercise they were by no means less alert than their husbands. The method of proceeding was this:—To some eight or ten persons a couple of liqueur glasses were allotted. These being filled, a sip was taken out of each, by the individuals who appeared to preside over the destinies of the bottle; they were then handed round, and drank in portions till drained dry. No time was, however, lost in replenishing them, so that the fire was both brisk and well sustained. Neither were the courtesies of civilised life omitted. At each separate sip the party sipping pledged the whole company; so that on a moderate computation, I had my health drunk that night at least a hundred and fifty times.
Ten o'clock struck, but the joyous rout exhibited no symptoms of moving; eleven came, and still they sat. This was rather too much of a good thing; for we must needs be a-foot by five in the morning, and we could not lie down till the chamber should be cleared. At last the schoolmaster, through the haze which his beer, and schnaps, and tobacco-smoke, had drawn around him, discovered that I was yawning with some vehemence, and looking tired. He accordingly rose, and suggested an adjournment; but his proposition was scouted. They must have one bottle more, and they had it; another, and they had that too; till I began to fear that they meant to favour us, as I recollect long ago favouring a delicate friend of mine at College,—that is, to sit up with us till the hour of march arrived, and then give us a convoy. But the memory of my poor friend's first letter, in which he described the misery of a mail-coach journey to Bristol, after a sleepless night, put me on my guard. I hinted that we had all better get to bed, and my hint was immediately taken. They went away in the best humour possible, after repeatedly shaking us by the hands, and wishing us all manner of prosperity, both abroad and at home.
I should flatter the good landlady at Golden Traum, if I were to say, that her beds were either clean or comfortable. In fact, we did not venture to undress; and we were up punctual to the moment which over-night we had fixed upon as convenient for starting. Again, however, the linen which we had committed to the care of the washerwoman, was to seek, and our journey, much to our chagrin, was delayed till past seven. Meanwhile, we got from the hostess as much information respecting her neighbourhood as she had to communicate. The appearance of the village had struck us, on entering, as singular. The houses, instead of wood, which is the material commonly used in the construction of German villages, were all built of brick, and they looked quite new. Moreover, there was no church; but only the ruins of some walls and a tower standing. On inquiring into the cause of all this, we learned, that four years ago, during the heat of the summer, when everything in the fields was parched up, and the very rivers dry, some woodmen incautiously set fire to the brushwood in a neighbouring forest, and all the efforts to extinguish it proved fruitless. The flame spread for miles around, consuming heath, dry grass, corn, and even trees, nor did the town of Golden Traum escape. It was burned to the ground, as well as all the detached cottages near it. From the effects of this disastrous conflagration, it had not yet, and probably never would, recover. Some houses were, indeed, built; and built of materials which seemed better suited to withstand a similar visitation, should it occur; but there were no funds wherewith to restore the church, and the lord of the manor was a great deal too poor to undertake such an enterprise. "An application has, indeed, been made," continued our informant, "to the authorities at Berlin, and we hope some time or another to have a new church; for we miss the bells sadly on feast-days, and it is a pleasant thing once a week to meet all one's neighbours, and see how they are dressed. But for the present, our pastor performs divine service in a room upstairs, and is not troubled with a crowded congregation."
It had rained hard during the night, and showers still continued to fall early in the morning, a circumstance which reconciled us, not a little, to our compulsory halt of two hours beyond our time. But by seven, the clouds dispersed, and our linen being restored and packed in our knapsacks, we begged to have the bill. It amounted to no more, in spite of all the beer and schnaps of the previous evening, than one dollar and four groschens. Here, then, we were relieved altogether from the apprehensions under which, up to that moment, we had laboured. Our point, to-night, was Hernhut, whence, with a little management, and some extra pressure, we expected to reach Schandau in one day; and we had still five dollars, and a little more, in our purse.
From Golden Traum to Hernhut, we were recommended to pass by way of Marklissa and Bernstadt, the former a manufacturing place of some note in Prussian Silesia, the latter one of the frontier-towns of Saxony. We followed those directions faithfully, and erring only once, to be put right again immediately by a very civil woman, we soon left our last night's quarters far behind. But we did not succeed in reaching our proposed point of destination. Fatigue gained the mastery over us while we were yet three hours' march from Hernhut, and at seven in the evening, we came reluctantly to the conclusion, that a halt in Bernstadt was necessary.
There had occurred no incident during our march that deserves to be recorded; neither had we passed any object that struck us as remarkable. The scenery, far more tame than we had been accustomed to in Bohemia, drew forth small admiration, and in Marklissa, a bustling, but irregularly-built town, we made no delay. In like manner, I may say of Bernstadt, that it contains little, which can, in any way, interest a stranger. A church, with a remarkably tall spire, is its chief ornament; and the inn, in the market-place, where we put up, was a fair one. A stroll through the streets, therefore, as well as a ramble in the churchyard, hardly compensated for the labour of effecting it; and we returned to supper at eight o'clock, well-disposed to cut the day as short as possible. But we were now in Saxony, and the Saxon police thought fit to convince us, that, however negligent their brother-officials in Austria and Prussia might be, they were not to be caught napping. I was sound asleep, when about twelve o'clock, a loud rapping at the chamber-door awoke me. I demanded the cause of so ill-timed an interruption, and was informed that the gendarmes had come to obtain a sight of our passport, and that I must get up and show it. The reader will easily believe that I obeyed this mandate, not quite in the placid temper of mind which is habitual to me. In fact, I was exceedingly angry, as I had reason to be; for we came in at seven, the police were perfectly aware of our arrival, and supposing that the national prosperity of Saxony had depended on us, there was ample time to ascertain that we were neither spies nor incendiaries, between that hour and bed-time. I, therefore, poured out upon the intruder,—the landlord of the inn,—a tolerable volley of abuse, and desired him to retail it all, in better German, to the gendarme below. In spite of my wrath, I could not keep my gravity, when after having desired him to deliver such a message to the policeman as an angry man is apt to convey, indicating, I am afraid, a wish, on my part, that the official would remove to less comfortable quarters than Bernstadt, the host, with all possible gravity replied, "Goot." There was no resisting this, and I laughed heartily.
The passport was correct enough, and the gendarme, after listening to sundry warm expostulations, delivered, not through the medium of the host, but directly by myself, stammered out some excuse on the score of duty, and hinted that they were obliged to be constantly on the alert, in consequence of the frequent inundation of fugitive Poles into the country. Alas, the poor Poles! Defeated in their attempt to free themselves from the yoke of the stranger, and driven to seek, in exile, the safety which is denied to them at home, they cannot find anywhere, throughout continental Europe, a resting-place for the soles of their feet. For even Saxony,—the child, a feeble one, doubtless,—but still a child, of the revolutionary mania of 1830,—is afraid to afford an asylum to men whose sole crime is, that they have struggled, or perhaps pined only in secret, to restore to their native land its place among the nations of Europe. I was not, of course, so imprudent as to take any notice of the gendarme's observation; but I thought within myself, that the government of a free country deserved little respect which could permit itself to be dragooned into the persecution of a body of men, from whom Saxony, at least, has sustained no injury.
The gendarme having departed, I returned to bed, and slept till six in the morning. We then breakfasted, and a little before nine, arrived at one of the most interesting places which the student of human nature will find in all Germany. Hernhut, in every sense of the term, a missionary settlement, offers to the eye of the curious and the reflecting, a spectacle as striking as can well be conceived. Here is no diversity of opinion on religious subjects, no indifference, real or pretended, to religion itself, no postponement of duty to convenience, no deference to police regulations which is not paid to a higher principle. Religion is in Hernhut, what law and custom are elsewhere, the main-spring of people's actions. They work and play, they associate together, or dwell apart, they go out and come in, rise up, and lie down; they perform every office of life strictly, or at least avowedly, under the sanction of the faith of which they are the professors. There may be hypocrisy in all this, though I could discover no traces of it, for human nature is a curious compound at the best; but at least there is a moral courage which commands our unqualified respect, inasmuch as everything is done without parade, without moroseness, without the utterance of a single expression which can convict them of a desire to be admired of men, far less of undervaluing or mistrusting the motives of others.
What the origin of the Hernhuters really is, seems to be a point as yet scarcely determined. Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, speaks vaguely of them; and Dr. Maclaine, his English translator, has attributed to them practices and opinions which are quite contrary to fact. Confounding them with the Picards, whom John Ziska, the famous Hussite general, well-nigh exterminated, the latter speaks of them as practising all the absurd impurities of the Pre-Adamites, and he appeals for support to Stinstra's pastoral letter,—one of the most uncandid as well as impertinent productions that ever came from the pen even of an Anabaptist. For my own part, I see no reason to doubt that they are what they profess to be, the descendants of the Bohemian or Moravian brethren, whom the bigotry of the house of Austria drove from their homes, and of whom remnants are yet to be found, both in Poland and Hungary. Their church is episcopal in its constitution; their tenets agree with the Augsburg Confession of Faith; their ritual is plain and bare, almost like that of the Presbyterian church of Scotland; and their attention to psalmody very great. It has been much the practice of the surrounding townships, as well in Bohemia as in Silesia and Saxony, to speak slightingly of them. But a brief sojourn among them, sufficed to convince me that they were at least as honest as any of those by whom their honesty had been called in question.
The word Hernhut signifies "a seeker of the Lord;" and it was their excessive earnestness in the service of religion, that, according to one account, earned for them and their settlement the names which they still retain. Another tradition says, that Hut was the name of the individual by whom the first of the colony was led to this particular spot; and that as from him, Herr Hut, or Gentleman Hut, their village derived its appellation, so the inhabitants of the village came to be known as Hernhuters. Between these conflicting statements, (and both were communicated to me on the spot,) I do not pretend to decide. I only know that to Count Zinzendorf,—of well-established notoriety,—the fathers were in 1722 indebted for their settlement on the spot of ground which their sons still occupy; and that, grateful for the kindnesses which their sect received both from him and his children, they have ever held the name in the highest possible respect.
Count Zinzendorf was, beyond all question, partially insane. His opinions, wild and extravagant in the extreme, had a strong tendency to vitiate the moral principle; and the Hernhuters having derived from his bounty all that they possessed, would not refuse to listen when he chose to address them, even in their religious meetings. But it is a mistake to attribute to him the character of a leader. He was their protector in civil affairs, but he was not their bishop. He had a voice in their synods, but he was not supreme. In spite, therefore, of the obscene rhapsodies which were printed, and put into circulation, as his discourses, I see no reason to believe that his opinions were ever adopted as those of the community. On the contrary, they have all along professed to subscribe in sincerity to the Augsburg Confession; and surely their own assertions are more to be relied upon, than those of their enemies.
Hernhut is, as I have said, in the strictest sense of the term, a missionary settlement. The people inhabit a town, cleaner, neater, and in every respect more attractive, than any of a similar size, which I have visited in Germany. They own a considerable tract of country round it, which they cultivate with excellent skill; and they carry on among themselves all manner of trades and professions. Civil magistrates they have none, for the supreme government has not forced such upon them; but their affairs are regulated by a synod, in which all the clergy, with a certain number of lay-elders, have seats. The law, again, to which they profess to pay obedience, is that of God. Whatever contradicts the morality of the Gospel is, by them, accounted illegal, and they punish the guilty by spiritual censures, and at last by excommunication. This latter amounts, in fact, to expulsion from the place; for an excommunicated brother or sister finds no one with whom to maintain a correspondence. I found, indeed, by the presence of a gendarme among them, that the government did not leave them absolutely unobserved; but his duty seems to be very light, and his manner is singularly subdued and respectful.
In this place, remarkable everywhere, there are one or two points, to which the visitor is conducted, as more than others deserving his attention. Foremost among these are the Broder-house, the Schweister-house, and the Predecher-house,—the latter being the name which the Hernhuters think fit to bestow upon their church, or house of public worship. The Broder and Schweister-houses are, as their names denote, asylums, within which a certain number of men and women, members of the church of Hernhut, find shelter. Not that the inmates of these well-regulated abodes are all paupers. On the contrary, you meet in the Schweister-house persons belonging to every class of life, from the decayed or friendless gentlewoman down to the poor worn-out laundress; and the state of the Broder-house is, in every respect, the same. But one roof covers them all, and though their treatment beneath it may vary a little in regard to the lodging, diet, &c., afforded them, they are treated by one another, as well as by their fellow-religionists who visit them, strictly as brothers and sisters. When, for example, the portress opened the door of the Schweister-house to us, and found that we were foreigners, she stated that Sister Handman could speak French, and to Sister Handman's apartment we were forthwith conducted, nothing loth to follow. We found it furnished with great taste, and the lady herself, well-bred and intelligent; yet the humblest person in the house called her only schweister, and she did not appear to desire or to look for more.
The Schweister-house contains one hundred and thirty females, of all ages, from seventy and eighty down to twelve. For the younger members of the community, there is a school, where they are instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, French, sewing, embroidery, and music,—of all which branches of education, members of the community are the teachers. The elders employ their time a good deal in needle-work, and knitting; chiefly in the fabrication of pretty little articles, such as purses, shirt-collars, tapestry covering for chairs, work-bags, &c., all of which are sold for the benefit of the institution, to visitors; or sent off from time to time, to London, Berlin, the United States of America, and other places where the Hernhuters have established missionary stations. There, it is said, they obtain ready customers, and the money so earned is faithfully applied to missionary purposes. Of course, the more essential, though less elegant departments in the management of a household, are not neglected. Among the sisters, there are matrons, housekeepers, cooks, chamber-maids, scullions, laundresses, and even errand-women;—all of them accustomed from their youth to more or less of manual labour, and all supported out of common funds of the institution. Such persons, as well as a large majority of those on whom they attend, pay no board. The Schweister-house is their home; which they are free to quit, however, at pleasure; and they all live on a footing of perfect equality. One large room serves as the common eating-hall; one, which engrosses an entire front of the building, is the dormitory; while a chapel, where there is an altar, sees them assembled every morning to sing a hymn, to the accompaniment of a harpsichord, and pray with one of the ministers who attends them.
Previous to our visit to the Schweister-house, we had inspected the church,—a plain unadorned hall, fitted up with benches, two galleries, and a sort of table or altar. There is neither desk nor pulpit, for the service stands in no need of such adjuncts, inasmuch as the devotional parts of it consist mainly of psalm-singing, and the exhortation is delivered, like a lecturer's address at the British Institution, from the table. Unfortunately for myself, I did not happen, on either occasion of visiting the place, to reach it on a festival; but the music, I am told, is exceedingly good, and the choir is led by an organ. It may be worth while to add, that the principle which has established a Broder-house and Schweister-house apart from one another, operates in the temple of the Hernhuters,—the men and women occupy distinct sets of benches, with a considerable space between them.
The pastors or clergy of this singular sect, inhabit apartments connected with the church, and adjoining to it. Not fewer than seven are always resident in the town, of whom three are bishops, and they are all family men. I do not know how they are accommodated in the sort of college which was pointed out as their common home; but I should think indifferently.
Our next visit was to the cemetery. To reach it we were obliged to traverse a considerable portion of the town, than which I have seen nothing in Germany so neat and clean, and what we should describe in England as thoroughly comfortable-looking. The streets were all wide and well-paved; the houses substantial, yet airy; and everything about them, from the glass in the windows to the brass knockers on the doors, clean as hands could make them.
The cemetery lies, perhaps, a couple of hundred yards beyond the outskirts of the town. You ascend to it,—for it occupies the elbow of a green hill,—by a broad gravel road, cut through the centre of luxuriant meadows, and shaded on either side by rows of lime-trees. This conducts you to a gateway, over the arch of which on the outer side, are inscribed in German, the words "Christ is risen from the dead;" while the corresponding side within the enclosure bears as its motto, "And is become the first-fruits of them that slept." And truly it would be hard to imagine a spot of earth, within which the enthusiast,—aye, and even the man who, without being an enthusiast, has ever so slight a tinge of romance in his nature,—would more desire to sleep out that last slumber.
A sort of oblong square, it is girdled round by a well-trimmed hedge of limes, from which, at intervals, pollarded trees shoot up; while the corners are thickly woven each into a shady arbour, where seats are arranged for the accommodation of the contemplative. It is, however, after you have passed beneath the arch, that the holy quiet of the spot strikes you most forcibly. Laid out with singular good taste into parallelograms, and having the paths which divide them one from another, shaded by limes, it presents to your gaze no confused heap of irregular mounds, overgrown with nettles and other noxious weeds, but well-kept, yet unornamented plains, where, side by side, each covered by a flat stone,—the record of their births, and death, and nothing more,—the deceased brothers and the sisters of this singular community lie at rest. Even here, however, in the grave-yard of a people studious to preserve, as far as such a thing is possible, the primitive equality of man with man, some distinction is paid to the ashes of the great,—not because in their season of mortality these ashes made up a noble family, but because the family in question have been mighty benefactors to the sect. In the centre of a wide road which separates the cemetery into two halves,—and on the right of which the males of the place are buried, while the portion on the left is devoted exclusively to women,—repose all that was once seen among men of Count Zinzendorf and his kindred, covered over by nine stone tombs, on the elevated lids of which their titles and designations are inscribed. The Count himself, to whom Hernhut owes its prosperity, and in some sort, its character, occupies the central position of all; and he is supported on either hand by the graves of his descendants. Nor will the number of these graves ever be increased. The family of Zinzendorf has become extinct; and no other relics of humanity may hope to be honoured as they were, by the simple, yet reflecting members of the Hernhut community.
We lingered in this beautiful spot a good half-hour, and quitted it, at the termination of that period, "wiser and better men," at least for the moment. Altogether different from the Pere La Chaise, or any other cemetery which I had ever visited before, it struck me as constituting the very beau ideal of a burying ground,—grave, yet not severe,—neat, yet free from every approach to gaudiness,—well kept, yet bearing about it no impress of the hands that trimmed it, and in its situation and arrangements perfect. Here are no clumsy pillars, nor urns, nor sarcophagi, no, nor even crosses. Flowers are utterly unknown, and garlands tabooed. But the arrangement of the pollarded limes, which both surround and intersect the square, is, as it ought to be in such a place, at once formal and appropriate, casting each of the gravel-walks into a pleasant shade, while between them all lies open. With respect, again, to the graves, these are distinguished from the general level of the ground only by the small, flat, hewn stone, which is laid over each, and they seem to be about four feet apart from one another. I observed that the Hernhuters seem, from the first formation of the cemetery, to have observed, in conducting their funerals, the same regularity which appears to prevail in all their daily proceedings. The first of their community who paid the debt of nature,—after the burying-ground was laid out, and the colony put upon its present footing,—lies under his stone, close to the angle which is formed by the meeting of the central walk and that which passes along the side of the hedge next the entrance. In like manner, I observed that, far to the rear of the two lines which enclose, as it were, the tombs of the Zinzendorfs, there are blank spaces, which will doubtless be filled up, as the course of time sweeps away generation after generation from their hopes and their fears, their anxieties, their pursuits, and their follies.
On quitting the grave-yard, our guide,—an intelligent old man,—conducted us towards a sort of observatory, from which, as it occupies the summit of the hill, a fine view of the surrounding country is to be obtained. The scene was altogether very pleasing; for cultivation is carried on everywhere to a great extent, and there is no lack either of ornamental wood, or human habitations,—while, far in the distance, the mountains of Silesia and Bohemia are seen, forming a noble back-ground to the panorama. Nor was the effect of music, heard at a distance, as happened with us to be the case, out of keeping with the character of the things around us. A band of strolling minstrels chanced to be wending their way through a village, in the bottom of the vale far beyond Hernhut, and the air which they were performing, borne back upon the light breeze, sounded very sweetly. In a word, our visit to the tombs of the Hernhuters, with all its accompaniments of sight and sound, affected us at the moment with feelings singularly delightful, of which the recollection still abides by us, as Moore beautifully describes the odour of the roses, lingering about the fragments of the broken vase, which once contained the roses themselves.
After inserting our names, according to established usage, in a book which is contained in the wooden tower of the observatory, we returned to the inn, and offered our guide money. He would not accept a groschen, though he had too much good sense and good taste, to affect indignation at what he could not but perceive was not designed for an insult. We prevailed upon him, however, to eat his luncheon with us, and found him both an intelligent companion, and willing to impart his information freely.
He told us, what future inquiries have since confirmed, that the Church of Hernhut has branches in very many lands. At Berlin, there is an establishment on a small scale, which is managed after the model of that in Silesia. London has also its little germ, somewhere, according to him, in the neighbourhood of Fulham; and in North America the settlements are numerous. But all look to Hernhut as to the fountain-head of their church, and all receive from the synod there, periodical admonitions and instructions.
So much for the more spiritual and intellectual portion of our entertainment,—and now a word or two concerning that which was neither. I must not forget to record, for the benefit of all true lovers of excellent beer and excellent bread, that they will not find better than at Hernhut in all Germany. The claret, which was also good, held, in our estimation, a very secondary place to the clear, brisk, pale ale, which the waiter poured out for us from certain elegantly-shaped, green glass bottles, and the bread we pronounced to be beyond all praise.
We quitted Hernhut about one o'clock, hoping, as the result proved, in the face of physical impossibilities, to reach Schandau that night. The idea was the more preposterous, that we knew perfectly well how far, by the line of the main road, the one place is divided from the other; but being told of a footpath over hill and vale, and having examined upon the map, the situations of the villages through which it led, we came to the conclusion that we should be able to compress the usual forty English miles into half that number. We were entirely mistaken in this rash inference; for, independently of the risks which we ran of losing the way,—a misfortune which, it must be confessed, more than once overtook us,—we ought to have recollected that even travellers on foot cannot proceed with the precision of an arrow's flight; inasmuch as standing corn is not to be trodden down, morasses must be avoided, and through woods and over mountains, paths are, for the most part, tortuous. Neither did it greatly surprise, however much it mortified us, to find, that on halting at a village in that part of Bohemia which pushes itself deep into the heart of Saxony, between Seibnitz and Hernhut, that we had accomplished scarcely one-fourth of our pilgrimage; and that, with scarce four hours of daylight before us, it was utterly hopeless to think of compassing the remaining three-fourths. Having ascertained, therefore, that good quarters were to be had at Schlukenau, a considerable town through which it would be necessary to pass, we made up our minds to halt there for the night; even though by doing so, we should leave ourselves twenty good miles to walk on the morrow.
We dined in a village inn, the landlord of which was a jolly old fellow; who, having an only daughter, married her to a bouerman in the place, and now the three generations,—for there was a family by the union, of course,—dwelt together very happily under the old man's roof. I mention this trifling circumstance because it enables me to give the substance of certain statistical details which were communicated to me, in the course of our walk, by the son-in-law. This latter, a remarkably athletic fine-looking fellow, who volunteered to give us a convoy, and direct us the nearest way to Schlukenau, had seen something of the world. He was in Strasburg in the year 1813, when a corps of English artillery manned the works, and he spoke in high admiration of the appearance and perfect discipline of the men. Now, however, he cultivated with excellent skill a farm of eighty or an hundred acres, of which he was the proprietor; and while he led me over his land, and pointed out with honest pride, the order in which it was kept, and the enormous crops which it produced, he very readily answered such questions as I put to him on the subject both of the Bohemian system of agriculture and of the profits arising out of it. Wheat, as, indeed, my own previous observation had shown me, is not much cultivated in Bohemia. Here and there, where the soil is particularly favourable for it, the seed is sown; but rye is the staple commodity, with which, indeed, the fields were loaded. Out of rye, as I need scarcely mention, the Germans manufacture, not only the bread that is commonly in use among them, but almost all their ardent spirits, of which I have tasted very little, but which, whenever I did taste it, seemed to be execrable. Oats they likewise rear for their horses, as well as barley for malting; but these grains bear no proportion, in point of abundance, to the rye crops.
When the rye is removed, they sow the ground with clover; not, as with us, that they may feed it off, and so enrich the soil while they extract something from it, but for the purpose of securing a supply of dry fodder for their cattle, which, all the winter over, and throughout a considerable portion of the spring and summer, are kept in their stalls. Then come potatoes, then a season of fallow; after which a good coat of manure, to be followed by rye again. Whenever flax is grown, and next to rye it is, both here and in Saxony, more cultivated than any other grain, fallows are more frequent; for flax, as every child knows, drains the soil of all its nutritious qualities.
The implements used in agricultural operations seem to be ruder, and far more inefficient, than among us. The plough is precisely such an instrument as I recollect to have seen represented in my Delphin edition of Virgil's Georgics when I was at school; and it is drawn indifferently by horses, bullocks, or heifers. Bullocks and heifers are, however, more commonly used than horses, though it is no unusual sight to see a horse and a heifer yoked together. There is no boy to drive; but the ploughman, as in Scotland, at once holds the stilts of the plough, and with his voice, and a long halter, guides the cattle. With respect to the harrows, I saw little difference between them and our English implements, except that those in Germany are lighter, and never have more than one horse or one bullock attached to them.
The rest of their tools, such as forks, rakes, mattocks, spades, &c., very much resemble our own; with this difference, in reference to the last, that in Germany much less iron is wasted upon them than upon similar articles in England. The blade of a German spade, which, by the way, is pointed, or, rather, semicircular in form, is composed of wood to within a few inches of the edge, and there is no iron at all upon the handle.
I am not quite sure that I perfectly understood my intelligent companion, when we came to discuss the amount of crop raised from the land, and the prices fetched by the different kinds of grain in the market. His method of computing these matters was so different from any to which I had been accustomed, that I could only guess at a parallel between it and our English measures. Yet it struck me that he described the wheat lands as producing, on an average, between three and four quarters; of which the price varied from twenty-one to twenty-five shillings of our money. Concerning the price of the rye I had less curiosity, though that seemed to repay the farmer quite as abundantly as wheat; at least, my friend assured me that it would not answer his purpose to substitute wheat for rye, even now, when wheat was more than usually in demand, and therefore fetched a more than usually high price. For it is worthy of remark that the failure of the crops in America had affected the corn-market even in Bohemia; from which remote district people were transmitting quantities of wheat to supply the necessities of the squatters among the back woods of Kentucky.
From the subject of agriculture we passed on to its kindred topics, grazing and planting; the latter of which naturally led to a discussion on fuel. I learned from him, that here, as elsewhere in the north and centre of Germany, there is no such thing as grazing on a large scale. Such bouermen as happen to own a handful of sheep, send them in summer, under the charge of a lad, into the green lanes and roadsides, to feed; while in winter and spring they are, like the cattle, kept within doors, and fed from stalls. The consequence is, that you scarcely ever meet with lambs as an article of food in Germany; for the flocks are too scanty to authorize the practice of putting the rising generation to death. So also in reference to dairy farms, these neither are, nor can be, on the scale to which we are accustomed in England. Hence cheese, besides being both dear and bad, is very scarce; and butter, except in the very height of summer, is detestable.
The Germans, though exceedingly fond of their pleasure-gardens, are not skilful as horticulturists. Their fruits are poor, and they take little pains to render them otherwise; but of their forests they are very careful. This is the more necessary, because of their dependence upon the woods for almost all the fuel which they consume; and which, while it is not cheap anywhere, is here, in Bohemia and Silesia, among the most costly articles in use. A claughter of wood, sufficient for a month's supply for a kitchen stove, costs in this corner of Bohemia, five dollars. The same quantity, in the very heart of the Saxon forests,—that is, at Schandau, in Saxon Switzerland,—costs four dollars and four groschens. Nor would it be procurable even at this price, were not the proprietors of forest lands particularly zealous in protecting their woods from injury, and in replanting such spaces as the axe of the woodman may, from time to time, lay bare. I find, however, that here, as elsewhere, it becomes necessary, in the course of time, to vary the plant, so as to suit the caprices of the soil. In many places I observed that young birch and ash trees were coming up from among the roots and stems of decayed or removed firs; and I learned, on inquiry, that they had been substituted for the original stock, to which the earth had refused any longer to furnish adequate nutrition.
I have as yet said nothing of the size and general appearance of the horses, cattle, and sheep which, from time to time, crossed me. Of the first, I should say that the breed must be singularly mixed; for you meet, here and there, tolerable specimens of the animal, to be succeeded immediately afterwards by the merest rips. Generally speaking, however, the draught horses seem to be good,—slow, doubtless, and alike defective in the shoulder and hind-quarters, but strong, without being, like the Flemish breed, so heavy as to oppress themselves. The riding horses, and especially those taken up for the service of the cavalry, struck me as being, in proportion, far inferior. They are either all legs, which they do not seem to use either with dexterity or elegance, or mere punches. In like manner, the cattle, to the eye of one accustomed to the sleek coats and well-covered ribs of our Lincolnshire or Durham breeds, present a very sorry appearance. Each particular bone in each particular brute's carcase sticks up in melancholy distinctness, and in point of size the animals themselves are mere dwarfs. I have seen a man ploughing with a couple of heifers, positively neither taller nor stouter than a pair of Lincolnshire calves of three weeks old.
From such materials it would be vain to expect that good beef can be manufactured; indeed, the Germans have no notion of pampering themselves with good beef. Their system is, not to fatten the beast, and then kill him; but to work him as long as he is fit for work, and then to kill him lest he should become an incumbrance. Neither can their sheep boast much of the symmetry of their proportions, or of the high flavour of their flesh when it comes to table. The wool, as everybody knows, is, indeed, excellent; but the mutton is but sorry food, at least to an Englishman. As I stated some time ago, however, the English traveller need not distress himself too much on this account. He is very rarely troubled with the offer of mutton, inasmuch as calf's-flesh seems to be not only at hand all the year round, but to supply the place of every other species of animal food.
We parted from our civil bouerman about four o'clock, at the summit of a hill, whence he was enabled to point out to us, both the direction of the ground on which Schlukenau stood, and the course of the path which it would be necessary to follow in order to reach it. His instructions were communicated with so much accuracy, that we never deviated an inch from the right way; and so came in about seven, to just such a town as our experience of other agricultural stadts and burghs had led us to expect. At the Golden Stag we fixed our head quarters,—a large inn, and apparently well frequented,—where we spent the night, without either accident or adventure befalling of which I need pause to give an account. There is a schloss here, which, to our surprise, we learned, belongs, like the lordship of the manor, to the same graff who owns the land about Aderspach on the other side of the Riesengebirgen. I have forgotten both his name and his title; but he must be a wealthy nobleman, even for Austria; which, while it possesses many poor, can likewise muster some of the richest noblemen in the world.
We were not over-above delighted with Schlukenau; for the landlord had about him none of the politeness which we had invariably found in his brother craftsmen in Bohemia, and his domestics were all singularly slow and stupid. We therefore quitted the place without regret, at six o'clock next morning, and marched upon Schandau. Again we followed, both from choice and to shorten the distance, bye-paths, which carried us through some glorious scenery, quite different in character, but scarcely less attractive, than any which we had passed in our tour. For the rocks and precipices of Saxon Switzerland were once more around us, and never had they appeared to us more wild or more sublime. Through these, under the influence of a bright sunny day, we trudged along, crossing hill and traversing dale, in the highest possible spirits, till having gained the main road not far from the village of Tseidler, we followed it, without swerving, into the quiet glen of Schandau.
The tale of my pedestrian tour in the highlands of Bohemia, Silesia, and Saxony, is told. To the first of these countries I afterwards devoted a good deal more both of time and attention; but as my journey was performed, not on foot, but in carriages, the opportunities presented to me of becoming intimately acquainted with the habits of thought and fireside occupations of the people were necessarily less abundant than I could have wished them to be. My reader must, therefore, be content, for the remainder of this excursion, to accept, in lieu of a diary, a general outline of the route which I followed; and to pause with me, from time to time, while I relate to him such incidents as befel, or retail such fragments of information as I considered it worth while to treasure up when acquired, and have since judged it expedient to commit to writing.
THE DILIGENCE FROM DRESDEN TO TOePLITZ. THE FIELD OF KULM. THE BATTLE, AND THE MONUMENTS THAT RECORD IT.
There is a diligence, or eilwagen, which leaves Dresden for Prague twice in every week. It passes along the Schandau road as far as Pirna; whence, making a turn to the right, it traverses the lower slopes of the Erzgebirge, and so conducts, by the mineral baths of Berg-gieshubel, to Hollendorf, on the Saxon frontier. My young companion and I, having made all necessary arrangements, took our places in this vehicle on Wednesday, the 5th of July. We had previously wandered over a good deal of the country through which it was to carry us, our report of all that we had encountered and seen having excited a natural desire in others to see it also. And in the interval between the termination of one expedition and the commencement of another, the carriage was accordingly put in requisition. Toeplitz, and various other points, replete with interest, were thus visited,—of which I have not yet spoken, because it would have been labour lost to describe them twice. Yet the fact of beholding it now for the second time, had no influence in lessening the pleasure which we derived from the scenery around us. Without partaking in any degree of the character of a mountain district, this mid-space between Saxony and Bohemia is highly picturesque; for it is one continued succession of valleys, with well-wooded hills enclosing them; and the bold summits of Lilienstein and Koenigstein are rarely out of sight.
A Saxon eilwagen is a machine nowise deserving of reprobation. It is a long, omnibus-looking affair, with a coupe in front for the conducteur, and seated within so as to contain not fewer than sixteen persons; yet are the chairs all so arranged that you have a comfortable rest for your back, while by keeping the numerous windows open, you suffer less from heat than might be expected. The rate of travelling, too, is much improved from what it used to be. I really believe that on level ground we compassed six miles an hour, and if we did creep as often as a trifling acclivity came in view, it must not be forgotten, that there were but four horses to drag the ponderous load. With respect, again, to our fellow-passengers, they seemed to me to be made up of individuals from many lands. There was an Austrian colonel, on his way to join his regiment in Prague; there was a Prussian merchant,—a traveller, like ourselves, for amusement's sake; there were a Saxon lawyer, a Moravian banker, and last, though not least, as perfect a specimen of the tribe John Bull, as the eye of the naturalist need desire to behold. Our worthy countryman understood not one syllable of German, and his French was lame to a degree. But he bore about him a portly person, a good-humoured, rosy, and rather large countenance, and looked round upon the company, amid which, after prodigious labour, he succeeded in establishing himself, with an expression of indescribable condescension, which said, "I know that you are all a set of very poor devils, yet I will suffer you." He was, as those of his kidney generally are, for ever on the alert lest the Germans should cheat him; and grumbled and complained, and ate and drank, and proved to be, after all, a kind-hearted and easy-tempered person.