"The Carnival was prohibited in 1790, and not resumed till Bonaparte was elected first consul." Great was the joy of the Parisians when the Carnival was again restored!
The Opera-house referred to in the extract above quoted, is the Academie Nationals de Musique, or French Opera-house, also sometimes called the new Opera-house. It is generally admitted to be the finest Opera-house in the world. The space covered by this magnificent building is 140 metres by 122, (about 470 feet by 410), or nearly four and a half acres. It has seats for 2,520 spectators. The staircases, walls and ceiling are of the finest marble. The "house" for the spectators or audience is built entirely of stone and iron, rich in decorations and thick with gold. The stage alone is a quarter of an acre in extent, being 128 feet wide by 85 feet long. Below the stage there is a depth of 47 feet, from which the scenes are drawn up all in one piece. This abyss below the stage was obtained at an immense cost, as the architect had to lay the foundations far below a subterranean body of water, but the advantage thus gained enables them to present scenes that are marvelous. "The singers in this opera are pupils of the Conservatoire, and the corps de ballet consists of the most distinguished dancers of the day. Great attention is paid to costume and general effect." During the matchless performances of a night that I was present, there were at one time nine large horses and a procession of several hundred actors upon the stage, and it was far from being full. One of the most beautiful and astounding performances of the night was the production of a series of transformations that were as sudden and as astonishing in their developments as is the metamorphosis of the gaudy butterfly from the groveling worm. As the curtain rose there stood upon the stage a mighty fortress, massive and strong. We had seen it but long enough to observe how thick and how rough from age its weather-beaten walls were, when there was heard a crash, and the mighty citadel had fallen out of sight; but there still remained a most beautiful castle which must have been contained inside of the citadel but hid from the view by its towering walls. This castle was beautiful beyond description. It was fairer far than the castles of the kings seem to be, except when "distance lends enchantment to their view." But the second scene was as ephemeral as the first. We beheld its fascinating beauties only a few seconds when its four walls again dropped into the abyss below, and there issued from its inner apartment a host of beautiful little actresses such as I did not see upon any other stage in Europe. These little fairy-like beauties, many perhaps not more than from 5 to 10 years of age, all dressed in the most brilliant costumes, at once skipped into a dance "running the ring and tracing the mazy round," to the great satisfaction of the admiring spectators, who were as much delighted by the gayety, grace and accomplishment which they displayed in their performances, as they have been astonished at their sudden and almost miraculous appearance.
At a Ball.
Dancing is the favorite amusement in Paris, and these exercises are conducted on a grand scale, even during the summer season. I attended a Public Ball one evening, when almost the entire floor (covering nearly three fourths of an acre) and the adjoining garden of about the same area, were thronged by thousands of gay and jovial dancers, all wild from the excitement produced by the rhythmical motions and music of that playful exercise.
The reader can not be more curious to know how one that is unacquainted with the French language can get along in Paris, than I was when I first took up my residence there. The first morning I went out to seek some place where I might get fresh milk; Lait is the French name of it as I found it in my conversational guide book. I soon found that name upon a card of pasteboard hanging at the door of a shop where bread and fruits were displayed in the window. On entering the store a clever Frenchman politely addressed me, but he soon discovered that I was none of the loquacious kind, in French. I asked for lait, pronouncing the word as if it was spelt l-a-t-e, but he did not understand me. I could adorn my conversation neither with verbs nor with adjectives, so I repeated the word lait several times with the rising inflection, by which he readily inferred that I wanted something, though what that something was, remained a mistery to him, all the same. By and by, I pointed out the word lait to him, on seeing which, he exclaimed "—— du la!" and gave me what I wanted. Thereafter I visited him from two to five times every day, according to convenience, to get my "du lāit!". Of "du paein" (bread) and smoked sausages, I constantly kept a supply in my satchel, so that when I entered a new city, I could well get along until I had become acquainted. Fruits and a very healthy and nutricious kind of nuts, (the Brazilian nuts), I bought in great abundance and exceedingly cheap from such as hawked them about on the streets. Five to ten centimes (1 to 2 cents) would buy 7 or 8 large Brazilian nuts and 6 to 8 fine juicy pears, or as many delicious plums, of which I was extremely fond. By thus reducing the number and variety of my dishes at the regular meals, I only enhanced the pleasures of the palate instead of reducing them; for he who "does not eat but when he is hungry, nor drink except when he is thirsty," will enjoy the humblest meal much more than the pampered dedauchee can relish the richest feast. As beer does not please my palate, and because the water fountains of Paris were often out of my reach when I was thirsty, I soon took fruit to supply the place of drink, and thus, in Paris already, I laid the foundation of a dietary system that ensured me not only health, happiness and convenience of procuring it alike in all countries, but that proved to be very economical too. For from 40 to 60 cents a day, I supplied all the necessaries, and more of the luxuries of life, than most of us are accustomed to, even in voluptuous America.
On my voyage across the Atlantic, I had formed the friendship of a young clergyman, (Rev. O.), of New York, who wished to make a summer vacation tour through western Europe, visiting Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. On comparing programmes, we noticed that he would likely come to Paris during the time that I had alotted to that city. We therefore agreed that each should drop a letter to the other, immediately after reaching Paris, so that he who should happen to come last might at once know where to find the other. One evening, when I came home, the card of Rev. O., my American friend, was handed to me by the landlord, who informed me by his gestures that he had been there to call on me. The card was backed by a note asking me to meet him at No.—, Rue————. Though that street is perhaps not more than an eighth of a mile long, I soon found it upon my map of Paris, which was a very excellent one, as the maps of all large foreign cities generally are and must be, in order that persons who cannot speak the languages of those cities, may still be able to find any places without asking any one where they are or which way to go. The map of Paris, for example, is divided into numerous squares by arbitrary lines. Those which run vertically down the map are lettered, and those which cross it horizontally are numbered. At the side of the map is a table of all the streets, with references to the squares on the map, designating between what lines they are found, or which they intersect. By the aid of such a map, I started out the next morning to meet my friend, whose quarters were in a distant part of the city, about three miles away. I found him without difficulty. He was accompanied by two gentlemen from London that had come with him to see Paris and its environs. It is both novel and pleasant for two such lonely pilgrims as my New York friend and I were when we left home, to meet each other again in a foreign city, and introduce to each other the friends which one picked up by the way. We soon agreed to go all together to Versailles, the French Capital, that day. This was Tuesday, July 27th. At 10:40 a.m., we crossed the fortifications of Paris, and soon came into view of Bois de Boulogne, the great park of Paris. Five minutes later we crossed the Seine at St. Cloud, a small town, where we stopped to see the ruins occasioned by the siege of Paris in 1870. We had considerable trouble, however, in identifying the strongholds and redoubts held by the Prussians in that memorable siege, as nobody seemed to understand any of our French! On one occasion, Rev. O., while asking a lady for a certain place, called on Mr. K——, one of the Londoners, to come and see whether he could make this woman understand any of his French! It was altogether a day of odd adventures and fun. After enjoying the lovely prospects an hour, we walked another hour in great perplexity as to what directions we should take to find a railway station where we might take a train for Versailles, but finally succeeded. We did not understand more from those who directed us, than the direction we should take, never knowing the distance. It is more than a joke, for a party to be obliged to walk several miles for a station, when they had expected to reach it in a quarter or half a mile at most! When we arrived at the station at Sevres, our difficulties only commenced. "When will the next train leave for Versailles, and where can we procure our tickets?" were questions which engaged our best energies and all our ingenuity for half an hour, besides a rash adventure on my part, before they were solved. (It seems to me now, that throughout my tour, I always got into more trouble when I had company to rely upon, than when I was alone). By means of motions with our hands and by pronouncing the name Versailles, we made them understand where we intended to go to; but when we asked for "billets," they did not offer us any. They showed us, however, that the train was due at 1:10, by pointing out those figures on the dial of the clock. About 15 minutes before the train was due, we asked again for tickets, and when they were again refused, we began to fear that the tickets had to be procured on the opposite side of the railroad. We therefore crossed by a foot-bridge near the station, but could not approach the house on the other side, on account of the high fence which shut every body off from the tracks. When our plans were thus frustrated our company became alarmed with the fear that we might miss the train for want of tickets, and fail to see Versailles that day. At this crisis I ascended the bridge and climbed down along the walls on the inside of the fence; suspending myself from the lowest iron bars along the bridge, I thus dropped myself into the yard below! But our discouragement reached its climax, when I found that the door was closed and locked, which we had hoped was the ticket office. I could not get out of that inclosure, as the fences were high, the gates locked and the bridge from which I had dropped myself, was out of my reach. Several railroad men saw me immediately, who appeared as much astonished at my coming into that place, as I was perplexed in my awkward position. I did not misinterpret their French this time, however, for the way they looked up toward the sky, and their gestures and chattering, plainly indicated that they wondered where I came from. I motioned them that I came "from above," and pointed toward the bridge. What fine or punishment might have been inflicted for my intrusion I do not know, but I was only rebuked in language which I did not understand, and sent out through one of the office doors which they unlocked for the purpose. My companions were now in great glee at this termination of my adventure, one of them observing that I might soon be landed in close quarters, at my present rate of progress! I responded that we were a party corporate, and that three fourths of what any one did was to the credit of the other three. The train soon came, and we took our places on the top of the cars and rode on to Versailles. This was the only ride I had in two-story railway cars, but our trip was such a delightful one in the second story of those cars, that I often wished for like accommodations again.
The National Assembly was in session when we reached Versailles, but we could not gain admittance. We immediately went to the Palace, which is devoted to the reception of a rich and splendid historical museum unparalleled in Europe. There are altogether some 34 salles or galleries, which require upwards of an hour to walk through. The paintings are arranged chronologically, and it is this classification, as well as the magnitude of the collection, that render the museum one of the most famous in Europe. Adjoining this palace, are the gardens and park, upon the establishment and improvement of which, Louis XIV., (1616) spent $200,000,000! This immense sum would pay a tract of land 100 miles long and 10 miles wide, bought at $300 per acre! Many millions have since been spent upon it. It is at the present day one of the finest pleasure-gardens in Europe. Its fountains are among the most magnificent in existence. These are made to play only once (the first Sunday) every month; to supply the water in sufficient aboundance for this magnificent display, costs on each occasion $2,000! It is a source of the purest happiness for a party of Republicans, as ours was, to see the very palace and gardens which Napoleon III. once occupied as a royal mansion, now held as the common property and the peaceful promenade of the pleasure-seeking masses. How changed the scene! That which was prepaired for the king, is now enjoyed by the common people. Such are the fruits of the French Republic, which has now broken the fetters of royalty for the third time.
On Sunday, August 1st., I visited this garden and park again, this time to see the fountains play. It is impossible to do justice to this pleasure-garden even in two days. In the center is the grand canal 186 feet wide and nearly a mile long, intersected at right angles by another canal that is 3,000 feet long. My rambles were confined to the section intervening between the palace and the Bassin d'Apollon, which is at the nearer end of the Grand Canal. The fountains and jets in this section, north and south of the Allee du Tapis Vert (green lawn), are almost innumerable. They do not all play at the same time, so the crowd can follow them from basin to basin until Neptune with his numerous jets, the last and the greatest of them all, is reached. The Terrasse du Chateau with Silenus, Antinous, Apollo and Bacchus, after the antique, lies next to the palace. Immediately below is the Parterre d'Eau, upon whose border repose twenty-four magnificent groups in bronze, namely, eight groups of children, eight nymphs and the four principal rivers of France, with their tributaries. Toward the left of this lies the Parterre du Midi, and still further south, along the palace, lies the Orangerie. A flight of 103 steps lead down to an iron gate on the road to Brest.
Parterre de Latone lies in advance of Parterre d'Eau, which two paterres (pits) the Allee du Tapis Vert (green carpet) and the Grand Canal, lie in a straight line and present a charming view nearly a mile and a quarter in length. Bassin Latone is surrounded by a semi-circular terrace crowned with yew-trees and a range of statues and groups in marble. (It would require the space of a volume to describe all the fine statuary of this garden). This fountain consists of five circular basins rising one above the other in the form of a pyramid, surmounted by a group of Latona with Apollo and Diana. "The goddess implores the vengeance of Jupiter against the peasants of Libya, who refused her water, and the peasants, already metamorphosed, some half, and others entirely, into frogs and tortoises, are placed on the edge of the different tablets, and throw forth water upon Latona in every direction, thus forming liquid arches of the most beautiful effect." Walking down the green velvet lawn, we came to the Bassin d'Apollon. Apollo, the God of Day, is emerging from the water in a chariot drawn by four horses, and surrounded by a throng of sea-monsters. Several other fountains represent the seasons. Spring is represented by Flora and Summer by Ceres. Winter appears in a group representing Saturn surrounded by children; and Bacchus, reclining upon grapes and surrounded by infant satyrs, represents Autumn. Near the Tapis Vert, in the midst of a dense grove, is a magnificent rotunda composed of 32 marble columns, united by arches and supporting a number of marble vases. Under the arcades, are a circular range of fountains, "and in the middle is a fine group of the Rape of Proserpine."
The largest and most splendid fountain in the park, is the Bassin de Neptune. Upon its southern border stand 22 ornamental vases, each with a jet in the center. Against the same side, are three colossal groups in lead. The central one represents Neptune and Amphitrite seated in an immense shell and surrounded by tritons, nymphs and sea-monsters. On the left is Oceanus resting upon a sea-unicorn, and on the right, Proteus, the son of Oceanus. There are several other groups; and from the jets of these, amounting to some 55 or 60 in all, issues a deluge of water, when the gates are opened. A quarter of an hour in advance of the appointed time, about 15,000 persons had assembled upon the circular terrace, facing this magnificent fountain, and were waiting with breathless anxiety to see old Neptune take his turn. We had seen the wonders and beauties presented by the other fountains as they shot their silvery columns, and clouds of vapor high into the air, or spanned their pyramidal basins with innumerable liquid arches intersecting each other in every conceivable direction; but the grandest sight, it was said, was still in store for us. All the other fountains had commenced their playing with humble spasms—the columns rising higher by degrees, but old Neptune took every body by surprise. Hundreds leaped and shouted for joy, when they saw that the southern heavens, which had been so clear and beautiful but a moment before, were suddenly whitened with clouds of vapor upon which the rays of the western sun produced a most charming effect. A gentle breeze gave to each spouting jet, a misty tail, comet-like in appearance to the admiring spectators.
which added much to my pleasures and enjoyments of that glorious day, deserves notice here, as it illustrates that if one even starts to make the tour of the world alone, so that he may not be detained by the loiterings of a companion whose tastes and fancies differ from his, need not therefore be without pleasant associates when he is in want of them. Early in the afternoon, as I was about taking my seat under the shade of a yew-tree on a terrace where I might have a fair view of Bassin de Latone, (the play of whose liquid arches render it the most beautiful of all in the garden), I was accidentally met by the same English party with whom I had traveled from London to Paris. It was a happy meeting indeed, and the incidents of our walks and conversations upon that pleasure-garden will ever remain fresh and green on memory's tablet. They had finished their tour of Germany and returned in time to spent the great day of the month at Versailles. As the band was discoursing excellent music, the fountains playing, and crowds of people streaming hither and thither in the midst of these splendid scenes, one of the ladies passed a remark which I only learned to appreciate fully, several months afterwards. She said, "I love the quiet English Sabbath." Her father had experienced before what the continental Sabbath was, but his daughters, though they appreciated these charming scenes none the less, would have preferred them on week-days; for, nearly a month of sight-seeing among a people who keep no Sundays such as we do, had made them long for a day of sweet and silent repose. Several months later, after I had traveled through France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, without finding a day of rest such as England and America make of their Sundays, I felt that even the pleasure-seeker should rest one day in seven. Often thought of the "quiet English" and American Sabbaths.
On the 6th of August, after a stay of fifteen happy days in Paris, I began to make preparations to leave for Brussels. I had walked during that time according to my daily register, about 140 miles, making an average of over 9 miles per day, for I could not avail myself of the omnibuses and city cars, as I had done in London; because I could not make myself understood in French.
Paris had presented so much that was new or radically different from what I had seen elsewhere in the world, even London not excepted, that I felt justified in addressing the following conclusion to an American journalist:—In Paris, there is such a harmonious combination of civilizing and refining instrumentalities and influences, which, if I do not elsewhere find a nearer approach to than I have thus far, will not only throw sufficient light upon the question, "How does she lead the nations in thought and fashion," that the most thoughtless may be able to solve it, but which will even entitle her to be styled queen of cities and Capital of the social world.
As I had definitely decided to return from Egypt to America by way of Paris, in order that I might see the great city once more toward the end of my tour, and be the better qualified to estimate her true position in the world, I made a little bundle of the guide books and views, which I had already accumulated on my trip, and also dropped some of the superfluities of my wardrobe—these things I gave into the care of my chamberlain, and bade good-by to Paris for a season. My friend and tutor Prof. P.S., accompanied me to the station and bought me a ticket for Brussels, as we call it in our language, but the French and Belgians call it Bruixelle (pron. Broo-ĭx-el). My friend informed me of this and gave me a drill on pronouncing the word correctly, for if I should have called it Brussels, no Frenchman would have understood what I meant. I was now about to leave the only acquaintance that could speak my language, and go to another people of the same strange language as the Parisians speak, with no right to expect that I should be so lucky again in meeting a suitable companion. I had ordered my mail to be forwarded to Cologne, Germany, until September 1st. At 11:15 p.m., August 6th, the train moved away with me toward Belgium.
I had forgotten to ask how often and where I must "change cars" from Paris to Brussels, and now, where no one understood either English or German, what could be done! Possibly, I need not make a change all night; and perhaps I should at the next station already! How readily my friend could have informed me, had I only asked him! But I managed to keep the right track, though at the expense of considerable anxiety and the sacrifice of some rest and sleep that I might otherwise have enjoyed during that night-journey. I learned a lesson, however, which aided me in avoiding such perplexities in the future. As soon is we reached the first station, I ran to a conductor and, holding up my ticket, cried out, "Broox-el?" He understood me and motioned me to keep my seat. Some accommodating Frenchman soon told me that he was traveling the same way for a considerable distance, (as his ticket also made clear to me), and offered kindly to inform me when I had to leave that train. My peace of mind being thus restored again, I made a pillow of my satchel and went to sleep.
The next forenoon (Saturday, August 7th) we reached Douane, where we had to pass muster under the Belgian custom-house officers. I was now with the wooden-shoed Belgians. A large company of the poor peasants passed muster with me. Each was provided with a pick or a hoe, or both, lying over his shoulder, and a large flaxen bag of other implements, &c., suspended from it. Nearly all wore caps, and the whole company looked very shabby, indeed. My clothes were in strange contrast with their tattered garments, for there was not another well-dressed passenger in the whole company; and I felt like one out of his element, because I did not also have a pick or hoe! A hundred Belgians with a hundred bundles crowded into several small apartments of the station, found little room for their, careers, which consisted of the irony ends of their picks and hoes, so that those occasionally hooked the prominent points of the faces of those immediately behind them! Strange to say, these collisions did not provoke any to insults or the use of vulgar adverbs, but gentle reproofs kept them all cool and steady till we entered the cars again. The reader will pardon me for saying that a similar crowd of persons in this country, placed under the same tempting and exasperating circumstances, would have created a row in five minutes, as would be the natural consequence if there were but a single ruffian in the whole lot. Nothing will strike the American tourist more when he comes to the Old World, than the good order which prevails everywhere. To meet two persons scolding and insulting each other, is an extremely rare occurrence. The orderly behavior of such a company of peasants will impress one more with the importance of teaching the young, lessons of patience, humility and obedience (which latter quality of character is the mother of a hundred virtues), than volumes of dry philosophy on social ethics will generally avail.
I saw an elderly lady kiss a middle-aged man alternately upon each cheek; an incident that is common in European social life, and that shows how the affections of the heart are cultivated and find expression. In Brussels I saw a son rest his hand affectionately upon his mother's shoulder, as they stood amongst the multitude in a public square.
I reached Bruixelle (Brussels) at about three o'clock in the afternoon. In order to see what kind of money was in circulation in Belgium, I immediately bought some pears of a fruit-woman, and handed her half a franc (10 cents). You may imagine how I was perplexed when the lady handed me a dozen coins of various sizes and values, as my change. Knowing, however, that though the coins had different impressions, the-system was the same as that of French money, I murmered to myself, "Blessed be the Decimal System," and went to some retired quarter to count it! One piece was a large whitish coin marked 10c., and worth 2 cents in our money; others were centimes, which are equivalent to but one fifth of our cent! I soon learned to know them all.
After having taken a long walk through the city, I engaged a room at a hotel where one of the boarders could speak a little English, and soon retired to take an afternoon nap. I awoke to broad daylight, but did not at once know whether it was that day, or the next day already; and there was no one about, just then, whom I could have asked! As the sun was standing in the western sky, I concluded that it was more likely that I had slept only a few hours, than that I should have slept 27 hours; and when the landlord was contended with the payment of one night's lodging, I felt satisfied that I could not have stayed two nights with him! On Saturday afternoon, after my nap, I went out again to see the city. Brussels is one of the most progressive capitals in all Europe. Several splendid boulevards lined with fine cafes and large edifices adorned with innumerable balconies, reminded me of Paris and its architectural scenery. It has a passage that compares well, both in brilliancy and magnificence, with some of the grandest in Paris. The Bourse de Commerce, (just completed), with its four elegant facades, would do credit to any city, and its market houses are among the finest that I have ever seen.
On Sunday (August 8th) I found all kinds of business being transacted, just as is done in Paris. On my way to the Cathedral, I met a dozen dog-teams that Sunday morning. Quite a small dog will draw a larger cart load of milk, than I would have expected that half a dozen of them could pull. The milk is distributed over the city by women, principally. It seems strange, how much work must be done by the women, where the men are required to spend a large portion of their time in the service of their respective countries, constituting the large standing armies with which Europe is flooded. Some of these women have large dogs to draw their milk-carts, others have smaller ones hitched to one side and assist them by pulling themselves on the other side of the shaft!
The Cathedral (St. Gudule),
is a grand old church, some portions of it dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. "It is rich in old stained glass and monuments. The carved wooden pulpit by Verbrueggen (1699) represents the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise." The choir renders excellent music. An odd feature in the religious exercises of this church, is the manner in which the choir is noticed when to sing, by the ringing of a common bell.
Hotel de Ville.
Hotel de Ville (the Town Hall) is an elegant building dating from the 15th century. It is four stories high to the roof, besides there are 4 rows of dormer-windows in the roof (four stories in the garret!) Its graceful tower is 506 (?) steps, 364 feet high. The view from the top is magnificent. Behind this building, at the crossing of two fine streets, stands the curious "mannikin ——" statue and fountain, evidently a relic of the shameless age.
I spent some of my time with an intelligent merchant who had been traveling in America, and could, in consequence, speak the English quite well. He informed me that he was not aware that Belgium had any Sunday-laws upon her statutes. Any one may do upon the Sabbath-day everything that he might do on week-days, if he feels so inclined. On Sunday afternoon, I left Brussels for Antwerp (Anvers). Nothing can be more delightful than the rural scenery of Belgium. The whole country is as carefully tilled as a garden—every foot of available soil being under cultivation. Most of the dwelling houses are small, but everything about the houses, yards and gardens is kept in the most perfect order. Occasionally, a beautiful vista opens to a fine residence in the distance. As we rode along in the cars, we would occasionally see an afternoon or evening party seated around a richly laden table glittering with glassware, and enjoy their dinners and suppers under some shade trees in the midst of their gardens. This custom is common in Europe, and presents most beautiful and homely sights.
Soon after I had entered the cars, I noticed that the tone of the conversation among the passengers was different from what I had been accustomed to hear in France and Belgium thus far. I now heard the chatter of the Dutch, but understood no more than if it had been so much French. Dutch and German are two entirely different languages. Dutch print in the newspapers does, however, not look so perfectly strange, as the conversation sounds to the ear.
After arriving at Antwerp I was soon found by a porter who conducted me to a German Hotel. How social and hospitable these Germans are—and, I must add, Europeans in general. Die "Deutsche Wirthschaft" (German Hotel) occupied quite a small building, which presented a very ordinary appearance on the outside, but I shall never forget that carpeted bar-room, the costly furniture of the parlor, and the accommodating landlady which we found there. Taste and comfort are always consulted, even where the greatest simplicity prevails.
is one of the most Catholic cities (some say the most Catholic city) in the world. Its streets are filled with images of the Virgin and Child, the Savior and the Cross. These stand at the corners of the crossings, or preside over the street lamps. On one of its church towers, over a gas light, is represented a candle stick with the rays emanating from its light. On each side, is a little cherub—one has a cross and the other an anchor. Over them, stand the mystical letters "IHS," the cross being combined with the H after the fashion of a monogram. Beneath is the following inscription:
GELOOFD ZY JESUS CHRISTUS IN HET ALLERHEYLIGSTE SACRAMENT.
In another part of the city I found a representation of the crucifixion, the cross upon which Christ is nailed being about 20 feet high. Effigies of two women in oriental costume stand on either side of it.
In Antwerp, as in Brussels, the spirit of progress: has seized the leading circles, and the hand of improvement has commenced tearing down her ancient houses and building new streets upon the modern plan and style of architecture. One of the most handsome avenues in the world, being from 290 to 350 feet in width, and about two miles long, runs through the very heart of this city. It has several moderate angles, which render it convenient to assign different names to different sections of it. Avenue du Commerce reaches from the northern end of the city to its magnificent squares in the center, known as Place de la Commune and Place de la Victoire. Here begins Avenue des Arts, which, with Avenue de l'Industrie, leads to the southern confines of the city. These avenues consist of three parallel roadways with two broad foot-pavements between them, and wide pavements at the sides. Let us cross this avenue from one side to the other, and estimate the width of its different parts. First we cross a broad payement of perhaps 30 feet; then a roadway of about 50 feet; next a foot-pavement lined by thick rows of trees whose branches form an arch over it; then the central roadway, perhaps 150 feet wide; and afterwards, another foot-pavement, a roadway and the pavement on the other side, corresponding with those already mentioned. The great square in the center of the city occupies about 6 acres. In this section of Antwerp, nearly all the old buildings have been torn down and new ones erected during the last few years; and in many other sections the same work of widening streets and erecting new buildings in place of the old, is being done with reckless haste. It seems as if old houses were regarded as a disgrace to the city. That few images are to be seen in the new sections of the city, is a sure sign that commerce, art and industry (see the names of three avenues which run through this city) have sounded the tocsin of revolution, and that the ancient religion with its emblems, forms and ceremonies, is yielding to the spirit of modern civilization and refinement, as many other cities of Europe have already done.
It is a remarkable fact, that as Catholicism sinks in Continental Europe, its communicants will not stop to join Prodestantism, but go strait over to Rationalism. France, for example, has had these two extreme elements fighting each other for the ascendency, for a long time, and no middle-road sentiment ever gained a foothold. Prodestant Europe will cling to the church the longest, and, do we not already see the indications very planely that after all Europe has turned rationalistic, America will continue to cherish the church and built her a Rome for future generations to bless as the fostering mother of modern Christianity?
Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Cathedral is the most elegant Gothic Church in Belgium, and one of the most famous in the world. Some parts of it date from the 13th and others from the 16th centuries. The spire (403 feet in height) is a proud rival of that on the Cathedral of Strasbourg, and its chimes of 99 bells are deservedly famous. Within the church, are some of the most celebrated paintings of Rubens. Among them are "Descent from the Cross," (considered his master piece), "Elevation of the Cross," "Assumption" and "Resurrection." The interior of this church is ornamented with master paintings and fine works of art in lavish profusion. The cathedral is free in the morning, but at noon the paintings of Rubens are unveiled, and a fee of 1 fr. is charged for admission. There were about 35 other tourists there during the afternoon that I visited it.
The Church of St. Jaques contains the tomb of Rubens, and many pictures, a number of them veiled and shown only for a fee.
The museum contains some of the best (most natural) paintings in Europe. The pencil of Rubens has imitated nature so perfectly that the eye almost fails to detect a flaw in the execution. The spectator may know that he only stands before a flat surface of paper daubed with paint; but his soul will be stirred, his pulse begins to beat faster and his imagination runs away with him, as he looks at such masterly executions of a skillful hand as is the "Dead Jesus" and some others in this museum. The congealed blood in his side, upon his hands and on his head, with the tears of Joseph and Mary and others, so natural that one mistakes the pictures for the reality, create feelings in the beholder such as he seldom experiences elsewhere, even in Europe. He first mourns for the dead and pities the afflicted; then he recovers himself again, and thanks the artist for having given him a key to the thoughts and feelings which he himself must have cherished while executing this painting. It is said, that when Roubiliac was erecting the Nightingale monument in Westminster Abbey, described on page 86, "he was found one day by Gayfere, the Abbey mason, standing with his arms folded, and his looks fixed on one of the knightly figures which support the canopy over the statue of Sir Francis Vere; as Gayfere approached, the enthusiastic Frenchman laid his hand on his arm, pointed to the figure, and said in a whisper, 'Hush! hush! he vil speak presently.'" Can we conceive that Rubens painted the "Dead Jesus" without sobs and tears?
I had seen acres of paintings in the Kensington Museum in London, in the Louvre in Paris and in Palais de Versailles; but it was reserved for me to see the paintings of Rubens and of Van Dyck last, so that I might know their merit.
Near the entrance of the Museum, stands a fine monument and statue to the honor and memory of
ANTONIO VAN DYCK P. CIC.ICCCC.LVI.
No one would wish to leave Antwerp without having seen the "gilded halls" by the river side, containing some of the most brilliant apartments in existence.
Antwerp has a population of about 120,000 inhabitants, and is the chief sea-port of Belgium. The Scaut Fleuve (River Scheldt) is from a quarter to a third of a mile wide at Antwerp.
Early on Tuesday morning (August 10th) I started on "a run through Holland."
The Meuse and the Rhine form numerous mouths, and their deltas are low and marshy. A most magnificent bridge crosses these, which is several (three?) miles in length. Fourteen immense iron arches are required to span one of the mouths of the Rhine. Much of the land is lower than the ocean, and a great conflict is waged between the Hollanders and the Sea, for the possession of the land. It is a strange sight to see vessels sail along the embankments higher than the chimney tops of the houses along the shore! Watchmen are stationed along these embankments and when the ocean breaks a leak, they will ring the alarm bells and every body will arm himself with a spade or shovel and run to the sea-shore to battle with the water. Thus have these people defended their property against the encroachments of the sea for many centuries.
A great part of Holland is as level as the ocean, and there are neither fences nor hedges to be seen. But ditches surround every little field and lot, and innumerable wind-mills pump the water that gathers into these ditches, up into canals, which intersect the country like a net-work, and conduct the water to the sea. Extensive meadows and rich pasture land support large, herds of fine cattle and sheep, which constitute the wealth of Flemish industry.
These Hollanders have some very curious styles of dress, and, like the Swiss, still wear their ancient costumes, even after the rest of Europe have adopted the fashions of Paris. In the larger towns and cities, however, the tide of revolution has set in and the young belles and beaux have commenced to "sail in Paris styles." A few years more, and the traditional costumes of the Flanders will have disappeared altogether.
The men are very partial to "burnsides" and wear their hair pretty long, combed wet and stroked down so as to look smooth and glossy. The old women, in place of ear-rings, wear ornaments in the form of immense spirals suspended from the ends of half of a brass hoop that passes around their heads below their white caps. These hang down over the cheeks and are almost as long as their faces. Some of the young ladies coming in from the rural districts, carry a head rigging—I do not know what else to call it, for it is neither bonnet, hat, nor cap, nor any combination of these; but it is an apparatus for the head that baffles description, and which, for want of a better name, we must call a tremendous thing, both in magnitude and in design! I have seen women with straw hats that must have been well nigh a yard in diameter! In The Hague, I saw little girls, however, (from 6 to 12 or 15 years of age) that were dressed as tidily and looked as fair and as sweet as any of our American school-girls.
In Holland, these are highways in fact as well as in name. They run in perfectly strait lines through the country, are about a yard higher than the meadows at their sides, and are lined by thick rows of willow-trees. They are turnpiked of course, as are all the roads in civilized Europe. From these roads the traveler has always the same field of vision—a circle around him that is about 8 to 5 miles in diameter. Towering spires may be seen in all directions. I visited Dordrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Arnheim and intermediate places.
In Dutch 'S Gravenhage or 'S Hage, in French La Haye, is the capital of Holland as well as one of its finest towns. "It was originally a hunting seat of the Counts of Holland (whence its name, 'S Graven Hage, 'the Count's enclosure')."—Hurd and Houghton's Satchel Guide to Europe.
The supreme attraction, is the museum rich im the best paintings of the Dutch school. "Here is Paul Potter's world renowned 'Bull,' alone worth, a trip to Holland to see." This famous picture represents a rural scene. A ram, a ewe, a lamb, a bull and a cow are gathered together under an old tree, and the old farmer, standing somehow behind the tree, taking a look at them. It is so perfectly true to nature that one can hardly persuade himself that the living animals are not before him. The pictures known as Rembrandt's "School of Anatomy" are also as deservedly famous. What ever the criticism of one who is no artist may be worth, it is my opinion that Rubens's paintings and some of those in this museum, are the truest to nature of all that I have seen in Europe. Raphael's paintings in Rome are shady in comparison to those of the Dutch school.
Tuesday, August 10th, 4:21 p.m. Leave The Hague for Amsterdam, where I arrived at 7:30 p.m., having passed Haarlem at 6:45 p.m. At 8 o'clock, as I sat on the platform of the Oosterspoorweg Station, the bells of three different towers commenced simultaneously to chime their peals and that too with mathematical precision. The exactness with which the clocks in the clock-towers of Europe keep time is remarkable; and the music of the pealing bells is beautiful, when numbers of them chime at the same time.
At Amsterdam I was asked for my passport, I told the "blue coats" that I had it in my satchel, "You should have it with you," said the German-speaking official. I replied that I had not been aware of that; and as I had not been asked for it either in England, France or Belgium, I had placed it into my satchel, so as not to wear it out in my pockets. I sent the porter to fetch my satchel, took the passport from it, and, after having shown it to the officials, placed it into my pocket again, so that I might have it ready in any emergency. These officers were very accommodating to me afterwards, however, during the time that I waited for the next train for Utrecht. After having had quite a social chat with them, I asked them what they would have done with me if I could not have produced them a passport from the government of my country. "Well," said one of them, "we would have been obliged to subject you to an examination, and if your answers would have satisfied the committee, you would have been allowed to pass on."
In connection with the railway stations, wherever I traveled in Europe, there are "cloak-rooms," in which the baggage of the travelers is stored away. It costs 1 to 2 cents to have a package, parcel, umbrella or satchel deposited into one of these, and then the depositor receives a receipt or check for his luggage, which he must present when he wishes to have it again. But Holland offers none of these excellent accommodations, else I would have spent a day more among these Flanders. When I came to Amsterdam, I was immediately assailed by a herd of porters, each anxious to take my satchel into charge. It had been my rule to carry it to the cloak-room myself, but here I could not find one! After a vehement struggle with the fierce porters, one of them who could say "Yes," in German, and who nodded his head when I asked him whether he would take it to a cloak-room, took it and carried it into the station, a distance of about fifty feet. But they kept no cloak-room as I observed when it was not placed into a special apartment for the purpose. It did not seem homelike at all to me, so I asked the agent whether he would give me a receipt for it. "Yes, if you satisfy the porter, I will," he answered. This reply made me more tired of Amsterdam than anything else, for, thought I, if the agent of the would-be "cloak-room" is a party to such a set of fellows, I must indeed have fallen into pretty bad company. I offered the porter 4 cents, which was twice as much as it cost me in other cities to have my satchel cared for a whole day, but he refused to take it. Being unwilling to become the victim of their extortions, I took my satchel and carried it (almost three fourths of a mile) through town to the Oosterspoorweg on the other side of the city. There I obtained good accommodations. I had asked for lodging while coming through the city, but could not suit myself; so I decided to start that evening with the first train for Utrecht. How different was the social atmosphere of the Oosterspoorweg Station! Not only were the porters and the officers civil, but there was an excellent restaurant connected with it, and the waiting-girls of the coffee-room were tidily dressed in French costume, spoke German, and were social, polite and accommodating.
At 9:30, I left by train for Utrecht, which I reached at 10:35 p.m. The station was a new and spacious one and the accommodations were again like those which I had been accustomed to, before I saw Holland; so I felt quite at home again.
It is entirely wrong for the tourist to come into a strange city late at night, but I could not avoid it this time on account of my sudden determination in Amsterdam not to spend the night there, as had been my intention. A clever and kind-hearted gentleman accompanied me through comparatively dark streets, and found a good hotel for me.
The next forenoon I ascended the high tower (469 steps, 321 feet in height). In this tower, at the height of 124 steps, lives the lady custodian of this stupendous building. She must have "high times" up there! The tower is a large square structure affording plenty of room even for several families; but I was thinking that she must have quite a time of it carrying up her water and all the numerous other things necessary to house-keeping.
The view from the top of the tower takes in the greater part of Holland. The country all around is quite level, as far as the eye can see. Level, in Holland, means level. Here one sees the innumerable wind-mills, and the labyrinthic net-work of canals which intersect Holland. An almost boundless expanse of meadow land stretches out in every direction, and affords excellent pasture to the lowing herds that roam upon it. One sees but a few scattered trees, and several small woods, all the rest is clear and bear—no hedge-fences even to interrupt the dull monotony of the scene below. A strong wind, and it was high too, whistled around that lofty tower, reminding me of our winter storms when they whistle over the chimney-tops—a music that often makes melancholy hearts home-sick.
It was exactly 12:00 o'clock, and I was in the middle of the sentence, "How beautiful these bells chime," when a boy motioned me to come quickly to a certain place where I could see the cylinder revolve which communicates with the peal of bells.
Two points of lightning-rods crown this tower. Few lightning-rods are to be seen upon private buildings, in Europe, but upon public buildings they are occasionally met with.
I must not leave Holland without once more referring to the rattling of the wooden shoes upon the pavements, the red artificial flowers which old gray-headed women wear upon their heads and the gaudy colors of some of their dresses; also to the universal custom of carrying everything upon their heads.
The denominations of Dutch money are florins or guldins, and cents; 100 cents equal one florin. The florin is equal to 40 cents in United States money.
At 12:38 p.m., I left by train for Cologne, Germany. By 1:00 o'clock we entered a desolate section of country consisting of barren sandy soil, scanty crops, and dwarfish shrubs and trees. On our way, I formed the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman who moved from Holland to this country nineteen years ago. This gentleman explained to me the agricultural institutions of Holland. He now lives in new Holland, Ottowa Co., Michigan, a town of 3,000 inhabitants, most of which are natives of Holland. There are about 15,000 more of his native countrymen living in the neighborhood of new Holland and at Grand Rapids. They have a newspaper published in their language in this country. At 2:25 we reached Arnheim where my Dutch friend left me.
At Zeevenaar (near the boundary between Holland and Germany) we passed muster. Soon after we crossed the Rhine on a ferry, which carried us and the whole trains of cars over together. Thence we rode through Rhenish Prussia on, on, until we reached Cologne.
Koeln, (or Cologne), the principal town in the Rhenish Province of Prussia, the seat of the supreme court of justice for the west bank of the Rhine, one of the chief commercial cities in Germany, and a military stronghold of the first class, is an old Catholic city dating its foundation from the 1st century of the Christian era. In the beginning of the present century, it had 200 churches and chapels; it has at present 25 only, two of which are prodestant.
The first place that the traveler naturally goes to visit is the Cathedral, (Ger. Dom), which "is perhaps" says Baedeker, "the most magnificent Gothic edifice in the world." This superb edifice is over an acre and a half in extent! It is 448 feet long and 249 feet through the transepts; the choir is 149 feet high. The magnificent south portal cost more than $500,000.
The central portal in the west end is 93 feet high, and 31 feet wide. The central window is 48 feet in height and 20 feet wide. The projected height of the twin towers is 511 feet. These are intended to consist of four stories, the third of which is approaching completion. A model representing in miniature what this structure is intended to be in the height of its glory when its towers are completed and crowned with spires, may be seen in a store adjacent to the Dom-platz, where the "only veritable" Cologne water (eau de Cologne) may also be obtained.
The foundation of this vast edifice was laid in 1248. Little work was done at it between 1322 and the beginning of the 16th century, and none from the latter date until 1816, when its restoration was begun under the auspices of the King of Prussia. Since that time $2,000,000 have been expended upon it. Those lower portions of the walls which were built 600 years ago, are old and gray and washed thinner by the rains of those half a dozen centuries. Such as appreciate the poetry of architecture, see in its multitude of spires and finials (large and small) a thousand vegetable forms, uniting to produce a bewildering effect upon the imagination; but no word-picture can do justice to the almost matchless beauty of this fine blossom of Gothic architecture. The tourist will love to go round about it and inspect and contemplate its every part, to take near views and distant views of it, and to revisit it time and again; and when he has bid adieu to Cologne and returned to his far distant home, he will dream dreams, by day and by night, in which he revisits and beholds again the beauties and glories of this magnificent temple.
St. Ursula, a church that is said to have been been built in the 11th century, contains a monument erected (1658) to St. Ursula, a princess of England, who, according to the legend, when on her return from a pilgrimage to Rome, was barbarously murdered by the Huns at Cologne with her 11,000 virgin attendants. The skulls and bones of these martyrs are preserved in cases placed round the church. Large sections of the walls in the church are shelved and divided into pigeon holes, each containing a skull! I saw no less than 600 or 700 of these skulls (by actual count). The bones "are worked into the walls in a species of sepulchral mosaic." These bones, it is said, had been in their graves about 400 years. The old pictures of the apostles are painted upon slates, one of them bearing the date 1224.
In the Golden Chamber are preserved the most sacred relics; here is a bone which is claimed to have been in the right arm of St. Ursula, while a gilded shrine contains the rest of her bones. Do these identifications not prove conclusively that anatomy was better understood when these bones were classified than it is even now? The name of the anatomist who selected St. Ursula's bones from among 11,000 and identified them is not given, but he certainly deserves much credit for it. Here are thorns from the crown and a piece of the rod with which Christ was scorged, one of the six jars of alabaster used at the marriage in Galilee, and a piece, about as thick as a hair and an inch or two long, of the "true cross." So they say. These things were brought hither from Syria by the crusaders in 1378.
The Museum in Cologne is one of the most interesting that I have yet seen. Its curious old paintings carry one back to the wretched times of the middle ages, when nothing but superstition and the night-mare of hell could influence predatory man to humanity on civil order. A picture of the Last Judgement is characteristic of the religious notions of those early times. In this, Christ is represented as sitting on one rainbow and resting his feet upon another. To his right stands a beautiful castle, into which numbers of beautiful persons are going. But on the left, how horrible! A massive time-worn citadel from whose large chimney tower issue flames and smoke, into which winged devils are descending, while others, carrying wretched-looking men in their clutches, fly about near it, or are approaching it with their struggling victims, and hideous monsters of quaint, fantastic forms accompany them in their excursions! One of these hideous beasts is represented with an extra head upon one shoulder and one under its breast; it has also faces upon its knees!
Among the other relics of antiquity, is Cheopetra with a little snake creeping over her bosom, Christ on the Cross surrounded by Mary and the Apostles, Madonna in an arbor of roses, Lions Fighting, Mourning Jews, Summer Night on the Rhine, and Galileo in Prison, deserve special notice among the hundreds of other admirable paintings.
A fine iron bridge 1,359 feet long, and wide enough for a double line of rails and a separate roadway, crosses the Rhine directly east of the Cathedral.
In traveling through foreign lands, one sees so much that is indecent, obscene, and shockingly profane, according to his our way of thinking, that he scarcely knows what to include and what to suppress in his accounts of foreign manners, customs and institutions. Some writers incline to the policy of rendering a true account of what they touch, but will restrain their pens from giving any notice of about one fourth of all they see, because they do not wish to pain the feelings of their readers by reciting to them narrations of horrible tragedies that occurred in the past, or of groveling superstitions that prevailed; such as we all wish had never disgraced the history of infant humanity or constituted the day-dreams of our ancestors. They carefully select that which flatters and pleases the vanity of their fellows, and pass by unnoticed, everything else. This course may tickle vain people, but it cannot meet with favor among those who love the truth, and the whole truth. There are sins of omission as well as of commission, and writers betray and deceive the world as much by the former class as by the latter. Some fastidious writers are afraid to call things by their proper names, considering it more appropriate to paint an African with a brownish color than to shock the beholder with a picture of a man with a black face! I can not take the reader through Europe in that way. To paint a negro we need black paint, and to describe scenes which are unfamiliar we need words and language that is not used in the drawing room or parlor every time we meet. So much for the introduction to an episode that is characteristic of the profanity of some of the descendents of the old Teutonic stock, when they become exasperated. The second day that I spent in Cologne, I went to a German barber to be put into trim for making my descend into the lower latitudes and consequently warmer countries. Another customer was ahead of me. While the barber was at work upon him, all the time in a rage and swearing barberously at some proceedings, a thunder storm came up very suddenly, and so obscured the light of the sun (though it was midday) that he could not see to go on with his work. Hereupon he began first to swear at the clouds, then at the Lord himself, using all the epithets of abuse that he could find in his entire vocabulary of profanity, there were heavy peals of thunder and vivid flashes of lightning, but, the darker it became and the more tremendous the crashes of the thunderbolts, the more the senseless and exasperated barber cursed and swore. After the shower and hail, I walked out into the pure fresh air and under the blue vault of heaven smiling down upon the refreshed vegetation, and tried to draw a picture of that profane man's mental panorama, but I never succeeded even to this day. Such behavior is not of rare occurrence, else I should not have related it; but even sacred history refers to similar incidents. The wicked, it is recorded, danced and were merry even until the waters of the flood swept them away.
A certain divine related to me a similar story concerning the behavior of a large body of the passengers with him on the "Great Eastern," when she was foundered at sea and obliged to return, after they had advanced 500 miles. When the storm was assailing the great ship, breaking down its masts and tearing away its rigging, so that most of the passengers were in despair and expected to sink any hour, they kept prayer-meetings almost continually. Another faction found fault with these, declared that praying was an intolerable nuisance and asked the Captain to prohibit it. The Captain decided that he would not interfere, whereupon the party offended took to dancing, cursing and swearing, and tried their utmost in this way to break up the prayer-meetings,
I heard similar profanity on my return trip across the Atlantic. One night when a storm assailed our ship, so that the waves rolled over the deck and the fierce rocking of the vessel threw many almost out of their beds, I heard many of them swear, even during the very time that the thunder rolled with tremendous roarings and crashes across the heavens. It seems almost impossible that conscious intelligent beings could behave thus, but the fact that they do, helps us to believe other strange truths recorded in history, without which, no correct conception of man's former depraved condition can be formed at this advanced day. For example, few seem to appreciate the part played by the Catholic Church with her images, shrines, sacred relics, paid magnificent temples, in taming and civilizing man, because they do not know who and what he was when the light of intelligence first began to direct his footsteps, and he had not yet learned to control his selfish nature which had hitherto been guided by an instinct worth a hundred times more than intelligence without morality or religion. We make a sad mistake yet in the nineteenth century, in cultivating the intellect and leaving morality so much out of the question. We see some of the fruits already in the corruption which prevails alike in all circles without regard to party or sect. I will recur to this again in speaking of the influence of the church, when I come to describe the magnificent churches of Italy.
On the second afternoon that I spent at Cologne there had been a shower, and from sunset till dusk I beheld one of the grandest atmospheric phenomena that I had ever witnessed. From a window of Mlueler's Hotel (facing the Dom-Platz) I was looking over the Cathedral at the western sky, as the sun throw its colored light through the small drops of rain still descending, and thus colored both the green foliage of the trees and the grand edifice before me, presenting a scene of such enchanting beauty as would afford almost a sufficient excuse for one to go into raptures, or sink down in a fit of ecstatic delight.
I may add that before leaving Cologne, I saw among the many dog-teams used in distributing produce over the city, a span whose disproportion I shall never forget; there was a dog hitched to one side of the shaft and a woman took hold of the other side and assisted him in pulling the load!
On Friday morning, August 13th, I left Cologne and went by rail to Bonn, 21 miles further up the Rhine. It is the seat of the Freidrich Wilhelm University, and contains about 26,000 inhabitants. The Poppelsdorfer Allee, an excellent quadruple avenue of fine horse-chestnuts, three quarters of a mile long, is the principal promenade of the town. At the end of it stands the Schloss containing the University, with a library (200,000 volumes) and a museum rich in Roman antiquities. The Muenster (or Cathedral) dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. In the Muensterplatz stands a fine bronze statue of Beethoven, a celebrated German musician, who was born in the Bonngasse, No. 515. This statue faces south, (as do most of the statues that I have seen in Europe, except when the surroundings are unfavorable). One side of the pedestal contains the following inscription:
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Geb. zu Bonn MDCCLXX.
The other three sides contain base reliefs representing muses playing upon musical instruments.
Half a mile above the Poppelsdorfer Schloss rises the Kreuzberg (400 feet high) crowned with a white church. This contains the "Holy Steps" 28 in number, which must only be ascended on the knees, and are in imitation of the Scala Sancta at the Lateran in Rome, piously believed to be the identical steps of the Praetorium ascended by the Savior when he appeared before Pilate.
The view from the tower of this church is one of the most beautiful on the Rhine. After enjoying the scenery a while, with a party of ladies and gentlemen whose society I had joined in the church below, we came down, and I took a rustic seat on an eminence and surveyed the beauties of the landscape more at leisure. The most beautiful part of the Rhine is from Bonn to Mayence, and this view from the Kreuzberg constituted for me a fine initiation into the charming scenery that fell to my portion to enjoy the coming three days. Large sections of the country here are entirely without fences, there being no hedge-fences even, and the landscape checkered by the different fresh colors of the various crops, spreads out like a beautiful carpet of green, red, yellow, gray, and a dozen other tints and shakes, all mixed up, or like a pavement rich in mosaics. We had also gone into the cellar of the church to see the skeletons and bodies of 26 Servitten lying about in boxes or coffins set in rows upon the ground. These, it is said, built the church in 1627. The bodies of several of them seem to have petrified more or less perfectly, but the rest of them are mere skeletons, and present an anatomical display that reminded me of what I had seen in St. Ursula, in Cologne, as above described. This cellar is perfectly dark and is entered by a trap-door in the form of a heavy stone, which an attendant removes by means of a crow-bar. The steps leading down are narrow and the passage very low, so that several of the ladies at first declined to enter, but we persuaded them, however, to accompany us. A tallow candle afforded us some little light, and after brushing away the cobwebs which the spiders had spun since the last party had made their entry, we came upon the sickening sight of the dozen or more skeletons still preserved. The ladies in the party were intelligent and dressed tastefully, and I shall never forget how the gaudy colors of their dresses contrasted with the gloom of that nasty cellar.
The frequent odd adventures into such places as many would not like to enter in their own homes in the presence of their friends and companions, constitutes a prolific source of amusement. After we had crept out of that dirty cobwebbed passage, our clothes were slightly soiled and cobwebby. With the remark, "If we were all with our fashionable circles at home, I suppose we should not go on this way," or some such allusion, that reminds the company of how differently they are wont to go on at home,-one can, under such circumstances generally provoke a fit of merriment. To the traveler, every day is a day of adventures—frequently of rather funny adventures!
At 2:30 p.m., I left Bonn by rail for Mehlen, (5 miles further up), where I crossed the Rhine on a ferry and came to Koenigswinter on its right bank. Southeast of this village lie "The Seven Mountains" (Siebengebirge). From the Drachenfels (1,066 feet high) the view is the most picturesque, and this one, about a mile from the village, I ascended. Donkeys and donkey boys are found here in aboundance, but I would have nothing to do with the donkey, and immediately set out to make the ascent on foot. I did not come far before a girl crowned me, with a wreath made of leaves, and asked me to buy it. The scenery is so romantic, here, that many will yield to the importunities of these poor girls and give them a groschen (21/2 cents) and make the rest of their journeys with wreaths of leaves upon their hats! The ruins of the castle of Drachenfels (or dragon's rock) erected in the beginning of the 12th century, is near the summit of the peak. The cavern of the dragon may be seen from the Rhine half way up the hill. "This dragon was slain by Sigfried, the hero from the Low Countries, who, having bathed himself in its blood, became invulnerable."
The summit of Drachenfels commands one of the noblest prospects of the Rhine. Here sat Byron when he wrote the following beautiful lines:
"The castled crag of Drachenfels Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine, Whose breast of waters broadly swells Between the banks which hear the vine; And hills all rich with blossomed trees, And fields which promise corn and wine And scattered cities crowning these, Whose far white walls along them shine, Have strew'd a scene which I should see With double joy went thou with me."
While luxuriating here amidst these grand and beautiful scenes of the Rhine, we were visited, by a shower, after which I enjoyed the sublime sight of looking down upon a rainbow which stood in the valley below me!
That evening I rode by rail to Ehrenbreitstein which is opposite to Coblentz.
On Saturday afternoon, August 14th, I prepared a programme of my contemplated trip through South Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the East, which, together with several hundred cards, I got printed in the afternoon. By means of these programmes I informed my correspondents in America, in which cities I would look for mail matter and at what times I expected to reach them.
Mr. Elmer, of the Coblentzer Volkszeitung, told me that the dialects of the German language are so different, that the people of Coblentz and those of Cologne can scarcely understand each other when they speak their peculiar dialects.
The principle, that whenever a stream of water makes a curve, the outside bank (that which turns the water from its strait course) is always more precipitous than the other in proportion to the amount of curvature of the stream, is well illustrated at the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine at Coblentz, by the course of the latter. The waters of the Mosel flow almost perpendicularly against the right bank of the Rhine, and have helped it in forming the precipitous rock of Ehrenbreitstein rising to the height of 387 feet above the river, upon which stand the famous fortifications of that name. The Rhine curves toward the left for about six or eight miles, and its right bank is in consequence high and steep, while the left bank is in the form of a gradual slope, bearing a striking resemblance to the valley of the Jordan for a mile around Siegersville, Lehigh Co., Pa. Another principle, that the width of a valley and the hardness of its bed is always in proportion to the fall of the stream of water flowing through it, does also find as ample illustrations in the sweeping Rhine as in any of the humbler streams whose courses I had watched and studied at home. These two principles afford perhaps the strongest and most conclusive of all proofs, that the hills and valleys of our planet are all the result of erosion.
The streets of Coblentz are mostly narrow, as are also its pavements, many of the latter being only from one to two feet wide. There are several remarkable churches, one, the Church of St. Castor dating from 1208, being an example of the early "Lombard style."
In order to enjoy the Rhine scenery to the greatest advantage, I took passage on a steamer to Bingen, and started out on Sunday morning at 10 o'clock. One of the steamers had been delayed about three hours that morning on account of the fog, but the day turned out to be a most beautiful one. I took a seat near the prow of the steamer, where I could conveniently watch the views of both banks without interruption from any source. I was now about to ascend the most romantic part of the Rhine—the Rhine of history and of poetry, upon whose precipitous banks the Germans erected their castles in the early and middle ages and defended their "Fatherland" against the attacks of their warlike neighbors. Only after one has seen the castled steam with its numerous watch-towers crowning every towering peak, and the indescribable beauties of this noble river, will the national air, "Die Wacht Am Rhein," (Watch At The Rhine), seem so beautiful to him, as it does to the sons of Germany, whose souls are stirred by its boundless historic associations.
I cannot stop to describe the scores of Schloesser, (castles), the charming prospects, the beautiful valleys with their verdant hillsides peeping into the Rhine, and the rich vineyards upon its sloping banks in some places, or the romantic scenery of the bare rocky mountains that rise almost perpendicularly at its sides to the height of 300 to 500 feet, in other places. Several objects claim particular attention, however.
Some 35 or 40 miles up the river from Coblentz, on the left bank, rise the imposing rocks of the Lurlei to the height of 433 feet above the Rhine. The river is very narrow in this place, has much fall and makes a decided turn, so that it is with considerable difficulty and some danger that steamers make their ascent. The river is here 76 feet deep and its waters form a whirlpool, (Gewirre). This place and every other one of interest along the Rhine, as well as all its castles, have their legends. It is said that a siren who had her abode on the rock, was wont by means of charming music to entice sailors and fishermen to their destruction in the rapids at the foot of the precipice.
As it is dangerous for steamers to meet on these rapids, they have a rule that every steamer coming up the stream must fire a few small cannons as soon as it approaches the Lurlei, so that steamers that are descending may hear it and wait to let the ascending steamer pass before they enter upon the rapids.
Near Bingen is the Mouse Tower, so called because the cruel Archbishop Hatto, of Mayence? had once compared some poor famishing people to mice bent on devouring corn, and caused them to be burned in his barn after having invited them to come there and receive provisions which it had been his duty to give them. After this outrage he was immediately attacked by mice, which tormented him day and night. He sought refuge in this tower, but was followed by his persecutors and soon devoured alive. Thus runs the legend.
We reached Bingen at 3:30 p.m., and started by rail for Frankfort on the Main an hour later. At 7:15 we crossed the Rhine by the magnificent iron bridge at Mayence, from which we had a good view of the extensive fortifications of that city, also the rich decorations of the entire city with banners, for, though it was Sunday, the Republicans (Internationals or Communists as they call themselves) had a great political meeting. I formed the acquaintance of one of their number who traveled with me to Frankfort and gave me an invitation to accompany him to one of their meetings the next evening. The Communists which fled from Paris after the storm of 1871, are now busy in different countries assisting those opposed to royalty to form organizations for the purpose of instituting other revolutionary movements some future day.
Frankfort, the home of the Rothschilds, down to 1866 a free city of the German Confederation and the seat of the Diet, has a population of 90,000 inhabitants. It has 20,000 Catholics and 8,000 Jews.
The Roemer is historically the most interesting building in Frankfort. It became the town-hall in 1405. In the second story is the Kaisersaal (Imperial Hall) containing the portraits of 47 emperors reigning from A.D. 912 to 1806. In front of it is the Roemerberg, (a large square), or market-place, which was the scene of public rejoicings on the occasion of the election of an emperor. After dining in the Kaisersaal he would show himself from the balcony to the assembled multitudes upon it. Down to the end of the last century no Jew was permitted to enter it.
The Judengasse (or Jew's street) was founded in 1462 and until the beginning of the present century all the Jews of the city lived there in an isolated community. Every evening and on Sundays and holidays, this street was closed with gates, and a Jew who would venture into any part of the town was subject to a heavy penalty.
The Church of St. Paul is immediately behind the Roemer. It is a circular building having seating capacity for 3,000 adults, and was used in 1848-9 for the meetings of the "German National Assembly for remodeling the Constitution."
Frankfort is the birthplace of Goethe, and has embellished one of its squares with a fine monument to his memory. It has also a fine monument to Schiller and a magnificent one to Gutenberg.
In some of the old streets of this city the upper stories of the houses are built out over the streets, making a break in the wall at every story, so that some of the narrow streets are thus almost arched over.
I left Frankfort by rail on the 17th of August, at 2:00 o'clock, and reached Darmstadt at 2:40 p.m.
Before leaving home, I had been presented by different persons with the addresses of a number of their friends and acquaintances in different countries of Europe, and also with letters of introduction to them. On account of my unbounded success in forming congenial friendships with foreigners, I never departed from my programme in order to meet persons for whom I carried letters, and consequently met none of them except a young American lady who had been abroad for several years with the object of studying the German language, and who was now connected with an educational institution at Darmstadt. Though I had been almost continually surrounded by tourists whose society and friendship I enjoyed and appreciated, still this meeting with a friend of one of my friends at home, seemed to me just like meeting an old acquaintance. We seated ourselves under a tree in the beautiful garden belonging to the Boarding School, and had a long talk about what each had seen in Europe, and how the social, political and literary institution of the Old World differ from those of America. The next day my new friend kindly accompanied me through the large museum contained in the Schloss, comprising a valuable collection of about 700 paintings, among them some fine specimens of the Dutch school. The Library in the Schloss consists of 450,000 volumes. On our way to the Schloss Garden we saw a little hut nestled in the garrets of other large buildings and surrounded by them on every side, except one of its gable-ends. The old peasant (so says tradition) would not part with it for any price, therefore his neighbors built their houses around, beneath and over his, leaving but one side clear through which he could admit the light of heaven into his humble apartment! Darmstadt has about 40,000 inhabitants, and is one of the cleanest and most modern in appearance of all the cities that I met in the Old World. Its broad and shaded streets intersecting each other at right angles, give it much of the appearance of an American city. The view from the Ludwigsaeule commands a fine prospect of the level country around, with its large woods of "tall trees" so rare in Europe, and the Rhein Strasse (Rhine Street) loosing itself only in the distance, is the straitest and longest street that I have yet seen.
Worms is one of the oldest towns in Germany. "The war against the Saxons was planned here in, 772, and here the great contest concerning the investure of the bishops with ring and staff was adjusted by the Concordat between, the Emp. Henry V. and Pope Calixtus II." It had once 70,000 inhabitants, but it contains now only 15,000, (2/3 Prodestant).
The Cathedral is a remarkably fine Romanesque edifice with four elegant towers, and two domes. The towers are adorned with odd figures of animals and gurgoyles. Most of this church dates from the 12th century. In the pediment is "the figure of a woman with a mural crown, mounted on an animal, whose four heads (angel, lion, ox, eagle,) are symbols of the four Evangelists, the whole being emblematic of the victorious church."
"In the Bishofshof was held the diet of April 1521, in which Luther defended his doctrines in the presence of Charles V., six electors, and a numerous assembly, concluding with the words: 'Here I stand, I cannot act otherwise, God help me! Amen.'"
The Baptistry contains some curious sculptures. Upon the roof of the building (stable) represented in connection with the Nativity, there lies a wheel, the signification of which no one could tell me. Among other musical instruments represented in relief in this church, there are the harp, the bugle and rows of violins or fiddles!
In the Luther-Platz stands the great Luther Monument, an imposing memorial of the Great Reformer. Its execution occupied nine years and cost $85,000.
Die Pfalz (Palatinate).
From Worms I went to Frankenthal, where I spent the night (of August 18th) at the Pfalzhof. It was now nearly two months since I had left America, and since that time, in all my wanderings, I had met no people that resembled the Americans. Even in Germany had I not yet seen any one whose physiognomy spoke of near kinship to any that I knew on the other side of the Atlantic. But at
I was introduced to a new class of experiences which were as unexpected as they were pleasant. If I had not here experienced it, I could never have anticipated the feelings of a lonely wanderer who, when thousands of miles away from home, was addressed in tones so like unto the voices of those he loved to hear at home, that he felt as if he was all the time hearing familiar voices in every direction.
At Worms my attention had already been arrested by social phases that reminded me of America, but at Frankenthal I met an officer at the station, who, upon being asked where the peculiar Palatinate dialect was spoken, not only mentioned to me the places, but also gave me a list of Pfaelzish words that are peculiar to them, most of which are purely Pennsylvania German both in their pronunciation and their meanings. A young girl at the hotel and her brother not only used language similar to ours, but betrayed their kinship in various other ways. I spent about a week in Mannheim, Neustadt, Speyer and the surrounding country, during which time I devoted all my attention to the question of our common ancestry. That those people are cousins to many of our Pennsylvania Germans can easily be proved in a variety of ways, even when we throw aside the traditional and historic evidences which we have that many Pennsylvanians have emigrated from the Pfalz in times past. The most convincing proof to those who can not go there and see the people themselves, likely consists in the fact that many of the family names of the Pfaelzer and of our Pennsylvania Germans are the same. I attended the large annual Saengerfest at Neustadt, in which 973 singers from all parts of the Pfalz participated. I procured a catalogue of their names and found that a very large proportion are the same as those of the majority of our people. When we contrast with this the fact that the proportion of names common between our people and that of any other section, is much smaller, we see the force of the argument. But this is by no means the first thing that strikes the visitor. Consanguinity or relationship by blood betrays itself in a hundred ways. Particular words and expressions, peculiar pitches of the voice, styles of address, forms of salutations, and special ways of performing certain kinds of work, tell their tale with an emphasis that makes itself understood even to the unscientific observer. The expression of the face and the very ring of the laugh often impressed me with the truth that it was that of a cousin's brother or sister. I often expressed my surprise at these things to those around me, and by a free indulgence in the peculiarities of their idiom enlisted the attention and gained the friendship of those people with magical effect. From Frankenthal I went to
which is the most regularly built town in Germany. It is divided into 100 squares like a chess-board, and has about 40,000 inhabitants. It consists of 20 sections lettered from A to U (the J being excluded from the nomenclature) and the squares of each sections numbered from 1 to 5. As the city enlarges in territory the numbers of the squares run from 5 upwards. The streets are named as in other cities, but the houses are numbered around the squares. Thus the Mannheimer Familienblatter (a newspaper published in the Pfaelzisch dialect, which is like the Pennsylvania German) is printed at E 1. 8.—Section E, Square 1, No. 8.
At Neustadt I made my home for half a week whence I took excursions into the country. One day I went to Drachenfels, walking about 16 miles in the woods, where I had nothing but paths and guide-boards to lead me; but the latter are found wherever two paths meet, so that I could easily find my way back again. In order to meet these people in every sphere of life, I used to go out to see the poor men and women work in the fields. One Saturday afternoon I struck out from Landau toward the Haardt Mountains with a view to put up for the night in a certain town that I saw on a distant hill. When I had come a short distance, I overtook a little maiden whom I asked the name of that town, so that I might ask the way thither if I should come into a valley where I could not have pointed it out any longer. I pleased the young girl very much by presenting her with my card, and induced her to use her glib tongue volubly in telling me about their schools—what they studied, how long the terms last, &c. She would get along very well in our Pennsylvania German dialect. When we parted, she skipped away and proudly showed the card which she had received from an "American," to one of her schoolmates (?). Here one may see women hauling hay and grain with cows, though I also saw some men use horses. Toward evening I met a peasant of Boechingen, who had finished his work and was about to return home. On learning that I was an American, he asked me to accompany him to his village, saying that Kirmes had come, the great jubilee season of the year when all the churches were being re-dedicated, after which ceremony the people would go to the public houses and keep up dancing and drinking wine and beer from Sunday noon till Monday night, and that I could therefore see a great many Palatinates together in his town I asked him what hotel accommodations their town had; to which he replied that there were several hotels and he would conduct me to a good one. On reaching the place I accompanied him first to his home and was introduced to his family. I had here one of those opportunities, so rare to the traveler, of seeing the kitchen arrangements of the middle and lower classes. When we came to the hotel he asked the landlord for a room for me, who immediately came to me and explained that on account of the great "Fest" (anniversary) he had turned all the spare rooms of the house into coffee-rooms, "but," said he, "though I know that Americans are used to good accommodations, I can only offer you the Fruchtkammer (granery) to-night, where I have a good nice bed for you, however, if that will suit you." The homelike cheerful tone and conversation of the landlord at once captivated me, and when I looked at the large house and saw all his rooms already filled with guests enjoying their wine and beer together, after the German fashion, I soon decided to stay with them. The room which he gave me was a very large one in the second story of the house, and, though there were large heaps of grain and different kinds of farming implements there, the end where the bed stood was clean and inviting, considering the circumstances. There was no lock at the door, but the landlord's honest face and assurances soon put me at ease about that matter. He told me that I might place some barrels against it, however, if I felt so inclined, which of course I did. There was a lady in that town who had been spending her time in Philadelphia for several years, but who had on this occasion come home to Boechingen on a visit. An invitation was sent to her in the evening already, asking her to come to the hotel where an American was waiting to meet her, and early on Sunday morning she met me in the coffee-room where we spent the morning. One's partiality to the English language seldom displeased me in Europe, but as this lady was a native of that part of the Pfalz whose people spoke a dialect more like the Pennsylvania German than I heard anywhere else, I insisted upon conversing with her in "the dialect." The landlord who did not understand any English was with us most of the time, so that out of respect for him she also felt constrained to speak German when he was present, but whenever he left us she would speak English, the language of her new American home. She had visited Allentown, Pa., and was well acquainted with the resemblance of the Pfaelzish and the Pennsylvania German dialects. I went home to Neustadt that forenoon and attended the great Pfaelzer Saengerfest (the annual Concert of the Palatinate Choirs). The city was splendidly decorated with flags, and the "Fest" was a grand success in every respect. From Neustadt I went to Speyer, and a day later to