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Title: Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary, Visited in 1837. Vol. II
Author: Gleig, G. R. (George Robert), 1796-1888
Language: English
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GERMANY, BOHEMIA, AND HUNGARY,

VISITED IN 1837.



By

THE REV. G. R. GLEIG, M.A.,
_CHAPLAIN TO THE ROYAL HOSPITAL, CHELSEA._



IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. II.



LONDON:
JOHN W. PARKER, WEST STRAND.

M.DCCC.XXXIX.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.


                                                                 Page

CHAP. I. The Gulden Krone. Count Thun's Castle and Grounds. Glorious
Scenery. The March resumed. Superstitions of the Bohemians not
Idolatry. State of Property. Agricultural Population. Kamnitz. The
Cow-herds. Stein Jena. Hayde                                        1

CHAP. II. Our Landlady and Washerwoman. The Einsiedlerstein. Its
Dungeons and Hall. Its History. Inscription over the Hermit's Grave.
Lose our Way. Guided by a Peasant. His Conversation. Mistaken for
Italian Musicians. Gabel                                           34

CHAP. III. General Appearance of the Place. The Inn. Ludicrous
Mistakes. The Public Room. Astonishment of the People at the sight
of Englishmen. The Priests. Scene in the Tap-Room. Kindness of the
People. Our Fishing Operations. A Chasse, and a Daylight Ball      57

CHAP. IV. Our Landlord becomes our Guide. Peculiar Scenery of this
part of Bohemia. A Village Beer-house. Travelling Mechanics. The
Torpindas. Toilsome March. Marchovides. Entertainment there        80

CHAP. V. March renewed. Scenery more and more grand. A Population
of Weavers. Hochstadt. The Iser. Magnificent River, and capital
Trouting. Starkenbach. Kindness of the Inhabitants. Carried to the
Chancellor's House. Fish the Iser again. The effect of my sport on
a Religious Procession. Supper at the High Bailiff's. Game at Chess.
Take leave of our kind Hosts with mutual regret                   105

CHAP. VI. The Elbe, a Mountain-stream. We Fish it. Dine on our
Fish in a Village Inn. The Young Torpinda. Arnau. The Franciscan
Convent. Troutenau. The Wandering Minstrels. March continued. Fish
the River. Village Inn, and account of the Torpindas. First Meeting
with these formidable People in a Wood. Another Pedestrian Tourist.
Aderspach. Excellent Quarters. Remarkable Rocks. The Minstrels
again                                                             128

CHAP. VII. Walk to Shatzlar. Magnificent Scenery. Extreme Fatigue. Our
Landlord. Early associations awakened by a Scene in the Market-place.
Rest for a day. Ascent of Schnee-Koppee. Halt at a Village on the
Silesian side                                                     161

CHAP. VIII. Warmbrunn. Objects around. 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. Agriculture in
Bohemia. Schlukenau. Schandau                                     179

CHAP. IX. The Diligence from Dresden to Töplitz. The Field of Kulm.
The Battle, and the Monuments that record it                      243

CHAP. X. Töplitz. Its Gaieties. Journey resumed. First View of
Prague. General Character of the City. The Hradschin. Cathedral.
University. Historical details connected with it. The Reformation
in Bohemia                                                        278

CHAP. XI. The Jews' Town. Visits to various Points worth noticing.
State of Public Feeling                                           333

CHAP. XII. Quit Prague. Journey to Brünn by Königgratz. State of
the Country. Brünn. Its Public Buildings. Absence of the Moravian
Brethren                                                          353

CHAP. XIII. Country between Brünn and Vienna. Vienna. Journey to
Presburg. Presburg. The Hungarian Constitution                    372



GERMANY, BOHEMIA, AND HUNGARY, IN 1837.



CHAPTER I.

THE GULDEN KRONE. COUNT THUN'S CASTLE AND GROUNDS. GLORIOUS SCENERY.
THE MARCH RESUMED. SUPERSTITIONS OF THE BOHEMIANS NOT IDOLATRY. STATE
OF PROPERTY. OF THE AGRICULTURAL POPULATION. KAMNITZ. THE COW-HERDS.
STEIN JENA. HAYDE.


We had quitted home not unprepared for the suspicious looks which
innkeepers might be expected to cast upon us, strangely equipped as we
were, rude of speech, and so very humble in the style of our travel. We
were, therefore, nothing daunted by the somewhat cold reception which
our host of the Golden Crown vouchsafed; and boldly questioned him
relative to his means of supplying our wants, namely, supper, a bottle
of wine, and a good bed-room. The confidence of our tone seemed to
restore his; for he forthwith conducted us upstairs; and we were
ushered into a snug little apartment, in which stood two beds, a table,
a chest of drawers, and four or five chairs. This was all, in the way
of lodging, of which we were desirous; and the next point to be settled
was supper. What could they produce? Had they any mutton? No. Beef?
None. Poultry? Nothing of the sort. What then? Veal, or, as it is
elegantly termed, calf's-flesh, which could be served up within the
space of an hour and a-half, either gokocht,--that is, boiled, or
grebraten,--_i.e._, roasted. And here let me observe once for all, that
he whose taste or whose stomach cannot be satisfied with veal, had
better not travel in Germany. For veal is to the Germans what beef is
to us,--the everyday diet of such as devour animal food at all; whereas
beef they seem to use only at large hotels as materials for soup-making,
while mutton is a luxury. Neither is it difficult to account for this.
There are no extensive pasturages, even in the mountain districts of
Germany, as there are in the Highlands of Scotland, and in the fens of
Lincolnshire and Kent. Wherever the land has been cleared of wood, it
is laid under the plough; wherever the wood continues, the utmost care
is taken to prevent cattle and sheep from breaking in, and so destroying
what is the principal fuel of the country. The consequence is, that
people cannot afford to rear more cattle than is absolutely necessary
for working the land, and supplying the dairies,--nor, indeed, if they
could afford it, would the means of doing so be attainable. Hence the
poor little calves, while yet in that state of innocence which entitles
them among the Irish to the generic appellation of staggering bobs, are
in nine cases out of ten transferred to the butcher, whose stall, if it
contain nothing else, is sure to furnish an abundant supply of dead
animals, which you might easily mistake for cats that have perished by
atrophy.

Being fully aware of these important particulars, we expressed neither
surprise nor regret when the solemn announcement was made to us, that
we might have roasted veal for supper; but having ordered it to be
prepared, together with an eyer-kuchen, or egg-souffle, as a supporter,
we set about changing our attire preparatory to a ramble through the
town. My friend, the Honourable Francis Scott, having kindly introduced
me to Count Thun, I sent my card by the waiter to the castle, and
learned, to my great disappointment, that the family were all in
Prague. It is needless to add, that, in the absence of the owners, I
was conducted over the castle and grounds by a very intelligent
domestic, or that, returning on another occasion, I stand indebted to
its owner for much kindness. I do not think, however, that there is any
justification for the practice which too much prevails, of first
accepting the hospitality of a stranger, and then describing the mode
in which it was dispensed. I content myself, therefore, with stating
that everything in the household of Count Thun corresponds to his high
rank and cultivated tastes; and that he who has once enjoyed, even for
a brief space, as I did, the pleasure of his conversation, will desire
few things more earnestly, than that another opportunity of so doing
shall occur.

The castle of Tetchen is a very noble thing, and its situation
magnificent. It crowns the summit of a rock overhanging the Elbe, and
commands, from its windows, one of the most glorious prospects on
which, even in this land of glorious scenery, the eye need desire to
rest. Originally a baronial hold, it has, in the progress of time and
events, gradually changed its character. It now resembles a college or
palace, more than a castle. You approach it from the town by a long
gallery, walled in on both sides, though open to the sky, and are
conducted to an extensive quadrangle, round which the buildings are
erected. They do not belong to any particular school, unless that
deserve to be so designated, which the Italian architects, some century
and a-half ago, introduced, to the decided misfortune of the
proprietors, into Germany. Thus, the schloss of which I am speaking, is
not only cut up into different suites of apartments, but each suite,
besides being accessible by a door that opens to the court, is
surrounded along the interior by an open gallery, into which each
individual chamber-door opens. The consequence is, that in winter, at
least, it must be next to impossible to keep any part of the house
warm, for the drafts are endless, and the exposure to the atmosphere is
very great.

When we visited Tetchen for the second time, the contents of a very
valuable green-house appeared to have been brought forth into the
central court. The effect was most striking; for all sorts of rare and
sweet-smelling shrubs were there; and flowers of every dye loaded the
air with their perfume. The gardens, likewise, which lie under the
rock, and in the management of which the count takes great delight,
were beautiful. One, indeed, a fruit garden, is yet only in its
infancy; but another, which comes between the castle and the
market-place, reminded me more of the shady groves of Oxford than of
anything which I have observed on the Continent. Count Thun, moreover,
having visited England, and seen and justly appreciated, the
magnificent parks which form the characteristic charm of our scenery,
seems willing, as far as the different situations of the two countries
will allow, to walk in our foot-steps. He has enclosed a rich meadow
that runs by the bank of the Elbe, and treats it as his demesne. All
this is the more praiseworthy on his part, that even in his own day the
castle of Tetchen has suffered most of the calamities of war, except an
actual siege. Twice during the late struggle, was it seized and
occupied as a post, a garrison put into the house, and cannon mounted
over the ramparts; nay, the very trees in the garden, which it cost so
much pains to cultivate, and such a lapse of time to nourish, were all
destined to be cut down. Fortunately, however, an earnest remonstrance
from the count procured a suspension of the order, till the enemy
should make his approaches; and as this never happened, the trees still
survive, to afford the comfort of their shade both to their owner and
his visitors. The havoc occasioned by the throwing up of batteries was
not, however, to be avoided; and it is only within these three or four
years that the mansion has resumed its peaceful character.

There is an excellent library in the castle of Tetchen, of which the
inmates make excellent use. It contains some valuable works in almost
all the European languages, with a complete set of the classics; and as
the tastes of the owner lead him to make continual accessions to it,
the hall set apart for its reception, though of gigantic proportions,
threatens shortly to overflow. I must not forget, however, that even by
these allusions to the habits of my host, I am touching upon the line
which common delicacy seems to me to have prescribed; therefore when I
have stated that a brighter picture of domestic affection and happiness
has rarely come under my observation than that with which my hurried
visit to Tetchen presented me, I pass to other matters, not perhaps in
themselves either more important or more interesting, but affording
freer scope to remark, because not calculated to jar against individual
feeling.

To wander amid these beautiful gardens, and gaze from the summer-house
along the course of the Elbe, occupied all the space of time which my
companion and I had set apart for the preparation of our evening meal.
We accordingly returned to the inn, fully disposed to do justice to the
viands which might be served up to us. They were well dressed, and the
bottle of Hungarian wine which accompanied them was excellent, so that
when we sallied forth again to examine the town, it was in the most
benevolent temper of mind imaginable. Every object was seen through a
highly favourable medium. The little quiet square and market-place,
with its ever-flowing but very dirty fountain, appeared emblematical of
the contented and happy lot of the people who dwelt round it. The Elbe,
glowing in the rich and varied hues of sunset, had about him a thousand
charms, for which language has no power of expression; and finally, the
view from a small chapel which stands on the summit of a rock about an
English mile below the town--that as it would have delighted even a
hungry man, was to us enchanting. Seriously, and without attributing
too much to the genial influence of a change of habiliments, and a good
supper, I have seldom looked upon a scene altogether so fascinating as
that which now lay before me.

Our sleep that night was sound and refreshing. We had ordered breakfast
at half-past five, and till five nothing occurred to disturb us; but
then the old and well-nigh forgotten habits of the campaigner seemed to
come back upon me, for I awoke to a second at the time which I had
fixed upon. Up we sprang; arrayed ourselves in our walking-dresses,
stowed away our more gentlemanlike habiliments in the knapsacks, and
addressed ourselves to breakfast. In Germany, as has been stated
elsewhere, this is but a sorry affair of a meal at the best; it
consists of nothing more than a cup or two of coffee, with some
sweetish cakes; but we took care to order, over and above, a moderate
supply of white bread and butter, and we consumed it all, much to our
host's surprise and edification. Then came the settling of the bill,
which seemed to please him better, and we were once more _en route_.

Our point to-day was Hayde, a town which our informants described as
distant from Tetchen about seven stunden,--that is to say, seven hours'
good walking, in other words, from twenty-one to twenty-four English
miles. There was nothing in this announcement calculated to alarm us,
for we had compassed the day before at least five-and-twenty miles, and
though somewhat over-wrought when we first came in, we were now fresh
and vigorous. But I am bound to add that either the miles proved more
numerous than we had been led to expect, or that we were in bad case
for walking. I have seldom suffered more from blistered feet and
positive weariness, than I did on my march to Hayde.

The sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky, when we quitted
Tetchen. The cool air of the morning still, however, blew around us,
and the landscape which seemed so fair even in the last glimmering of
twilight, appeared now more beautiful than ever. Our route lay up the
face of one of the hills by which, on all sides, Tetchen is surrounded,
and we saw before us the long and regular sweep of the high road by
which it behoved us to travel. For a brief space, however, a foot-way
through a succession of green fields, all of them sparkling with the
dew, was at our command, and we gratefully availed ourselves of it; for
it is one of the advantages which a pedestrian enjoys over the
traveller, either in a carriage or on horseback, that, provided he be
sure of the direction in which his object lies, he may cast both
highways and bridle-paths behind him.

The effect which is produced upon a Protestant traveller by the
frequent recurrence, in Catholic countries, of crucifixes, chapels, and
images, both by the road-side and elsewhere, has been frequently
described. At first, you are affected with a sense almost of awe; which
even to the last does not wholly evaporate; especially if you find, as
we did this morning, that by the inhabitants, these symbols are held in
profound veneration. In passing from Hernskrietchen to Tetchen, such
objects had repeatedly crossed our view; and we had seen the country
people lift their hats and cross themselves as they neared them. To-day
we found a rustic on his knees before a chapel, within which, gaudily
painted and dressed, were waxen images of a Virgin and child. Was this
idolatry? I cannot believe it. Even if his prayer were addressed to the
Virgin, which I have no right to assume that it was, should I be
justified in charging this poor man with a breach of the second
commandment in the Decalogue, merely because he besought the mother of
Christ to intercede for him with her Son and his Redeemer? Absurd and
unmeaning such prayers to saints unquestionably are; for where is the
ground for believing that they hear us; or even if they do, what right
have we to suppose that they can or will presume to interfere in
matters which nowise concern them? And when, over and above all this,
we found upon a practice in itself so unmeaning, the monstrous doctrine
of human merit, then, indeed, that which was originally foolish,
becomes presumptuous and wicked. But the accusation of idolatry is by
far too grave to be lightly brought against any class of persons whose
creed is, in all essential particulars, the same with our own, and who
err only in this, that they believe a great deal too much. It is,
therefore, to be regretted, that in their zeal to remove error, so many
well-intentioned persons should exaggerate the faults which they
combat; for, independently of the wound which is thereby inflicted upon
Christian charity, prejudices are but confirmed in proportion as
indignation is roused. "You may demonstrate to me, if you can, that we
are mistaken in supposing that the souls of the faithful hear us; but
why allege that we put our trust in them, because we pray to them?
Don't you get your ministers to pray for you when you are sick? Don't
they pray for you in your churches; and is our purpose in addressing
the saints different from yours in your dealings with your pastor? We
only beseech the Virgin, or St. John, to do that for us, which you get
a man of like passions and frailties with yourself to do for you."

Such is the Roman Catholic's mode of repelling the charge of idolatry
which we bring against him; and in good truth I do not see how his
argument is to be set aside. But take other grounds with him, and
behold how the case stands. "I don't accuse you of idolatry, far from
it; but I do assert that you are acting very absurdly. For, first,
there is nothing in Scripture which justifies us in believing that the
spirits of the deceased are aware of what is passing on earth at all;
and secondly, were it otherwise, such creatures could not, unless they
possessed the faculty of ubiquity, pay the smallest attention to
petitions which are addressed to them at the same time from perhaps an
hundred or a thousand different places. If St. John, for example, be at
this moment listening to a devotee in the island of Sincapore, how can
he hear me who am calling to him out of Bohemia? Our minister, on the
other hand, acts but as our mouth-piece, and it is expressly ordered in
the New Testament that the church shall pray for her sick members." Now
here is a dilemma out of which I cannot understand how the
saint-worshipper is to escape. For St. John is either a creature, or he
is not. If he be a creature, it is impossible that he can be present in
two spots at one and the same moment. He cannot, therefore, attend at
once to me, who address him in Bohemia, and to the saint-worshipper who
solicits his aid from the banks of the Mississippi. If he can be
present with us both, and with tens of thousands besides, then he must
possess the attribute of ubiquity, and is, of course, not a creature.
In the latter case, what is he? This, then, I humbly conceive to be the
weapon with which errors in the Roman Catholic's faith may most
appropriately be assailed, for though it inflict a temporary wound upon
men's self-love by questioning the powers of discrimination, leaves, at
least, their moral and religious intentions unquestioned, and
themselves, as a necessary consequence, unfettered by the strongest of
all shackles, that of outraged principle.

By the time we had reached the chaussée, or main road, the morning was
considerably advanced, and each new hour brought with it a wonderful
accession of heat. Not a cloud was in the sky, and for a while, we were
entirely destitute of shade. For though here, as elsewhere in Germany,
the waysides be planted with rows of trees, the trees were as yet too
young to prove essentially useful to the wanderer, and, to add to our
misery, we had a long and toilsome ascent before us, with a broad,
smooth, macadamised causeway, by which to accomplish it. It is true,
that as often as we paused to look round, the glories of that
magnificent scene gave us back our courage. Nevertheless, nature in
this situation, as she is wont to do in most others, would have her
way. We became exceedingly weary, and were fain, on reaching a wood
near the summit, to sit down and rest.

Early as it was when our journey began, we soon found that we had no
chance of getting the road to ourselves. Many wayfarers were already
abroad, among whom were several women, loaded like jackasses, with
enormous panniers filled with I know not what species of evidently
heavy goods. The tasks, indeed, which custom has imposed upon the lower
classes of women in Germany, create in a stranger extreme surprise, if
not indignation. I have spoken of the effects of this ungallant
arrangement as they display themselves in Saxony; and I am bound to add
that, in Bohemia, the same system is pursued, and the very same results
produced. Besides a large portion of the field-work, such as hoeing,
weeding, digging, planting, &c., it has fallen to the Bohemian women's
share to be the bearers of all burdens; whether fire-wood be needed
from the forest, grass, butter, eggs, and other wares required in the
market-place, or trusses of hay lie abroad in the fields which it is
necessary to fetch home. The inevitable consequence is, that, generally
speaking, a woman ceases to have even a trace of youth about her by the
time she has passed thirty. At three or four-and-twenty, she becomes
brown and wrinkled, a year or two later, she loses her teeth, and last
of all comes the goitre, which, by utterly destroying the symmetry of
her form, leaves her, at thirty, little better than a wreck. As to the
really old folks, the grandams and maiden aunts of the community, these
are, at all moments, in a condition to play with effect the characters
of Macbeth's witches; and when, as not unfrequently happens, they judge
it expedient to go about bareheaded, the resemblance which they bear to
the respectable individuals just alluded to, is complete. Yet in youth,
not a few of the girls are extremely pretty; which makes you the more
regret that the customs of the country, by subjecting them to such
severe hardships, should rob them of their bloom before their time.

Having rested under the shadow of our friendly grove sufficiently long
to permit my making a rough sketch of the valley beneath us, we resumed
our march, and rounding the hill, opened out a new prospect, scarcely
inferior in point of beauty, though widely different in kind, from that
which had passed from our gaze. We looked down upon a sort of basin,
fertile, and cultivated to the minutest corner, round which, like
sentinels on duty, were gathered a succession of mountains, covered to
their peaks with foliage. The dark hue of the fir was here beautifully
intermixed with the fresher green of the birch and hazel; while
occasionally, an enormous rock raised his bald front over all, more
after the fashion of a huge ruin, the monument of man's vanity, than of
a fabric of nature's creation. But the circumstance which more than all
others surprised us, was the density of the population. Of large towns
there seem to be, in Bohemia, very few; but every vale and strath is
crowded with human dwellings, village succeeding village, and hamlet
treading on hamlet, with the most remarkable fecundity. On the other
hand, you may strain your eyes in vain in search of those species of
habitations which give to our English landscapes their peculiar charm.
There is no such thing in all Bohemia,--I question whether there be in
all Germany,--as a park; and as to detached farm-houses, they are
totally unknown. The nobility inhabit what they term schlosses, that is
to say, castles or palaces, which are invariably planted down, either
in the very heart of a town or large village, or at most, a gunshot
removed from it. No sweeping meadows surround them with their tasteful
swells, their umbrageous covers and lordly avenues; no deer troop from
glade to glade, or cluster in groups round the stem of some giant oak,
their favourite haunt for ages. But up to the very hall-door, or at
least to the foundations of the wall, which girdles in the court-yard,
perhaps twelve or twenty feet wide, the plough regularly passes. A
garden, the graff generally possesses, and his taste in flowers is
good; but it almost always happens that his very garden affords no
privacy, and that his flowers are huddled together within some narrow
space, perhaps in the very court-yard of which I have already spoken as
alone dividing his mansion from the open and cultivated fields.

With respect, again, to the condition of the cultivators, that is, in
all respects, so different from the state of our agricultural gentlemen
at home, that, even at the hazard of saying over again what has been
stated a thousand times already, I must describe it at length. In the
first place, then, there is no class of persons in Bohemia corresponding
to our English farmer. Nobody hires land in order to make a profit out
of it; at least nobody for such a purpose hires a large tract of land;
but each individual cultivates his own estate, whether it be of wide or
of narrow extent. Thus the graff, or prince, though he be the owner of
an entire circle, is yet the only farmer within that circle. He does
not let an acre of ground to a tenant. But having built what he
conceives to be an adequate number of bouerin-hauses, he plants in each
of these a bouerman, and pays him for tilling the ground. These
bouerin-hauses, again, are all clustered together into villages, so
that the bouerman is never without an abundant society adapted to his
tastes; and very happily, albeit very rudely, his days and nights
appear to be spent.

The land in Bohemia does not, however, belong exclusively to any one
order in the community. Many bouermen are owners of their farms, some
of them to the extent of one hundred acres and more; while almost every
township has its territories, which, like the noble's estate, are
cultivated for the benefit of the burgh. But in all cases it is the
owner, and not the cultivator, to whom the proceeds of the harvest
belong. These are, indeed, gathered in and housed for him by his
representatives, who, in addition to some fixed money-payment, for the
most part enjoy the privilege of keeping a cow or two on the wastes
belonging to the manor; but all the risk and trouble of converting his
grain into money attaches to the proprietor of the soil.

Two results spring out of this order of things alike detrimental to the
well-being of society. First there does not exist, at least in the
agricultural districts, any middle class of society at all, which is
everywhere divided into two orders,--the gentry and the peasantry. In
cities and large towns the case is, of course, different; for there the
cultivation of letters and of trade has its influence on the human
mind; and professions hold something like the rank which ought of right
to belong to them when they are what is called liberal. But in the
country, even the doctor and the priest seldom find their way to a more
lordly board than that of the bouerman; and stand, in consequence, at
all times, on a level with the miller, the butcher, and the host of the
gasthof. Secondly, the nobles, having little ready money at command,
possess no means, whatever their inclination may be, materially to
improve the condition of their dependants; while their own time being
largely engrossed by the cares of buying and selling, they not
unfrequently neglect to cultivate those mental powers in which many of
them are naturally rich. Numerous exceptions to this latter rule
doubtless everywhere prevail; for I am bound to add, that such of the
nobility as honoured me with their acquaintance, were men of refined
tastes and very enlarged understandings. But the rule itself holds good
nevertheless, and would equally do so in any other country where a
similar order of things existed.

Through a succession of these villages, most of them inhabited
exclusively by bouermen, we made our way, not without exciting, by the
novelty of our costume, a large share of public curiosity. As often as
we found it necessary, however, to put a question to one of the
wonderers, we never failed to meet with a civil reply: indeed, I must
do the Bohemians of all ranks the justice to record, that a kinder,
more obliging, and less mercenary people, it has never been my fortune
to visit. Illustrations of this fact, I shall have occasion in the
course of my narrative, to give, though for the present I content
myself with stating the fact broadly.

I do not recollect that anything worthy of mention befel till we
reached Kamnitz,--an old town, and the centre of a circle,--through
which it behoved us to pass, in order to gain first Stein Jena, and
ultimately Hayde. The town itself lies in a hollow, and is begirt near
at hand by well-wooded hills; but in itself it offers few attractions
to the stranger. Narrow and deserted streets, with shops mean and
slenderly stocked, tell a tale of stagnant commerce; indeed, I may
observe, once for all, of the country towns in Bohemia, that it is not
among them that the traveller will find food for reflection, or sources
of gratification. Far removed from the sea, with which their single
communication is by the Elbe, the Bohemians have slender inducement to
apply their energies to trade, which is, in consequence, not perhaps
dead,--for there are manufactures of various kinds in the kingdom, and
more than one iron foundry, but exceedingly sickly and torpid.

Kamnitz, like other chief towns of circles, has its schloss,--the
property of the emperor,--in which the officials and the subordinates
at once reside and administer justice. It can boast, likewise, of a
large church and a prison; but as there was nothing in the exterior of
these buildings which at all excited our admiration, we did not delay
to examine them. With respect, again, to other matters, I am aware of
only one custom in the place, of which it is worth while to take
notice. Kamnitz, it appears, is very much of an agricultural town; that
is to say, many owners of small estates dwell there, and many cattle
are kept. During the winter months, both here and elsewhere, the cattle
never breathe the air of heaven; but are kept mewed up in their stalls,
and fed on hay, and other dry fodder. When the hay crop has been
gathered in, and the fields are ready for them, they are sent abroad to
graze, but always under the guidance of keepers, who, at least in
Kamnitz, are strictly professional persons. Their mode of proceeding is
this. At early dawn, there is a flourish of cow-horns in the
streets,--a signal for opening the stable-door, and leading forth the
cattle to pasture. The animals are then collected in the market-place,
and handed over to the charge of their appointed keepers, who, two or
three in number, drive the herd abroad, and are responsible that they
commit no trespass on the growing corn. At night, a similar process
takes place. The cattle are led back by the keepers to the
market-place: horns are again sounded; upon which each bouerman either
comes in person, or sends his deputy to receive the beasts, and so
conducts them to their stalls for milking.

Kamnitz has at one period been a fortified town, though probably that
period is very remote,--for against modern artillery a place so
situated could not hold out a single day. Its gateways, and some
fragments of the old wall, remain,--objects at all times too
interesting to be wantonly removed. Beneath a couple of these venerable
arches we passed,--first on entering, then on leaving the town,--after
which we found ourselves traversing a long and irregular hamlet, which
in the form of a suburb lines one side of the road, and so faces a
pretty little stream that skirts the other. Crossing the rivulet by a
bridge with two arches, we began to climb the hill, on the brow of
which Stein Jena is situated, and from which our friend, the young
priest of Auffenberg, had given us to understand, that we should obtain
one of the most magnificent views in this part of Bohemia. Long and
toilsome was this ascent; for though the main road was still beneath
our feet, so perfectly had its fabricators set the rules of their art
at defiance, that it ran sheer and abrupt, with scarce a trifling
deflection, from the base to the summit. The sun, also, beat upon us
with a power which we found it extremely uncomfortable to sustain, and
our thirst was excessive. And here it may, perhaps, be worth while for
the benefit of other pedestrians, to remark, that we began our march,
in reference to the victualling department, on an utterly erroneous
principle. Breakfasting at half past five or six o'clock in the
morning, we made up our minds not to eat a solid meal again till our
day's work should be accomplished; in other words, to content ourselves
at noon with some slight refreshment, such as a morsel of bread, or a
sandwich and a little weak brandy and water, swallowed in the shade of
some grove, and to sup heartily when we should come in to our night's
quarters, at six or seven o'clock in the evening. The experience of
this day sufficed to convince me that in arranging this plan I had not
been so successful as the Duke of Wellington used to be with his
commissariat. Our bread had become hard and mouldy. Our brandy was as
hot as fire, and we could not find a spring of water sufficiently
sheltered to cool it. For consistency-sake, however, we twisted down a
few mouthfuls, but we could not manage more; and it was unanimously
voted, that thenceforth an hour's halt at mid-day in some house of
call, would be an arrangement alike conducive to the refreshment of our
limbs, and the well-being of our stomachs.

Having reposed about half an hour by the margin of a weedy pond, from
which a loud if not an harmonious concert of bull-frogs unceasingly
issued, we buckled on our knapsacks once more, and, by a desperate
effort, reached Stein Jena about three o'clock in the afternoon. It
seldom happens that a natural scene, of which you have been led to form
high expectations, does not disappoint you; yet I am bound in justice
to acknowledge that in the account which he gave of the view from this
point, the interesting curate of Auffenberg used the language of
moderation. Elevated to a height of perhaps two thousand feet, we
beheld across the valley beneath us, hill above hill arise,--all of
them pyramidal, shaggy with forests of pine, beech, and oak, and
interlaced one with another, so as to form the wildest yet most
graceful combinations. The scene, too, was in one striking respect
different from any on which we had yet gazed; namely, that cultivation
was almost entirely kept out of view, because our position was such as
to throw the depths of the plain behind the screen of their overhanging
mountains. It was, indeed, only when we looked to the right, where on a
level with ourselves fields of rye were waving, that the fact of our
not having wandered into some uncleared and uninhabited region was
demonstrated.

Stein Jena itself is a large, straggling, but remarkably neat village,
of which the street is on both sides shaded by rows of trees, and where
the houses can in many instances boast of being planted within the
range of well-kept and tasteful gardens. It was on the top of the
common beyond the village, however, that we paused to obtain our view,
and to make one of those rude sketches which in such situations the
most unpractised hand is induced to attempt; after which we again
pushed forward. Ten minutes' walk carried us over the ridge, and then
what a spectacle burst upon us! A huge plain was at our feet, green
with the most abundant crops of grass and corn, and here and there
broken in upon by a tall conical hill, which rose like a thing of art,
and stood alone in the level. Surrounding the plain on all sides, were
ranges of mountains, those near at hand resembling in their general
character the graceful hills upon which we had just turned our
backs,--those in the distance more precipitous and rugged, and above
all, white along their summits with snow. There needed, in short, but
some sheet of water,--a lake or a river winding through the valley, to
complete such a picture as Stanfield would love to copy, and the
humbler but not less enthusiastic worshipper of nature, gaze upon for
hours unwearied. For not only was there wood and pasturage, hill and
dale, rock and forest, in abundance,--but the haunts of man, without
which a cultivated scene is always incomplete, rose there in abundance.
There lay Hayde,--a compact and apparently well-built town; about three
miles to the right of it, and nestling back its own cliffs, was
Burgstein; while farther off Gabel, Reichstadt, with a countless number
of villages besides, told of the busy hands by which these fair fields
were tilled and kept in order. Heartily thanking our poetical friend
for the instructions which he had communicated to us, and charmed out
of all sense of fatigue for the moment, we continued our march, till
the shelter of a vast wood received us, at once shutting out the
glories of the panorama beneath, and screening us from the sun's rays,
which had for some time back beat with inconvenient violence upon us
from above.

It was six o'clock when we reached the inn at Hayde, faint, hungry, and
foot-sore. Our reception was not very cordial, nor did we this time, I
am sorry to say, succeed in perfectly thawing the ice in which the
landlady had encased herself; but we took her bad humour patiently,
showed her that we were well disposed to be merry, and obtained in five
minutes, first a very tolerable apartment, and by-and-by the best room
in the house. Perhaps, indeed, it may be as well to state, that our
first reception, even in Bohemia, was not always flattering. Yet
somehow or another, it invariably came to pass, with the solitary
exception of Hayde, where our usual tactics failed us, that before we
had been ten minutes under the roof of a Bohemian innkeeper, not only
he, but his whole household, were at our devotion. Neither was any
marvellous art required to bring this result about. We acted merely as
persons of common sense will always act in similar situations. We
turned the landlady's ill-humour or stiffness into a joke, spoke bad
German, mixed it with French and English, and won her heart by showing
that we were neither sensitive nor fastidious. And the landlady's heart
being fairly won, all the rest was easy. The husband, as in duty bound,
fell into his wife's views, and the servants took their cue from their
superiors. In Hayde, however, though we so far gained our end, that a
good supper with a comfortable apartment were afforded us, we have no
right to boast of our progress in the hostess's affections. She kept
cruelly aloof from us during the whole of our sojourn, and made us pay
at our departure just twice as much as, for similar fare, we were
charged at any other gasthof in Bohemia.



CHAPTER II.

OUR LANDLADY AND WASHERWOMAN. THE EINSIEDLERSTEIN. ITS DUNGEONS AND
HALL. ITS HISTORY. INSCRIPTION OVER THE HERMIT'S GRAVE. LOSE OUR WAY.
GUIDED BY A PEASANT. HIS CONVERSATION. MISTAKEN FOR ITALIAN MUSICIANS.
GABEL.


Hayde, which is a burgh town, having its burgomaster and other civic
authorities, contains a population of between two and three thousand
souls, and can boast of a large warehouse, or handlung, in which are
exhibited and sold the mirrors and other articles in glass that are
fabricated at Burgstein. Like most German towns of the same size which
I have visited, it is exceedingly clean, and its environs are laid out
with a good deal of taste. For the Germans, while in winter they shut
themselves up in their houses, all the doors and windows of which are
kept hermetically sealed, seem to live, during the summer months, only
in the open air. Gardens are, therefore, their delight,--public
gardens, where such things exist,--in which the men may smoke and drink
their beer, the women sip their coffee, in society; or failing this,
slips of soil, close to the highway side, from which they are separated
only by a low railing,--so that the owners may behold from their open
summer-houses every object that shall pass and repass. And truly it is
a pleasant sight to see an entire population made happy by means so
simple and so innocent. For of excesses the Bohemians are seldom, if
ever, guilty. The men smoke incessantly, it is true, and some of them
consume in the course of a holyday a tolerably large allowance of beer.
But the beer is either very weak, or their heads are accustomed to it;
for it is as rare to behold a Bohemian peasant drunk at a merrymaking
or fête, as it is to find, under similar circumstances, an Englishman
of the same class sober.

After adjusting our toilet, and giving some linen to be washed, with
the distinct understanding that the articles so disposed of should be
restored at seven o'clock next morning, we first ate our supper, and
then strolled out. The graveyard, removed, as is usually the case in
this country, some little way out of town, attracted our attention, and
was admired for the extreme neatness with which it was planted and
otherwise kept. From the top of an eminence behind the inn, likewise,
we obtained a view of the surrounding country, which we should have
pronounced fine, had we not previously looked down upon it from Stein
Jena; and a public garden, as yet "alone in its glory," was traversed.
But we were too much fatigued to attempt more. We returned, therefore,
to our apartment; went to bed with the sun, and slept soundly till
half-past six o'clock on the following morning.

Lovers' vows, it is said, are like pie-crusts, made to be broken. So I
am sure are the promises of Bohemian washerwomen; at least our linen,
which ought to have made its appearance at seven, did not arrive till
nearly four hours afterwards, and we were compelled to prolong our halt
accordingly. At last, however, the slender, but to us invaluable cargo,
made its appearance, though still so imperfectly arranged, that the
stockings, being quite wet, we were obliged to sling outside our
knapsacks, while the damp shirts were left to dry, as they best might,
within. But the precious time which our dilatory laundress had wasted,
nothing could recall. We therefore felt ourselves under the necessity
of confining our day's operations to the inspection of a hermitage, or
einsiedlerstein, near Burgstein, with what was described to us as a
short and pleasant walk afterwards, as far as Gabel.

We quitted Hayde without regret; and though still foot-sore with
yesterday's travel, contrived to reach Burgstein, which is about three
English miles distant, between twelve and one o'clock. It is an
inconsiderable village, prettily situated under the felsen, or crags,
from which it derives its name; and can boast of its schloss, the
residence of Graff Kinsky, as yet a child. Like other buildings of the
kind which we had passed in our tour, the schloss at Burgstein
resembles a manufactory much more than a nobleman's palace; for it
stands close to the high road, is roofed over with flaring red tiles,
and shows in its dazzling white front a prodigious number of small
windows. Connected with it by an avenue of umbrageous planes, which
overshadow, perhaps, a couple of hundred yards of road to the rear, is
the mausoleum of the late count,--a most ungraceful pile, evidently
constructed after the model of an English dove-cot, and like the
schloss, shining in all the splendour of white walls and a scarlet
covering. But from such objects the traveller soon turns his eyes away,
that he may fix them on the bold and isolated crag, the summit of which
is crowned by what he naturally mistakes for masonry; but which, on a
more minute inspection, he discovers to be, for the most part, the rock
itself. There stands what is now described as the Einsiedlerstein,--that
is, the stony dwelling of the hermit; a grievous misnomer surely,--for
though the last occupant of that dwelling was doubtless a recluse, its
original purpose, which for many ages it served, was that of a
strong-hold, or castle. And perhaps nowhere, even in Germany, can a
more perfect specimen be pointed out of the sort of nest which used, in
the dark ages of feuds and forays, to shelter the robber-knights and
barons, to whom forays were at once a business and a pastime.

The Einsiedlerstein, or Hermit's Rock, is a bold and isolated crag,
which rises sheer and abrupt out of the plain to the height of,
perhaps, one hundred and fifty feet. It is separated from the fells, or
rugged hills, which form the northern boundary of the wide vale of
Hayde, by a space of about two or three hundred yards; sufficiently
wide to place it, in the days of cross-bows and ballistas, pretty well
beyond the reach of insult, but by far too narrow to be of the
slightest avail against cannon, and even musketry. In the face of the
rock a staircase is cut, by which you ascend to a door, of which the
key is kept at a cottage close by, where dwells also your cicerone, or
guide. The door being opened, you see before you a continuation of the
rocky staircase; with this difference in character, however, between
what is passed and what is to come,--that whereas you mounted to the
threshold under the canopy of heaven, you now move onwards, or rather
upwards, through a cavity cut in the face of the solid stone itself.
By-and-bye you come to a landing-place, beyond which, at the extremity
of a narrow passage, you behold what used to be the armoury of the
castle,--an arched hall, chiselled out, like the gallery which leads to
it, from the rock. Here are yet the grooves and niches within which
warriors, long since dead, used to suspend their spears and
battle-axes, their helmets and coats of mail; and here, in the face of
the stone, are chiselled out some armorial bearings; probably the
devices worn by the lord of the castle on his shield. We find a tiger
couchant, for example, not ungracefully executed; a gate or portcullis,
I believe in heraldry an honourable device; with the fragments of what
have evidently been other symbols, though time has laid on them his
defacing fingers so effectually that you cannot trace them out.

From the armoury you proceed round a curvature in the rock, which
conducts you into the open air, and gives you a view of the opposite
fells, to the dungeon,--a melancholy place, bearing to this hour
numberless records of the sufferings and the patience, and even the
ingenuity, of those by whom, in old times, it was tenanted. The late
Count Kinsky, the proprietor of the castle, caused a breach to be made
in the side of the dungeon, which you now enter through an arched
passage in the rock, though originally the captive was let down by a
rope from above. This arrangement has the two-fold effect of admitting
an increase of light into the den, and of affording a ready means of
access to such as might scruple to descend, collier-fashion, in a
basket. Having passed beneath the arch, you find yourself in a circular
cell some twenty feet or more beneath the surface of the earth, and
girdled in by walls of solid rock, out of which the hole must, with
infinite labour, have been chiselled. These walls are everywhere
scratched over with representations of wounded hearts, crucifixes,
death's-heads, and even of flowers with broken stems; all of them
clearly enough of very old fabrication, though unfortunately none of
them dated. How many gallant spirits have here pined and fretted
themselves into eternity; how many noble minds and sinewy arms have
long confinement and scanty fare, bowed down to this damp floor and
withered. What a record of misery and wrong would not these walls give
forth, were they for one little hour gifted with the power of speech,
like the talking woods in the fairy tale. And yet, evil as the times
were, when might, not right, was in the ascendant, they had their
redeeming excellencies too. Knightly honour, chivalrous abhorrence of
guile, the soul to endure, as well as the temper to inflict; these were
the qualities most prized by men, who, born and bred to lives of
constant warfare, held danger light, and looked upon peace as
inglorious. And then their religious faith! It might be gloomy, it
might be wild, it might be altogether misplaced or misdirected,--but it
was at least sincere; for it exerted an influence over their most
wayward humours; it urged them both to do and to suffer as none but men
who believed that they acted aright would have done. Let us not, then,
even when standing in the dungeon of a baron's hold, come to the
conclusion, that what we call the dark ages were ages of unmitigated
wrong. They might produce their tyrants and oppressors, whose power, in
proportion as it was resistless, would spread misery around; but they
produced also their vindicators of the oppressed; their Bayards and
Lancelots, _chévalliers sans peur et sans réproche_,--of whose spirit
of candour, and fair and open and honourable dealing, it might be well
if this our intellectual and utilitarian age had inherited even a
portion.

It will scarcely be expected that I am to conduct my reader through all
the crannies and recesses of the Einsiedlerstein. Sufficient for both
our purposes it will be to observe, that everything is in the most
perfect state of preservation, and that he who is desirous of obtaining
a tolerably accurate notion of the sort of style in which the barons of
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries used to live, may find it worth
his while to make a journey even as far as Burgstein. Here is the
chapel, entire as when last the solemn mass was sung for the spirit of
some departed hero. There it is, hollowed out of the rock, with its
chancel and its transept, while near it are lodging-rooms of various
kinds; and underneath vaulted stables capable of containing perhaps
twenty horses. The well, too, that essential ingredient in a
strong-hold, still remains, though now it is dry; and on the back of
the kitchen fire-place the soot and smoke of other times have left
their traces. The only innovations effected, indeed, in the original
arrangements of the castle, are those which the hermit began; and which
the father of the present lord, the Count Kinsky, of whom I have
already spoken, has completed.

The history of the Burgstein, as far as I have been able to trace it,
is this. The name being a combination of the words birke and stein,
signifies the birchy-rock, an appellation which both now and in remote
times, would appear to have justly belonged to it, for its crest is
overgrown with birch trees, one at least of which is as fine a specimen
of the plant as it would be easy to discover either in Bohemia or
elsewhere. Its bold and isolated character seems to have pointed it out
as a fit situation for one of those keeps or strong-holds in which even
monarchs were, during the middle ages, glad at times to seek refuge,
and which constituted the groundwork of their power to chiefs of less
elevated rank. So early as the year 1250, a castle accordingly was
erected on it, in which the Baron von Ronow, a nobleman of vast
influence, held his court, and frequently entertained the King of
Bohemia himself, Wenzel I. By the caprice of his grandson, however, it
passed into the hands of the Knights Templars, who established there
one of their chief colleges, and, according to tradition, enacted many
and horrid rites, such as tended not a little to hurry on the ruin of
their order. When that catastrophe befel them, the sovereign seems to
have restored his prize to a noble of the same lineage with him who
willed it away, so that down to the year 1515, we find it in the
possession of a long line of Placek von Lippa und Berksteins. But heirs
male at length failed, and the heiress marrying a Baron Kollowart, the
lordship of this noble keep was transferred to a new line, which
transmitted it from father to son in uninterrupted succession, down to
the year 1670. To them succeeded, somehow or another, a race of Von
Rokortzowas, who again in 1710, made way for the house of Kinsky, and
in their possession it has ever since remained, neglected, indeed, till
of late, but holding time and decay alike at defiance.

Old chroniclers tell of many a lordly festival having been celebrated
within its walls. Repeatedly, too, it has withstood and repelled the
attacks of an enemy, once when an army of not less than fifteen
thousand men sat down before it, and a second time, when pressed by
thirteen thousand. But the invention of gunpowder, and still more
effectually the changes in men's manners which followed the discovery
of printing, slowly robbed it of its importance, till at last it was
deserted by its owners, who transferred their residence to the more
commodious, but far less picturesque mansion which they still continue
to inhabit. Then began a new race of tenants to occupy the rock, in
giving accommodation to whom the Graffs Kinsky doubtless believed that
they were benefiting their own souls, and doing their Maker laudable
service.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, while the lordship of the
manor yet remained in the hands of the Kokortzowas, a bouerman, or
small landed proprietor, distinguished in the circle for his skill in
agriculture, suddenly took it into his head to become a hermit, and
fixed on the deserted rock as his place of residence. The gräfinn--for
a female seems then to have exercised the authority of count, gave
immediate attention to his wishes; and fitted up, at her own cost, such
a cell as the pious bouerman described. There, for some years, dwelt
Brother Constantine, telling his beads at stated periods, both by day
and night, and living abundantly on the alms which the pious of all
classes bestowed upon him. At his decease, an enthusiastic miller
stepped forward to fill the vacancy, and Brother Wentzel, so long as
the sands of life continued to run, was, to the good people of
Birkstein, and the districts around, all that Brother Constantine had
been. To him, in 1720, succeeded Brother Antony, or rather two
brothers, Antony and Jacob, who dwelt in cheerful community one with
another, praying before the same altar, and conversing during the hours
of relaxation, but, in strict propriety, occupying separate cells in
the rock. In 1735, however, Jacob died, when one Samuel Görner, a
modelist, and perspective maker, took his place. Some ingenious
representations of Mount Calvary and the Holy Sepulchre, executed in
wood by the hands of Brother Samuel, still remain, and are exhibited to
the stranger with becoming pride. And last of all came a weaver, hight
Müller, who at the age of twenty-two, devoted himself to a life of
seclusion, and dwelt apart upon the rock up to the year 1785. At that
time, the strong arm of power was stretched out, and hermits, as well
as many communities of monks, disappeared. Yet Joseph, who seems to
have been conscientiously attached to his calling and place of abode,
was not driven into exile. Being appointed parish-clerk to the church
of Birkstein, he continued to hold the office several years; and dying
at an advanced age was, by his own desire, buried in a grave which he
had dug out for himself in one of the cells on the rock. Such are the
circumstances which have contributed to cast into the shade the ancient
and warlike name of this curious piece of architecture, and to describe
as a hermit's cell, what was, in point of fact, one of the strongest
among the many and strong baronial castles with which Bohemia abounds.

The hermits have not sat in the seats of armed men so long, without
leaving numerous traces of their sojourn behind them. Three or four
caves are hollowed out in the rock, one of which contains a skull, a
rosary, and a narrow stone bedstead, overlaid with moss. In another,
besides the usual ornaments, such as crucifixes, &c., we found an image
of Brother Antony Müller, arrayed in his brown robe and hood, with
beads, a long gray beard, and bare feet, just as he is stated to have
exhibited himself in the land of the living. A third cave, or cell,
contains a representation of the same hermit's dead body, as it lay in
state,--for to the rock the corpse was carried both for exhibition and
interment; and finally, we have his grave,--a small heap of stones,
with a stone cross erected over them, and an epitaph inscribed on the
rock at his feet. I subjoin the original, and give, for the benefit of
such as may not be acquainted with the German, a loose translation.

    Du hällst den Tod für deinen feind,
    Du irrst; er ist dein bestest Freund:
    Er ummt dir alle leibin ab
    Und legt dich sanft in's stille grab.
    Befreit dich von dir falschen wilt
    Und wenn es dir nur selbst gefällt
    So fühst er dich in himmel ein
    Sag wellcher Freund kaun besser seyn.

    Thou holdest death thy foe to be,
    No foe, but best of friends, is he.
    He lifts the evil from thy lot,
    Lays thee where sorrow reacheth not.
    From the false world he sets the free,
    And if the progress pleaseth thee,
    Guides thee to regions of the blest;
    Of friends, then, is he not the best?

There remains one apartment more, which it would be unjustifiable in me
to omit particularly to notice, inasmuch as it holds a high place in
the estimation of the good people of Burgstein, and will, if it serve
no other purpose, force a smile from such young,--aye, and old persons,
too,--as may happen to inspect it. An ingenious mechanic, a workman in
the looking-glass manufactory hard by, has constructed a piece of
mechanism, in which all the known occupations, trades, and professions,
in the world, are described. His machine occupies four galleries that
surround an apartment built on purpose to receive it; and in the midst
is an elevated platform, on which the spectators take their stand. At
first they see only a rude representation of mountains and forests,
gardens, fallow fields, standing crops, cows, milk-maids, mills and
millers, ploughs, ploughmen, oxen, cities, soldiers, horses, carriages,
mines and miners, convents, monks, hermits, &c.,--all in a state of
quiescence. The pulling of a few strings, however, gives a totally
novel aspect to the face of affairs. Inanimate objects continue, of
course, at rest; but no sooner is the clock-work set a-going, than
music sounds, soldiers march, carriages rattle about, ploughs travel,
miners dig, mills go round, monks toll bells, hermits read and nod
their heads, milkmaids ply their occupation visibly and effectively
before your eyes,--aye, and the very bird-catcher pops out and in from
behind his screen, while a rustic having caught a schoolboy in his
apple-tree, applies his rod to the young thief's seat of honour, with
all the regularity of a drummer beating time. I defy the gravest person
living to abstain from laughter, when this universal bustle begins; for
no human being appears to be idle, and no single act seems to be
performed in vain.

The Graffs Kinsky seem, for some years back, to have paid a good deal
of attention to this noble relic of old times. The late count began a
chapel, I think in questionable taste, of which the walls now cover the
venerable and vaulted cavity, where knights and barons used to worship
long ago. He built, likewise, a sort of summer-house hard by,--of which
the flooring, red roof, and whitewashed walls, agree but indifferently
with the time-worn bearing of the castle itself. But though he has
added these excrescences, and erected a sort of platform in front of
the last, whence he and his friends might enjoy, at their pleasure, a
view of the surrounding country, he has taken nothing away; and the
public are much indebted to him, and to his successor, for the
liberality with which they are admitted to behold one of the most
curious specimens of baronial architecture, which is anywhere to be
found.

Nearly two hours having been spent in examining the different objects
just described, we began to feel that food and drink would be
acceptable; and our guide,--a civil woman,--having assured us that both
were to be procured in the cottage below, to it we adjourned. The bill
of fare, however, consisted merely of brown bread,--sour, as all German
brown bread is, and made of rye,--of butter and beer. Nobody has a
right to complain who has at his disposal a competent supply of good
brown bread and butter; but to our unpractised palates, the rye-meal,
and sour leaven, were not very inviting. Still we set to work, and
aided by a cat, and a fine bold fellow of a dunghill cock, both of whom
took post beside us, and insisted on sharing our meal, we made a pretty
considerable inroad into the good woman's vivres, whose butter and beer
were both of them excellent. This, with a rest of half an hour, made us
feel up to our work; so we disbursed our groschen or two, strapped on
our packs, and pursued our journey.

Gabel was our point, towards which from Hayde a good chaussée runs; but
we had no disposition to retrace our steps to Hayde,--so, trusting in
part to the map, in part to the directions which our good-natured
hostess gave us, we struck across the country at a venture. Probably we
did not commit a greater number of blunders than any other persons
similarly circumstanced would have done, but the way seemed at once
intricate and interminable. I doubt, indeed, whether we should have
succeeded in reaching our destination at all, had we not, by good
fortune, overtaken in the heart of a wood an honest countryman, who was
journeying towards his home in the fair village of Leipsige, and
volunteered to be so far our guide. We found him intelligent enough on
his own topic of agriculture, and well inclined to communicate to us
his family history; but he knew nothing about either Peter of Prague,
or the gypsies, and had never seen either Napoleon or his troops. We
were, therefore, forced to take his guidance on his own terms, and had
to thank him for probably some errors shunned, and a good deal of
anxiety avoided.

Leipsige,--our friend's place of abode,--is a long straggling dorf,
which extends, I should conceive, a full mile and a-half, along a
valley between the two steep green banks that mark out the course of a
pretty little stream. There is a bleach-field in it, and a manufactory
of linen thread, neither of which we delayed to examine; for the day
was wearing on, and, beautiful as the scenery was through which we had
to pass, we were desirous of reaching our halting-place as soon as
possible. At last, about six in the evening, after traversing several
deep forests, and crossing one or two hills, we beheld before us what
seemed to be a town of some size, with a large church built in the
Italian style, one schloss or palace just outside the suburbs,--and
another, much more imposing both in its architecture and situation,
some three-quarters of a mile removed. Concluding that this must be
Gabel, we made towards it; though, in order to avoid disappointment, we
questioned a well-dressed man whom we overtook, and received from him a
satisfactory answer. Our informant, however, was not content to give
information only,--he desired to obtain some also. What were we? We did
not belong to the country, that was certain; what were we? Italian
musicians? Now really I had no conception that in this thoroughly
English, or rather Scottish countenance, of mine, there had been so
much as one line which could induce even a Bohemian to mistake me for
an Italian, and I felt proportionably flattered, more particularly as
in attributing to me the qualifications of a musician, he paid as high
a compliment to my tastes as his first mistake paid to my features. We
made a very low obeisance, and assured him that we were neither
Italians nor musicians. What then? Were we stocking-weavers; and did
our load consist of stockings? This was too much for our gravity; for
the transition appeared to us as complete as could well be, so we
laughed heartily. But when we told him the truth, that we were English
gentlemen, walking for our own amusement, and desiring to make the
acquaintance of his countrymen, his manner became more polite and
obliging than ever. He directed us where to find the best
accommodations, offered to conduct us to the hotel in person, and would
hardly be persuaded that such service was unnecessary. We then parted,
we pushing on at a brisk rate for Gabel, and he, as we ascertained by
an occasional sly peep to the rear, standing on an eminence that he
might stare, as long as possible, after objects such as had never met
his gaze before,--a couple of Englishmen.



CHAPTER III.

GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THE PLACE. THE INN. LUDICROUS MISTAKES. THE
PUBLIC ROOM. ASTONISHMENT OF THE PEOPLE AT THE SIGHT OF ENGLISHMEN.
THE PRIESTS. SCENE IN THE TAP-ROOM. KINDNESS OF THE PEOPLE. OUR
FISHING OPERATIONS. A CHASSE, AND A DAYLIGHT BALL.


Gabel, though a place of some extent, and containing a population of
three or four thousand souls, possesses no corporate rights. On the
contrary, it is subject to the jurisdiction of a noble, whose schloss
stands, as I have stated above, close to the suburbs, where it is
encircled by a wider space of green than attaches to the dwellings of
the Bohemian nobility in general. There is no manufactory in the place,
but a great deal of spinning and weaving,--occupations which the people
pursue in their own houses; and the streets, with the exception of the
market-place, and another which leads from the market-place to the
church, are narrow and steep.

We had no difficulty in discovering the inn, to which our informant
outside the town had directed us; and we made for it accordingly. The
exterior was promising enough; for it had a wide front, many windows,
and considerable elevation; so we passed beneath the archway, nothing
doubting, and looked round for a door. One on the left stood open, and
seeing a staircase before us, we ascended, but soon stopped short when
on the landing-place we beheld some men in huge cocked hats, feathers,
and swords; while others, in more peaceable attire, were bearing under
their arms a parcel of uniforms. "We have mistaken our ground," said I
to my companion; "this must be a barrack, or else there is a regiment
marching through the town, and these apartments are assigned to them as
quarters." Accordingly we hurried back again; and seeing another door,
exactly opposite to that which we had first essayed, we pushed it open.
We were right this time; for on traversing a narrow passage, we found
ourselves in the hall or kitchen.

The hall or kitchen of a third or fourth-rate German inn, may not,
perhaps, be familiar to some of my readers; so I will describe it.
Imagine, then, an apartment thirty or forty feet long by twenty wide,
and perhaps ten or twelve in height. Four or five windows front you as
you enter, beside which are arranged, in the old style of our English
coffee-rooms, as many deal tables, with benches ranged along three
sides of each, and a few chairs covering the other. These leave about
half the width of the room free; a portion of which is, however,
engrossed by a large temporary closet, while the stove, in the present
instance a very capacious machine of the sort, occupies as much more.
For there is no visible fire-place any where, and all the cooking that
goes forward is conducted at the stove,--or, as the Germans
appropriately call it, the oven. Then, again, there is a bench fastened
to the side of the oven, where in winter, the wet, and cold, and weary
may rest; while finally, at the head of the apartment is a small table,
whereon the landlady, almost always one of the inmates of the hall,
plies her needle-work and eats her meals.

The hall or coffee-room, when we first looked in, was well nigh empty.
One woman, whom we now discovered to be our hostess, was, indeed,
sewing at her own table, while another seemed busy in the pantry, but
of guests there were only three,--two, manifestly travellers of an
humble class; the third, who sat apart with a large glass of beer
before him, more deserving of notice. His age might be about sixty. His
hair was grizzled; his face, and especially his nose, large and
rubicund, and his belly portly. He wore a black frock and dingy white
neckcloth; and he made no use of a pipe. All this we noticed while
advancing towards the hostess, who, as usual, looked cold upon us for
an instant, and then became our sworn ally. Indeed, I do not know that
I am justified in laying to that kind creature's charge even a moment's
ill-humour; for no sooner had I asked her whether she spoke French or
English, than she clasped her hands together, and burst into a laugh,
after which her sole anxiety seemed to be lest she should not succeed
in making us sufficiently comfortable. But in that she was mistaken. A
nicer quarter, in spite of the total absence from it of all approaches
to elegance, I never desire to occupy; for all that might be wanting to
our fastidious tastes, the real and unaffected kindness of the inmates
more than made good.

An apartment was provided for us forthwith; water and other conveniences
for dressing were supplied, and supper was ordered. Moreover we were
given to understand that the fierce-looking personages whose bearing
had impressed us with so much awe, never hurt anybody; inasmuch as they
were honest mechanics, a tailor or two, with some musical weavers who
composed the town band. Their uniform, it seems, is kept in a spare
room in the Hernhause gasthof, and they were in the act of equipping
themselves for an evening's performance when we arrived. This was
satisfactory enough, because, with all my admiration for the noble
profession of arms, I cannot say that I quite enjoy being thrust as a
traveller into an inn which happens to be thronged with some hundreds
of soldiers on the march; but it was not the only treat that awaited
us. My toilet was as yet incomplete, when in walked the landlady, first
to demand whether I could speak Latin, and, on my answering in the
affirmative, to announce that the priest of the parish was below in the
hall, and should be glad to converse with me. I desired her to inform
the reverend gentleman that I should make all the haste I could to
equip myself; after which I would wait upon him with great pleasure.

Having accomplished the necessary changes in my apparel, and otherwise
made myself comfortable, I descended the stairs, and found that the
gentleman with the red nose and grizzly head, was none other than the
priest who desired to make my acquaintance. Neither his appearance nor
his situation,--a conspicuous place in a pot-house, which all the idle
and beer-loving members of the community seemed to frequent,--at all
prepossessed me in his favour; but I took care to exhibit no symptoms
of disgust in my manner, and our conversation began. His reverence
spoke horrid Latin, of course; mine, from long disuse, was probably not
much better; but as I pronounced all my words according to the
accentuation of my schoolboy days, we at least understood one-another.
I found him full of curiosity, and wonderfully ill-informed, not only
as to the political and intellectual state of England, but even in
reference to its geographical situation. But his ignorance manifestly
proceeded rather from the lack of opportunity than of the desire to be
better informed; for of his questions I began to fear at last that
there would be no end.

By this time a whisper was circulating through the town, that two
Englishmen were arrived, and as very few of the Gabelites had ever seen
an Englishman before, the coffee-room became speedily crowded. Large
was then the consumption of beer, and dense and dark the cloud of
tobacco-smoke which circled overhead. Yet, to do them justice, the
curiosity of these simple people never once prompted them to commit a
breach, however trifling, of real good manners. We were, indeed,
besought to eat our supper at the table beside the priest, and we
readily consented; while by degrees all the vacant spaces were filled
up, by another priest, by several well-dressed tradesmen, and, as we
afterwards ascertained, by an officer of the Austrian army, who having
retired from the service on a pension, had married and settled in the
town. But the individual who interested us the most was the postmaster;
for whom, as he spoke both English and French fluently, the padre
despatched a messenger, and whom we found not only a most agreeable,
but a very intelligent and well-informed man. He had travelled much as
a merchant; had visited France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Russia;
in the last of which countries he had resided several years as chief
clerk to an English house at St. Petersburg.

I do not know that I ever felt myself in a situation more amusing, as
well as more perfectly novel, than that which I now occupied. The good
people, indeed, seemed so eager to obtain information, that I had few
opportunities of adding to my own; yet their curiosity, tinctured as it
was, throughout, with the most perfect good humour, and even politeness,
highly diverted me, and I did my best to appease it. One circumstance,
it is true, affected me painfully. I allude to the discreditable figure
cut by the priests; who, it appeared to me, had no business in such a
place at all, further, at least, than as casual inquirers. Among all
the beer-drinkers present, however, my red-nosed acquaintance and his
curate were the most industrious. It was quite edifying to see with
what rapidity their pitchers were emptied, and how sedulously the
hostess,--uninvited, though certainly unchecked,--replenished them; and
when I add, that each pitcher contained a good quart, the amount of
fermented liquor swallowed by these thirsty souls may be guessed at.
Nor, I regret to add, was the tone of their conversation much out of
keeping with their habits in other respects. I inquired into the state
of morals in this place, and received, in bad Latin, such an answer as
I do not choose to translate, and affected scarcely to understand.

Here then was a palpable illustration of the axiom which has so often
been laid down,--that, of all the means that ever were devised to
degrade religion in the persons of its teachers, the compulsory
celibacy of the clergy is the most effectual. In Hernskrietchen and
Auffenberg, it is very true, that no such lamentable results have
followed; but what then? At the former place a most deserving man is
condemned to spend his days uncheered by any of those domestic
endearments the influence of which is felt the most where it is most
needed. He does not complain, I admit; he has too much principle and
even manliness to complain of that which is irremediable. But who can
doubt that he feels his lot bitterly, or that his pastoral duties would
be discharged just as faithfully, and far more cheerfully, were it
different? So also at the latter place: the curate is yet a youth, full
of that fire of enthusiastic self-devotion which, while it burns, more
than supplies the place of all social and domestic relations. But how
long will this last? And see how the system operates in Gabel, aye, in
hundreds and thousands of places similarly circumstanced, where no such
enthusiasm is at hand to counteract it.

Here are two clergymen, well stricken in years, for the elder cannot be
less than sixty, and the younger but a few years short of it. Their
home, as they informed me, is in the cloisters of the church; but such
a home! Nobody inhabits it who, except for mercenary reasons, would
shed one tear were they to die to-morrow. Of books they possess but a
slender store, and were it otherwise, who can always live among his
books? Their professional vocations wear down their energies, and they
stand in need of relaxation. Where do they seek it? Not in the quiet
and happy circle of their own families--for they have none, nor among
their neighbours, who may esteem and respect, but will scarce unbend
before men who are become masters of their most secret thoughts. They
therefore betake themselves to the pot-house, and in drinking and
ribald conversation, look for that amusement which, under a better
state of things, the Reformed pastor is sure to find in the bosom of
his own family, and among his friends. I do not mean to justify the
individuals, who, on the contrary, deserve utter reprobation; but
surely a system which throws such temptations in men's way cannot be
seriously defended by any one who has the interest of religion at
heart.

From the priests, as they began, under the influence of repeated
potations, to exhibit their true character, I gladly turned away, and
addressing myself to the postmaster, learned from him, that the church
was a collegiate charge, that it had been burned down about forty years
ago, that the people, though poor, were contented, and that he himself
was but the successor of his father, who had been postmaster before
him. We then began to converse about the late war, upon which he
informed me, that Napoleon, on his retreat from Moscow, had passed
through Gabel, and breakfasted at the post-house; that fifteen or
twenty thousand men occupied the town some time; but that, though there
had been some skirmishes and frequent alarms, no battle was fought in
the neighbourhood. Finally, he undertook to correct my route, which I
showed him; mentioned one or two places as deserving of notice, which
were omitted from it; and promised to accompany us some way on the road
to Oybin, the point which he advised us to visit on the morrow.

It was now getting late, and our supper and usual allowance,--a bottle
of light wine between us,--being finished, my companion and I rose to
wish our friends good night. Numerous hints were on this thrown out,
that it was yet early, and that we should be disturbed by the bands of
music, one of which was playing at the inn door, another in a
gentleman's house hard by; but we would not attend to them. Having
strolled through the street once or twice in order to free our lungs,
in some measure, from an atmosphere of tobacco, we retired to our
apartment, where, in clean and comfortable beds, we slept soundly, till
five o'clock next morning.

Something had passed over-night between the postmaster and myself which
left an impression on my mind that he had urged us to stay and spend
this day with him; so, having finished breakfast by seven o'clock, we
left our knapsacks, packed and ready, and strolled down to the
post-house. My imagination had, however, run wild, for no such
agreement existed; so, after getting a few hints as to distances,
roads, and places of call, we returned to the inn. Here, in the
tap-room, were assembled host, hostess, and maid, all of them
unaffectedly grieving at our threatened departure, and all ready with
cogent arguments, such as might tempt us to halt at least one day
longer among them. Nor were these without their effect. Mine host
happening to inquire into the uses of the instrument which, enveloped
in a brown linen case, I carried in my hand, I told him, and he
instantly assured me of as good a day's fishing as old Isaac Walton
himself need desire. This was enough for me, whose piscatorial
propensities threaten, I am afraid, to be as enduring as those of
Paley; and laying aside our loads, which had already been buckled on,
we restored them to their places in the chamber. But the astonishment
of the innkeeper, aye, and of all his household beside, when I
exhibited to him my rod, line, and book of flies, no language is
adequate to describe. Such things had never come under their admiring
gaze before, and their shouts and exclamations were quite amusing. It
would have been cruel, after all this, not to give them a specimen of
the style in which we insular anglers coax trout to their destruction;
so having ordered supper to be ready at eight, and sent a message to
the postmaster that I would be glad if he could come and take part of
it with us, we sallied forth, under the conduct of our host, in search
of the stream.

The first glance which we obtained of this said stream sufficed to
assure us that in the gentle craft, the good people of Gabel were
altogether unpractised. There was no stream at all, but a ditch, deep,
here and there, and dark enough, but measuring not more than two feet
across, and everywhere overhung with bushes. They assured me that it
was full of fine trout, and I have no reason to doubt them. But as I
could not bring myself to adopt their method of catching the said
trout, namely, by tying a cord to the end of a stick, and a hook, with
a miserable worm on its blade, to the end of the string, my fishing
this day amounted to nothing. Yet the day was, on the whole, very
agreeably spent, as the following detail will show.

Our host, a fine handsome man of perhaps forty years of age, with a
quick eye, and singularly intelligent gestures, informed me, as we set
out from home, that I should find, at the water's side, the same
Austrian officer who had sat at our table over-night, "For he is a keen
sportsman," added he, "and having no other employment, devotes almost
all his mornings either to angling or shooting." I was not sorry to be
told this, because I naturally concluded that a stream which could
afford amusement all the summer over to one fisherman, so determined,
would furnish me with sufficient sport for a single day. My
astonishment may, therefore, be conceived, when on stepping over, what
I mistook for a drain, our host pointed upwards, and exclaimed, "Aye,
there he is, hard at it. He's an excellent fisherman, and would die, I
really believe, were the opportunity of angling taken away from him."
"Where is he?" cried I; "I don't see either a river or a fisherman."
"Don't see!" was the answer, "why he is there, there at the bend in the
stream." I followed the direction of the speaker's finger with my eye,
and beheld, sure enough, a gentleman seated comfortably on the long
grass beside some alder bushes, and smoking his pipe. "You don't mean
that the angler is there," exclaimed I. "Yes, I do though," replied
mine host, "and see, he has just got a bite." Sure enough the sedentary
sportsman put forth one of his hands just as these words were uttered,
and grasping the butt of a willow wand, seemed to give it a slight
hitch in the air; but no results followed. It was quietly laid aside
again, and the smoking resumed.

I now turned round, and with a countenance strongly expressive of
horror, begged to be informed if this were really the stream. I
received an answer in the affirmative, the solemnity of which was too
much, first, for the risible faculties of my young companion, and then
for my own. We literally roared with laughter. But we checked ourselves
as soon as possible, and having explained to our guide how widely
different were our notions of angling from his, had the satisfaction to
perceive that no offence was given. We now joined the Austrian officer,
and found that he had caught nothing; a fortune which did not improve
with him during the two or three hours which we loitered away in his
company.

There was no fishing to be had, that was clear enough; but we had
brought some bread and butter and wine with us, in a contrary
expectation, and these we discussed. Of course our brother sportsman
joined us in this operation; and we were not slow in discovering, that
though we had failed in finding trout, we had stumbled upon an obliging
and intelligent companion. He had served in the campaigns of 1812, 13,
and 14; was wounded at the battle of Leipsig; passed a year or two in
France during the occupation of that country by the Allies, and was
therefore proud to say, had been commanded by the Duke of Wellington.
Since the peace, he had spent a year or two at Ancona with his
regiment, but in consequence of the rupture of a blood-vessel in his
lungs, had since been discharged upon a pension. Since retiring from
the service, he had married a woman with some little property; and now
lived with his father in Gabel, who held, under government, a license
for the sale of tobacco, and farmed a small estate, to which our
acquaintance was the heir.

Our gallant friend, apparently chagrined that we should have been
disappointed in our fishing, proposed a chasse. I stared again,
remembering that it was the month of June, and seeing fine crops of
corn waving on all sides of me; but as he appeared serious, I offered
no objection. We accordingly walked back to the town; and while Mr.
Madder,--so the officer was called,--went home to dinner, I and my
companions strolled into the church. It is large and commodious, and
can boast of numerous pictures, more to be admired for the excellent
intentions of the artists, than for the success which has attended
their efforts; and the view from the roof is beautiful. But, except in
the crypts below, where

    Coffins stand round like open presses,
    Showing the dead in their last dresses,

there was little either within or without the pile deserving of notice.
The crypt is, however, a fine one; and the old monks and nobles whom
the sexton ruthlessly exposes to view, look out upon you grimly enough
from among their blackened and decaying habiliments.

Having allowed Mr. Madder what we conceived to be sufficient time for
satisfying his appetite, our host of the Hernhause proposed that we
should call upon him; and we went accordingly. A remarkably
nice-looking old lady, with two younger ones, received us, and were
introduced to us by Mr. Madder as his mother and sisters. Wine and
coffee were then produced, of which we were obliged to partake, and a
request was modestly urged, that we would exhibit the wonderful
fishing-tackle. The whole apparatus was accordingly sent for and
displayed, quite as much to the edification of the ladies, as to that
of their brother, and considerable progress was made in the good
opinion of one of them by a present of a casting-line and a couple of
flies.

The tackle being put up, a double-barrelled gun and shooting-pouch were
handed to me, the former furnished with a leathern sling, the latter
made of undressed deer-skin. I slung them on, and Mr. Madder and the
innkeeper being equipped in a similar manner, away we marched. But such
shooting! Never surely in the annals of sporting has this day been
rivalled, unless, indeed, when some city apprentices escaped from the
warehouse in Lad-lane, have penetrated into the marshes beyond Hackney,
to wage war upon a solitary hedge-sparrow. A dog we doubtless had, and
he was large enough for all useful purposes; for he trotted through the
rye with the composure of an elephant, and did spring a partridge from
her nest. But the partridge happily escaped from three well-loaded
barrels, and we never saw more either of her or her companions. Then
went we deep into the woods, following the notes of the cuckoo and the
ring-dove, only that we might come forth again with hands unstained by
the blood of any such innocent creatures.

I was very much amused with all this for a while, but by degrees it
began to grow tiresome; and I proposed that, as the sun wore towards
the west, we should return home. My wish was law, to my kind
companions; and homewards we turned our faces. But as we drew towards a
small house, about three or four English miles from the town, the
sounds of music were heard, and we found, on approaching, that it was
filled with ladies and gentlemen from Gabel, the younger portion of
whom were dancing to the notes of a fiddle, a clarionet, and a bassoon.
It was our purpose to mix with the people of Bohemia as much as
possible; we therefore expressed a desire to stop short for a minute or
two, and to become spectators, if not partners in the frolic. Again
were our wishes complied with cheerfully. We joined the merry-making,
were well and kindly received, and laying aside our guns and pouches,
danced with such of the young ladies as happened to be without
partners. Nor did we get away from this pleasant little broad-day ball
without doing some violence to the hospitable feelings of its founders.

Dancing seems to be a passion with all orders of people in Bohemia. The
very cow-herds dance on the high road, to the music of their own
voices, and the universal figure is the waltz. Quadrilles and
gallopades have, no doubt, their worshippers among the higher classes;
but among the lower, the waltz--most truly called the German
waltz,--seems to be all in all. The party to which, for half-an-hour,
we attached ourselves, belonged to the middle ranks, that is, to such
middle ranks as even Germany produces; for there were present the
doctor and his wife, a wealthy brewer and his family, with others of
Gabel's magnates, and I believe that I had the honour of dancing with
the brewer's daughter.

So passed one day at Gabel; to ourselves most pleasantly, and if we
might judge from the manners of the people about us, not less agreeably
to them. The rest of our story at this stage is told in few words. We
returned to the inn, changed our apparel, supped in our own room, with
Mr. Madder and the postmaster as our guests; took of them, at ten
o'clock, an affectionate leave, and went to bed. We were up next
morning, and packed and ready for marching, by six o'clock.



CHAPTER IV.

OUR LANDLORD BECOMES OUR GUIDE. PECULIAR SCENERY OF THIS PART OF
BOHEMIA. A VILLAGE BEER-HOUSE. TRAVELLING MECHANICS. ACCOUNT OF THE
TORPINDAS. TOILSOME MARCH. MARCHOVIDES. ENTERTAINMENT THERE.


Up to this moment the elements had behaved towards us with remarkable
kindness. We had, therefore, no right to complain, however deeply we
might lament the circumstance, when, on drawing up the window-blinds,
we ascertained that the rain was falling in torrents; and we felt that
we must needs face it. We therefore descended to the tap-room, after
discussing our cakes and coffee, and proceeded to bid our landlady
farewell. But neither she nor her husband would permit us to budge an
inch. The rain could not last. Only wait an hour, and the sky would be
clear, when our host himself would be our guide, and put us in a way of
reaching Liebenau much more agreeably, as well as with less fatigue,
than if we followed the high road. We could not resist this appeal, so
we sat still.

At length, about eight o'clock, though the rain had not entirely
ceased, the heavens looked so bright that we expressed an earnest
desire to push forward. As no mercenary motives had operated to produce
the previous opposition of our hosts, so now such opposition was at
once withdrawn; and the landlord, slinging his gun and pouch over his
shoulder, declared himself at our command. We took leave of the kind
landlady, not without tears on her side, and quitted Gabel, in all
probability, for ever.

We had been correctly warned as to the probable duration of the storm.
The rain, which fell in occasional showers when we first set out, soon
ceased entirely, and we had once more a clear and cloudless sky, with a
nice cool breeze just sufficiently powerful to refresh without
incommoding us. Our walk, likewise, was very interesting; for,
independently of the extreme beauty of the scene,--hills and dales,
forests and cultivated fields, deep glens and swelling table-lands,--we
passed over ground which had witnessed some sharp fighting during the
movements of the French army upon Dresden. The Allies, it appears,
manoeuvred well in this quarter; for, by showing numerous skeletons
of corps, they led Napoleon to imagine that a large army of Austrians,
Russians, and Prussians was here; and, while he watched them carefully,
they had well-nigh cut him off from his line of retreat. During these
demonstrations on both sides, foraging parties had been sent out from
Gabel, to sweep the neighbouring villages. These our guide had seen,
and one of them he followed so as to become eye-witness to an affair
which it had near a hamlet which we passed. He described the scattering
fire of the jagers, and the occasional dashes of the hussars, with
great animation, though, according to his showing, this, like other
rencounters of the sort, cost more powder than lives.

Having accompanied us at least two German miles,--that is, full ten
miles according to our English mode of computing distances,--the
landlord of the Hernhause stopped short, and prepared to take his
leave. We shook hands warmly, and I thought I heard his voice quiver
when, in return for a cast of flies, he thanked me. Nor must I permit
it to be believed, that the regrets were all on his side. I do not know
when my feelings have been more engaged among strangers, than by the
unaffected kindness of the people of Gabel,--a kindness on which we had
no right to calculate, however much we might be justified in looking
for civility in return for our money.

Once more, then, the world was before us, and seldom has it shone out
beneath the gaze of youth and inexperience more winningly than it did
under the influence of that delicious day. The rain of the preceding
night, and of the early part of the morning, had given to herb and tree
a fresher and a fairer green. The fallows wore no longer a parched-up
and dust-like hue, and the rivulets, swollen but not polluted, retained
their lucid character as they rolled on their way. From brake and bush,
from grove and hedge-row, thousands of unseen choristers filled the air
with melody, and the very oxen and horses, as they dragged their
ploughs, or toiled onwards with their wagons, seemed to acknowledge the
blessed influence which other creatures felt. We sat beneath the shade
of a small plantation to enjoy the scene, and then, with spirits
unconsciously elevated, and hearts not, I trust, insensible to the
glories of nature, and the goodness of nature's God, resumed our
pilgrimage.

Our route lay, throughout the whole of this day's progress, through
green fields, and over narrow footpaths. Not so much as once were we
driven to the necessity of following the high road; but taking our
observations carefully, and bearing with wonderful exactness from point
to point, we had already arrived within an hour's walk of Liebenau,
before we were aware. While compassing the space that intervened
between the village where our guide quitted us and this, which had been
marked down as our resting-place for the night, we passed many striking
and beautiful landscapes, such as I would willingly pause to describe,
were human language capable of describing them faithfully. Everywhere
around us, bold conical hills stood up, not a few of which bore upon
their summits the ruins of old castles, while all were more or less
clothed throughout with noble forests. For the portion of Bohemia which
we were now crossing, may with perfect truth be represented as a
succession of glorious valleys, overshadowed by not less glorious
mountains. The straths are all of them fertile to an extraordinary
degree, and as I have already stated, both they and the hill-sides
abound with inhabitants. Yet is the country a mountain district, in
every sense of the word, though the very mountains either are by
nature, or have by industry been rendered, uncommonly fertile.

The great defect in Bohemian scenery, is the absence of water. There is
scarcely a lake in the whole kingdom, and, with the exception of two or
three, such as the Elbe, the Iser, the Bober, &c., the rivers hardly
deserve to take rank with the larger class of our mountain streams.
Such a defect is sorely felt by him who, looking down from the brow of
a lofty hill over a wide plain, beholds perfection in every particular,
except that there is no water there; and when from the narrower ravines
you miss the lochs and tarns, which give to Cumberland and the
Highlands of Scotland their peculiar character, your disappointment
scarcely falls short of mortification. Perhaps, indeed, a double motive
may have operated with us to produce this feeling. Our eyes pined, in
the first place, for the object on which, in such situations, they had
been accustomed at home to repose; and secondly, our fishing-rods felt
like useless burdens in our hands. But it was not destined to be so for
ever, as I shall have occasion, in the course of my narrative, to show.

We had walked well and stoutly,--the sort of half-rest which we enjoyed
the day before giving fresh vigour to our limbs,--so that between two
and three o'clock we ventured to calculate that Liebenau could not be
far distant. Hunger and thirst were, however, beginning to be rather
inconveniently felt; and as our calculations might after all be
erroneous, we judged it prudent to seek, in a little ale-house by the
way-side, such refreshment as could be procured. Our hotel was of the
very humblest description; namely, the beer-house of a small hamlet,
and could furnish only brown bread, cheese, butter, and beer. These, in
the existing state of our appetites, went down famously; and a pipe of
good tobacco to wind up withal, was not out of place. Neither was even
this unpretending house of call destitute to us of subjects of
interest. We found when we entered the tap-room two young men asleep on
the benches, and a couple of large packs lying beside them. They awoke
shortly afterwards, and proved to be, as we had expected, journeymen
mechanics. For in Germany a custom universally prevails, that young
men, after serving their apprenticeship to the trade which they intend
to practise, go forth upon their travels, and dispose of their wares,
not only in remote towns and villages of their native state, but in
foreign lands. Some of these journeymen travel from Saxony, for
example, as far as Hamburg and Copenhagen. Several make their way into
France; and I have even heard of them penetrating both the wilds of
Russia, and the classical and fair fields of Italy. The consequence
is, that they return home with minds very much enlarged, and an
acquaintance, more or less accurate, not only with the systems of
commerce, but with the languages of foreign countries, and that a
stranger is surprised on entering a shop in Dresden or Zittau, to find
that French, and perhaps Italian and English, are understood by the
tradesman who keeps it.

The young men whom we found in occupation of the tap-room were by trade
cutlers. Natives of some obscure town in Prussian Silesia, of which I
have forgotten the name, they were wandering about through Bohemia with
the intention by-and-by of proceeding into Saxony, and so round by
Berlin and Potsdam to their homes. Their knapsacks, which they hastened
according to established usage to unbuckle, contained a plentiful
supply of knives, forks, scissors, and razors; but the poor fellows
were not successful in driving a bargain, for their charges were
exorbitantly high, and their goods of an indifferent quality. Even the
host himself bid but one-half their demand, and neither he nor we could
bring the merchants to our terms.

While we were haggling about an eighteen-penny clasp knife, the door of
the tap-room opened, and there entered an old man, clothed in rags,
with a wallet at his back and a long piked stick in his hand; who,
uncovering his head, knelt down upon the floor, and began to pray and
cross himself with surprising volubility. My young companion gave him a
piece of money, which checked his devotions only for a moment; for he
merely looked at it, nodded his head again, and resumed his muttering
with all possible eagerness. But at the termination of, perhaps, five
minutes, his prayers seemed to have been told out,--for he rose and
with a loud voice pronounced a benediction on the house and all that
were in it. This done, he turned about, and walked away.

The whole affair was to us so novel in its character, that the
questions which we put to the landlord were put eagerly, but our
eagerness proved to be uncalled for. "Story! God bless you! I have none
to tell, Sir." What we mistook for a striking incident, proved to be an
everyday occurrence in Bohemia, and our imaginary palmer or devotee but
a common beggar. And now, having touched on the subject, we proceeded
to sound the depth of our host's information on the subject of gypsies.
Where did they horde? how were we most likely to fall in with one of
their camps, and what sort of treatment might we expect to receive at
their hands? It was with some difficulty that we could make the honest
man comprehend the object which we had in view; and when he did catch
our meaning, his reply was brief and pithy. "The people you speak of we
call Torpindas. They are an idle worthless set of vagabonds. They have
no camps in Bohemia of which I ever heard,--neither is Bohemia their
home. They come out of Hungary, and beg their way far and near in the
summer months; going about in pairs or by threes, and sleeping at
nights under sheds, or on the floors of such tap-rooms as are opened to
them. I advise you to have as little to say to them as possible.
Avowedly, they are mere beggars, but their hands are always prompt for
picking and stealing, and they are said not to be over scrupulous in
using their knives." Here, then, if our informant spoke correctly, was
an end to one of the dreams which had prompted our incursion into
Bohemia. But though we gave him full credit for speaking what he
believed to be the truth, we took the liberty of questioning the
accuracy of his information, particularly in reference to the more
tremendous parts of it,--the hints touching the blood-thirsty
propensities of the Torpindas. For the Austrian police is a great deal
too vigilant to overlook, in any corner of the empire, the commission
of murder; at least, the habitual perpetration of such a crime by any
class of persons so marked as the gypsies. Though, therefore, we began
to fear that we might be pursuing a shadow, and that either there were
no gypsy camps to join, or that the excitement of such an adventure
would not compensate for the desagrémens attending it, we did not at
once lay aside our determination of making up to the first horde whom
we should meet, and striving to become their guests for four-and-twenty
hours, if not for longer.

We had now rested our allotted period, so we wished our companions good
luck, and resuming our march arrived in Liebenau about half-past four
o'clock. It is a clean, neat town; built along the side of a hill, and
commanding a fine view, across the intervening valley, of a bolder
range than its own; but of its means of accommodating strangers I
cannot speak. For the day was yet so young, and we felt so unusually
fresh and vigorous, that, after a brief consultation, it was agreed
between us to push on, if possible, some five or six miles farther. We
accordingly proceeded to the post-office; where, on consulting the head
of the department, we learned that about two stunden,--that is, about
six English miles further, on the way to Hoen Elbe, was a place called
Marchovides, where we should find excellent quarters for the night.
This was precisely the sort of intelligence which we could have wished
to receive, and we lost no time in acting upon it.

Would that I possessed the power of bringing before my reader's eye
even a faint representation of the magnificent scenery through which
this late march carried us. After climbing with infinite toil a long
and steep ridge, by crossing which a prodigious detour was to be saved,
we gained a point whence, on one hand, the eye could range over no
inconsiderable portion of Bohemia; while on the other, the snowy peaks
of the Riesengebirgen bounded the prospect, though still separated from
us by a wide breadth of highlands. Close at our feet, on either side,
were deep rich valleys, highly cultivated as usual, and swarming with
villages; while far away lay town and tower, castle and convent, forest
and green meadow, mountain and ravine, producing by their combinations
as glorious and diversified a panorama as it has ever been my good
fortune to behold. And yet I am not sure that even this scene, striking
as it seemed to be, was not cast into the shade, when, after dragging
our weary limbs across the hollow, and gaining the opposite ridge, we
opened out a prospect, narrower to be sure, but far surpassing, in
rugged grandeur, any on which we had as yet gazed. Another deep ravine
lay beneath us, dark with the forest which covered its base; beyond
which uprose a chain of jagged and pine-clad rocks, resembling in their
forms the fragments of some huge castle, or rather of an enormous city
of castles, shaken by an earthquake into ruins. Even now I am not
satisfied that among these tall and beetling crags there were no
remnants of man's handiwork; for the gloom of twilight was upon them
when I saw them first, and ere I had ceased to gaze it had well nigh
deepened into night.

Extreme fatigue is a serious damper to enthusiasm of any sort, and keen
as our relish of nature's more colossal forms might be, I am not sure
that we would not have exchanged, at that moment, the view of these
wonders, with all the train of thoughts arising out of them, for the
interior of a snug room in a village inn, and a mess of calves' flesh,
with a bottle of wine to drink after it. Of our village inn we as yet,
however, saw no symptoms; and wearily and slowly step followed step,
without, as it seemed, bringing us nearer to the object of our wishes.
At last, just as darkness had fairly set in, we met, at the brow of a
hill, a rustic, and received from him the gratifying intelligence that
Marchovides lay about a quarter of an hour's walk distant, in the
valley beyond. "And the gasthof," cried we, "what sort of a place is
it? Can we get supper, and beds, and a bottle of wine?" "Oh, yes,"
replied the countryman, "it is a capital quarter. Wine, and every other
thing that is good, may be had there for the asking." "This is as it
should be," said we one to another, while recalling our energies for a
final effort we hitched our packs higher upon our shoulders, and
quickened our pace.

We had not walked far along the descent when, through the thickening
gloom, numerous lights glancing from cottage windows made us aware that
we were approaching Marchovides. We made for one of the first of these
dwellings, inquired for the inn, had its situation accurately described
to us, and hurried towards it. The first impression made upon us by
this "excellent quarter," was far from favourable. It served the
two-fold purpose of a mill and a gasthof; and whatever the comparative
merits of the mill might be, the gasthof department was clearly not of
the highest order. Before the door stood a wagon, which the wagoner was
mending by the light of a lantern, while beneath the staircase a huge
archway showed itself, filled--as on a nearer inspection I, to my
horror, ascertained--with wagons also. "God help us," cried I, "we have
travelled far to reach a sorry resting-place; for I am greatly deceived
if this be not a house of call for wains, the drivers of which will
probably be our companions both at bed and board." First impressions
are not, however, at all times to be relied upon; so we did our best to
thrust aside the unpleasant anticipations which were beginning to crowd
upon us, and recollecting that there was no other alternative than
either to lodge here, or pass the night hungry and cheerless in the
open air, we put a bold face on the matter, and entered.

We had calculated justly, for things were not quite so bad as the
apparition of the wagons had led us to anticipate. The saloon, on the
threshold of which we stood, contained of living creatures only one
man, somewhat passed the middle of life, who seemed to be in the act of
making his toilette; an old woman busily engaged with her needle, three
wenches, who moved hither and thither, now poking about the stove, now
arranging dirty linen, apparently for the wash-tub, and one or two
children. Tables and benches there were, as usual; also water-buckets,
a few chairs, and a tub or two, while a line drawn the whole length of
the apartment, about a foot and a half from the roof, supported, in
graceful disarray, a profusion of coats, trousers, aprons, petticoats,
and stockings. To complete the picture, there were no candles burning,
not even a rosin taper; but here and there a piece of blazing bog-pine,
either stuck in some cranny, or borne about in the hands of a domestic,
cast over the scene a dark red light. I dare say we should have been
delighted with all this, had we been assured of obtaining an apartment,
into which, when tired of the sublime and beautiful, it might be
competent for us to retire; but being quite uncertain on that head, our
first measure was to question the sempstress touching both her ability
and inclination to accommodate us. Never surely was the spirit of
patient industry more strikingly illustrated than in the personage whom
we now addressed. Her needle did not cease to hold its course one
moment; scarcely, indeed, would she lift her eyes above her spectacles;
while, in a tone by no means conciliating, she informed us, that she
had no chamber, no flesh of any kind, no eggs, no white bread, nor any
other article which, in the vanity of our souls, we had rashly named.

"Why they told me these were excellent quarters!" said I, horrified out
of the exercise of my usual tactics.

"So they are!" was the answer; "this is a capital quarter."

"But you have no beds nor bed-rooms!"

"Oh yes, we have!"

"Won't you give us one, then?"

"No, I won't!"

"Why, my dear creature? Depend upon it, we will not run away with
them."

"Very likely; but we have none to give you all the same."

This was a poser, and my companion and I looked at one another with
rueful countenances; At length I resumed:--

"Your house seems to be a large one; how comes it that you have no
sleeping accommodation for your guests?"

"This is a large apartment," interposed the half-clad man from his
distant table; "we can accommodate plenty of guests that are not too
grand for us, here."

"Oho!" exclaimed I, "you can make up beds for us on the floor. That
will do well enough; and now for supper."

The facility with which I slid into their peculiar views of comfortable
sleeping accommodations seemed to have a very salutary effect upon the
tempers of our hosts; for the half-clad man turned out to be the
husband of the sewing woman, as well as a person of considerable
importance in his own neighbourhood. The old lady discovered that there
_were_ some eggs in the cupboard after all, and that certain slices of
bacon remained from a stock which had been laid in some time previously.
Moreover, the cellar contained some wine; neither very strong nor very
high flavoured, certainly, but sound and wholesome, as we discovered on
trial, and more acceptable to our palates than beer. To work,
therefore, the dame and her maidens went, and in half an hour we saw
before us, on a nice clean cloth, and by the flame of a farthing
rushlight, half a dozen eggs, sundry lumps of pork, some rye-bread and
butter, and a flask of white wine. They did not continue long in the
order of their integrity. The eggs disappeared in a twinkling. Several
fierce inroads were made into the bread and butter, and even the bacon
suffered considerably. As to the wine, it passed away like water
spilled upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But there
was another enemy pressing us sore, over and above hunger. We had
walked upwards of thirty English miles, and my companion especially
could scarcely keep his eyes open,--a circumstance which was not slow
in attracting the attention of our now obliging hostess, and for which
she hastened to provide. Some trusses of good clean straw were brought
into the room and spread upon the floor. Over these was laid a sort of
mattress, and the youngster, dressed as he was, cast his knapsack down
for a pillow, and threw himself on the couch thus prepared for him. In
five minutes he was just as happy as if he had rested on his own bed at
Schandau.

Meanwhile sundry persons, all of them young men, entered the tap-room,
and visions of wagoners snoring on the floor beside me began again to
haunt my imagination; when, to my great relief, I ascertained that
these were "the miller's men," who, having eaten their supper with the
female members of the family, would withdraw to their nests in the
cock-loft. And truly this affair of the domestics' supper was curious
enough. Heaven knows what the mess might be, which, being brought
piping hot from the oven, was planted down in a brown stew-pan, right
in the centre of one of the tables; but the appetites of the twelve
persons who forthwith gathered round it, spoon in hand, appeared
excellent. It was quite edifying to behold the order, and silence, and
regularity with which, one after another, they shovelled their
respective portions into their mouths; and how patiently they endured
the intense heat, which, judging from the hissing of the stew, must
have accompanied each ladleful. Finally, the dish being emptied, they
rose with one accord, and departed, the young men to their mattresses,
or, it may be, to their occupations about the mill,--the young women to
fulfil what remained of their daily tasks.

While this was going on, the landlord and I were keeping up an animated
conversation, of which I remember nothing more than that it turned
chiefly upon the state of his own family and affairs, and tended to
impress me with becoming notions of his dignity. Indeed, I may state,
once for all, that the landlord of a German inn, whether it be an hotel
in a capital, or like this at Marchovides, a beer-shop in a remote
village, is in his own eyes a person of very considerable importance.
While his wife, poor soul, performs all the menial offices about you,
which the domestics either cannot, or are not expected to perform, the
host himself is content to keep you in talk, which he not unfrequently
accomplishes by sitting down beside you, and helping you to discuss
your wine or beer. Nor does it inflict the slightest wound upon your
dignity, whatever your station in life may be, to fall in with his
humours. If you cut him short, you may miss the opportunity of learning
something which you could have wished to learn, and you are sure to
suffer from the diminished attention which is shown to you ever after.
If you indulge him, you may be bored for a while, it is true; but you
have the satisfaction of reflecting, that you neither wounded a private
man's feelings, nor offered wanton outrage to the customs of a
community.

Like my boy I was by this time getting tired and sleepy; and I cast
sundry wishful glances towards the heap of straw. The landlord
understood my situation, and hastened to assure me that we should have
the whole of the chamber to ourselves, and that if I would lie down,
the place should be cleared for us in a quarter of an hour. "For, to
tell you the truth," cried he, "we all sleep, my wife, and I, and the
children, and these wenches, in a little chamber beyond; the whole
house, large as you justly observed that it was, being occupied, either
as store-rooms for flour, or with the machinery of the mill." I begged
my friend not to put his household to the smallest inconvenience on my
account, and lying down beside my companion, closed my eyes.

I soon found, however, that sleep was out of the question. The
temperature of the apartment could not be less than a hundred degrees,
and there were so many dim lights and strange figures passing to and
fro, that all my efforts to abstract myself from them proved fruitless.
I therefore opened my eyes again, and lay to observe the issue. In a
short time landlord, landlady, and children withdrew. Then followed a
sort of clearing-up of odds and ends by the maidens, and last of all a
washing of feet and legs. This latter operation amused me exceedingly,
and I could not resist the inclination which I felt of complimenting
the lasses on their fair proportions. But they did not on that account
lower their drapery a jot. On the contrary they laughed heartily, and
chatted to me all the time their ablutions went forward, and wished me
a sound sleep as soon as they were finished. As they carried with them
the last of the torches, their wish was, in some measure, accomplished;
for my eyes, after repeated efforts, closed of their own accord, and
were not opened again, except during feverish and brief intervals, till
five o'clock next morning.



CHAPTER V.

MARCH RENEWED. SCENERY MORE AND MORE GRAND. A POPULATION OF WEAVERS.
HOCHSTADT. THE ISER. MAGNIFICENT RIVER, AND CAPITAL TROUTING.
STARKENBACH. EXTREME KINDNESS OF THE INHABITANTS. CARRIED TO THE
CHANCELLOR'S HOUSE. FISH THE ISER AGAIN. THE EFFECT OF MY SPORT ON A
RELIGIOUS PROCESSION. SUPPER AT THE HIGH BAILIFF'S. GAME AT CHESS. TAKE
LEAVE OF OUR KIND HOSTS WITH MUTUAL REGRET.


Our toilet this morning was very speedily completed. A dip of the whole
head into a basin of water, and a hasty and imperfect rinse of the
hands; these, with the application of tooth-brush, hair-brush, and
razor, to their respective departments, put us in marching order; and
coffee being served without delay, by six we were _en route_. Hoen
Elbe, not far from the fountain of the mighty Elbe, was our proposed
point. But

    The best laid schemes of mice and men,
      Gang aft awry,

and Hoen Elbe we were destined never to behold.

Our road to-day led over a succession of hills, each of which
introduced us to scenery more wild and rugged than before; for each new
step was now bringing us nearer and nearer to the loftiest of the
Riesengebirg range. Still the population appeared not to diminish. The
villages, if poorer and meaner, were not less frequent than ever, and
each individual cottage seemed to swarm with inmates. We were, however,
greatly struck with the squalid and unhealthy appearance of these poor
people. Unlike our own mountaineers, the inhabitants of the Bohemian
hills seem to be a race every way inferior to the occupants of the
plain. The men are short, thin, and apparently feeble, with pale cheeks
and sickly complexions. The women, over and above these disadvantages,
are almost all goitred, and the children look like creatures born in
sin and brought up to misery. Probably all this is owing as much to the
sort of life which these highlanders lead, as to the severity of their
climate. They are all either weavers, or spinners and teazers of flax,
except the very few whose services are required in the cultivation of a
barren soil. Now, were you to shut up even a hardy Argyleshire
shepherd, in a heated chamber, where he should be condemned to breathe
all day long foul air, abundantly mixed with minute portions of flax
and wool, you would probably find, at the end of the year, that he was
not what he used to be ere he took to spinning. I think, then, that I
am right in concluding that the mountaineers of Bohemia would be like
the mountaineers of Scotland, were they similarly employed; and I am
quite sure that a more revolting spectacle is not to be seen anywhere
than that which a mountain district presents, of which the inhabitants
are chiefly weavers.

It is not, however, entirely to their devotion to sedentary pursuits
that we are justified in attributing the squalid and unhealthy
appearance of these highlanders. They are all manufacturers on their
own account. They do not work for any master, nor receive, as a
necessary consequence, regular wages; but they card the flax, spin the
thread, weave the web, and carry it to market, all at their own risk,
and in obedience to the spirit of speculation. If the articles take,
then are they well off for a season; if the contrary result ensue, they
must carry it home again, and sad, indeed, is their condition. I need
scarcely add, that it was by these mountaineers, and their rivals on
the Prussian side of the Riesengebirg range, that the most valuable of
the German cotton and linen goods used to be produced; and that, till
within the last quarter of a century, even our own manufacturers were
quite unable to compete with them. The case is now, however, widely
different, and they feel and mourn the result bitterly. Nor is it
surprising that there should be gendered among them a strong prejudice
against the English people. They carry this so far, in many instances,
as to believe that the Bohemian and Silesian marks are forged by the
manufacturers of Manchester and Glasgow; and that their goods are
thrown back upon their hands because an inferior article is palmed off
at the great fairs, and sold as if fabricated by themselves.

When people lose their way in other countries, it is for the lack of
roads. In Bohemia, the multiplicity of roads is quite perplexing. I am
sure that we went this day a full league, if not more, out of our way,
from repeatedly following the wrong path, and being as often compelled
to retrace our steps. Once, after climbing to the ridge of a lofty
mountain, we learned, to our horror, that the road which we ought to
have pursued, ran in the very bottom of the glen which we had quitted;
and twice the good people's directions were given in a language so
barbarous, that we could make nothing of them. But after a good deal of
fatigue, and no trifling share of enjoyment, we reached, at twelve
o'clock, the town of Hochstadt, the place at which, as it was
represented to be only three hours' march from Hoen Elbe, we had
resolved to dine. We had timed our arrival admirably; for twelve
o'clock is, in Germany, the common hour of dinner; and of the fare
which was served up in the neat little inn towards which our steps were
turned, we had no right to complain.

Hochstadt, so named from the elevated nature of its situation, stands
on the summit of a mountain, and is raised probably not less than three
thousand feet above the level of the sea. It commands a magnificent
mountain view, with a much larger scattering both of vegetation and
culture, than we had any right to expect. Bleak it doubtless must be,
in winter, for just across the valley which dips down from it on the
west, are hills whose tops retain their snowy coverings till August;
while eastward is an immense plain, undulating here and there, but
scarcely broken by the wooded cones that are scattered over it. But in
the month of June, when we beheld it, the landscape is exceedingly
interesting, and the promise of an abundant harvest was bright. There
was nothing, however, either in the town or its vicinity, to detain us
longer than the space of time that might be necessary to appease our
hunger and rest our limbs: so, between one and two, we paid our bill,
took our host's directions, and departed. He told us that if we walked
well, we might reach the Iser in an hour and a half, after which we
could not be more than an hour and a half removed from Hoen Elbe.

Who that has read Campbell's glorious ballad of _Hohenlinden_, would
not feel his imagination warmed by the thought of standing even for an
hour, on the banks of "Iser rolling rapidly?" Who, likewise, that is
acquainted with Sir Humphry Davy's exquisite _Consolations_, and has,
as the amiable philosopher had, a true relish for the gentle craft of
angling, would not begin to put his rod together as soon as Iser's
waters met his view? For my own part, I cannot undertake to say which
principle operated with me most powerfully,--whether the romantic
associations which Campbell's muse must ever call up, or the more
matter-of-fact, but hardly less animated description, which Sir Humphry
gives of the capital sport which he had in a stream of the same name;
but of this fact I am quite certain, that the hopes of discovering the
river behind every eminence, or coming suddenly upon it as I emerged
from each successive grove, served to render me, during this hour and a
half's progress, proof against the encroachments of weariness. And my
wishes were gratified at last. Just after we had obtained a glimpse of
what we knew to be the iron foundry at Eisenhammer, we beheld rolling
his waters beneath us, the Iser himself, not like the Elbe, in a
troubled and dingy stream, nor, after the fashion of most of its
tributaries, with a mere thread of silver, but roaring and chafing from
pool to pool, or else gathered in a black mass under some huge crag, as
if intervals of repose were necessary to the element itself, and it
could repose only in darkness. And then when we cast our eyes along the
banks,--the sides of magnificent mountains,--feathered from their bases
with ancient forests, out of which, from time to time, a bald rock
projected, truly we were forced to admit, that to obtain this
gratification alone, all our fatigues had been well endured, and that
here we might stand still without repining. But there was something
more to be done than to admire the fair river. Out came the
fishing-rods from their cases, down we hurried, loaded as we were, to
the river's brink, and flies being selected, such as we judged would
suit the state of the water, we set to work. Our sport was admirable.
Not a trout rose under three-quarters of a pound weight, and several
fell little short of three pounds, so that at the hour's end, all the
space which we ventured to allow ourselves, we had laid in an ample
stock of fresh fish for supper.

There was no resisting the temptation to which our excellent sport in
the Iser had subjected us. It was impossible to leave such a stream
behind; so we made up our minds to a halt at Eisenhammer for the night,
and after devoting the morrow exclusively to fishing, to add the lost
hour and a half to the march of the day following. With this view we
crossed the bridge, and entered the sort of hamlet, which consists
merely of the foundry, and of a long range of buildings, occupied
partly by the superintendents of the works, partly as a gasthof. In
this gasthof, however, no separate chamber was to be had, and, though
the reverse of fastidious, we could not quite make up our minds to
spend a second night as we had done a former one at Marchovides. But we
were happily relieved from the dilemma. One of the gentlemen whose duty
it is to direct the workmen in the foundry, informed us that we should
find at Starkenbach, about an hour's walk to the right, excellent
accommodations, and putting us under the guidance of two travelling
journeymen who were going that way, expressed his hope that he would
see us again on the morrow. To the civility and kindness of that
gentleman, we were much indebted both then and afterwards, and I am
glad, though he may never be aware of the fact, thus publicly to
acknowledge my obligations to him.

We reached Starkenbach about six o'clock, after a pleasant walk through
green fields, and made for what had been represented as the best inn, a
gasthof in the market-place. The landlady's manner was, as usual,
somewhat repulsive at first, but the cloud soon passed from her brow.
No sooner was it made known to her that we were Englishmen, travelling
for amusement, than she bestirred herself sedulously to provide for our
comforts; and we soon found ourselves in possession of a snug
apartment, with the prospect before us of a good supper at the hour
named by ourselves. But this was not all. An Englishman had never been
seen in Starkenbach before, and as it had been at Gabel, so it was
here,--multitudes of all ranks and classes flocked to obtain a glimpse
of us. Moreover, it soon appeared that they came with more generous
intentions than to gratify an idle curiosity, however innocent in
itself. The real motive of one of them was, indeed, disguised under an
affected anxiety to discharge an irksome duty; but the delicacy which
prompted him thus to throw a temporary shade over his kindness, only
enhanced the value of the kindness itself in our eyes.

Our landlady had been all civility and attention. Not only were water
and other means of dressing supplied in abundance, but we had some
difficulty in persuading her that her proposal to wash us from top to
toe with her own hands could not be acceded to. We were thus in the
midst of our ablutions when in walked a well-dressed young man, who
began by saying, in Italian, that he understood we spoke that language,
and that he was desired by the landlord to ascertain whether our room
was to our liking. We assured him that it was, and expected, of course,
that he would leave us free to go on with our dressing operations; but
nothing of the sort took place. What were we?--Englishmen, he was
aware; but had we any business, or did we come to dispose of any goods?
We satisfied him on this head also, upon which he retired for a moment,
but soon returned again. There was a gentleman in the next room, the
head of the graff's chancery, who spoke French, and would be glad to
make our acquaintance. We begged that he might be introduced, and in he
came, followed by several others.

"You know, Messieurs," said he, "that we are obliged in this country to
act somewhat uncivilly to strangers. You have, of course, a passport?"

I produced my passport at once; it was the only time I ever had
occasion to show it in this quarter of Bohemia; but I was immediately
taught by his manner of examining it, that the question relative to
passports was a mere pretext on the part of the chancellor, for opening
with us a friendly conversation; he contented himself by glancing
hastily at the signature of the Austrian minister, and laid it down.
And now began a discussion which I was reluctantly forced to interrupt
by reminding him of the unfinished state of my toilet, and by begging
that he would have the goodness to wait for a few minutes in another
apartment till it should be completed. He withdrew at once, with
numerous apologies, and carried his train along with him.

So far we had good reason to be satisfied with the reception that was
awarded us in Starkenbach; but the kindness of its inhabitants was far
from stopping here. After loitering about for a quarter of an hour, and
receiving no renewed visit from the chancellor, we strolled out, with
the intention of taking a survey of the environs while yet daylight
lingered; but we had not proceeded far when our friend overtook us, and
offered to be our guide. Nor was this all. In the most modest yet
hospitable manner imaginable, he said that he would feel highly
honoured and flattered if we would make his house our home during our
stay in Starkenbach, and when we objected to his proposal on the ground
that such a proceeding would not be fair towards the innkeeper, he
assured us that that point was settled already. In a word, though he
consented to be our guest at supper, which having been actually cooked
could not be put aside, nothing short of the removal of our knapsacks
from the inn would satisfy him, and we found ourselves in consequence,
about ten o'clock at night, under the shadow of his hospitable roof.

The habitation of which we had thus unexpectedly become the inmates,
consisted of a suite of apartments in one of the numerous outbuildings
attached to the schloss of Graff Horach, the lord of the manor. Though
not very commodious, it was both clean and comfortable; and served to
satisfy the wishes of its occupant; whose family consisted only of a
young wife, and two female servants. For a German of the class to which
our friend belongs is not ambitious of living in a style above either
his means or his pretensions, and the ideas of Germans, generally,
relative to what is essential to the comforts of home, are far more
humble than ours. This gentleman and his bride, for example, (and a
bride she might be termed, having been married only half a year,) were
content to eat and sleep in the same apartment, the elegance of which
was little, if at all, broken in upon by the couple of neat box beds
with silk coverings, which occupied one of the corners. In like manner
the chamber which was assigned to us, at once more capacious and better
furnished, led through theirs; a circumstance which not only appeared
in no wise to disturb or annoy them, but of which they took advantage
to press their good offices upon us. For, as our host would hardly
leave us at night till we were ready to step into bed, so, no sooner
were we astir in the morning, than in he came, anxious to know how we
had rested, as well as to offer his services in supplying any want of
which we might experience the pressure. I really never saw, in any
country, or among any class of people, such incessant and genuine
hospitality.

We had barely time, over-night, to be introduced to the lady of the
mansion. In the morning we met her at breakfast, and her first act was
to add her entreaties to those of her husband, that we would not think
of leaving them that day. What need was there for so much haste? We had
been pleased with the scenery of the Iser; why not visit it again? Or
if that were not agreeable to us, there were various points in the
immediate vicinity of the town, which it might be worth our while to
inspect. We could not hold out against such arguments, more especially
as they happened to accord exactly with our own wishes; so we agreed to
fish the Iser once more, and return to sup and sleep at the
chancellor's.

This point being settled to the satisfaction of all the parties
concerned, we proceeded to equip ourselves in our travelling costume,
and, rod in hand, bent our steps towards Eisenhammer. A more
unpropitious day for the angler can scarcely be imagined; for a cold
east wind blew, and from time to time a thin drizzling rain beat in our
faces. Still we determined to make the attempt, and truly we had no
cause to repent of our resolution. In the course of four hours, which
we devoted to the sport, we caught upwards of ten pounds of trout; the
number of fish killed being at the same time only eleven,--a clear
proof that the Bohemian Iser deserves just as much praise as Sir
Humphry Davy, in his charming little book, has bestowed upon its
namesake near Munich. But killing the trout constituted by no means the
sole amusement which we that day enjoyed. An English fishing-rod and
English tackle were objects quite as novel to the good folks of
Eisenhammer, as they had been to the citizens of Gabel; and the
consequence was, that we had the entire population of the village and
hamlets round, in our train. And the astonishment of these simple
people, first at the machinery, and then at our mode of using it, I
have no language to describe. When first I hooked a trout, there was a
general rush to the river-side,--the movement being produced,
manifestly enough, by alarm lest the line should break; and though the
animal was floundering and springing about in twelve feet of water at
least, two or three young men could scarcely be restrained from jumping
in. But when they saw the monster, and a very large fellow he was,
after running away with some fathoms of line, and bending the rod like
a willow-wand, gradually lose his strength, and sail reluctantly
towards the shore, I really thought they would have gone crazy with
delight. They jumped about, swore, and shouted like mad people, and
made such a plunge into the shallows, to bring him out, that we had
well-nigh lost him. The scene was altogether quite irresistible.

There was no work performed that day in the iron foundry. Every soul
belonging to it, from the superintendent down to the errand-boy, came
forth to swell our train; and we walked up the Iser, attended as never
Highland chief was, even in the good old times of heritable
jurisdictions. Nor was this all. A religious procession, that is to
say, a numerous body of peasants from some of the villages near, bound
on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in Starkenbach, happened to
descend the hill just as I was playing a fish, and the effect produced
upon them was quite as miraculous as could have been brought about by
the saint himself. The sound of their psalmody ceased. The crucifix was
lowered, and man and woman, boy and maiden, breaking loose from their
ranks, flocked down, _en masse_, to ascertain the cause of so strange a
phenomenon. I suspect that St. James received but a scanty allowance of
worship that evening; at least, I am sure that the number of his
votaries became sadly diminished; for when the chant rose again, and
the crucifix was uplifted as a signal for moving, the retinue that
attended it, came short by at least one-half of that which had
followed, with all imaginable decorum, as far as the banks of the Iser.

It was now getting on towards three o'clock, and as the weather,
instead of improving, became every moment more boisterous, we
determined to abandon our fishing. We accordingly adjourned to the
gasthof, where a roasted fowl had been prepared for us, and made a
hearty dinner, in the midst of the same crowd which had watched our
mode of operations on the river. To them we were obliged to explain the
whole process by which rods are unscrewed and put together again, reels
turned round, and flies attached to casting lines; and I dare say that
to this hour, they have not ceased to talk about the whole affair as an
invention, second in point of ingenuity, only to the steam-engine.

This done, we became, in our turn, the querists. We begged to be
conducted over the foundry, and our wishes were immediately attended
to. It is on a small scale, but apparently very complete, with one
furnace and numerous models; and it was stated to supply very many of
the manufacturies both in Bohemia and Austria Proper, with the
iron-work required for their machinery. As to the ore itself, that is
found in abundance among the hills hard by, and is said to be of
excellent quality. I need scarcely add, that, though they have pit-coal
at their command, they use only coke and charcoal for smelting, because
everybody knows that for such purposes charcoal is the most approved
species of fuel.

We had had a capital day's sport, and the rain having at length ceased,
we turned our faces towards Starkenbach. The fish, with which we loaded
a countryman, and conveyed by his means to our host's dwelling, caused
almost as much astonishment there, as our mode of catching them had
occasioned at Eisenhammer. Not only our hosts, but their domestics, and
not they alone, but the people in the streets as we passed, shouted and
clapped their hands at the spectacle. But the chancellor had other and
more agreeable occupation chalked out for us, than listening to the
exclamations of his clients. He led us through the town, took us to
call upon the priest,--a respectable-looking old man, who had expressed
a wish to be introduced to us,--and informed us that he had ventured to
accept in our name an invitation from the grand bailiff, to sup in his
apartments. It may be necessary, perhaps, to add, that the grand
bailiff is the graff's representative, who not only manages his private
affairs, but superintends the proceedings of the chancery, and who is,
therefore, in the absence of the graff himself, by far the most
important personage in the herschafte.

The grand bailiff's apartments, which formed part of the schloss
itself, were both large and well furnished. There were no carpets on
the floors, of course,--the Germans make very little use of carpets
anywhere,--but his dining-room was amply stocked with chairs, sofas,
tables, cabinets, and mirrors, and his cuisine, though plain, was
excellent. We were so fortunate, moreover, as to meet at his table, not
only the whole of the chancery, but the commissary of the circle, who
happened to be going his rounds, and who proved a very agreeable
addition to our party.

The supper was good, and the Hungarian wine of excellent flavour. The
attentions of the bailiff and his lady were likewise unremitting;
indeed, the latter was almost too kind, for she seemed anxious that we
should eat of every dish, and drink out of every flask and bottle. We
had a little music too,--for she played the piano; and the commissary,
likewise a performer, paid us the compliment to dash off in very good
style, "God save the King." But the circumstance which amused me most
of all remains to be stated. I was asked if I played chess; and I
replied in the affirmative, adding, however, as the facts of the case
required, that I was no master of the game. Immediately a petition was
brought forward, that I would play one game with the bailiff. He had
heard much of the extraordinary skill of Englishmen in this noble game,
and being a little of an amateur himself, it had long been his ambition
to measure his strength with that of an Islander. Alas for my country!
she had but a sorry champion to sustain her honour; for, if the truth
must be spoken, though I get very much interested in chess after the
game has fairly begun, I always sit down to it as Dr. Johnson says he
did to _Paradise Lost_, as to a task. And the consequence is, that,
avoiding it wherever I can, I have not yet entitled myself to pass
muster in the first class of bunglers. But it would have been cruel to
thwart the hospitable bailiff in his humours, so to it we fell. I don't
think that he and his friends gave me quite fair play. With one accord
they ranged themselves on the side of their countryman, and, complimenting
my adroitness all the while, they assisted him in every difficulty with
their counsels. However, the result would have been, I make no doubt,
the same, had they remained silent. I was soundly beaten, and my worthy
host rose up as much pleased as if he had conquered a province. I
learned from the chancellor next day, that to have lost the game would
have seriously affected his peace of mind. I am therefore heartily glad
that fortune declared in his favour.

My tale of Starkenbach is told. We returned to the chancellor's to
sleep, breakfasted with him and his interesting young wife next
morning, and at seven o'clock took the road to Troutenau, which he
recommended as a good halting-place. His last words at parting were,
"Nous sons beaucoup triste," and when I added "Et nous aussi," I spoke
but as I felt.



CHAPTER VI.

THE ELBE, A MOUNTAIN-STREAM. WE FISH IT. DINE ON OUR FISH IN A VILLAGE
INN. THE YOUNG TORPINDA. ARNAU. THE STATUES IN THE MARKET-PLACE. THE
FRANCISCAN CONVENT. TROUTENAU. THE WANDERING MINSTRELS. MARCH
CONTINUED. FISH THE RIVER. A VILLAGE INN, AND ACCOUNT OF THE TORPINDAS.
OUR FIRST MEETING WITH THESE FORMIDABLE PEOPLE IN A WOOD. ANOTHER
PEDESTRIAN TOURIST. ADERSPACH. EXCELLENT QUARTERS. MOST REMARKABLE
ROCKS. THE MINSTRELS AGAIN.


Our journey towards Troutenau was for a while prolific in few events,
with an account of which it is worth while to entertain my reader. In
point of scenery, each new step that we took introduced us to new and
constantly varying beauties; but on that head I have said as much,
perhaps more, than was necessary. For who, after all, can so describe
nature's handiwork, as to create in the mind of him who has never
looked upon the original, anything like a correct idea of what it is?
The painter may indeed accomplish this, though even he will accomplish
it imperfectly; but the mere narrator,--in good sooth, his words,
however appropriate, must ever fall comparatively dull upon the ear,
which is not the organ through which to convey to the mind any notion,
however incomplete, of external scenery. When, then, I have stated,
that our path carried us over hill and dale,--that we threaded deep
forests, and from time to time traversed an open plain, and that all
this while the snowy ridges of the Riesengebirgen stood up like a wall
upon our left hand, I have left myself nothing in the shape of
description to add, out of which the reader could hope to derive an
accession, either to his information or his amusement.

Of one occurrence that befel in the course of this day's pilgrimage, it
is, however, necessary that I should take notice. At the distance of
perhaps ten English miles from Starkenbach, we came upon the Elbe; how
unlike to the lordly river with which we formed our first acquaintance
at Hamburg, and which two months' residence at Schandau had latterly
made so familiar to us! A narrow mountain-stream,--so narrow, indeed,
and so shallow, that a mere rustic bridge sufficed to span it,--was all
that reminded us of that prodigious body of water, which serves as a
channel of communication between Dresden and the North Sea, and
fertilizes in its course the plains of Bohemia, Saxony, Prussia,
Mecklenburg, Hanover, and even Denmark. The fact is, as I need scarcely
pause to state, that we were now but a short day's march from its
source, which lies,--a mere fountain or well-head,--in the side of the
mountain that overhangs Hoen Elbe. As our friend the chancellor had
assured us, however, that at the well-head in question there was really
nothing to see, we determined to leave it unexplored, and to push on,
instead, as far as Aderspach, where we were given to understand that
nature had accomplished many freaks well deserving to be noted.

Though the Elbe was by no means so promising as the Iser, we yet felt
that to pass it by untried, while we had fishing-rods in our hands,
would be disgraceful to us as anglers. The implements were accordingly
screwed together, and for half-an-hour we threw our flies with all our
accustomed skill, and more than our usual patience; but we gathered
little by the exercise of these qualities. A few grayling, with a trout
or two of meagre dimensions, alone rewarded our care; and these, we
judiciously concluded, were not of sufficient value to compensate for
the loss of time that would be sustained in adding to their numbers.
Besides we found that our strange attire and gestures created much
alarm among the junior branches of one or two small communities through
which we passed. The children, wherever we came, ran from the water's
edge screaming with fright; a pretty broad hint that our company was
not desired, at least by them.

We dined this day in a clean tidy little ale-house, the landlady of
which cooked our trout, and supplied us with bread and butter, and
beer. She was a member of what seemed to be a remarkably happy, as well
as primitive family, where three generations dwelt together in harmony;
the oldest and the youngest being, as she informed us, dependant on the
exertions of her husband, and the profits of the inn. Neither were we
without a trifling adventure, such as it was. While we were smoking our
pipes after dinner, a gypsy, or Torpinda, entered, and we had him up to
our table forthwith, that we might reconnoitre and catechise him. He
was a mere lad, apparently not more than sixteen or seventeen years of
age, though in costume, complexion, and expression of countenance, a
perfect specimen of his tribe. His dress was a broad-brimmed low hat, a
dark brown cloak with sleeves, and a solitary under-garment, which,
woven apparently without seam, served him for vest, pantaloons, and
stockings. The only apertures in these curious looking pantoufles which
we could detect, were from the heel to about midway in the calf of the
leg, and these were carefully laced-up with brass wires.

Under his cloak the youth carried a calf's-skin pouch, which was
suspended from a leathern belt that crossed his right shoulder; and we
observed that this latter piece of dress was ornamented with exceeding
care. It was indented all over with minute lines, not very unlike the
tatooing on a South Sea islander's face; and it bore, just over the
chest, a lion's head made of brass, from a ring attached to which were
suspended about twenty or thirty brass pipe-pickers. His avowed object
in entering the beer-house was to dispose of some of these latter,
which he offered for sale at three kreutzers a-piece; and I need
scarcely add that we became purchasers. But we were not content with
the pickers. Having questioned him as to the value which he put upon
his belt, I pulled out the money, and offered to purchase that too; but
he would not part with it; and to all our questions touching the
head-quarters of his tribe he turned a deaf ear. He either could not,
or would not, understand us; and made his escape on the first lull that
took place in our conversation.

There is no denying that the whole appearance of this youth was very
picturesque, but it was a great deal more picturesque than attractive.
His long shaggy hair and dark olive complexion were alike remarkable;
but the expression of his countenance was decidedly bad, and he never
looked you straight in the face. To be sure, the treatment which, in
common with others of his class, he probably receives from the
Bohemians, is not calculated to make him fall in love with them; for
the people of the country seem to regard these wanderers with a mixture
of contempt and loathing. Yet I imagined that I read in that downcast
look, and in the stealthy air which attached to all his movements,
marks of the sort of training which may be expected to produce an
accomplished vagabond. I dare say that young fellow knew perfectly well
how to silence the cackling of a barn-door fowl in a hurry, and might
not be inexpert in the operation of removing quietly a knapsack, or
other load, from beneath a sleeping man's head. But the thews and
sinews of the boy, and I may add, of all of his tribe whom we
encountered, were not such as to impress me with any very exalted ideas
of their strength or prowess. I fancied that, with the aid of a good
stick, I should not be afraid to give any three of them the knives of
which I had heard so much, and then join battle.

When the boy was gone we proceeded to question our landlady as to the
habits of his people, and we received from her an account corresponding
in all respects with that which our first informant had given us. She
added, over and above, that there was no trusting them; that they were
deceitful to a degree unparalleled among men, and that no arts or
offices of kindness ever won their forbearance. We listened to her
statements more than half disposed to credit them, yet we adhered to
our original determination, nevertheless, of joining the first gypsy
camp on which, during the course of our tour, we might stumble.

By this time it was necessary to move; and I state the fact in
consequence of a trifling incident, illustrative, I conceive, of the
extreme honesty of this simple people. We had advanced, perhaps, a
quarter of an English mile towards Arnau, a town through which our
route lay, when we heard a female voice shouting behind us, and on
turning round saw our landlady in full pursuit. I had left behind me on
the table a penknife,--of very little value, inasmuch as one of the
blades was broken,--and this good woman would not permit me to be the
loser of it. When I add, that she was in a state during which running
must have been both inconvenient and hurtful to her, the strength of
the principle which urged her to bring me my knife will be better
understood.

Arnau is an old-fashioned town, with a wide market-place, in the centre
of which stand two colossal statues, representing two warriors in
complete armour, each armed with a sword. The people told us they were
of very ancient date, and represented the two knights, by whom, in old
times, the town was founded. There is, besides, a convent of Franciscan
monks in the immediate neighbourhood, which contains eighty brothers; a
clumsy pile, evidently of modern construction, and resembling in its
exterior a manufactory, much more than a house of religious persons.
One of the brothers we met in the town, to whom the children seemed to
pay much respect. His dress was a brown coarse frock, a bare head, with
a shaven crown, bare legs, sandals for his feet, and a rosary of black
beads fastened round his middle. I asked him the way to Troutenau, and
received a very short, and somewhat unsatisfactory answer.

We did not halt in Arnau, neither were we tempted to solicit admission
into the convent. I had been initiated into all the mysteries of such a
place of abode long ago; and my young companion appeared more anxious
to reach Aderspach and Schnee-Koppee as speedily as possible, than to
take his first lesson in monachism here. It was well, too, that,
retaining our resolution of passing that night at Troutenau, we had
self-denial enough to pass the monastery by; for a long and toilsome
way was before us, which we did not compass till past seven o'clock. No
doubt the march was prolific in objects to charm the sense of sight. As
we drew towards them, the snowy mountains assumed continually a bolder
and more striking aspect; while, several of the villages, and one
schloss, which was undergoing repair, drew forth our liveliest
admiration. But the journey proved to be, upon the whole, both tedious
and toilsome; and right glad were we, when, on gaining the summit of a
steep ascent, we beheld Troutenau at our feet. We made directly for the
inn, which was recommended as the best; and, except that the house was
full of workmen, our chamber small, and our beds detestable, we have no
right to put down the Gasthof zum Weissen Ross, as one of the bad
places of call on the march to Schnee-Koppee.

The inn was in great confusion, for unfortunately for ourselves we
arrived at a moment when bricklayers, carpenters, and plasterers were
busy in counteracting the effect of time and rough usage almost
everywhere, except in the coffee-room. This latter, however, proved to
be comfortable enough; and we enjoyed it the more that it was divided
into two compartments, one of which was allotted to the humbler classes
of travellers, while the other, which commanded a view of the square,
was assigned to gentlefolks. Moreover there occurred two circumstances,
which, by furnishing us with objects of contemplation, contributed to
make the evening pass lightly away. First, we saw from our window the
completion of a ceremony similar to that which at Eisenhammer we had so
cruelly interrupted by our fishing. A whole posse of peasants, male and
female, with crucifix and mass-book at their head, marched in
procession towards the market-cross; and, after chanting a hymn, fell
down upon their knees, one after another, and covered the hands and
feet of the stone statues that ornamented it, with kisses. This done,
the larger number dispersed, and, as it seemed, retired quietly to
their homes. But there were others who appeared to think that a work so
pious as that in which they had been engaged merited, on the part of
the body, some refreshment. These adjourned to the inn, and drank
sundry flasks of beer with great relish.

In the next place we found that the outer portion of the coffee-room
was occupied in part by a band of wandering musicians,--a sort of
calling which is in Bohemia very frequent, and which, both there and
elsewhere in Germany, holds a higher place in public estimation than
among us. These men wore a sort of uniform, namely, high-crowned white
hats, with flowers in the front, gray frocks, and half-boots; and their
performance, I am bound to add, was by no means contemptible. They
played one or two airs very sweetly under the burgomaster's window,
which, as the said window looked out into the square, enabled us, as
well as a multitude of the town's-people, to share in the treat.

We retired early to bed, for we were a good deal fatigued, and the
cold,--an unusual ground of complaint with us ever since we set out
from home,--was disagreeable. The truth indeed is, that we were now at
a great elevation above the level of the sea, and that the wind
happening to blow from Schnee-Koppee, the back of which, white with the
deposit of a thousand storms, lay towards us, came keen and biting. So
sharp, indeed, was the temperature, that the landlord, whom we
consulted relative to the nature of a river which, with a broad clear
current, flows past the town, assured us that it would be vain to think
of fishing in it, because though it abounded with fine trout, the
season was not sufficiently advanced to admit of their being taken with
the rod and line. I took the liberty in this case, as in the case of
the gypsies, to credit something less than half of the intelligence
conveyed to me; and I found, on the morrow, when the question was tried
on its own merits, that I had come to the right conclusion.

It was a fine bright bracing morning, and the clocks were striking
seven when we quitted Troutenau; a very pretty clean town, well
situated, on the slope of a hill, and commanding, as I have hinted
above, a noble view of the snowy ridges of the Riesengebirgen.
Aderspach was our point for the day,--a place represented to us as well
worth visiting on account of the remarkable rocks and fells which
abound in its vicinity. As it was said, however, to be no more than
three or four stunden distant, we did not think that we were required
to make any extraordinary exertions, and the river looked so tempting,
that, in spite of the landlord's advice to the contrary, we resolved to
try it. We cannot boast much of our success. Three or four grayling,
with a trout of moderate size, were all the prizes that rewarded our
toil, till we came to a deep pool, into which, not without a hope of
better things, I threw my fly. A magnificent fish rose instantly, and I
hooked him. We had a tough battle for it, inasmuch as my tackle
happened to be light, and I was standing on an awkward sort of a weir
when he took the fly; but victory declared for me. After ten minutes'
pleasant manoeuvring, I landed a trout, which would have done no
discredit, in point of size and form, to the Iser itself.

By this time, noon was approaching, and as we had no disposition to
burden ourselves with some tons' weight of fish, we wound up, and
restored our rods to their cases. We then turned our faces steadily
towards Aderspach, and following the chaussée, found that in proportion
as we got involved among the numerous green hills which overlook it,
all ground of complaint on the score of a sharp temperature, was taken
away. The weather, in short, became intensely oppressive, and we, in
consequence, on whom the exercise of fishing had not been without its
effect, began to get excessively tired. We pushed on, however, with an
occasional halt, till we could calculate that half our journey was
accomplished; when having arrived at a comfortable-looking village inn,
we carried our fish into the tap-room, and had them cooked for dinner.
They were excellent, and sufficed not only for ourselves, but for the
landlord and the whole of his family, whose mittagsmahl, as the Germans
call it, had, by some extraordinary accident, been delayed full two
hours beyond the customary period of noon.

We found our village innkeeper, as, indeed, was the case with almost
all persons of his rank and calling, a good-humoured, obliging, and
intelligent man. He had been twice married, was the father of five
sons, from one of whom, a jager in the Austrian service, he had just
received a letter, which, as it happened to be written remarkably well,
he showed us with all a father's pride. He gave us, likewise, as much
information touching the local affairs of the neighbourhood as we
considered it worth while to require, and spoke freely about the
Torpindas, with whom he seemed to be well acquainted. The prevalent
tales of their blood-thirstiness he entirely confirmed, though he
seemed to insinuate that they were more free with the lives of one
another, than with those of strangers; and he warned us that we should
look in vain for a camp. Nothing of the kind existed, nor was permitted
by the police to exist, in this quarter of Austria. "As to the people
themselves," continued he, "they are an idle, good-for-nothing set,
exceedingly fond of money, and great hoarders of it when they can get
it. I have seen, in this room, a Torpinda produce as many as a hundred
guldens; and yet he would not disburse a single kreutzer for straw to
sleep upon." We were more mortified by this man's account of the
gypsies than by any which we had yet received; for it bore about it a
greater air of truth, and, as a necessary result, tended more than any
thing which we had yet heard, to dissipate into thin air the visions of
gypsy life which up to that moment we continued to cherish.

Having rested an hour in the inn, we set out again, accompanied by our
host, who volunteered to show us both a shorter and more pleasant path
than that which we had heretofore followed. This was the more
acceptable by reason of the discovery which we made, that in speaking
of Aderspach as only four hours' walk from Troutenau, our host of the
latter place had erred widely from the mark. It was still four good
hours' ahead of us. Nevertheless, we had plenty of daylight before us;
and the prospect of using it among green fields and umbrageous forests
was not without its effect on the minds of persons who had toiled
throughout the morning along a dusty and burning high-road.

Though I have, perhaps, said more respecting the scenery of this part
of Bohemia than was necessary, I cannot omit to mention, that from the
brow of a hill which we ascended soon after our host quitted us, we
obtained as glorious a view of a cultivated mountain district as the
eye of man will probably rest upon in any quarter of the world. The
abundant wood of this fine country gives, indeed, to all its
landscapes, a charm which there needs but the presence of water to
complete, and to the particular scene on which we now looked down,
water happened not to be wanting. From the bosom of the river which
flows past Troutenau, the sun's rays were reflected; and as its course
lay through groves and fells,--now hidden between overhanging rocks,
now emerging again into a wide valley,--the effect was altogether very
striking. Moreover, to a varied and picturesque extent of hill and
vale, forest and green meadow, hamlet and town,--the latter either cast
into the recess of some deep glen, or straggling upwards along the
mountain side,--the Riesengebirgen formed the back ground; bald, and
frowning in all the majesty of rocky shoulders and snow-clad summits.
It was, indeed, a glorious view, and it tempted us to linger so long in
the enjoyment of it, that we did not reach our quarters,--the
comfortable inn at Aderspach,--till near eight o'clock.

There befel nothing during our progress from this beautiful spot, till
we arrived at the place where we had resolved to pass the night, of
which I need be expected to give a detailed account. All travellers on
foot, through strange countries, must expect to lose their way
occasionally; and we formed no exception to the general rule. Moreover,
our mishaps, this day, were the more provoking, that we chanced to have
penetrated into a comparatively thinly-peopled region, the two villages
which we traversed lying far apart one from the other, and there being
no hamlets nor detached houses to keep up the communication. Nor were
we, as it seemed, the only pedestrians to whom the district was
strange. As we were passing through a deep forest, at a point admirably
suited to deeds of violence, we met a couple of Torpindas, who stopped
us to inquire the way to the nearest town; at least I conclude that
this was their object, from the peculiar gestures which they used, and
the intonation which they gave to their voices; for as to their words,
of these I could make nothing. Having just been stuffed with a tale of
their lawless habits, the sight of these persons threw me, of course,
on the alert. I grasped the butt of my gaff-stick,--an excellent
weapon, about the length and weight of a policeman's staff,--and braced
up my nerves for the melée. But when we stood face to face, all idea
that they would venture to begin the fray vanished. Though they were
young men, in the prime of life, probably not more than five or
six-and-twenty, I verily believe, that with the weapons which nature
has given me, I could have rendered them both incapable of molesting
henroosts for ever, and been but little fatigued by the exercise.

The Torpindas passed on quietly enough when they found that they could
not make themselves understood; and there followed them soon
afterwards, another foot-passenger, whose style of travel amused us not
a little. He was a stout, elderly man, arrayed in a brown frock coat,
long and loose, and descending to his ankles, and he trudged forward
with a good cudgel in his hand, as independently as need be. But he
carried no load on his back. On the contrary, there followed him a
peasant with a wheelbarrow, on which was laid the stout gentleman's
trunk, and as they happened, when we encountered them, to be descending
a hill, the strange vehicle kept up famously. How it would fare with
them after they crossed the valley beneath, I do not know. But probably
our friend had fixed stages, at each of which, instead of ordering out
fresh horses, he ordered merely a fresh wheelbarrow and trundler. I
dare say he journeyed with extreme satisfaction to himself; at least I
am quite sure that he looked as if he did.

It was late in the evening, and our patience was well-nigh exhausted,
when, on gaining the brow of an eminence, we beheld a straggling
village at our feet; and were almost as much surprised as delighted to
find that it was Aderspach. Let nobody form a judgment of the sort of
quarters which he will find at the Trucktere-Gasthof, from the
miserable appearance which the town of Aderspach presents. To be sure,
he must pass through the town entirely, leave the schloss, a huge pile
of brickwork, behind him, and penetrate into the fells ere the
Trucktere-house becomes visible; but the first aspect of it will,
unless I much deceive myself, excite in his mind anticipations, not
only of good fare, but of clean apartments, and unpretending civility.
Nor will such anticipations be disappointed. A nicer country inn I
never inhabited, and I say this without excepting either the inn at
Dalmally, near Loch Awe, nor its rival in comfort, if not in elegance,
at Tyne-drom.

The Fells, or Felsen, at Aderspach, is justly accounted one of the most
extraordinary productions of nature's handiwork in all Bohemia. Masses
of rock, some of them two or three hundred feet in height, have, by
some strange convulsion, been so tossed about, that now they stand on
end like detached towers, or rather like the turreted walls of some
gigantic labyrinth, through which a narrow path twists and turns in the
most extraordinary manner possible. Very many of these rocks bear a
striking resemblance, some to beasts, some to men, some to musical
instruments, and others to different articles which we constantly meet
either in our walks through the populous city, or within the domestic
circle. As might be expected, the people of the country have called
each image after the name of the original which it represents. Not far
from the back door of the inn is an enormous inverted Sugar-loaf; a
little way removed from it is the Chimney, and it must be acknowledged
that the resemblance which both of them bear to the objects from which
their names are derived, is very striking.

But this is the least of the wonders attaching to the place, in order
to introduce which to the reader's acquaintance, it will be necessary
that I should take him, as it were, by the hand, and join him to our
little party as we make the tour of the labyrinth.

Suppose us, then, snugly housed in the Trucktere-house, well-fed, well
attended, supplied with clean, tidy beds, and greatly refreshed by a
sound night's sleep, such as monarchs might envy. We rise next morning
at seven, to find that here, even more keenly than at Troutenau, the
influence of an elevated situation is felt, and that over the long
inclined plane which stretches upwards from us in the direction of the
Riesengebirgen, a sharp, cold wind blows cuttingly. This circumstance,
however, interferes, in no respect, with our breakfast, which, as far
as the means furnished will allow, is eaten with great relish. After
which, about nine o'clock, we sally forth in quest of adventures, under
the guidance of a ragged youth, who is to officiate as our cicerone.
From the inn-door we look abroad upon a mountain of basalts, covered on
its summit by a forest of pines, and beautifully feathered along its
face with birch-trees. That mountain, well nigh semicircular in the
front which is turned towards us, constitutes the Felsen; and along its
base we walk, following a narrow foot-path, which is bordered by a
little stream, and leads, serpent-fashion, towards the rocks. We pass,
in this brief progress, the Sugar-loaf; and observing the ravages which
time is making on its inverted cone, we anticipate the hour, probably
not very distant, when it will topple over, and fall flat upon the
earth. But this is nothing. Our ragged guide conducts us across a
wooden bridge, up a road, hollowed out by nature, through the rocks,
till suddenly we reach what resembles the mouth of a mine, across which
a door is drawn. The sum of four groschens, or sixpence a head, applies
a key to the lock of that door, and we are immediately introduced into
the giant's dwelling. For as the term Riesengebirgen signifies "The
Giant's Mountains," so these fells are represented by tradition to have
been the abode of the monster-man, after whom the range which separates
Bohemia from Silesia has been named. Of this giant's personal history
it is needless to say more, than that he is the same Number Nip with
whose mischievous exploits we have all, from our early childhood, been
familiar. His favourite haunts were here and in one of the ravines of
Schnee-Koppee; and I must say this much for him, that in his choice of
quarters, he exhibited not only a great deal of skill, but a very
commendable share of taste into the bargain.

The door being opened, we find ourselves in a narrow passage, open to
the heavens, perhaps a couple of hundred feet over-head, but walled in
on either hand by rocks, perpendicular as the drop of the plummet. The
passage being exceedingly tortuous, does not permit any extensive view
to the front; but at each new turn some new wonder presents itself,
either in the formation of some particular rock, or in the grotesque
and striking combinations of masses. Here the guide stops us to point
out a chimney most distinctly defined; by-and-by two enormous
kettle-drums are exhibited; then comes a barrel-organ on one hand, and
a pulpit on the other, beyond which lies the chancel of a church. Above
our heads, meanwhile, on the very summits of detached peaks, stand the
Burgomaster, in his full-bottomed wig, the Emperor Leopold,--an exact
resemblance,--and John the Baptist preaching in the desert. This last
is really a very curious specimen of what Dame Nature can sometimes
accomplish, when she takes it into her head to become sculptor. On a
lofty cone, yet little elevated above the surrounding masses, the very
emblems of desolation, stands the image of a man, with a shaggy mantle
thrown across his shoulders, and one arm raised as if in the act of
speaking,--no inappropriate monument to him who, though the greatest of
the prophets that lived under the Law, was in his day of mortality less
than the least of those to whom the Gospel dispensation has been
communicated.

After pausing awhile to examine these, as well as the form of a dog in
a recumbent position, not far removed from them, we passed on; first,
into the Giant's Mouth,--an enormous arch, armed, as it seems, with
teeth,--and then into the Frauen Zimmer, or Giantess's Apartment. It
must have been but a sorry lodging for a lady of so much personal
weight in the world, and supposing her proportions to have resembled
those of her husband, would not fail to cramp her exceedingly; for it
is nothing more than a hole in the rock, measuring perhaps twenty feet
in length, by six or eight in width. But giants and giantesses lived,
it is presumed, chiefly in the open air, and this which is called her
chamber, may have been, after all, nothing more than her couch. If such
were the case, she must have had no taste for down mattresses and
feather-bed coverings.

We were advanced by this time, many hundred yards into the bowels of
the mountain, and stood at length on a fair open platform, surrounded
as heretofore, by enormous cliffs, yet having room enough, and to
spare. Here a small rustic arbour has been formed with rough-hewn pine
logs, and close by is a sort of pantry, composed of similar materials,
while facing them a little rivulet pours its water from a ledge of
rock, causing the air around to reverberate with its ceaseless and most
refreshing music. Our guide described the spot merely as the lesser
waterfall, while he invited us to drink from a fountain which bubbled
up close to the stream. I do not think that I ever tasted water more
deliciously cool and limpid.

The phrase "Lesser Waterfall" naturally associated itself in our minds
with something more wonderful, and we questioned the guide on the
subject, who, instead of answering directly, invited us to follow him.
We did so, winding round the corner of a huge column; but no cataract
met our inquiring gaze. "Wait you here," said the boy, "or rather go on
into that recess, while I run up the face of the cliff, and lift the
sluice." The idea of a sluice, as connected with one of the most
sublime of nature's productions, was too ludicrous. It reminded us of a
miserable little affair, not far from Schandau, on the road to the
Kuhstall, which the delighted Saxons exhibit to you as one of the
wonders of their land, and for the display of which you are charged one
groschen. For this Saxon cataract consists of a stream of water, a size
or too more voluminous than that which may, at any time, be seen
winding its way along the groved outsides of the streets in one of our
fifth-rate boroughs in England. Yet the Saxons make the most of it. By
means of a deal fence they dam it up on the top of a rock, perhaps
twelve feet high, and so keep it till some pleasure-seeking stranger
happens to approach the spot. Then, after exciting his curiosity to the
utmost, an old man leaves the wanderer in the road to gaze about in
vain, not only for the cataract, but for any place where a cataract
might be expected to exist. Yet the stranger must not begin to murmur
too speedily. All at once a cracked voice bids him attend. He turns
round; the sluice is raised, and out comes a volume of water, of all
things in creation most resembling that which in the old town of
Edinburgh follows on the exclamation, "Garde loo!" I advise the
astonished traveller not to indulge his admiration too long. If, in the
intensity of his ardour, he keep the sluice open more than ten minutes,
not only does the waterfall fade and disappear before his own eyes, but
a month may elapse ere it shall be in a fit state to be exhibited
again.

All these brilliant images took possession of our fancies as soon as
the boy had uttered the unlucky word "sluice;" and smiling to one
another, we made up our minds to rest contentedly where we were. But we
did not adhere to this determination. In a few minutes there came upon
us a noise like the growling of distant thunder; by-and-by the fall of
water was loudly and fiercely distinct, and we knew, to our extreme
surprise, that this was a very different affair from the cataract in
Saxon Switzerland. We therefore hurried round the angle of the rock,
and guided by the sound, came at last to behold what really was a very
fine sight. From a ledge, perhaps thirty or forty feet high, a rivulet
discharged a considerable body of water into a cavern, beneath the
foundations of which, though it was impossible to say in what
direction, the current held its course. I must confess that we stood
and gazed upon the scene for some moments in great admiration,--a
feeling which was probably heightened in consequence of the
unlooked-for issue to an adventure, of the commencement of which we had
augured so unfavourably.

Having thus witnessed the effect, we naturally enough desired to look
upon the cause also; in other words, nothing would content us, except
to ascend the cliff and watch the whole process of lifting and
replacing the sluice. I am not sure that the sight recompensed us for
the labour that was necessary to obtain it. The stream, to be sure,
looked dark and deep, hemmed in as it was, between walls of rock, and
to watch the descent of the mass of water from above, was quite as fine
as to look up to it from below; but the process of climbing was both
toilsome and hazardous, and I do not therefore advise others to undergo
it, unless they be both strong of head and sure of foot.

The waterfall, like the general discharge of fire-works at Vauxhall, or
the blowing-up of the beleaguered fortress in a melo-drama, was the
last and greatest wonder which our guide had to show us, and the
termination of the play was marked by the usual application for a
little drinkgelt. This we gave, of course; but having heard something
of a wonderful echo, we begged him at the same time to conduct us to
the spot where it was to be heard. We were drawing, in this instance,
too much either upon his goodnature or his powers. The echo was not in
his department. A separate functionary called that forth at will, and
to his care we were transferred. He was an old man, who played
wretchedly on the French horn and clarionet, both of which, as well as
a double-barrelled gun, were called into operation, and there is no
denying that the effect was fine. Four reverberations followed each
blast; all of them clear and distinct, as if four separate instruments
had spoken. The last sounded like the voice of a trumpet, issuing from
some dark woods, perhaps five or six miles distant.

Such were the wonders which we saw and heard at Aderspach,--a mighty
show-place, as it appears, to Poles, Prussians, Bohemians, and even
Saxons; yet strange to say, not often visited by our own more restless
countrymen. Yet our adventures in the Trucktere-house did not end here.
There arrived, soon after we came in, the identical travelling band
which had delighted us with their music in Troutenau; and partly to
conciliate us, partly to ensure for themselves a supper free of
expense, they played some airs very sweetly in the passage. One of
these took my fancy so much, that I begged to have a copy of the notes,
and sent out a florin as the price of my purchase. But in thus paying
for the goods before I got them, I had over-calculated the honesty even
of Bohemian minstrels. The master of the band pronounced that the air
should be ready for me next morning, but it never came; and when I
inquired for the performers, they were gone. So much for paying
beforehand for matters so light as the notes of music.



CHAPTER VII.

WALK TO SHATZLAR. MAGNIFICENT SCENERY. EXTREME FATIGUE. OUR LANDLORD.
EARLY ASSOCIATIONS AWAKENED BY A SCENE IN THE MARKET-PLACE. REST FOR A
DAY. ASCENT OF SCHNEE-KOPPEE. HALT AT A VILLAGE ON THE SILESIAN SIDE.


All the wonders which I have inadequately described in the preceding
chapter, having been investigated between the hours of nine and twelve,
we made up our minds to dine like gentlemen at Aderspach, and to
proceed that evening as far as Shatzlar, a town at the Bohemian foot of
Schnee-Koppee. We were the more induced to adopt this course, because
Shatzlar was stated to be only four hours' walk from Aderspach, and we
believed ourselves sufficiently strong, not only to accomplish that
over-night, but to undertake the ascent of the mountain himself on the
morrow. The result proved that our calculations had rested on no solid
basis. Instead of a four hours' walk, Shatzlar proved to be rather more
than six hours' distant; and the way being mountainous and rugged, we
came in thoroughly knocked up. I do not recollect that throughout the
whole of our excursion we were, on any other occasion, so indifferent
to the magnificent scenery that surrounded us; and probably the reader
will not be displeased that the case was so, seeing that our
indifference at the moment saves him the labour now of perusing what
might very possibly be felt as a wearisome description of it.

Shatzlar is a large straggling burgh, destitute of manufactures, and
apparently little visited by travellers; though the inn, which is kept
by the burgomaster, can boast of very tolerable accommodations, and a
host and hostess both well disposed to fall in with their guests'
wishes. There is a schloss hard by, inhabited by certain officials,
who, however, exercise no jurisdiction over the town; and a church, not
remarkable for anything, except the good order of its charnel-house.
This, a small building separated by the breadth of the churchyard from
the main edifice, seems to be a place of deposit for all the skulls and
other bones which may be thrown up in digging the graves; and they are
arranged round the walls with as much taste as their ghastly character
will allow.

We felt so tired, and our feet were suffering so much from blisters,
that we resolved to give ourselves a day of total rest in Shatzlar; and
in spite of the ennui attendant on such an arrangement, we adhered to
it with laudable pertinacity. Rising at seven, and breakfasting at
eight in the morning, we whiled away the time till dinner by strolling
up the side of the hill, along which the town is built, and enjoying
the exquisite panorama which, from various points, it opened out upon
us. We visited likewise the fountain of the Bober, a well deep in the
forest, and drank of its waters ere yet they had become polluted by
flowing among the habitations of men. Our guide, the burgomaster's son,
conducted us likewise to a corner of the wood which is set apart for
bird-catching, and where every tree is armed with one or more gins,
skilfully made of horse-hair and attached to the bark. The pencil also
was appealed to, but in vain. This was too extensive, as well as too
glorious a scene, to be copied by one so little skilled in the art as
myself; so, after spoiling two or three leaves in my journal book, I
desisted from the attempt; and we descended to the inn, where the smell
of calf's-flesh in preparation warned us that the hour of dinner was
not far distant. It came in due course, and the meal was discussed
effectually; after which the burgomaster favoured us with his company,
though he steadily refused to partake of the excellent wine which his
own cellar produced. He was a man of some intelligence, and had an
ambition to see his children rise upwards on the hill of life.
Accordingly one of his sons, a delicate youth, is preparing himself for
holy orders; another is studying medicine at the university of Vienna;
and the third, the lad who accompanied us in our morning's ramble, had
served his time with a cotton manufacturer. But the confinement not
agreeing with his delicate constitution, the burgomaster had brought
him home; and he now officiates as a sort of waiter in the hotel, with
the understanding that at his father's decease, or perhaps before it,
he shall succeed to the hotel itself.

In listening to such details one hour was spent. Another passed away in
watching from the window such objects as this most quiet of quiet
Bohemian burghs might produce. And of these there was one which, being
associated with the memory of other days, interested me not a little.
There is a fountain in the middle of the market-place, into which one
stream of fresh water is continually flowing, while another drains off
from it. Hither the women bring their clothes to be washed; not in the
fountain itself, but in their own tubs, which they range round it; and
the proceedings of one of these industrious damsels amused me much. She
filled her tub to the brim, and then kilting her petticoats, set to
work tramping with might and main, precisely as, in years long gone by,
I have seen a Scotch girl do, on the Back-walk at Stirling, or the
Calton Hill in Edinburgh. What a strange thing is association, and how
easily is it called into play by the veriest trifles. The woman's legs
had nothing to boast of in the way of symmetry, but I confess that I
watched them, in their alternate rise and fall, with a degree of
interest such as I have not for many a day bestowed on any other pair
of understandings, whether male or female.

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 Staël, 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.



CHAPTER VIII.

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 Löwenberg,
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 Père 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.



CHAPTER IX.

THE DILIGENCE FROM DRESDEN TO TÖPLITZ. 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. Töplitz, 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 Königstein are rarely out of sight.

A Saxon eilwagen is a machine nowise deserving of reprobation. It is a
long, omnibus-looking affair, with a _coupé_ 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.

Between Hollendorf, where the Saxon custom-house is planted, and
Peterswald, the frontier village of Bohemia, there is an interval of
perhaps an English mile in extent. Over that the Saxon diligence
carried us; and at the door of the Austrian custom-house, both we and
our baggage were deposited. Here passports were examined, trunks and
knapsacks opened, and the other formalities attendant on the admission
of strangers into a new country gone through, among which I observed
that the custom was not omitted, of feeing the revenue-officer into
good humour. Each passenger, as he presented his passport, to be viséed
and approved, slid into the official's hand a piece of money; and I, as
I consider it wise, in like cases, to do as is done by those about me,
followed the example. The officer took the coin, smiled graciously upon
me, affixed the stamp unhesitatingly to my credentials, and turned to
somebody else. I really could not quite explain to myself why this act
of extravagance had been committed, but I am not aware that I ever
missed the douceur; and I heartily wish the individual who received it,
much enjoyment in its possession.

We dined at Peterswald, on very good fare, which the landlady of the
Post had provided for us; and had no reason to complain, as stage-coach
travellers in England sometimes do, that we were hurried in its
consumption. One full hour was spent in discussing the meal, and
another in smoking after it. At length, however, intelligence was
communicated, that the conducteur awaited us, and we descended to the
road, where a change had come over "the spirit of our dream." The
substantial Saxon eilwagen stood still in its repose, for it was not
destined to proceed further; and in its room were provided three lesser
carriages, into one of which, seated for four persons, I and my boy
stowed ourselves. The opposite places were soon taken by our countryman
and the Prussian, and away we went.

Our journey, in the early part of this day, had lain over the field of
the great battle of Dresden; we were now about to traverse the scene of
another conflict scarcely less desperate,--the affair, as by the French
writers it is designated, of Kulm. It would have been strange indeed,
had I failed to look round with more than common interest while
traversing these scenes of mighty strife. I endeavoured also to look at
them with a soldier's eye. I did my best to trace the positions of the
several columns of attack and defence; and I think that I succeeded. At
all events, I am certain that never till I saw the ground, was I able,
from the accounts given, whether by French or German writers, to form
any correct idea either of the battles themselves, or of their results.
Let me endeavour to supply to others the deficiency of which I have
myself experienced the pressure, by describing the localities, in
connexion with a brief narrative of the events which have immortalized
them.

The battle of Dresden, as well as the combats of Gross-Beeren,
Katzbach, and Kulm were, as I need scarcely observe, the immediate
consequences of the termination of the armistice in August, 1813.
Napoleon, weary of the war, had yielded to the demands of the
Prussians, and, evacuating Breslau, and abandoning the line of the
Oder, had fallen back upon Liegnitz. He himself declared, that he made
these sacrifices,--for such they unquestionably were,--in the hope
that, out of the armistice, a treaty of peace would spring, and there
is no great cause to doubt that he spoke sincerely. What could he hope
to gain by a continuance of the struggle? France was exhausted in every
pore; the best and ablest of her warriors were slain, such as survived
longed for rest, and were ready to sacrifice even their national vanity
in order to obtain it. On the other hand, the strength of the Allies
seemed to accumulate from day to day; and Austria assumed such an
attitude as to render her neutrality less than doubtful. I think, then,
that we may give Napoleon credit for having spoken the truth once in
his life, when he said, that he yielded much, by the evacuation of
Silesia, from an earnest desire for peace; but his desire was not to be
gratified. The Allies judged, and judged wisely, that a season of
repose would, by him, be employed only to gather means for creating
fresh troubles, and they determined,--the counsels of England
prevailing with them,--to wage war _à l'outrance_.

On the 11th of August, the armistice came to an end. Its rightful term
was the 17th; but the current of events swept over it. Napoleon was
then in Dresden, which he held as the key and pivot of his position,
and to cover it, he had constructed a large and formidable entrenched
camp along the bases of Lilienstein and Königstein. Of the situation of
these two enormous rocks I have spoken elsewhere. They stand about
twelve English miles from Dresden, like giant sentinels, that guard the
debouches of Bohemia and Silesia, while between them flows the Elbe,
now passable only by a ferry, but by Napoleon's care, then bridged
over. Here a position was marked out for not less than sixty thousand
men, whence, as from a centre, it was competent for the French to pass
either into Bohemia, where the Grand Army of the Allies seemed
preparing to assemble, or to Silesia and Lusatia. But it was not on
this side of the Saxon capital exclusively, that Napoleon fixed a
vigilant eye. His real line was the line of the Elbe, from Hamburg to
Dresden; his communications with France were kept open by Erfurth, and
through the Thuringian forest; and he took care that all the approaches
to Dresden should be so guarded, as that, while the city itself
continued secure from insult, the force in possession might have free
avenues through which to operate on any threatened point in this
enormous circle. "Dresde," said he, "est le pivot, sur lequel je veux
manoeuvrer pour faire face à toutes les attaques. Depuis Berlin
jusqu'à Prague, l'ennemi se develope sur en circonference dont j'occupé
le centre; les moindre communications s'allangent pour lui sur les
contours qu'elles devrient suivre; et pour moi quelques marches
suffisent pour me porter partout ou ma presence et mes reserves son
necessaires. Mais il faut que sur les points ou je ne serai pas, mes
lieutenants sechent m'attendre sans rien commettre au hazard." It was
mainly because they neglected to keep this latter injunction in view,
that the reverses which deranged all his magnificent plans occurred.

Napoleon had formed, during the cessation of hostilities, a new
_corps-d'armée_, which he put under the command of General Vandamme,
and brought up from the mouth of the Elbe. It numbered, in all, about
five-and-twenty thousand men, and had instructions to support General
St. Cyr, who with fifteen thousand, was to occupy the fortified
positions near Dresden. Meanwhile, the Duke de Reggio, from his camp at
Dahme, was to march upon Berlin with five-and-thirty thousand men of
all arms; the Prince of Eckmuhl, from Bagedorf, was to co-operate with
him; while General Lemon, the governor of Magdeburg, was to keep open
the communication between them with a corps of six thousand men. These
movements were designed to accomplish a two-fold object. First, they
were to find for the Prussians work enough at home; and to put
Napoleon, if possible, in possession of the Prussian capital. Secondly,
advantage might be taken of the distraction thereby caused in the
counsels of the Allies, while Napoleon, in person, with the Guards,
and the mass of his army, threw himself upon the Austrians. For
Napoleon,--the armistice being virtually at an end,--became impatient
of inactivity, and hoped, while retaining Dresden, and looking to it
throughout as his pivot during the campaign, to find time, ere the
Allies should have perfected their arrangements, to strike a blow both
against Berlin and in Bohemia.

Napoleon had calculated less than he ought to have done on the activity
of Blucher and of the Russians. The former, instead of waiting to be
attacked, took the initiative in Silesia, and drove the French, with
great loss, behind the Bober.

Some time previously,--so early, indeed, as the 10th,--several large
masses of Russians and Prussians had entered Bohemia; and on the 13th,
the junction with the Austrians, which it was one of Napoleon's objects
to prevent, had been accomplished. Meanwhile, he himself, being
ignorant of this fact, set out on the 15th, for the bridge at
Königstein, whence he pursued his march by Bautzen and Richenbach to
Görlitz. He reached it on the 18th, and being met there by M. de
Vienne, his plenipotentiary from Prague, he had the fact communicated
to him of the formal adhesion of Austria to the Grand Alliance. Though
he heard, at the same time, of the reverses in Silesia, he instantly
chose his part. He faced round towards Bohemia, penetrated the defiles
of the mountains, spread himself over the valleys behind Gabel and
Rombourg, and learned at the former of these places, that he was too
late. The Grand Army of the Allies was already among the hills that
border upon Saxony; and to the number of one hundred and fifty thousand
men, threatened Dresden with an attack.

Napoleon seems always to have calculated much on the immoveability of
the enemies that opposed him. Though he knew that Schwartzenberg was
within two days' march of Dresden, he flattered himself that he might
still have time to strike at Blucher; and turning on his heel, he flew
back to Zittau, and from thence passed without a halt to Görlitz and
Luban. In a moment, the aspect of affairs was changed. Two days'
fighting served to convince the Prussians that a new spirit reigned
among the troops that opposed them; and on the 23rd, the French eagles
were again advanced as far as Katzbach. Here pressing instances from
Dresden reached him, of the imminent danger that threatened the city,
and of the total inadequacy of St. Cyr's corps to resist it; and seeing
that Blucher was in full retreat, he resolved to return on his steps.
Marshal Macdonald was left with seventy or eighty thousand men to keep
the Prussian general in check; while with the remainder Napoleon took
the road to Bautzen.

It was on the 24th, at an early hour, that he reached this latter town,
where letters from St. Cyr were again handed to him, each more urgent
for support than the other. The Allies, it seems, had carried the
passes of the Erzgebirge; their columns were descending into the plain
on all sides,--while the French, unable to maintain themselves in the
field, were sheltered behind the outer defences of the city. Even this
assurance could not, however, determine the emperor all at once to
abandon a project which he had in view. He wished to throw himself on
Schwartzenberg's rear; and provided he were assured that Dresden could
be held till the 28th, he counted on being able to effect the movement.
Accordingly, Vandamme with his corps was ordered to push from Stolpen
for the bridge at Lilienstein; to pass the Elbe there, to seize the
heights of Peterswald, and keep them till Napoleon should arrive,--an
event which, unless evil tidings came from Dresden, would surely befall
within eight-and-forty hours. But evil tidings did come. At Stolpen,
whither he had marched on the 25th, General Gourgaud overtook him to
entreat, if he desired Dresden to be saved, that he would return; and
General Haxo, the engineer, whom he sent back to examine the state of
the defences, was the bearer of a similar communication. Napoleon was
sorely vexed; but Dresden it was essential that he should retain.

General Haxo was sent instantly to Vandamme with his final
instructions. They amounted to this, that he should keep the passes
into Bohemia at all hazards, and win for himself a marshal's baton.
This done, Napoleon marched upon Dresden, and on the 26th, entered it
at the head of his cavalry. The infantry followed fast; and the capital
of Saxony, which had already sustained insult from the shot and shells
of the Allies, and was threatened with an immediate assault, became
safe. Napoleon made his dispositions with equal promptitude and
secresy. He stationed his several divisions in the streets, so as to
conceal their numbers, while at the same time, each fronted a gate, or
gave support to a point that was threatened; and then calmly awaited
the attack of the enemy, which was not slow in developing itself.

Schwartzenberg had conducted his advance with an excess of caution. His
prodigious army was collected on the 13th, yet it was the 23rd ere he
forced the passes of the hills, and now only on the 26th he made his
final dispositions for the attack of Dresden. Of the local situation of
that city I have said enough to give my readers some notion of the
arena on which this great battle was fought. Standing astride upon the
Elbe, the capital of Saxony occupies the centre of an enormous plain,
the hills that surround which approach, in no instance, within three
English miles of the glacis, and in addition to its ancient
fortifications, it was, at the period at which I now speak, girdled in
on all hands by redoubts and field-works. Of that outer line the
remains are yet to be seen by every traveller who follows the direct
road to Pirna. They run from the Grosse Garten, which they include, all
the way to the Elbe. On the other flanks of the city, from the Grosse
Garten to the Elbe again, they are almost entirely effaced. But on the
26th of August 1813, they were at least respectable; and in the partial
combats which had taken place over-night, though some had fallen, the
rest were stoutly maintained. It was to be determined, that day, how
far they were or were not impregnable.

The field of battle ranged from the Elbe, on the right of the Allied
columns, to Plouen on the left. The points of attack were the gates of
Pilnitz, Pirna, Dohna, Dippoldiswald, Blender, or Plouen, and Freiberg.
It was about four in the afternoon when the discharge of their cannon
from the heights of Recknitz, where the head-quarters of the Allies had
fixed themselves, gave notice that the various columns were in motion.
Nearly one hundred and fifty thousand men, moving forward at the
recognised signal, presented to the eyes of the inhabitants a most
imposing spectacle, while at the same time, a continued line of
batteries, all the way from Recknitz to Plouen, opened their fire.
Shells and cannon-balls fell like hail in the suburbs, and the carnage
was as indiscriminating as it was terrible.

There had not yet been time for more than the half of Napoleon's army
to come up. He had scarce seventy thousand men disposable; but his
position was a very favourable one, and he ably took advantage of it.
The guns from the advanced redoubts replied to the enemies' cannonade
with little effect, and the Allies swept onwards without a check. They
had raised their cry, "To Paris! To Paris!" and were already within a
few yards of the Plouen gate, when the word was passed to the division
of the Young Guard, which lay behind it, and they sprang to their feet.
The sortie is described by those who witnessed it, to have been
terrifically fine. Out dashed these warriors, inured to victory, and
bearing down all opposition, rolled back the head of the advancing
columns, as a river is rolled back by the tide when it meets it. There
was a fearful slaughter on both sides. The cannon from the city walls
plunged into the rear of the wavering column. The infantry mowed down
its front; the detached redoubts which it had passed, as if despising
them, took its whole extent in reverse. There was neither time nor
space to deploy, and the attack was repulsed.

The same, or nearly the same results, had attended the attempts of the
Allies on the other gates. They were everywhere defeated, their defeat
being occasioned not less, perhaps, by surprise at finding Napoleon
himself in their front, than by the impetuosity of the French attacks.
They retreated in great confusion, the Russians to Blazewitz, the
Prussians over the plain, the Hungarian grenadiers under Colloredo to
Recknitz, and the Austrians to the defiles of Plouen. There they could
not be followed up, because night was already closing, and of the
French army a large portion were yet at a distance. One success more,
however, attended Napoleon's arms ere he slept; the Austrians, rallying
a corps in the dark, made a dash, with great gallantry, at the gate of
Plouen; but they were repulsed. And then, one party in the open fields,
the other among the lanes and streets of the city, the jaded and
harassed armies lay down to sleep.

It was a night of terrible storm. The rain came down in such torrents
as to reduce the whole plain to the consistency of a morass, and the
rivers rose to a degree such as had hardly occurred before within so
limited a space of time. Yet was Napoleon busy till long past midnight,
in giving directions for the morrow. He saw by their line of fires that
the Allies had resumed the wide semicircle which they occupied previous
to the attack, and he fixed his plans accordingly. The whole of the
cavalry, with the exception of that of the Guard, which had previously
acted on the level from the Pilnitz gate, was drawn through the city,
and placed in position under Murat, in the suburb of Frederick-stadt.
It was to push, at early dawn, along the Freiberg road, and cut off the
retreat of the Allies in that direction. Meanwhile Victor, with his
infantry corps, was to debouch from the Freiberg barriers, and attack
in front the Austrian line, which Murat was directed to turn. In the
centre, between the gates of Dippoldiswald and Dohna, Marmont was to
occupy the attention of the force which had fallen back upon the
heights of Recknitz. St. Cyr, in prolongation of the line, was to
operate from the Grosse Garten; while Ney and the Duke of Treviso, with
four divisions of the Young Guard, were from the Pirna road to engage
the enemy's right, and to give time to General Nansouty, with his
cavalry corps, to effect the same manoeuvre on this flank which Murat
had received instructions to accomplish on the other. Thus was it
calculated that the Allies driven in, column upon column, and shut out
from two of their four lines of retreat, would suffer terrible loss,
and an opportunity be afforded to Vandamme of completing their
destruction.

The morning of the 27th came in with a continuance of rain, almost as
heavy as that which had fallen during the night; yet the battle was not
deferred. Murat, on the one side, and Nansouty on the other, began
their respective marches at peep of dawn; and being well masked, and
supported by the attacks of the infantry, they made rapid progress.
This is the more to be wondered at, on the part of the former officer,
that a _corps d'armée_ under General Klenau, which had failed to reach
its ground in time, was now in full advance, and its leading divisions
showed themselves at Gorbitz as early as seven in the morning. Had the
Allies held their own ground, leaving it to him to close up or fall
back, as occasion might require, they would have probably fared better
than they did. As it was, they extended their front, from above Plouen,
across the valley of Tharandt, and, endeavouring to stretch out their
hand to Klenau, gave Murat the opportunity to pierce them.

The battle of Dresden was, along the centre of the line, little else
than a furious cannonade. The French had nothing to gain by rendering
it more close, and the Allies seemed indisposed to assume the
offensive. It was a ball from one of the batteries, which replied at a
disadvantage to those of the Allies above Recknitz, which mortally
wounded Moreau. His fate has been recorded by so many pens, that I need
not employ mine to swell the list, and himself either lauded or
censured, according as the prejudices of the writers leaned to the side
of Napoleon or the Allies. Let his merits have been what they might, in
a moral point of view, nobody can refuse to him the renown of an able
officer; and to the esteem in which the Emperor of Russia held him, the
stone which marks the spot where he fell, bears witness. It is a simple
block of freestone, and bears this inscription, "Moreau, the warrior,
fell here, beside his friend Alexander." But on both flanks more
important operations went forward. The French carried every thing
before them. From Cotta, which he had won, Murat turned upon the
advanced guard of Klenau's corps, and destroyed it. He then pressed
forward, bearing down all opposition, and making prisoners of whole
battalions, whose muskets had become so saturated, that they could not
be discharged. In like manner, St. Cyr pushed back the Prussians on
Gruna, while Marmont and Nansouty drove the Russians from position to
position, and cleared the plain. Both flanks, in short, were turned;
and the troops composing them driven in upon the centre, and cut off
from their proper lines of retreat. But the French were too much
enfeebled to pursue the advantages which they had gained with their
accustomed spirit. About three in the afternoon the cannonade grew
slack; the Allies showed only a strong rear-guard, and Napoleon
returned to the city, saying to those around him, "I am greatly
deceived if we shall not hear news of Vandamme. It is his movement
which has constrained the enemy to retreat thus abruptly."

The 28th was a day of continued and broken retreat on the part of the
Allies; of movements more tardy than, perhaps, they ought to have been,
on the part of the French. A great deal of baggage, almost all the
wounded, and many prisoners, were abandoned by the fugitives; yet, in
most cases, they won the defiles in tolerable order, and were safe.
Colloredo, covered by a strong rear-guard, threaded the pass of
Dippoldiswald, and had Töplitz, the point of reunion, in view. The rest
made their escape likewise, though with more of confusion; and, in one
striking instance, they would not have succeeded at all, had not
Vandamme been enticed into the grievous error of leaving the heights of
Peterswald unguarded. It was this blunder of his, which caused the
disaster at Kulm; and in order to make clear the brief account which I
am going to give of that battle, it will be necessary to revert to my
own movements, so that the ground may be described as by an
eye-witness.

The village of Peterswald lies at the northern base of a range of
heights, which, circling round, place Töplitz in the centre of a huge
amphitheatre. On this side the ascent is gradual, and the face of the
hill open and cultivated. In a military point of view, therefore, the
position is admirable; it forms a perfect glacis. As you wind your way
upwards, moreover, the view becomes, at every step, more and more
interesting, till having gained the ridge,--where a windmill is
built,--it is glorious in the extreme. You look down upon a valley, of
which it is scarcely too much to say, that the eye of man has never
beheld anything more perfect. Deep, deep, it lies, enclosed on every
side by mountains, which, sloping away one from another, resemble so
many prodigious cones, and open out to you the gorges of countless
glens; each, as it would appear, more exquisitely beautiful than
another. The vale of Töplitz itself may measure, perhaps, where it is
widest, some six or eight English miles across; where it is least wide,
the interval between the mountains is scarcely one mile. But it is in
all directions fertile and luxuriant in the extreme. Waving woods, rich
cornfields, vineyards, meadows, and groves, are there; with towns, and
villages, and castles, and hamlets, scattered through them, even as the
hand of the painter would desire to arrange them. Nor is the running
stream, that most indispensable of all features in a landscape of
perfect beauty, wanting. The Pala rolls his waters through the valley;
and if he be inconsiderable in point of size, yet is he limpid and
clear; with width enough to catch the sun's rays, from time to time, as
they fall, and throw them back almost brighter in the reflection than
in the reality. Altogether it is as striking a panorama as any which,
even in Bohemia, one will easily find.

Vandamme had received orders to pass the Elbe between Lilienstein and
Königstein; and pushing back whatever corps the Allies might have left
at Pirna, to establish himself on the summit of this ridge. He obeyed
these instructions so well, that, in spite of the gallant resistance of
Prince Eugene of Wurtemberg, he carried his point. The heights of
Peterswald were in his possession on the 28th; it would have been well
for his master had he attempted nothing further. Vandamme, however, was
ambitious of earning the marshal's baton by something more than mere
obedience to an order received. He saw that Töplitz was uncovered, and
knowing that the possession of that place would render him master of
all the passes that diverge from it, he resolved, on the 29th, to make
the essay. He descended from his mountain throne, and penetrated as
far as Kulm.

The hill, which, with a portion only of his force, Vandamme had
abandoned, is, on that side which looks down into the vale of Töplitz,
steep, well nigh to perpendicular. Huge forests clothe its rugged face;
out of which bold rocks protrude; indeed, such is the nature of the
country, that the road is carried backwards and forwards almost in a
zig-zag, in order to render it accessible. This mountain, in a military
point of view, all but impassable, Vandamme placed behind him; leaving,
however, a strong division to guard it, and nothing doubting of his own
success. But he had miscalculated the time which was at his disposal.
Six and twenty hours would have sufficed,--six were quite inadequate,
and he found them so. He pushed on, however, to Kulm. It is a neat
village, with a modern schloss beside it; and a church, which crowns a
low green hill, in its centre. There are some extensive plantations
near; the Pala flows among them; and between it and the mountains on
the right, there is a space of less than two miles. He gained it almost
without firing a shot, for the force in Töplitz was quite
inconsiderable, and his arrival occasioned such panic in that, the
head-quarters of the confederation, that kings, and emperors, and
princesses, dispersed in all directions. One half league, indeed, was
all that divided his patrols from their prize, when a serious
resistance began. General Ostermann, with six thousand of the Russian
Imperial Guard, received orders to stop the French at all hazards. He
threw himself across the road, drove back their advanced guard, and
held his ground so tenaciously, that nothing could move him. Ostermann
himself lost an arm; the élite of the Russian guard died where they
fought; but Töplitz was saved, and the certain ruin which its capture
would have brought upon the Allied cause was averted.

When a fierce battle once begins, there is no calculating in what
results it may terminate. Vandamme became irritated by the resistance
which was made to him; and, still hoping to bear it down, sent
continually for reinforcements. The heights of Peterswald were, in
consequence, gradually denuded of guards, and at last not so much as a
picquet remained to observe what might approach them. The fresh columns
were numerous and brave, but they arrived too late at the scene of
action. Already were the leading battalions of Barclay de Tolly's corps
in the field, and brigade after brigade followed them. Then, indeed,
Vandamme began to perceive that he would have acted more judiciously
had he adhered strictly to Napoleon's orders. But not being aware of
all the difficulties of his position, he did not like to abandon it;
and merely changed his ground so as to embrace Kulm in his line, and
there awaited on the morrow a renewal of the contest.

Vandamme committed a very grievous error in this. The night was at his
own disposal, and he ought to have availed himself of it to recover the
heights of Peterswald. His pride took the alarm; and, trusting that the
Allies, defeated before Dresden, would be utterly disorganised, and
that their pursuers would arrive close upon their heels, let them
appear in what quarter they might, he made up his mind to give battle
again on the 30th. The dawn of that day showed him that his enemies had
been more prudent than he. Not his front only, but both flanks were
threatened; that is to say, the Allies, gathering additional strength
from hour to hour, had completely overlapped his right; while his left,
closed in by the mountains, was at once supported, and rendered, for
any movement in retreat, completely useless. The Allies came on with
great courage, somewhere about eighty thousand men being in their line;
and till two o'clock the battle raged with indescribable fury. But the
odds were irresistable. Vandamme began, in the presence of the victor,
a retrogressive movement, which ought to have been accomplished under
shadow of the darkness. It was made to no purpose. To the horror and
amazement of the French, to the surprise and joy of the Allies,
Kleist's corps of Prussians showed themselves on the heights; and,
descending by the only road which Vandamme had counted upon as open,
placed him entirely in a _cul de sac_. The French were utterly
confounded. They lost all order, all confidence, both in themselves and
their leaders; and, rushing furiously up the ascent, endeavoured to
break through. Moreover, so completely unlooked-for, on the side of the
Prussians, was the situation in which they found themselves, that at
first they did not well know how to act. Five hundred French cavalry
broke in upon a division of the landwehr; sabred many of the infantry,
and, for a moment, gained possession of the guns. But it was only for a
moment. The Prussians recovered from their surprise; and never was
defeat more absolute than that which Vandamme's luckless corps
sustained. Many prisoners were taken, including the general-in-chief.
All the artillery, ammunition cars, and standards, fell into the hands
of the Allies, and the remnant of the men that did escape made their
way, one by one, and destitute even of their arms, through the forest,
where tract there was none.

Such is a true detail of the leading events in the battle of Kulm; a
victory of which the Austrians, with great justice, make much; which
they, the Russians, and Prussians, have equally commemorated by
monuments erected on the spot, but for which the imprudence of the
French commander is at least as much to be thanked as the sagacity of
Colloredo, or the daring of Kleist. It was, with one exception,--the
noble resistance of the Russian Guard under Ostermann,--a gross blunder
on both sides; it might in its results have been fatal to either,
though it ended in the discomfiture of the French. For the Allies, who
had been on the very eve of falling out among themselves, were, in
consequence of the success at Kulm, reunited; and the tide of victory,
which had flowed so fiercely against them a few days previously, turned
once more in their favour. Of its course, however, I have, in this
place, no business to speak. Let me, therefore, return to myself and my
own proceedings.

I had stood before this upon the ridge of the hill, and looked forth
over the battle field below. I had quitted my own carriage, and walked
down; as I quitted now the diligence for the same purpose, and held
converse with a stone-breaker by the wayside, whose cross, marked with
the titles of many battles, told that, among others, he had borne his
part in the fight of Kulm. He described to me the confusion, both of
the French and Prussian corps, as something of which I could form no
conception. Both sides lost even the semblance of order, and through
the deep forest, and over the slope of the defile, there was one
ceaseless combat of man to man. The quantity of dead, likewise, that
covered the hill-side, was prodigious; indeed, it took the country
people, who were pressed for the occasion, two whole days to bury them.
How changed was the scene now! The outward forms of nature, doubtless,
retained their identity; but wood, and ravine, and defile, and sweeping
level, all lay under me, as quiet and as peaceful as if the sounds of
war had never been heard among them. I was enchanted with my walk down
the steep.

The village of Kulm suffered, of course, terribly during the melée. The
church had been burned to the ground, as well as the schloss; and of
the cottages and vineyards almost all had been beaten to pieces. There
were now church, schloss, cottages, and vineyards all blooming and
fresh, as if no such calamity had ever overtaken them. The inhabitants,
too, unmindful as men ever are of evils that have befallen to others,
and even to themselves, long ago, delight in nothing so much as in
replying to the questions which curious travellers, like myself, may
chance to put to them. But the cicerone _ex officio_, to whom
references are invariably made, is a fine old Austrian invalid, to
whose care the charge of the monuments is intrusted. The old fellow is
not, I must confess, very intelligent; but he displays his orders with
manifest and most commendable pride, and assures you that General
Colloredo, who that day received his mortal wound, was the best soldier
in the emperor's service. Of the monuments themselves I need say no
more than that they occupy a space where the roads from Tetschen and
Dresden meet; in which, as it appears, the fighting was very desperate,
and where Colloredo fell. That erected by the Austrians is much more
massive than its rival; and professes to commemorate rather the merits
of the commander than the valour of the troops. The Prussian is a
small, but singularly neat obelisk, and bears this inscription, "A
grateful king and country honour the heroes who fell." There is a third
in progress, of which the Emperor of Russia is the founder; but it is
not yet completed. It ought to be the most magnificent of the whole;
for assuredly the success of the day was owing more to the stubborn
hardihood of the Russian Guards, than to any efforts either of
Austrians or Prussians.

From Kulm to Töplitz you pass through a lovely valley, with mountains,
as I have already described them, on either side of you. Along the
bases of those to the right, lie several picturesque villages, with a
modern schloss here and there, and here and there a ruin. Among others,
the remains of the castle of Dux, one of Wallenstein's numerous
mansions, is especially remarkable. By-and-by, as you approach the
town, you see on your left the dilapidated towers of Dobrawska Hora, an
extensive pile, built, as we were told, early in the thirteenth
century, and owned and inhabited, in 1616, by Count Kinsky,
Wallenstein's brother-in-law. And last of all, you enter the town
itself; of which I shall speak as I found it on a previous visit; when,
instead of hurrying on as we did now, after a single night's rest, we
spent some pleasant days at one of the best and cheapest of German
inns, the Hotel de Londres.



CHAPTER X.

TÖPLITZ. ITS GAIETIES. JOURNEY RESUMED. FIRST VIEW OF PRAGUE. GENERAL
CHARACTER OF THE CITY. THE HRADSCHIN. CATHEDRAL. UNIVERSITY. HISTORICAL
DETAILS CONNECTED WITH IT. THE REFORMATION IN BOHEMIA.


The German Spas, or watering-places, especially those of the first
rank, seem to me to offer the best opportunities which a stranger can
desire for the study of the German character, as, in its most unguarded
moments, it presents itself to notice. Whatever a man's rank or station
may be, he seems, from the hour of his entrance into one of these
regions of joy, to lay aside, at least, all belonging to it, which
elsewhere may trammel or incommode him. Princes, nobles, citizens,
officers of every class, natives, foreigners, soldiers, civilians, and
diplomatists, seem to be brought hither by one impulse only,--that is,
by the pursuit of amusement. Business may be, and I doubt not is,
carried on elsewhere than in the shops, but when or how people find
time to attend to it, may well puzzle all save the initiated. I say
nothing of the necessity under which every human being appears to be
laid, of taking the baths as often as an opportunity may offer; for the
bath is to a German what his medicine chest is to an Englishman,--something
without which he could never exist throughout the year. But the round
of amusements which is perpetually going on, the promenade early in the
morning, the ride in the forenoon, the dinner at one o'clock, the music
and lounge afterwards, then the theatre or ball, and last of all, the
supper, these are the events in Töplitz for which alone persons of
every condition seem to live. It is really a most animating spectacle
for a few days, and then--to me at least--it becomes irksome in the
extreme.

With the solitary exception, perhaps, of Carlsbad, Töplitz takes rank
as at once the most fashionable and best ordered watering-place in all
Germany. It is the favourite resort of the King of Prussia, who,
without designing to lead a host of fine people in his train, is, as he
deserves to be, a centre of attraction. Singularly unassuming in all
his habits, he is to be seen passing to and fro, sometimes on foot,
without any attendant whatever, sometimes in a carriage, so plain, that
it might almost pass for a fiacre, or common hackney-coach. It cannot
be said that, in these respects, the nobility of Russia, Austria, and
the German principalities in general, follow his example. The Germans
do not, indeed, affix the same importance to splendid equipages and
fine horses which we find attached to them by the aristocrats of Italy
and Hungary; but they relish these things, to a certain extent, too;
and at Töplitz,--and to say the truth, at the Spas in general,--they
take care that their best displays shall be made. The roads out of
Töplitz, in all directions, are, at the fashionable hours, well filled
with gaily-dressed parties, both in carriages and on horseback.

Of Töplitz itself I may truly say, that I have never seen a
watering-place more perfectly attractive in every sense of the word.
The town is not large; its population falls short, I believe, of three
thousand, and the houses are in proportion; but there is about it an
air of cleanliness and civility which is peculiarly gratifying,
especially in Germany, where, sooth to say, the latter quality is not
always prominently conspicuous. Approaching it, as we did, from the
side of Dresden, you drive through a species of suburb,--that is, along
a road lined on either side by neat mansions, slightly detached from
one another, and are carried first into a street, wide, and clean, and
spacious, and then into the Platz, or square, which forms a constituent
and important part of every German town, be its dimensions what they
may. From the square again, which has a considerable declination
towards the north, you pass into another street, where all the
principal hotels are congregated, and at the extremity of which is the
chief attraction of the place, Prince Clari's palace, with its noble
and delicious gardens. These latter come as near to perfection in the
peculiar school to which they belong, as any thing of the sort which in
any part of the world I have visited. They are laid out in long
umbrageous walks, in exquisitely kept lawns, in bowers, alcoves, and a
lake at once extensive and well managed; and are, with characteristic
liberality, thrown open to the public at all hours, both of night and
day. Nay, nor is this all. Bands of music play here and there amid its
alcoves; there is a sort of coffee-house or restaurateur within the
gates; and the theatre may almost be said to form part of the
establishment, so close is it planted to the prince's residence. There
is exceeding kindliness of heart shown in all this, of which it is not
easy for us, the creatures of a different education, to estimate aright
the value. We should be bored beyond expression were our parks and
pleasure-grounds thronged from dawn till dusk by kings, princes,
nobles, citizens, and peasants. To the Prince Clari, the consciousness
that it affords the means of innocent recreation to his
fellow-creatures seems to be the chief enjoyment which he derives from
the possession of this lordly residence.

I am not going to describe either the baths themselves, or the customs
which prevail in making use of them. Enough is done when I state that,
in addition to the public establishments, where the humbler classes
take the waters gratuitously, there are somewhere about ninety private
bathing houses in the place, the demand for which, during the height of
the season, is such that you must bespeak your turn at least a day or
two beforehand, and adhere to the appointed minute religiously. For
nobody is allowed to remain in the bathing-room more than
three-quarters of an hour at a time, one quarter out of the four being
claimed as necessary to clean out and prepare the apartment for the
next visiter. The waters, I need scarcely add, belong to the class of
alkalo-saline, and take their rise among the Erzgebirge, or Ore
Mountains, hard by. They are extremely hot, and are regarded as
especially useful in all cases of rheumatic or gouty affections. It is
worthy of remark, that the Austrian medical officers send the
valetudinary among the soldiers to these baths from a very great
distance. When I was there, I saw detachments belonging to almost all
the regiments which occupy quarters in Bohemia; and I was given to
understand that they had come thither as invalids, and would, when
cured, return to their respective stations.

The Germans, though not famous for their hospitality, are proverbially
a gregarious people; and at Töplitz, and indeed at all the
watering-places, they appear to live in public. There are tables-d'hôte
at all the principal hotels, where, both at dinner and supper, the
company meet on terms of the most easy familiarity. To enhance the
pleasure of the feast, moreover, Bohemian minstrels,--not unfrequently
women,--come and sit down in the Saal while you are eating, and sing
and play with equal taste and harmony. While this is going on within,
dense crowds collect about the doors and windows in the street, with
whose proximity,--as the genuine love of music attracts them, and they
are as orderly and well-behaved as the most fastidious could
desire,--no human being is, or can be, annoyed. By-and-by, the meal
comes to a close, and then the guests either sally forth to enjoy the
fresh air in the Prince of Clari's garden, or sit down on benches along
the trottoir, and smoke their pipes as contentedly and joyously as if
they were a thousand miles removed from an Englishman's horror,--the
public eye. I dare say there might be some tincture of prejudice about
me, but I confess that I regretted to see the clergy fall in so freely
with this latter custom. A priest smoking his pipe on a form, in a
public street, beside the window of an inn, did not appear to me to be
quite in his legitimate position.

I did not find that there were any public gaming-houses in Töplitz;
though it was whispered that the practice of gaming was not unknown in
private circles. It may be so; though I am bound to say that I could
perceive no evidences of it. In like manner, a thousand tales were told
of other matters which went forward sedulously, of which it is not
worth while to take notice. But the general impression left upon my
mind by a few days' sojourn in the town was, that it had all the charms
about it which we expect to find in fashionable watering-places, and
that he who could not make himself happy there for a season, must lay
the blame, not upon the scene of other people's enjoyments, but on his
own temper or prejudices. Neither did I relish it the less from finding
that it was very little frequented by my countrymen. There had been but
one English family there before we arrived, and they, I am happy to
say, left an excellent name behind them.

The country between Töplitz and Prague, after you have passed over the
heights of Wachholderberg is not, in a picturesque point of view, very
interesting. The chateau of Krzemusch, with its fine garden, and the
Teufelsmauer, a basaltic precipice hard by, are indeed worth the
expenditure of an hour or two to visit, while the situation of Bilin,
in the valley of Bila, is beautiful. But you soon escape from the
mountains, and then, for many miles, the eye finds little on which it
need pine to linger, more attractive, at least, than a wide extent of
cultivation. The principal towns through which you pass are Laun and
Schlan, neither of them large or very prosperous; the rest are mere
villages. By degrees, however, as you come within what may be described
as the vortex of Prague, a great change is perceptible. The country
becomes much more broken and undulating, while here and there, from the
summit of a hill, elevated above the rest, the view which you command
is both striking and extensive. At last, the White Mountain, as it is
called, lies before you, and by an easy and almost imperceptible
ascent, you arrive at its crest. There it will, indeed, be worth your
while to pause; for a finer scene of its kind you will rarely look down
upon in any country of the world.

Along the shores of the broad Moldau, and climbing, as it were, the
steep hills which girdle it in, Prague lies at your feet. The river,
flowing on with a clear and gentle current, seems to have cut it in
twain. Yet are the characters of these divisions more completely in
unison than in almost any other instance of a city so dealt with which
I remember to have seen. A thousand towers, spires, minarets, and
domes, shed over the whole an air of magnificence which in some sort
partakes of the oriental. There are hanging-gardens, too, and a noble
bridge; there are large and exquisitely wooded islands in the Moldau;
there is the Alt Stadt on the further bank, with its Thein Kirche, or
Tyne Church, celebrated in story, and its venerable Town Hall; there is
the Kleinseite nearer at hand, where streets and squares, crowded with
the residences of the nobles, rise one above another, till they
terminate in the Old Palace, and the unfinished cathedral of St. Vitus;
there is the Neu Stadt, the handiwork of the Emperor Charles IV.,
covering a prodigious extent of ground, and enriched with the convents,
hospitals, and other public buildings, which owe their existence to the
liberality of the Jesuits. There are these, with a background of low,
yet picturesque hills, surmounted here and there by some blackened
ruin, or other monument of times gone by, which make up altogether one
of the most striking inland panoramas on which I have any where had the
good fortune to gaze. We stopped our carriage some minutes in order to
enjoy it; and then pushed forward. At every step which we took in
advance, objects of a varying but not a lessened interest, met us. Now
we passed a monastery, an extensive pile, but evidently of modern
construction; now a convent of English nuns was pointed out to us.
By-and-by the road sank down into a sort of ravine, which shut out all
view except of the fortifications that enclose the city, and block up
the extremity of the defile. Then began signs of active and busy life
to accumulate round us. Countrymen, with their wains, were met or
overtaken; bodies of cavalry, in their stable dresses, were exercising
their horses on the level; here and there an officer in uniform rode
past us; and carriages, in which sat some of Bohemia's fairest and
noblest daughters, swept by. Next came the barrier, the demand for
passports, the drawbridge, over which our wheels rolled heavily; the
exercising ground for the artillery, where a strong brigade of guns was
manoeuvring; a momentary glimpse of the convent of St. Lawrence, and
the old towers of the oldest portion of the palace; after which we saw
nothing distinctly, till our journey, properly so called, had
terminated. For our course lay down a very steep street, and across the
bridge into the Alt Stadt, where at a hotel, rich in all the essentials
of food, and wine, and couches, though somewhat deficient in the
superfluity of cleanliness, we established our head-quarters for a
season.

Perhaps there is no city in the world which, by the air which attaches
to all its arrangements, more completely separates you from the
present, and carries you back into the past, than Prague. There is
nothing in or around it; there is no separate building, nor street, nor
square, within its walls, which is not more or less connected by the
strong link of association with the mightiest and the most enduring
struggle of principle in which the Christian world ever was engaged. Go
where you will, your eye rests on something which speaks to you of a
time when Prague was indeed a capital. Here in the Alt Stadt
stands,--noble in its decay--the old palace of Könighof, the favourite
residence of Charles IV. There is the Tyne or Thein Church, within
which Huss, himself but the successor of Milicius and Stiekna, and even
Janovius the Parisian, denounced the corruptions of Rome; here the same
town-hall, where, by the gallant burghers, the doctrines of the
Reformation were first avowed, and within which, after a long and
desperate effort to maintain them, they were abjured, not I suspect for
ever. But it is not by looking exclusively to what may be called the
great features of the city, that these and similar reminiscences are
awakened. As you traverse the streets, each edifice, be it lordly or
humble, presents to your gaze some record of prouder days. "Here an
armorial device, there a saint, with his golden circlet or burning
lamps, or a half-obliterated fresco, an arched balcony, a fortified
gateway, or an ornamented shrine[1]." I heartily agree with the writer,
from whose spirited Sketches the preceding extract has been taken, that
this old and enduring character of the city is not without its
importance. At a period when every political means is employed to
efface and subdue the national character, when every act of social
life, to be innocent must be Austrian, it is well that there is a power
and a spirit in these unshaken walls, and perennial customs, which must
needs keep the memory of their great origin and former energy fresh in
the hearts of the Bohemian people.

      [1] See some admirable sketches of Prague, in the _Metropolitan
      Magazine_ for 1836.

Wherever the stranger may have taken up his abode, whether in the Alt
Stadt, the Neu Stadt, the Kleinseite, or in one of the suburbs, the
first objects which he is tempted to visit will naturally be the palace
of the Hradschin, and the old cathedral. If, as is probable, he has
established himself in the Alt Stadt, it will be necessary, in order to
reach these points, that he should cross the bridge,--a magnificent
structure, which like almost all the most enduring monuments of human
skill in the city, owes its existence to Charles IV. It measures not
less than 1780 feet in length; it is supported upon twelve noble
arches; it is protected at either extremity by embattled towers,--in
their day, without doubt, very efficient _têtes du pont_, and to
adorn its parapets on either hand, it has the statues of many saints,
with more than one crucifix and two chapels. Among these watchers over
the temporal and spiritual prosperity of Bohemia, St. John of Nepomuc
holds a conspicuous place. Being now in an especial manner the guardian
of bridges, his position here is more honoured than that even of the
Virgin herself: he occupies the very centre of the pile, and may be
distinguished from the rest by the five stars which glitter in their
gilding round him; yet is his canonization an event of little more than
a century's growth. He was set up by the Jesuits in 1729, in opposition
to St. John Huss, to whom the Bohemians, for many years after the
suppression of the Protestant worship among them, continued to pay
saintly honours; and he continues to this day, in the reverence with
which he is everywhere greeted,--a sort of galling and vexatious,
because constantly-recurring memorial, of the system of mental
thraldom, under which Bohemia has long groaned.

From the bridge, you pass by a noble street, where churches and stately
mansions woo you on either hand, up the steep ascent of the Hradschin;
the summit of which will be most speedily, and therefore comfortably,
attained, if you mount a flight of stone steps that faces you after you
have made a slight turn to the right. They conduct at once to the sort
of platform on which stand the old and new palaces, the cathedral, the
lodgings of the canons, and the residences of some of the official
personages to whose charge these buildings are committed. Of the
cathedral, I have already said, that it never was completed. According
to the traditions of the place, this is, indeed, the third pile which,
consecrated to the worship of the true God, has graced the brow of the
Hradschin; but the two first were entirely destroyed by fire, and this,
begun by Charles IV., remains exactly as, in 1380, his architects,
Matthew of Arras, and Peter Arlieri, left it. It is an extremely
beautiful specimen of the sort of Gothic which preceded that of the
date of our own Henry VII., and is surmounted by a lantern-crown,
similar in its character, and not very different in its dimensions,
from that which is to be seen on the tower of St. Giles's in Edinburgh.
Yet is the pile, when spoken of as a cathedral, a very sorry edifice,
for the choir is all, of his own noble plan, which Charles was
permitted to complete, and there has arisen no king of Bohemia since
his day, who has cared to bring the work to a conclusion. At the same
time, both the choir, and the unfinished chapels that surround it, are
strikingly beautiful. The former, emblazoned within with the shields of
the house of Hapsburg, with the armorial bearings of Bohemia, Hungary,
Styria, Moravia, Burgundy, Spain, and Brabant, more resembles the
private chapel of a prince, than the metropolitical church of a nation;
while the latter, crowded with memorials of other and earlier days,
were, at least by us, regarded with still deeper and holier interest.
One of these, the chapel of St. Wenceslas, the fourth Christian duke of
Bohemia, has its walls inlaid with native jasper, agate, and other
precious stones, and adorned with frescoes, inferior, in point of
merit, to none which this century has produced. They are attributed,
some to Nicholas Wurmser of Strasburg, some to Dietrich of Prague, two
of the most renowned artists of their day, who with many others,
received at the hands of Charles, the most liberal patronage and
encouragement. Moreover, the exterior of the wall, which looks towards
the palace, is richly ornamented with mosaics. Many of the old
Slavonian saints are there, such as St. Sigismond, St. Procopius, St.
Vitus, St. Wenceslas, and others finely grouped together; while above
them is a St. Veronica head of Christ, which would not disgrace St.
Mark's in Venice itself.

From the cathedral to the palace is but a step. Though called old in
contradistinction to a modern edifice which confronts it, and which the
emperor, when he visits his Bohemian capital, usually occupies, this
building, in almost all its portions, is of a date not more ancient
than the fourteenth century. The Hall of Ladislas, with two or three
towers near the postern, belong, indeed, to the original building, but
the remainder of the pile, with the cathedral beside it, uprose at the
bidding of Charles IV. Nothing can exceed the splendour of the view
which you obtain from the windows of its apartments. The whole of
Prague is beneath you. There lies the Kleinseite, with the great cupola
of St. Nicholas, a church of the Jesuits, in the foreground: there is
Wallenstein's palace, gathered round the base of the rock, and
testifying to the enormous wealth and princely expenditure of its
founder;--here, on the right, is the Lobkowitz palace, with its
gardens, rising step by step upon the side of the adjacent hill, over
which, like a diadem, stands the Premonstratensian convent of
Strahow,--an edifice imperfect in its proportions, yet as a whole
strikingly effective. From these, the eye turns naturally to the
Moldau, with its noble bridge and islands of perfect beauty; while
beyond it are the Alt Stadt, and a vast circle of suburbs,--the former,
venerable and striking from its multitudinous towers, its one great
cupola, and its peaked roofs; the latter, contrasting finely with it in
the simplicity of its large yet unadorned white buildings. Neither will
the stranger fail to have pointed out to him, the two small obelisks,
which, on a narrow terrace immediately below the palace, mark the spot
where Martinitz and Slawata fell, when, at the commencement of the
Thirty Years' War, they were thrown out of the windows of the Green
Chamber. And it is worthy of remark, that this summary mode of dealing
with obnoxious individuals, is by no means unfrequently alluded to in
the annals of Bohemia. These two emissaries of a detested party
escaped, indeed, unhurt; for they fell upon a bed of manure, and were
carried off, and nursed, and aided in their subsequent flight by the
Princess Penelope of Lobkowitz. But throughout the Hussite troubles,
and in times anterior to them, the right of putting to death by casting
from towers and over windows, was claimed and exercised by those in
power; nay, and more curious still, it was justified before the world
as a constitutional privilege.

As I have already stated, the remains of the Old Palace, properly so
called, comprehend no more than a single hall, the Hall of Ladislas,
and a few dilapidated towers, in one of which is the Green Room. There
is not much therefore, apart from the glorious view, and the historical
associations connected with it, to detain the traveller long, who may,
or may not, just as the humour takes him, pay a visit in passing, to
what is called the gallery of paintings. He will find there no remains
whatever of the magnificent collection which the Emperor Rodolph
brought from Italy, and very few pieces, the examination of which will
repay him for the time that he wastes upon them. Yet one ludicrous
representation of hell may, perhaps, provoke a smile; and the portrait
of Ziska, whether like to the original or otherwise, as it is pointed
out by the valet du place with honest pride, so is it sure to put in
its claim to more than a passing notice. For Ziska was among the great
ones of the earth. It is probable, therefore, that he will pass, as I
did, rapidly into the New Palace, of which several of the apartments
are very fine, and all have at least something about them which
interests. Here is the audience-room, for example, where the emperor
holds his levees, or receives such petitions as his loving subjects may
find an opportunity of presenting. Here, likewise, is the Hall of
Assembly for the States,--a plain apartment, adjoining to the
audience-chamber, and communicating with it by a private door. For the
States appear to go through the form of meeting at appointed seasons,
and of voting,--all the privilege which they now enjoy,--such a sum as
the crown may think fit to require. The concert-room, also, and the
ball-room, and indeed the whole suite which royalty is assumed to
occupy, may be visited with advantage; and the views from their several
windows are superb. I do not, however, advise anybody to linger here;
for there is much to be seen, and examined, and inquired into
elsewhere, and in conducting such researches, unless time be absolutely
at our own disposal, even moments are of value.

Being duly impressed with the importance of this truth, my travelling
companion and I made our sojourn in the New Palace as brief as was
consistent with a moderate gratification of the feeling which led us to
visit it at all. We then wound round the rear of the hill; and
descending into a sort of ravine, just outside the ramparts, found
ourselves in an exceedingly beautiful public garden. It was full of
company, who passed to and fro, or sat in groups upon benches, under
the shade of the trees, and sipped their lemonade, or ate their ices,
while listening to a couple of bands, which discoursed very eloquent
music. Altogether the scene was extremely pleasing and gay, yet we did
not venture to enjoy it. So as we turn our backs upon it, let me cease,
for a while, to write in the first person, that I may the more
effectively deal with the somewhat grave and important matters, which
it has become necessary to discuss.

I have alluded to the three grand compartments into which Prague is
divided, namely, the Kleinseite, the Alt Stadt, and the Neu Stadt. Of
the first as much has been said as is necessary for my present purpose;
because, though it be the residence of the bulk of the nobility, and
can boast of more than one superb church, whatever there may be of
historic interest about it, links itself almost exclusively with the
Hradschin. In the Alt Stadt, on the contrary, we find, in addition to
the Tyne Church and the Town Hall, the Carolinum, or college in which
medical, legal, and scientific education is carried on; and the
Clementinum, a great seminary for the diffusion of theological and
philosophical lore. They are all that remain of the University of
Prague, at one period the most celebrated in Europe; and having been
renewed--the former, at least,--so recently as 1744, even the traces of
the architectural arrangements which once belonged to them, are
obliterated. Still they demand inspection, of which the labour will be
compensated, as well by a survey of the magnificent halls and rich
collections which adorn them, as on account of the train of thought to
which insensibly they give rise. It is to the latter, as they connect
themselves with the past and present history of the country, that I
wish, on this occasion, to confine myself.

The establishment of an university in the capital of Bohemia, was the
work of the Emperor Charles IV. It was founded in 1348, just one year
after Charles ascended the throne; and consisted, when complete, of
eight colleges; of which the constitution seems, in every respect, to
have corresponded with that of the similar establishments in Oxford and
Cambridge. Of these, the Collegium Magnum was endowed by Charles
himself for a master and twelve fellows; the Collegium Reginæ Hedvigis
obtained its revenues from Queen Hedwige, of Poland, the enlightened
founder of the Jagellonian University at Cracow; while, in 1451, the
College of the Apostles was endowed for the maintenance of students,
whose exclusive business it should be to maintain the rights which the
church in Bohemia had acquired by the famous Compacta Basilicana. Of
these it is necessary that some notice should be taken.

Perhaps there is nothing connected with the annals of the Romish church
more remarkable, than the early and rooted aversion exhibited both to
its doctrines and its ceremonies, by that very province in the Austrian
empire which is now, more than all others, given over to Popery.
According to the best authenticated records, the conversion of the
Bohemians to Christianity took place about the middle of the ninth
century, or still later; and within less than a hundred years we find
them in rebellion against the supreme pontiff, because the Latin tongue
was employed in the celebration of divine worship, and celibacy was
enjoined upon the clergy. The adoption of a Latin ritual was, however,
forced upon Duke Wratislaus, by Gregory VII., who declared that there
was a prohibition in Holy Writ, against the use of any other language
in addresses made to the Deity. This was in the year 1070. But though
the Bohemians yielded so far to an authority which they knew not how to
controvert, their firmness, in reference to the celibacy of the clergy,
was not so easily overcome. The legate who brought to Prague a bull to
this effect in 1197, was set upon by the populace, and stoned to death.

Republican and imperial Rome were not more persevering in their
encroachments on the civil rights and liberties of the barbarians, than
was religious Rome in her endeavour to establish an universal dominion
over the consciences of mankind. One step gained in advance, proved, in
every case, but the prelude to another; and the establishment of a
Latin ritual and an unmarried clergy, was soon followed by the refusal
of the cup in the administration of the Lord's Supper to the laity. In
1350, the cup was withdrawn. Then rose John Milicius, a canon of
Prague, and Conrad Stiekna, his friend, to protest by speech and
writing, against the measures pursued by the Pope, and to denounce him
as Antichrist in the hearing of a multitude, who listened to their
teaching very eagerly. By-and-by, that is, in 1370, Matthias Janovius,
the confessor of Charles IV., came to their support in the battle; and
in several treatises, which displayed great skill as well as vigour,
the Pope was by him denounced. But Charles, though far in advance of
his age, was not sufficiently enlightened to adopt the opinions of his
confessor. He refused to call a general council on the plea, that the
right of so doing was vested in the Pope; and the Pope finally
prevailed upon him to send Matthias into banishment. From the period of
Matthias' death, which happened in 1394, the Reformers, now a numerous
and influential body, began to suffer persecution; and the strong arm
of power endeavoured, for a while, to accomplish what fair and open
controversy had failed to bring about.

Such was the condition of affairs, when a wealthy and pious citizen of
Prague, a German, however, by descent, laid the foundations of a church
in the Alt Stadt, which he called the Temple of Bethlehem; to it, now
the Tyne Church, John Huss, already celebrated for his oratory and
extensive learning, was appointed preacher. He saw the corruption of
the age, and was not slow in denouncing it. For a while his rebukes
were applied exclusively to the laity, who complained to the king of
the preacher's insolence; and the archbishop was, in consequence,
requested either to silence or at least to restrain his violence. But
the archbishop, as well as the clergy at large, were as yet Huss's
admirers; and the king was informed, that as John, in rebuking vice
without regard to persons, did not go beyond the spirit of his
ordination vow, so there was no power in man to restrain him.
By-and-by, however, Huss adventured into a new field, and the vices of
the priesthood were dragged to light. This was neither so convenient
nor so agreeable: and the archbishop became, in his turn, the
complainant; but the king would pay no heed to the prelate's
remonstrances, further than to meet them with the same reply which the
pastors now complaining had, on a former occasion, directed to himself:
"Huss is but acting up to the spirit of his ordination vow. He is
clearly worked upon by inspiration from heaven,--he must, on no
account, be molested." Thus were the minds of the people kept on the
stretch, and the way was paved for still greater operations, which soon
began to develop themselves.

About this time arrived from England Jerome of Prague, bringing with
him copies of the writings of Wickliff, which he was not backward in
getting translated into the vernacular language, and circulated far and
near. By-and-by came two Englishmen, bachelors of divinity, from
Oxford, who disputing boldly against the Pope's supremacy, drew great
crowds after them. Though silenced by public authority, they did not,
therefore, cease to wage a war of extermination against antichrist.
They were tolerable limners, so they composed a painting, which, like
the shield in the story, had a two-fold character; for, on one side, it
represented Christ and his Apostles, as these are described in the
Gospels; and, on the other, the Pope and his Cardinals, as they appear
in their pride of place. This they suspended to the outer wall of their
lodging; and if there were none to listen to the words of their
preaching, there were thousands who came to admire the production of
their skill. Moreover, Huss, who perfectly understood the object of
their attempt, and entirely coincided with it, made frequent reference
to their work of art in his discourses. In a word, the seed was sown;
and but a little while elapsed ere the plant sprang up and bore fruit.

The constitution of the University of Prague so far resembled that of
our Scottish universities, that in it were recognised those differences
of nations, with which the students of Glasgow and Aberdeen are
familiar; there being, however, this difference in the arrangements of
the two seminaries: that, whereas the nations in Glasgow find their
boundaries on the Forth and the Clyde, two native rivers, those of
Prague took a much more extended range. There were, first, the
Bohemians, under which head were comprised all natives of Bohemia, of
Moravia, of Hungary, and Slavonia. There were, second, the Bavarians,
including Bavarians Proper, Austrians, Franconians, and Suabians. There
were, third, the Saxons: that is, Saxons, Danes, and Swedes. And, last
of all, the Poles, or Poles, Russians, and Lithuanians. If students
came from other lands, they were not rejected; but under one or other
of these heads they must needs be ranged. With an excess of liberality
which sometimes overshoots its mark, Charles had given to these several
nations an equality of influence in the management of the affairs of
the university; and the consequence was, that, as far as the decisions
of that learned body might control it, public opinion in Bohemia, was
guided not by native scholars, but by foreigners. In the religious
controversy which now agitated the minds of men it was impossible that
the university should stand neuter. The nations met,--Bohemia declared
for the Wickliffites, Bavaria, Saxony, and Poland against them; and
numbers, of course, prevailed. But the triumph of Popery was
short-lived, even in the university. Huss exerted himself with such
vigour, that the foreigners were deprived of their preponderancy, and
the Carolinum, under his guidance, became henceforth the great bulwark
of the Reformed opinions.

While ardently combating the errors to which she gave countenance, it
does not appear that, either now or afterwards, Huss entertained a
wish--far less a desire--to break off from the communion of the holy
Catholic Church. Both he and his fellow-labourers were quite as much in
earnest as any of those by whom the work of the Reformation came, in
after-years, to be perfected. Yet were they influenced throughout by
principles more settled than belonged to some, and by a genuine and
righteous liberality of which others knew nothing. That, however, which
their gentleness would have willingly averted, the violence of their
enemies brought about. The Church of Rome could not, or would not,
depend upon argument. She opposed to the reasoning of the Hussites the
rack and the cord; and Bohemia became, in consequence, the scene of
persecutions,--of which to read the record is at once painful and
humiliating. The martyrdoms of Huss and Jerome were followed by an
universal attack upon those who called them masters; and the priest
with the layman, the wife with her husband, the child with its parent,
sealed their faith with their blood.

From the first dawn of the Reformation in Bohemia, there were among the
Reformers two parties, which came, in course of time, to be
respectively known as the Calixtines and the Taborites. The demands of
the Calixtines were exceeding moderate; they sought only that the cup
should be dispensed to the laity in the communion; that the clergy
should be deprived of secular authority; that the Word of God should be
freely taught; and that sins publicly committed, should, in public, be
reproved. This fourth claim, be it observed, struck at the root of all
that influence which the Romish clergy derived from the practice of
secret and auricular confession; while the third aimed at a remodelling
of the liturgical services, by the substitution of the vernacular for
the Latin language in prayer. Yet were they considered by the Taborites
as coming far short of what the exigencies of the case required. These
latter, indeed, the Covenanters and Puritans of their day, saw nothing
in the Romish church except one mass of corruption. Her rites, her
ceremonies, her polity, her constitution, all were odious in their
eyes; and to hold friendly communication with her, on any subject
whatever, was, according to their view of religion, to bring the
accursed thing into their houses. Accordingly, while the Calixtines
endeavoured to soothe and conciliate, the Taborites rushed to arms; and
under Ziska, their renowned leader, achieved triumphs such as attend
only on the exertions of men whose actuating principle is a strong
religious fanaticism.

The career of Ziska, his ferocity and his zeal, are well known. John
Chevalier von Trocznow and Machowitz (for such was his real name),
enjoyed both rank and fortune in Bohemia; he was nobly born, held large
possessions, and had greatly distinguished himself in war long before
he adopted the opinions of the Taborites. He was called Ziska, or the
one-eyed, because in his great battle with the Teutonic knights in
1410, a wound deprived him partially of sight, and he became, during
the religious contests that followed the martyrdom of Huss, totally
blind. Yet blind as he was, and led out to war, like King John at the
battle of Cressy, between two horsemen, he continued not only to fight,
but to arrange plans of campaign, and to direct the movements of armies
with equal judgment and effect; and he died as he had lived, in
unmitigated hostility towards the pope, the Emperor Sigismond, and all
their adherents. The degree of reverence in which his memory continues
to be held, testifies to the sort of influence which he must have
excited while living. There is no end to the tales which the Bohemians
love to tell of his bodily strength and prowess. His favourite
weapon--a sort of club, or spiked mace,--is shown with extreme pride;
and the tree under which he is said to have slept on the night previous
to his battle with the emperor, continues, to this hour, to command
that species of reverence which borders at least upon superstition. In
a word, Ziska appears greatly to have resembled, in more than one
particular, that Balfour of Burley whom Sir Walter Scott has described,
and his fame is still cherished as a national possession, probably
because the principles for which he contended have not, like those of
which Balfour was the champion, obtained even a modified toleration.

What the arms neither of Ziska nor of Procopius could win, the
moderation and talent of John of Rokysan succeeded in procuring. After
a long and fierce war, during which excessive barbarities were
practised on both sides, the Council of Basle met in 1433. John of
Rokysan, one of the most popular among the Hussite divines, attended
there to plead the cause of his party, and for a space of nearly two
months, the four points of which I have spoken as claimed by the
Calixtines, were debated. But for the present, no results ensued. The
papists would yield nothing, and John and his brother delegates
returned home. But the popish party, taught wisdom by experience,
abstained from a renewed appeal to the sword till they had thrown the
apple of discord among their adversaries, and weakened by dividing
them. In this, however, they succeeded only in part; so that
ultimately, that is, in 1436, the use of the cup was conceded; and
visions of religious peace were, for a while, fondly encouraged in
Bohemia.

It was during the interval between this happy consummation and the
accession of Ferdinand I. to the throne, that certain events took place
which seem to me to demand a moment's notice. John of Rokysan, though a
zealous reformer in principle, was yet unwilling to break the bond of
ecclesiastical union, or, as his enemies assert, was desirous of
gratifying two passions at the same time, by uniting the character of a
reformer to that of an archbishop in a well-endowed church. The better
to conciliate both the pope and the emperor, he had dealt harshly with
the Taborites, who, rejecting the terms offered them, had withstood and
sustained a defeat from the Calixtines. He found, however, that after
the council had decided in his favour, his election to the See of
Prague was made by the pope contingent on his renunciation of the
privileges just granted to Bohemia. He felt greatly and naturally
indignant at the proposal; and under the influence of this feeling,
determined to withdraw the church of Bohemia from all dependence on
that of Rome. That the church of a single nation could stand alone,
however, no communion being held with other churches, seemed then as
far beyond the range of possibility, as that a branch torn from the
parent tree would flourish; and John, whose principle in this respect
was deeply-rooted, cast his eyes in the direction of Constantinople. I
am not aware that of this fact, the notice has been taken by
ecclesiastical historians which it deserves; yet is it certain, that
for two whole years, the reformers of Bohemia were in communication
with the patriarch, and that there came to Prague delegates with full
powers to admit Bohemia into the bosom of the Greek church. They were
never called upon to exercise these powers. Their ceremonies,--more
offensively superstitious than those of Rome herself,--gave extreme
umbrage to the Hussites, and the matter which they had been
commissioned to effect, fell to the ground.

It was at this juncture that the final separation between the Taborites
and the Calixtines took place. The former renounced all connexion with
Rome, and for awhile laid aside their very priesthood. The latter
continued, in name, the children of that church, whose favourite,
because most oppressive, edicts they disobeyed. Not that popery was
without its adherents in Bohemia all this while; on the contrary, these
were very numerous, and they included a large proportion of the
hierarchy, as well as many of the nobles. But the university, as it had
early adopted Huss's opinions, so it continued steadily, yet mildly, to
maintain them. Throughout the wars that marked the commencement of this
strife of opinion, the Carolinum was ever present to assuage the
rancour of parties. It withstood absolute popery on the one hand, and
absolute fanaticism on the other. And when the war ceased, and George
of Podiebrad mounted the throne, it gave all its influence to a
government of which the policy throughout was just, and wise, and
temperate.

Acted upon by the efforts of this seat of learning, the Taborites
themselves became gradually tame. They accused John of Rokysan, it is
true, of having betrayed them, because he would not place himself at
the head of the schism; and they held aloof from familiar intercourse
with their rivals; but they made no appeal to the sword. Accordingly
John became their advocate with the new monarch, and ample toleration
was extended to them. With this they were satisfied. They withdrew into
the mountains, built villages and places of worship, and never
addressing each other except as brother or sister, they came,
by-and-by, to be known every where as the Bohemian or Moravian
brethren. Simple in their habits, and primitive in their ideas, they
soon ceased to be objects of terror to the government; and being left
to themselves, became, by degrees, at once the most industrious and
honest portion of the population. Moreover, the anomaly in the
constitution of their church, which at the outset, had been little
thought of, began by degrees to make itself felt. They had no appointed
teachers or ministers among them; and there was confusion in their very
worship. Their chiefs determined to remove the evil; and seventy of
them, from Moravia as well as Bohemia, meeting together, cast lots on
whom the priestly office should devolve. Three men, Matthew of Kunwald,
Thomas of Przelan, and Eli of Krzenovitch, were chosen; who repairing
to a settlement of the Waldenses,--of whom numbers were scattered over
Austria and Moravia,--received from the hands of Stephen, one of their
bishops, episcopal consecration. From them the brethren derived that
apostolical priesthood, which has never since died out, and of which
the most perfect model is now to be seen at Hernhut, in Silesia.

Thus fared it with the Reformed religion and its professors in Bohemia,
till Ferdinand I. ascended the throne. There was tranquillity, at
least, and toleration, under Ladislaus of Poland, and an anxiety
expressed everywhere, that the language of controversy might cease; and
that the cultivation of letters, which more than a century of civil
strife had interrupted, might again occupy men's minds, and soften and
humanize their spirits. But Ferdinand had no part in this virtuous
longing. Whether it was the influence of his brother, the Emperor
Charles V., or his own innate hatred of the institutions of Bohemia,
that swayed him, is a question not easily answered, if, indeed, it
were worth asking,--but it is not. The promises which he had given so
liberally when elected, were all disregarded so soon as he felt himself
secure; and Bohemia, which ought to have thrown her weight into the
scale of the Protestant princes, was kept, at the period of the league
of Smalcalde, in a state of fatal neutrality. She could not wield her
power against men to whom she was bound by all the ties of sympathy and
communion of principle; for by this time, the Lutheran doctrines were
taught in her churches, and openly maintained in her university.
Neither would the diet consent that an army should be marched into
Saxony. It was a balance of antagonist principles which proved fatal in
its results to her own liberties, both civil and religious. The battle
of Mühlberg gave to Charles and Ferdinand a superiority which they
failed not to improve. The Bloody Diet sat in Prague; and nobles, and
knights, and even cities forfeited their privileges and their property;
and the two former, at least, in many instances, their lives.

There remained now but one bulwark of the Reformed faith in
Bohemia,--the Caroline University, and against it the efforts of the
dominant faction were directed. It was a sore grievance to the court
and the popish nobility, that a weapon so powerful as education should
be exclusively in the hands of schismatics; so they resolved to
counter-work it. With this view, the aid of the Jesuits was called in;
and twelve fathers of the order of Loyola took possession, in 1555, of
the Clementinum College. At first their unpopularity was such, that
they never ventured to show themselves in the streets without being
insulted. Yet they pursued their course with unwearied assiduity; and
patience, and a mild demeanour, and an anxiety to conciliate even the
taste for shows which prevailed then, as well as now, among the
citizens, gradually produced their results. The Jesuits were first
tolerated, and by-and-by respected in Prague. Moreover the college was
raised to the rank of a university, in which theology and philosophy
might be taught; and they received from day to day an accession to
their numbers. Still the fame of the Carolinum, or Protestant seminary,
surpassed that of the modern university, as far as the Jesuits
individually surpassed the Protestant teachers in urbanity of manner;
and hence, though personally tolerated, the latter continued as a party
to be objects of extreme suspicion. And so things remained, till the
issue of the Thirty Years' War threw all power into the hands of the
Catholics, and religious freedom, and civil liberty, became words
without meaning in Bohemia.

I have spoken of the house of Austria as indicating from the outset of
its connexion with Bohemia, a spirit of decided hostility to the
institutions of the country. From this general censure, two, and for a
brief space at least, three princes of the line must, indeed, be
excepted. Maximilian had no sooner mounted the throne, in 1564, than he
proclaimed the most ample religious toleration. The Compacta
Basilicana, which had heretofore protected the Utraquists alone, were
set aside, and all sects were permitted to worship God, according to
the dictates of their own consciences. The consequence was, that a
large portion of the people became, with the university, avowedly
Protestant, and adopted, some the Augsburg Confession as their standard
of belief,--others, the opinions of Calvin. In like manner, Rodolph
II., and after his deposition, Matthias, stood forth as the champions
of absolute freedom of opinion. They looked to matters of more
importance than the squabbles of sophists; they laboured to advance the
prosperity of their people, and they succeeded. The interval between
1564 and 1610, may, indeed, be described as the golden age of Bohemian
history. Then did the diet exercise a sound and constitutional control
over the supplies and general policy of the government. Then was the
condition of the peasant improved, his proverbial industry encouraged,
and himself permitted to share largely in its fruits. There were, in
fact, as many elements of civil and religious liberty in Bohemia then
as in England;--how wide is the contrast which the one nation offers to
the other now!

It would have been strange, indeed, had princes who were wise enough to
know, that a monarch's greatness is best enhanced by the prosperity of
the people over whom he reigns, failed to give ample encouragement, at
the same time, to learning and to the arts. Under Rodolph the halls of
the Hradschin were adorned, with the productions of the best masters,
which he purchased in Italy, and brought with him into Bohemia. His
court, likewise, became a centre of attraction, round which Tycho
Brahe, Kepler, and other foreigners of high renown, were gathered;
while the native nobility, catching the impulse which their sovereign
afforded, devoted themselves, in numerous instances, to the cultivation
of letters and of science. There are several histories yet extant,
which came from the pens of Rodolph's courtiers; while the same class
gave professors and teachers, not only to the university, but to many
of the most distinguished seminaries in Italy and Germany. Moreover,
schools were multiplied both in Prague and elsewhere with unwearying
zeal; till, in addition to the sixteen which flourished in the capital,
there were at Laun, Salz, Klattau, Leitmeritz, and Chrudim, seminaries,
each of which was presided over by a master, of whose fitness to
communicate sound and wholesome learning, the Carolinum itself had
approved. And it is worthy of remark, that one great object of which
these promoters of mental culture never lost sight, was the improvement
and extension of their native tongue. There was no country in Europe
which could boast of so many statesmen, historians, and professors, by
whom the vernacular language was habitually employed, as Bohemia. The
printing-office of the Moravian brethren, of which Charles of Zierotin
was the founder, multiplied copies of the Bible in the Bohemian tongue.
In the same dialect, Radowsky of Husterzan put forth his treatise on
astronomy. John of Hdiejouna used it as well as Charles of Zierotin,
and Hajek, Dembrawricky, Wartowsky, and Blahoslaw, all demonstrated its
fitness for the purposes of the chronicler. In a word, Bohemia was
great, and flourishing, and happy; and her prosperity rested on a basis
which, if wisely dealt with, must have rendered it as enduring as it
was conspicuous.

Every movement on the part of the people had for its object, the
establishment of a perfect nationality in Bohemia;--the leaning of the
court was, perhaps naturally, towards Austrianism. Maximilian, Rodolph
II., and for a time Matthias, gave, indeed, no countenance to the
latter; but Matthias's constancy seems, in the end, to have been
overcome. The Jesuits never ceased to keep in view the ultimate
ascendancy of their own order, and they quite understood that to
accomplish this, it would be necessary to crush the spirit of
independence in Bohemia altogether. Both parties took the alarm; each
made its movement to counteract the other, and the results were such as
I have described. The Emperor Matthias, supported by the Catholic
nobility and the Jesuits of the Clementinum, insisted on nominating his
own successor, in the person of Ferdinand II.; the States, to which
adhered the Carolinum, and all that were Protestants in Bohemia,
protested against so gross a violation of their rights. Then followed
an insurrection, the expulsion of the Jesuits from the kingdom, and a
demand that neither the university nor any other seminary of education,
should again be subject to the control of that order. And finally began
that terrible struggle which crushed the liberties, as well civil as
religious, of the Bohemians. For Ferdinand, not content to scotch the
snake, never rested till it had ceased to be. The Carolinum, with all
its endowments, privileges, and libraries, was handed over to its
rival. Protestantism was declared to be extinct; and the gibbet, and
the stake, and confiscations, and banishments, rendered the decree, in
due time, more than an idle boast. There is, probably, no instance on
record of an extirpation of a religious creed more absolute than that
which the Jesuits effected of Protestantism in Bohemia. It was entirely
put out, and has never since so far revived, as to embrace
one-hundredth part of the population within the compass of its rays.

From the close of the war the University of Prague assumed the title of
the Carlo-Ferdinandian Institution. In one of its branches,
indeed,--the Carolinum,--the professors' chairs stood vacant for twelve
years, and the building itself was shut up. But at the termination of
that period it was reopened, and it has continued ever since to be the
seminary in which instruction in the faculties of law and of medicine
is communicated. For theology, and moral and abstract philosophy, on
the other hand, the student must needs repair to the Clementinum; over
which, till the suppression of the order by Joseph II., the Jesuits
presided. Nor has the downfall of that most ambitious and subtle body,
worked any important change in the constitution of the university. The
Carolinum is still the laymen's college; the Clementinum the place of
education for the divine,--who seems to be returning, with rapid
strides, at least in Prague, to what he used to be while yet Jesuitism
was in full vigour.

Such is an outline of the great historical events of which a visit to
these two edifices is sure to remind the traveller. Of the buildings
themselves, as well as of the system of education that is pursued
within their walls, I have very little to say. The Carolinum, entirely
remodelled by the Jesuits, retains no resemblance, even in its external
features, to what it was at the period when Huss presided over its
affairs. It is a handsome pile, doubtless; but all traces of its Gothic
architecture are swept away, and in its very dimensions it is changed.
The Clementinum, on the contrary, has grown, both in importance and
bulk; for it occupies the site of two churches, of a Dominican convent,
and of several streets and squares, which were pulled down in order to
make room for it. Of its noble halls the interior decoration is
altogether Italian; and its library, its museum, its cabinets, and
scientific collections, are, at least, worth seeing.

Education in Bohemia, as well as in the other provinces of the Austrian
empire, goes on under the strict and unceasing surveillance of the
police. The clergy, in spite of what travellers assert to the contrary,
have no control over it at all; except so far as they may possess
influence enough with the government to recommend such text-books as
are adopted in the various seminaries. It was whispered, indeed, in
Prague, that since the accession of the present emperor, the clergy
have, in this respect, made large strides upwards; and it is very
certain that Jesuitism is not what it was some years ago,--a profession
which men esteemed it prudent to conceal. But however this may be, as
the nomination to vacant chairs in the university is vested in the
Board of Education at Vienna, so by the head of the police it is
determined by what process eminent philosophers, and divines, and
lawyers, shall be fabricated. In like manner the period of attendance
on each class,--or, to speak more accurately, the space of time which
is necessary to complete an academical course,--is not left either to
the discretion of the professors, or to the talent and industry of
their pupils. In the first place, the youth, to be admitted, must show
that he has attended one of the public schools for three years, at the
least. He must bring with him also a slender stock of German,
arithmetic, mathematics, Greek, and Latin; which for six years more he
labours only to increase. Then comes a fresh distribution of the
students, who, throughout these protracted periods, have gone on
together; but, who now pass off into the schools of law, and medicine,
and divinity, according to the nature of the professions for which they
are respectively intended. The candidates for the cope and the judge's
chair complete the course in four years more. From the incipient
Esculapius six years professional study is demanded. It is worthy of
remark, that not a single lecture is delivered in the vernacular
language of the country. German is, indeed, employed, where Latin may
have grown into disrepute; but the Bohemian is a dialect of which the
use seems restricted to the very lowest and most despised of the
peasantry.

It would be idle to conceal that the extreme vigilance of the
government in these respects, and, still more, its bigoted hostility to
everything which might recall the recollection of Bohemian independence,
has given great umbrage to the thinking portion of the people. I have
conversed with persons in every rank, and I found none who spoke of it
except in bitterness. But it is not by these means alone that the house
of Austria endeavours to shield its Bohemian subjects from the infection
of liberalized opinions. I had intrusted to me, before leaving London,
an English book, which I was to forward or deliver to a gentleman of
rank in the country. He would not send for it by the hands of a common
messenger. He came in person many miles to receive it, "Because," said
he, "one does not know what may happen, and it is best to avoid
collision with the police." The book was a very harmless one,--it was
only the first volume of Lockhart's _Life of Sir Walter Scott_; but my
friend did not consider that it would be prudent to make a parade of
its reception. Again, I visited a gentleman in Prague, and found upon
his table a number of the _Foreign Quarterly Review_. There was an
article in it which bore upon the existing condition of Bohemia,--an
able paper, on the whole, though here and there inaccurate. I conversed
with him about it; and, having an hour to spare, I accepted his offer
to carry it to my hotel, and there read it. "When you send it back,"
said he, "be so good as wrap it carefully up in paper. We don't know
where we are safe, in this country; and your _Foreign Quarterly_ is
not one of the favoured publications which we are licensed to import."
What a pitiable state of existence is this,--what a perfect bondage of
_mind_, for which the utmost security to person and property can never
make amends.



CHAPTER XI.

THE JEWS' TOWN. VISITS TO VARIOUS POINTS WORTH NOTICING. STATE OF
PUBLIC FEELING.


I have devoted so much more of space than I had intended to the
university, and the associations connected with it, that I must be
content to describe in few words, such other objects as appeared to me
most deserving of notice in Prague. Prominent among these is the Juden
Stadt, or City of the Jews; of which I may state, at the outset, that,
of all the extraordinary scenes in which I have ever been an actor,
there are few which, more than my visit to the Jews' Quarter of Prague,
have left upon my mind so vivid and lasting an impression. Let the
reader imagine to himself, if he can, the effect of a sudden transition
from the pomp and splendour of a great capital into a suburb of mean
and narrow streets, choked up with the litter of old rags, broken
furniture, and cast-off clothes hung out for sale; where are aged women
asleep in their chairs,--young ones nursing infants, or, it may be,
perfecting their own unfinished toilets; men, squalid and filthy, with
long beards, flowing robes, and all the other appurtenances which
usually belong to their race; children in a state of nudity; turbaned
heads, features thoroughly Oriental; tarnished finery, books, music,
and musical instruments, scattered about; everything, in short, whether
animate or inanimate, as entirely in contrast with what you have just
left behind, as you might expect to find it, were you transported
suddenly into some region of the earth, of the very existence of which
you had previously been ignorant. I have passed through the classic
regions of St. Giles, the Seven Dials, and Rag Fair. I have gone, in my
youth, under the escort of a police officer, the round of all the most
degraded corners of London; yet have I never beheld a sight, which, in
all that is calculated to bewilder, if not to outrage, the senses,
could bear one moment's comparison with what the Juden Stadt brought
before me. I confess that the first feeling excited was a vague idea,
that to proceed further might compromise our personal safety. Yet I
defy any one who has penetrated but a few yards down the passage, to
abstain from going on. There is about you, on all sides, an air of
novelty, such as it is impossible to resist; and you march forward,
wondering, as you move, whether you be awake or in a dream.

The establishment of a Jewish colony in Prague is said to be coeval
with the foundation of the city itself. From age to age, moreover, the
sons of Israel have inhabited the same quarter,--namely, a suburb
which, running in part along the margin of the Moldau, is approached
from the Alt Stadt, by the street of which I have just spoken. Here
dwell they, to the number of eight or ten thousand, in a state of
complete isolation from the Christian myriads which surround them,
inhabiting flats, and in many cases, single apartments, by whole
families; and appearing to rejoice in the filth and neglect to which
the Christians have consigned them. The streets in their suburb are all
narrow and mean, and devoid of ornament; the stalls, with the articles
which the chapmen expose upon them, are scattered up and down in utter
confusion; the shops--mere recesses--have Hebrew inscriptions over
them, and the entire population, when I went among them, seemed to be
abroad. One building, and one only, does indeed deserve to be visited:
I allude to the synagogue, the oldest of its class, perhaps, in Europe;
a strange edifice, above the floor of which the soil has gathered to
such a height, that to enter it, you are forced to descend a flight of
steps. I must endeavour to describe it, though conscious that
description must utterly fail to convey a correct idea of the original.

The Old Synagogue, as it is called, a structure of the twelfth century,
is essentially Gothic in the leading points of its architecture, but so
loaded with Byzantine ornaments as to resemble no other edifice of a
similar date which I, at least, have seen in Europe. It is thoroughly
Oriental in its character, fantastic in its proportions, and little
likely to be mistaken, under any circumstances, for a Christian church.
The interior is not less remarkable, whether we look to the productions
of the builder's skill, or to the arrangements which have been made for
the purposes of worship and study. A lofty vault, supported upon three
Gothic pillars, which spring from the middle of the area, and meet in
pointed arches at the roof, it is lighted only by a range of
lancet-shaped windows, which being elevated above the floor to the
height of forty or fifty feet, throw down a few broken rays upon your
head, just sufficient to render the darkness visible, but not to dispel
it. By this uncertain glimmer, you perceive, after a while, that walls,
and pillars, and roof, are black with the dust of ages; and that every
thing around you bears testimony to the gloomy nature of the reverence
which these stubborn Israelites pay to the God who has discarded them.
Beneath the arch of the pillars there is a raised platform, where desks
and stools are placed for the accommodation of the rabbins, and the
pupils who come hither to study the Law. At the extremity of the vault
stands the altar, the silver candlestick, with its many branches,
surmounting it, while from the roof hang seven silver lamps, to "give
light," according to the Divine injunction, "over against the
candlestick." I exceedingly regretted to find that the day on which I
inspected this pile was not a holy season in the Juden Stadt. Some
doctors and students there were, on the platform, whose attention
seemed engrossed by the occupation in which they were engaged; and
their picturesque dresses, flowing beards, and stubborn and haughty
expressions of countenance, accorded well with the localities by which
they were surrounded. But the business of prayer was not in progress,
and the sacred Book of the Law lay hidden.

From the Synagogue we passed into the old cemetery, which lies
contiguous to it, and looked round upon a picture of desolation more
stern than the dream of the poet has perhaps ever conjured up.
Extensive as the plot of ground is, there is not, throughout its
compass, one foot of level soil. Graves, trodden partially down,
pointed grave-stones that are sloping and falling in every
direction,--these, with a wilderness of alder trees, which, whether
planted by the hand of man, or sown by the winds of heaven, overshadow
the crumbling tombs, constitute altogether a fitting monument to the
desolate condition and broken fortunes of the Hebrew race. Yet may you
easily enough distinguish, from the devices that are engraved on each
of them, the rank and condition of many of those who sleep beneath
these grave-stones. The lion of Judah, the upraised hands of the house
of Aaron, the Nazarite's bunch of grapes, are all here; while the
graves of the rabbins are, as elsewhere, adorned, each with a sort of
cenotaph. The Jews have, for some time, ceased to bury in this mass of
human dust. It was filled, and filled, till it could contain the bones
of no more; and now their dead are carried to a new cemetery, removed a
short distance beyond the city walls.

According to their own traditions, the quarter of Prague which the Jews
now occupy was possessed by their ancestors long before the destruction
of Jerusalem. We may credit this statement or not, just as we please;
but it seems admitted, on all hands, that if they dwelt not where we
now find them, previous to the foundation of the city, they were among
the earliest of the colonists who repaired to it. Many and severe
changes of fortune they have indeed undergone. Plundered, oppressed,
more than once expelled by violence, they have yet returned, again and
again, to the home of their adoption, and they are now treated, if not
respectfully, at least mildly, and on the whole, justly, by their
Christian rulers. I must add, moreover, to this account of their
suburb, that the more wealthy members of their community do not now
make their dwellings there. These generally inhabit houses in the
better part of the city, and having the command of a large proportion
of the floating capital of the country, they receive such marks of
deference as the rich, under the most unfavourable circumstances,
contrive to exact from the poor.

Among other objects in the Alt Stadt, which make powerful demands on
the traveller's notice, the Rath-haus, or ancient Town-hall, and the
Thein Kirche, stand conspicuously forward. The former is a quaint,
irregular Gothic pile, in a very dilapidated state, of which the
Council-chamber is fine, in its degree, and the little chapel curious.
It was here, that in 1420, the leaders of the Taborites assembled,
their followers being gathered together in the Grosse Ring, or square
beneath, and at the tolling of a bell, the whole sallied forth to
commit those excesses which, both in Bohemia and elsewhere, have cast
such discredit on the dawn of the Reformation. It was in a dungeon
beneath the Rath-haus that the Emperor Wenzel IV. suffered, in the year
1403, a fifteen weeks' imprisonment; and it was in the square, on which
the windows of the hall look out, that the jousts and tournaments of
the knightly age were carried forward. Of the latter again, which
fronts the Rath-haus, and so occupies a conspicuous position in the
same square, why should I say more than has been said already? Here, in
1458, the states assembled to elect to the vacant throne the virtuous
George of Podiebrad; here Huss preached, and John of Rokysan taught;
and Tycho Brahe found here the last resting-place which is allotted to
mortality. There is a rude monument to him,--a figure in armour, carved
in relief, against one of the pillars near the altar; and over it is
engraved the astronomer's motto, _Esse quam haberi_. It is remarkable
enough that as in this church the communion was first administered in
both elements to the people, so is there still to be found here the
single memorial that remains of the privileges which were once so
dearly prized, and so hardly won. The service of the Roman Catholic
church is performed here in the Bohemian language; and the congregations
which attend to take part in it are enormous.

From the Alt Stadt you pass to the Neu Stadt by a street called Graben,
across the site of which was, in ancient days, a ditch, but of which,
as well as of the rampart that surmounted it, not a trace now remains.
It is a clean, airy, well-built portion of Prague, and embraces the old
town within a sort of semicircle, of which the extremities reach, on
either side, to the Moldau. Here the Military Hospital,--once a college
of the Jesuits,--will naturally attract attention, both on account of
the elegance of its structure, and the uses to which it is turned. It
has a noble façade, which measures upwards of six hundred feet in
length, a chapel, a hall, and accommodation for four hundred invalids,
whose wants, though attended to, are certainly not prevented with the
care which distinguishes a similar institution among ourselves. The old
soldiers made, it is true, no complaints. They seemed, on the contrary,
perfectly satisfied with their condition,--all, at least, except
one,--who, strange to say, had served in the 97th British regiment for
seventeen years, ere he entered the service of Austria; and even he
said very little. He was a German, had been discharged in consequence
of a wound, after fighting in Egypt and the Peninsula, had then entered
the Austrian army, and was now enjoying his otium in Prague. I learned
from him that the rate of allowance to each man, was a suit of clothes
once in four years, one pair of shoes and one pair of soles per annum,
a quarter of a pound of meat with twice as much black bread daily, and
no wine. Had he gone upon what we should call the out-pension, his
subsistence would have amounted to three-pence,--of our money,--per
day.

There are several churches and convents in the same quarter of Prague;
but none which much repay the trouble of inspecting them. That of St.
Emaus is, perhaps, the most interesting, both because it is the oldest,
being of the date 1348, and because here some traces of frescoes, which
escaped the Hussite violences, may be found. But except for these, and
a few of the trophies that were taken at the battle of the White
Mountain, it will not strike the visitor as, in any respect,
remarkable. It is not here, indeed, nor in the Alt Stadt neither, that
the curious in such matters will seek for gratification. He who loves
to muse amid the cloisters of a monastery, or delights to recreate
himself amid the "Temple's holy gloom," will find the freest scope for
the indulgence of his humours, on the opposite side of the Moldau; and
as our tastes reverted to that channel, after sufficient time had been
devoted to other matters, it may not be amiss if I state some of the
occurences that befell during our second visit to the Hradschin and the
Strahow.

Not far from the cathedral, and, as a necessary consequence, adjoining
to the palace, are two objects which put in strong claims to notice.
One is a Loreto chapel, built on the model of that which has so often
changed its resting-place; the other is the convent of St. Lawrence,
within which the chapel is erected. The latter,--an exact copy of that
in the valley of the Misio,--is small, and dark in the interior, the
shrine being lighted up only by the lamps which burn continually before
the image of the Virgin. It is, however, rich in costly vestments and
plate, and richer still in the reverence which the pious pay to it. The
convent, again, is large, with fine cloisters, and some tolerable
frescoes along the sides of them, and the monks, to do them justice,
are exceedingly civil. My young companion expressed a wish to visit
their cells, and it was instantly complied with: we were directed to
pass round to another door, and there the porter took charge of us.

Our guide,--a squalid creature, with shaven crown, bare legs, sandaled
feet, and a grizzly beard,--led us by a long passage first into the
refectory. It was a hall of no great dimensions, meanly furnished with
deal benches and tables, and surrounded on the walls, with some rude
representations of the most loathsome and horrid martyrdoms. The tables
were spread with wooden trenchers, each of which had a morsel of
rye-bread beside it, and beneath each bench were rows of
spit-boxes,--one being set apart for the use of each of the brothers.
What the viands might be which were to fill the trenchers, I do not
know; but the smell was not inviting, so we quitted the hall, and
following our guide up stairs, were introduced into a cell. Its
appearance entirely overthrew the theories which my young companion had
nourished. A small, but neatly-furnished apartment, with a clean bed, a
chest of drawers, and a quantity of flowers on the window-sill, by no
means came up to the ideas which he had entertained of monastic
asceticism; and when, over and above all this, he found more than a
breviary and a crucifix within reach, namely, a sort of pocket-library
and a lute, his astonishment found vent in words.

"Are monks allowed to indulge their taste for music?" asked he.

"Oh yes," was the reply; "Brother Franz is a great musician. It is he
that always leads in the chanted grace before and after meals."

Brother Franz, however, was not present to answer for himself; so we
continued our progress.

We desired to see the chapel; and as we approached it by a back stair,
the notes of the organ that swelled along the passage, gave indication
that some service was going on. We entered a gallery, whence, from
behind the shelter of a screen, we could look down upon the chapel, and
those that filled it. The congregation was both numerous and devout,
and in the body of the pile, all were engaged in singing a requiem for
a departed soul. On a bier in the middle aisle, stood a coffin, having
a skull and cross-bones laid upon the pall, and over it hung a priest,
whose gestures sufficiently indicated, that for the tenant of that
narrow chamber he was supplicating. "This is some recent death?"
demanded I; "some person of note is gone to his account, and you are
praying that his sins may be pardoned?"

"No, sir," answered the monk, "the individual whose demise we this day
commemorate, gave up the ghost an hundred years ago; but we are still
bound to say masses for her soul. She has bequeathed property to secure
this for ever."

"And is her body in that coffin?" demanded I.

"Not at all," was the answer; "these are but representations of what
you take them for. That is not a coffin, neither are these a skull and
cross-bones."

I could not help smiling, when this avowal was made with such perfect
simplicity; and I went away surprised, that any such awkward endeavour
to work upon the sympathies of the people, should be considered
judicious.

Among other days of the week, we spent a Sunday in Prague; and a regard
to truth compels me to state that the contrast which was presented by
the mode of observing the Lord's Day there, to what we had witnessed in
Protestant Saxony and Protestant Prussia, redounded very little to the
honour of the latter countries. I need not observe that nowhere, on the
continent of Europe, are the evenings of the Lord's Day devoted to
other purposes than those of amusement. Whatever may be the national
faith, whether Romish or Reformed, this is universally the case; but
while in Saxony and Prussia the laws appear to sanction the total
desecration of that day, even to the prosecution of men's ordinary
employments, in Prague, and I am bound to add generally in popish
Bohemia, no such desecration takes place. After a given hour, all
classes put on their merriest bearing, it is true, and the clergy,--in
Prague, a curious combination of stiffness and dandyism,--may be met
every where; but till that time arrives, the offices of religion appear
to engross all thoughts, for the shops are closed, and the streets
deserted, except by persons passing to and from their several places of
worship. How much more decent, to use no stronger expression, is this,
than the sort of scenes which I had occasion to describe in a previous
chapter,--how much better calculated to keep alive among the people
some sense of religion, some respect at least for its external
observances,--not entirely, it is to be hoped, unconnected with a
regard for higher things than externals.

Why should I continue these details any further? We visited the
theatre, with the music and acting in which we were greatly delighted;
we dined on one of the islands in the Moldau, in the open air, in the
midst of a crowd, beneath the canopy of heaven, and with a well-managed
band to serenade us all the while; we spent an evening greatly to our
own satisfaction, under the shade of the trees in the Thiergarten. We
climbed the Strahow, inspected the monastery that crowns its summit,
admired the fine library, and gazed with reverence on the autograph of
Tycho Brahe; we wandered round the ramparts; we surveyed the field of
the battle of Prague; we examined more minutely the ground on which
Ziska had fought and conquered; we left nothing unexplored, in short,
which we found that it was possible to bring within the scope of
general observation; nor permitted any matter, concerning which
curiosity had been excited, to pass without investigation. The result
was a tolerably accurate acquaintance with every remarkable object in
the place, not excepting Count Nositz's small but excellent
gallery,--one of the most creditable collections of modern growth which
I have seen. Neither did we fail to form acquaintance with the people,
as well of the humbler as of the more exalted stations; of which the
result, in every instance, was, that the favourable impression which
had been made upon me, while wandering among the mountains, suffered no
diminution. I found them to be,--in the city, not less than among the
villages,--a kind-hearted, industrious, and most patient race. I saw,
indeed, that they were not without their grounds of discontent, and
that they felt their grievances keenly. The higher orders complained
because the ancient capital of their native land had sunk into a mere
provincial town. They pointed to palaces deserted and falling to decay,
and said, with natural bitterness, that it ill became Bohemians of the
best blood to prefer the pleasures of Vienna to the duty which they
owed to their father-land. They spoke, too, indignantly of the
centralizing system, of the ban that had gone forth against their
beloved language, of the extinction of their privileges, and the
efforts that are making, to blot out the very remembrance of their
nationality. "But it will not succeed," was the usual termination of
such harangues. "We have no idea of shaking off the yoke. We know that
in the present state of Europe, Bohemia could not exist one year as an
independent monarchy; but we shall never be content till the laws are
everywhere administered in a language which is intelligible to the
people, and we and they be permitted to exercise some control over our
own affairs." In like manner, the humbler classes,--the shop-keeper,
the mechanic, and the artisan,--spoke not unintelligibly of their
altered condition, since the native nobility were their best customers,
and taxation scarcely reached them. "But we are no longer a people now.
The stranger rules us, the shackles are on our wrists;--what can we
do?" Then would follow a shrug of the shoulders, a wink of the eye, and
a hasty return to the sort of manner which a careless observer might
easily mistake for the external proof of content, but which is, in
fact, a disguise put on to hide feelings directly the reverse.



CHAPTER XII.

QUIT PRAGUE. JOURNEY TO BRÜNN BY KÖNIGGRATZ. STATE OF THE COUNTRY.
BRÜNN. ITS PUBLIC BUILDINGS. ABSENCE OF THE MORAVIAN BRETHREN.


"Time runs his ceaseless course," and, agreeably as with us he had
passed since our arrival in Prague, we began, after a week's sojourn
there, to discover that it would be necessary to move onwards. It had
been our anxious wish to proceed at once along the borders of Silesia
into Hungary; and at Dresden we had endeavoured to have some such route
marked out upon our passport, but we were not successful. For there is
extreme jealousy on the part of the Austrian officials abroad, of
granting free ingress and egress to and from Hungary; and we were
recommended, in consequence, to proceed direct to Vienna, where the
Hungarian Chancery would deal with us. We made another effort at Prague
to obtain that which in Dresden had been refused us; but it availed us
nothing. "We will pass you on to Königgratz, if you please," said the
chief of police, "where the authorities, being nearer to the frontier,
may be more in the habit of setting general regulations at defiance; or
you may go to Brünn, the capital of Moravia, and there fare better." We
fancied that there might be something in these suggestions, and
resolved to act upon them. Accordingly, having taken a last survey of
the lordly city, and provided ourselves with arms,--a precaution which
was everywhere pressed upon us, seeing that Hungary was our point of
destination,--we committed ourselves to an extra-post, an agreeable and
commodious vehicle, which holds two persons, and set out.

I have nothing whatever to say concerning our progress from Prague to
the first of the resting places which were marked upon our chart. Not
having any object to gain by delay, we performed the larger portion of
the journey by night; and, at an early hour in the morning, found
ourselves approaching the outer defences of a strongly fortified town.
This was Königgratz,--a huge barrack, in which two or three battalions
of infantry are usually quartered; and which contains, besides a state
prison, a Gymnasium, or seminary of public instruction, and some
churches. There was not much of promise in all this, neither did the
spectacle of chained men working by gangs in the streets, greatly win
upon us. We therefore abandoned, without hesitation, all idea of the
proposed halt; and having ascertained that the police were immovable;
that our passport being marked for Vienna and not for Hungary, they
either would not, or could not, sanction a deviation from the beaten
track,--we were fain to accept a visé for Brünn, and to resume our
former places in the interior of the diligence. Again, therefore, were
we _en voyage_, at a rate more rapid than is at all agreeable to him
who wishes to make acquaintance with a strange people. But for this
there was no help; and we took the evil patiently, being comforted by
the reflection, that, of the Bohemians we had already seen a great deal
more than ever can be seen, except by such as adopt our unpretending
system of travel.

From Königgratz to Brünn, you pass through a country for which nature
has done a great deal, and which the patient industry of its
industrious inhabitants has not failed to improve. It is, generally
speaking, a vast plain, with mountains in the distance; and, here and
there, a rise and fall on its surface, which produce an exceedingly
pleasing effect. There are many villages and small towns along the
road-side; and everywhere the fields were, when I saw them, in the
highest state of cultivation. Corn and meadow, with an occasional
vineyard, spread themselves out before us, and were relieved, from time
to time, by the introduction of a wood, disposed, as might almost seem,
with a view to heighten the extreme beauty of the landscape. Had I
abstained from holding converse with the inhabitants of that fair
province, I should have quitted it in the full assurance that they were
the most contented and happy people in the world. As it was, a regard
to truth compels me to acknowledge that I found them very much the
reverse.

It is not, I think, necessary for me to guard myself against the
imputation of cherishing any undue preference for the democratic
principle in the theory of government. Of all the tyrannies that exist,
the tyranny of the mob is the most oppressive; nay, the very excess of
freedom which gives to each individual the right of pestering all
around him with his impertinences, is surely much more hard to endure
than the occasional restraints which a strong police may impose. But an
absolute and irresponsible monarchy is not a pleasant government to
live under. Where men talk only in whispers; where they feel that their
words must be weighed ere they utter them; where their single idea of
the powers that be, is of an influence which oppresses, or keeps an eye
of unsleeping vigilance upon their movements; where they are not
permitted to form any judgment as to what is, or what is not, best for
their social condition,--but imbibe, from childhood, one conviction
only, that it is their wisdom to obey implicitly,--in such a state of
society it is vain to look either for true dignity of individual
character, or for the developement of powers which elevate both nations
and private men in the scale of human perfectibility. Practically
speaking, men may enjoy as much freedom of action as they could desire;
and their persons and their property will alike be secured from
violence; but there is not, nor can there be, real contentment
anywhere,--no, not even in the highest stations of all,--those of the
sovereign and his ministers.

I have been much struck in the course of my reading, with the pains
which travellers take to assure us that the government of Austria is
exceedingly paternal; and that the people who live under it harbour no
wish that it should be curtailed in its prerogatives. When this is said
both of the rulers and the ruled, as these show themselves in Austria
Proper, I am not sure that there is much to be found fault with. The
_Austrians_ have always been treated by the house of Hapsburg as
children are treated by their father; and being a light-hearted and
most unthinking people, they are happy in the preference which is shown
to them. But it is certainly not so in other portions of the empire. Of
the Italian provinces I need say nothing. Of Hungary I shall not speak
now, because other and better opportunities of doing so will arise; but
with respect to the Bohemians, the impression left upon my mind is,
that the iron has entered deeply into their souls. I have alluded
elsewhere to the substance of conversations which I have held with
nobles, and priests, and peasants. I have to record now what passed
between myself and a fellow-traveller in the diligence,--a medical man,
of strong good natural sense, and an education sufficiently enlarged.
He was not slow in discovering that I was a foreigner; and on his
demanding whence I came, I told him.

"Ah," said he, "you are the native of a free country. Everything which
you witness here must surprise and shock you."

"Quite the reverse," was my answer. "I am charmed with the simple
manners and apparently comfortable state of your population. I am
delighted with the kindness and hospitality which I have received from
your gentry; and, above all, I am glad to perceive that you all enjoy
as much of practical liberty as the heart of man need desire."

"Where is this practical liberty?" replied he; "is it in the liability
of the unprivileged classes to military service?--our total exclusion
from the management of our own affairs?--our rigid subjection to the
surveillance of the police--the restraint we are compelled to impose on
our very speech?--the absence of all tribunals to which, when oppressed
by the government, we can appeal?"

He was running on with a still longer list of grievances, when I
stopped him. "No," said I, "it is not in these particulars that your
practical freedom displays itself,--but in matters much more important,
because of daily and hourly recurrence. You go out and come in when you
will. You make choice of your own walk in life, and pursue it
uninterruptedly. You are safe from injury to person and property. You
have privileges, each of you, which no fellow-subject is permitted to
invade. Are not these very great blessings, and are you not content?

"Privileges!" replied he, "where are they? Undoubtedly, I am permitted
to practise medicine, under certain restrictions, exactly as the
bouerman may till his ground, and the artisan fabricate his wares. But
my privileges are those only which nature has given, and human laws
cannot take away. I may eat when I am hungry, if I can find food; and
drink when I am thirsty. But what am I, regarded as a citizen?--a hewer
of wood, and drawer of water; a mere drudge. Let my talents and
ambition be what they may, I can work out no opening for them. There
are no privileges in the empire, except those enjoyed by the nobles;
and even the nobles have, in point of fact, no rights which they can
call their own."

"What do you mean?" replied I; "if by honest industry you acquire a
fortune, you may purchase land, and take a settled station in society.
The army is open to you, and the church;--what would you have?"

"I would have what you possess in England," answered he; "room to
breathe freely; and a fair field in which to struggle even for the
honours of life. The army is open to us, doubtless; but in the army,
unless I be of noble descent, I cannot hope to rise above the rank of a
captain, at the highest. The church is good for those who are willing
to submit to its restraints, and play the hypocrite. I may purchase
land, too, doubtless, as you say; but its possession will not confer
upon me any, even of the ideal advantages, which are claimed and
conceded to the penniless aristocrat. With us the line of nobility is
so distinct and broad, that no human being can, unless the accident of
birth have placed him on the sunny side of the hedge, overstep it. But
this is not all. The nobles not only engross all places of trust, and
profit, and honour, but they do not bear their just proportion in the
burdens of the state. They pay hardly any taxes; whereas we of the
cannaille are very heavily laden with them."

I saw from the tone of my fellow-traveller's discourse that he was
exceedingly discontented, and I ventured to ask whether the sentiments
to which he gave utterance, were generally entertained in Bohemia?

"By all orders and degrees of men," was his answer. "Even the nobles
are dissatisfied, because the king holds his court at Vienna; and for
the rest of us, you may depend upon it that we feel our degradation
acutely."

"If it be as you represent," said I, "how comes it that there never
occurs anything like an attempt to wrest by force from the government
what it will not concede to reason?"

We were passing through a small town, or rather village, at the moment,
and my companion bid me look out. I did so, and saw two or three groups
of cuirassiers lounging about the street.

"These are the emperor's sureties for our good behaviour," observed he,
with a smile; "twelve or fourteen thousand men at Prague,--three or
four thousand at Königgratz,--a regiment at Tabor,--and squadrons
scattered, as you see, through all the villages. Our poor peasants
would hardly think of uttering a complaint in such a presence; and our
nobles don't care to argue points with men who wear the sword."

I could only shrug up my shoulders, for I saw that he was, at least, so
far in the right, that troops swarmed everywhere; and, without
encouraging him to brood over his own misfortunes, whether real or
imaginary, I was content to thank heaven that I had myself been born in
a land where such grounds of complaint are unknown.

We stopped to dine at Leutomischl, a small, but prettily-situated town,
with a schloss, or chateau, of which the style of architecture is
exceedingly striking. It occupies the brow of a rising ground, just
over the principal street; and with its profusion of minarets, reminded
us rather of some Oriental palace, than of the residence of a Bohemian
noble. But we had no time to examine it in detail; for even a German
extra post has its appointed season of movement; and our conducteur,
though abundantly civil, could not postpone it. Neither did there occur
any other incident of which it is worth while to take notice, till, at
six on the following morning, Brünn, the capital of Moravia, received
us within its walls.

There is not much in this city, independently of the historical
associations which are connected with it, that is likely to detain the
traveller many days, or to draw from him, after he has quitted it, a
lengthened description of what he may have seen. It is built along the
ascent of a steep hill, of which the summit is crowned by the
cathedral, a pile distinguished, like the more antique of the Slavonian
churches in general, by the great altitude of its nave. It is
surrounded by a belt of suburbs, at once more regular in their
construction, and much more populous than the town itself. To the north
lies the hill of Spielberg, surmounted by a modern and unfinished
redoubt, which having taken the place of the ancient citadel, is, and
for many years back has been, used chiefly as a state prison. It was
here that, during the reign of the Emperor Francis I., the unfortunate
Silvio Pellico spent his long and dismal season of captivity. Here,
too, Trenck, the famous leader of the Pandours, in the war of
succession, suffered imprisonment. Here Mack, long suspected of
treachery, underwent a severer punishment than his incapacity deserved;
and here still linger captives from various provinces, whose offence,
for the most part, is, that they pine to be free. This system of
shutting men up in prison, without trial, or the pretence of trial, is
very shocking. But I was glad to learn from the few who ventured to
speak in a whisper, that the tenants of the dungeons of Spielberg are
less numerous now than they used to be, and the time is not, in all
probability, distant, when the practice of filling them at the caprice
of a minister will be discontinued altogether.

Brünn is the seat of some of the most extensive as well as valuable
manufactories that anywhere exist in the Austrian dominions. The growth
of these, it appears, was much fostered by the late emperor, and his
memory is, in consequence, held in high veneration by the inhabitants.
It is to this circumstance, indeed, more than to the military virtues
which he displayed, that the erection of the obelisk on the Franzes
Berg is owing; for though the inscription seem commemorative of the
triumphs of the army in the later campaigns, the people tell you that
Francis is held in honour solely because of the countenance which he
gave to the works of peace. The articles produced here are thread,
cloths, linen, and glass; and there is a manufactory of porcelain at a
village about a mile distant.

It was market-day when we reached the town, and as the windows of our
apartment commanded an excellent view of one of the chief streets, the
scene which they opened out to us proved at once novel and interesting.
Crowds of country people were congregated beneath, in all manner of
grotesque costumes; while stalls of every description--some supporting
clothes, some laden with fruit, some set out with china, or glass, or
articles of cutlery, or shoes,--choked up the thoroughfare, to the
manifest inconvenience of the few vehicles which made occasional
efforts to pass. The dresses of the women, too, whose business it
seemed to be to superintend the sale of the fruit, were strikingly
national. They wore, each of them, a sort of jacket-fashioned boddice,
made tight to the shape, a petticoat of yellow serge, which reached
barely to the mid-calf, bright scarlet stockings, shoes that came up to
the ankles, a handkerchief, which, passing over the head, was tied
beneath the chin, white buckles, and hips enormously padded. Yet were
they, upon the whole, a handsome race, with clear brunette complexions,
and dark hazel eyes; and their good nature, as, one after another, they
made inroads into our apartment, and pressed upon us their cherries,
was something quite unusual. They perfectly succeeded in their object;
for we ate many more black-hearts than did either of us any good, and
bought a still greater quantity than we dreamed of consuming, simply
because we were unable to resist entreaties that were pressed upon us
so good humouredly.

Having amused ourselves thus for a while, and laid in a tolerable
breakfast, we sallied forth, under the guidance of a valet-du-place, to
perambulate the town. We found it surrounded by fortifications; yet
exceedingly clean and neat, and its public gardens, beyond the Prague
gate, at once extensive and well-arranged. There is a cemetery in the
middle of the new town, which is likewise worth visiting, were it only
because of its enormous dimensions. And the barrack, with its seven
capacious courts, is of prodigious extent. Of the churches, on the
contrary, with the exception of the cathedral, much cannot be said in
praise; and even the cathedral is more curious than beautiful. It
presents an excellent specimen of the kind of ecclesiastical architecture
in which the Slavonians of the middle ages delighted. Moreover the
Landhaus, or house of meeting for the estates of Moravia,--till the
times of Joseph II. a wealthy Augustinian convent,--may be visited with
advantage, as may also the Rath-haus and National Museum. Into the
citadel, on the other hand, no stranger can be admitted without an
order from the governor; and such order, unless the party applying for
it bring strong recommendations, is not easily procured.

The great lounge for the fashionables of Brünn is termed the Franzes
Berg. It is a sort of table-land, on the side of that hill which the
cathedral and bishop's palace overtop; and is laid out in shady walks,
well-ordered terraces, and bowers of most umbrageous shelter. Thither,
in the cool of the day, that is, between the hours of six and nine in
the evening, the _elite_ of the inhabitants repair, that they may
enjoy the pleasures of a crowded promenade, enlivened by the strains of
one of the finest military bands to which I have ever listened. As may
be supposed, we did not fail to become partakers in the scene, or to
relish it greatly; for the music is superb, the view over the valley of
the Taia beautiful, and the bearing of the company at once decorous and
full of good humour. But having accomplished this, and wandered through
the greater number of the streets, having visited the public buildings,
and made more than half the circuit of the ramparts, we felt that our
business in Brünn was completed. We accordingly returned to our hotel,
and being again refused by the police the coveted visé into Hungary, we
made up our minds to pursue our journey on the morrow towards Vienna.

I made numerous inquiries as to the condition of Protestantism in this
country, and received answers which were very little satisfactory. From
the effects of the persecution at the close of the Thirty Years' War,
it has never recovered. Toleration is, indeed, granted to Lutherans,
Calvinists, and Jews, under one or other of which denominations, all
dissenters from popery are classed; but of the Moravian brethren, not a
trace remains, either in the capital or elsewhere. Had I not previously
made myself acquainted with the history of this pious sect, the
circumstance of their total extirpation would have much surprised me;
because the error of the name which has somehow been applied to them,
reaches also to our conception of their origin and fortunes. But the
truth is, that they were never a numerous body in the land after which
they are now called. It was but in the natural course of events that
branches should have struck out from Mount Tabor in Bohemia, as well
into Moravia as into the border districts of Upper Austria, and these,
when the parent tree was cast down, soon withered away. I believe that
it is only at Hernhut, in Saxony, and in a few places of Poland and
Gallicia, that any remnants of them now exist. At all events, I could
discover none at Brünn, nor could any of those whom I interrogated on
the subject, direct me where to look for them.



CHAPTER XIII.

COUNTRY BETWEEN BRÜNN AND VIENNA. VIENNA. JOURNEY TO PRESBURG.
PRESBURG. THE HUNGARIAN CONSTITUTION.


There is not much to praise, there is very little to describe, in the
general aspect of the country between Brünn and Vienna. Here and there
it is exceedingly barren and sterile, here and there just as much the
reverse; that is, if fields which produce the vine and the maize in
large quantities, deserve to be accounted fertile. It is true that if
you be a soldier, you will examine, with interest, the ground over
which the hostile armies manoeuvred both previous to the battle of
Austerlitz and afterwards. If geology be your hobby, in the low but
picturesque hills, the far-off roots of nobler mountains, which, in
many places, hang over the road, and give to it an exceedingly romantic
character, you will find something for the eye to rest upon. Various
dilapidated castles, too, that crown these rocks, may possibly arrest
the attention of the antiquary; whilst the political economist will
find food for reflection in the outward bearing of social life as here
it presents itself. For there are no towns of any size or note in all
this journey of more than a hundred miles. The villages, moreover, are
universally mean, and their inhabitants worthy of the homes which
receive them when the day's task is done. On the other hand, some
magnificent schlosses present themselves by the way-side, as if in
contrast to the squalid hamlets on which they look down; and soldiers
swarm everywhere. But as I do not know what could be said of such
matters more than will be found in any road-book which has the
slightest pretensions to accuracy, I am very little tempted to advert
to them at all. Neither can I speak of the aspect of things as it is
operated upon by the proximity of Vienna, because night had closed
round us long before we became conscious of the heaving of the living
vortex. And for the rest, to be delayed at the barrier till our
passports had been examined, our baggage searched, and a survey of our
persons and features taken, these were trifling grievances to which use
had reconciled us, and of which we thought nothing. We drove at once to
the Schwan, an excellent though expensive house in the Meal Market, and
there, for a brief period, established our head-quarters.

What shall I say of Vienna? Nothing, or next to nothing. I lingered
within its walls a week, and no more. I ranged its streets, visited its
galleries, lounged through its palaces, its public gardens, and its
temples. I stood among the coffins in the vault of the chapel of the
Capuchins, where rest the ashes of the Imperial family; I gazed long
and fondly, in that of the Augustines, on Canova's exquisite monument
to Maria Christina of Saxony. I observed, not without a feeling of
pardonable pride, that the Armoury, which is arranged with great taste
and skill, contains trophies from almost every European nation, England
alone excepted. I saw the chain with which the Turks, in 1529,
endeavoured to obstruct the navigation of the Danube. I beheld the
innumerable curiosities which are contained in the Arsenal, and lived
among the knights and heroes of the middle ages, while gazing on the
splendid suits of armour which the Ambras Museum contains. There is no
public place which I did not visit, from the Volksgarten to the
Prater;--no conspicuous building, beneath the roof of which I failed to
enter, from the cathedral to the Invaliden Haus;--no palace which I did
not inspect, from that of the Schweitzer Hof to Schönbrunn. Yet I will
not describe any of them. Why? Because the task has been executed so
recently, and so well, that nothing could proceed from me save idle
repetition; and I do not think that to indulge in such would either
redound to my own credit, or add to the edification of my readers.

Of the state of society in this great capital, again, I am not
competent to form an opinion. I saw but the exterior of things,--the
busy marts, the crowded streets, the shops more capacious and better
stocked than any, except those of London, and perhaps of Paris. The
music of the bands that played in the public gardens was familiar to
me, as well as the countenances and bearing of the joyous throng that
listened to them. But of the habits of the individuals who composed
these throngs, as they showed themselves within the domestic circle, I
can say nothing. I was told, indeed, that the ties of moral obligation
are not very rigidly regarded in Vienna; that, with much polish, and
all the charms of high-breeding about it, society is, in fact,
exceedingly corrupt. This may or may not be true; but to me the single
aspect which the Austrian capital wore, was of a vast assemblage of
people, whose great business it seemed to be to render life agreeable,
and its events, in whatever order they might occur, as free from
annoyance as possible.

I am equally incompetent to pass sentence on the state of learning, and
the fine arts, in Vienna. I found, indeed, that it was fashionable to
pay court to men of acknowledged talent and genius, and that to music
and dancing the Viennese are just as much addicted as any other members
of the Germanic family. But except from an evening spent at the
theatre, I had no opportunity of determining how far they were or were
not gifted with a taste more pure than prevails elsewhere. Neither can
I tell how the important matters of eating and drinking are conducted,
except in hotels and restaurateurs; for the season was unfavourable to
making Viennese acquaintances; and had the contrary been the case, the
time at my disposal was insufficient. But of cuisine at the Schwan, at
the Daums and Kaiserin von Oesterreich, I can give a very favourable
report, as well as of the cleanliness and even elegance of their
respective eating halls, and the civility of their waiters. What, then,
shall I say of Vienna? This, and no more. That to me it presented
greater attractions than any other continental capital that I have
visited; that I would have willingly spent as many weeks within its
walls as I spent days, and that though eager to pass on to a country,
to examine into the condition of which, constituted one and the
principal object of my journey, I did not make up my mind to quit the
city without reluctance. I dare say there is enough in and around it,
to call forth the regrets of the right-thinking; but these were matters
into which I could not pause to inquire. As I have already said, the
exterior of things was all that presented itself to me, and with that I
was delighted.

There is a custom in Vienna of demanding your passport when you first
make your appearance at the barrier, and requiring you to show
yourself, within four-and-twenty hours afterwards, at the
police-office. The object of these arrangements is, that you may
satisfy the authorities of your solvency, and receive from them a
letter of security for such length of time as you propose, or they be
willing that you should remain in the city. We attended to the
established regulation, of course, and now, having fixed the hour of
our departure, endeavoured to obtain from the Hungarian chancery the
license, without which it would have been impossible to pass the
frontier. It was granted without hesitation, though in terms at once
vague and rigid. I stated my business; that I went merely as a
traveller, curious to become acquainted with the people and the
country, and that not knowing the points which I might be induced to
visit, or the length of time which might be required to visit them, I
was anxious to receive a passport, as generally and loosely worded as
might be. The gentleman to whom I addressed myself was exceedingly
polite; but he did not exactly fall into my views. "There is no
necessity," said he, "to deviate in your instance from the common order
of such things. A passport is required from every traveller at the
frontier; but after you are once in Hungary, you may go where you
please, and stay as long as you feel disposed, without attracting the
slightest notice. I will, therefore, write upon your passport, that you
are permitted to visit Pesth and its vicinity for a month, and to
return." I thought this odd, but could not, of course, object to it,
because I concluded that a person in authority must be a much better
judge of what was necessary than I; and I have now given the detail at
length, because the sequel will show that what was esteemed perfectly
regular in Vienna, had well-nigh told against me in one of the remote
provinces.

There is constant communication, as everybody knows, between Vienna,
and Pesth, and Constantinople, by steamboats which touch, as they
proceed, at almost all the most important places that lie along the
banks of the Danube. Our original intention was to have availed
ourselves of one of these; but we found on inquiry, that the navigation
was intricate, and the channel of the river so low, that hardly any
view was to be obtained from the ship's deck. We determined, therefore,
to proceed by land as far as Presburg, and to regulate our future
movements according to the aspect of things there, and the information
which by its inhabitants might be communicated to us. About seven
o'clock, on a bright July morning, we accordingly took our seats in a
hired carriage, and were swept along through what are called the Marxer
lines, beyond the outermost suburbs of the capital. The country round
was, for a while, uninteresting enough. A huge plain was before us,
which the heat of the weather had scorched into the semblance of a
desert; and there were few objects upon it, of which I can say that
they much relieved its monotony. Several villages came, indeed, in our
way, and near one of them, called Semmering, a large turreted building
attracted our attention. It had once been a summer residence of the
Emperor; it is now a powder-magazine, and stands, as our postilion
informed us, on the same spot which, during the siege of Vienna in
1529, was covered by the tent of the Sultan Solyman. But we had passed
this some time, ere the scenery began to improve. When such improvement
did commence, however, it was very complete. The road wound inwards so
as to bring us parallel with the river, and to open out a fine view of
its waters, which being split up into numerous branches, poured
themselves over the plain, and enclosed a countless number of islands
within their eddies. Among these, our postilion pointed out that on
which Napoleon, by the breaking down of his bridge, was, during the
progress of the battle of Asperne, reduced to the utmost extremity,--an
extremity out of which nothing but the misplaced confidence of his
opponents enabled him to escape. It is an extensive flat, covered along
its edges by groves of giant willows; while just beyond it, on the
continent, the village spires of Asperne and Essling peer forth from
amid screens of thick foliage.

From this period till our arrival at the Hungarian frontier, we never,
for any length of time, lost sight of the Danube. Here and there,
indeed, the road struck inwards, so as to carry us away, perhaps, an
English mile or more, from its banks; but the river, after it reunites,
is so broad, and the country rises over it to such a height, that its
noble expanse is seldom concealed from you, and that only for a moment.
Moreover, the monuments of other days,--old castles, dilapidated
towers, with here and there a rude pillar, or block of granite,--became,
at each post which we gained in advance, more and more numerous. Near
Schwächat, for example, about ten English miles out of Vienna, and
itself a village of some two thousand inhabitants, stands a stone,
which marks the spot where Leopold first greeted the chivalrous
Sobiesky,--not with the ardour which might have been expected from one
in his situation, but coldly and ceremoniously, as if the king, who
came to save, were sufficiently honoured by the notice of the emperor
whom he had delivered. Next came we to Fischamend, where the traveller
will do well to halt, if it be only that he may delight himself, as we
did, with the magnificent scene which wooes his gaze from the summit of
the scaur that overhangs the Danube. I do not think that I ever beheld
a panorama of the sort which enchanted me more. We were elevated,
perhaps, three hundred feet above the bed of the river. Its broad, but
not limpid waters, measuring, perhaps, half a mile across, laved the
very base of the precipice, and swept along by their current a rude
barge or two, the only productions of man's industry and skill that
broke in upon their loneliness. Beyond was a wide plain, magnificently
wooded, with here and there a village, looking forth from its covering
of green boughs; while, up and down, the eye rested, either upon a
continuance of the same bold scaur; or, more attractive still, on the
advanced guard of those mountains amid which I and my fellow-traveller
had resolved to make our way. Then there were tower and castle crowning
the far-off rocks; there were rich vineyards, closing in to the very
brink on which we stood; and, as if to complete the picture, a herd of
dun-coloured cattle, oppressed with the excessive sultriness of the
day, descended, through a sort of ravine, in a long line, and stood to
cool themselves in the Danube. Altogether it was as fair a landscape as
the eye of the painter would desire to behold; and we did not leave it,
till a few fruitless efforts had been made to transfer some, at least,
of its most attractive features to a blank leaf in my journal book.

After leaving Fischamend we passed in succession Regelsbrunn, Deutsch
Altenburg, and Hainburg, near the former of which the attention is
arrested by what may easily be mistaken for the ruins of a city. It
proved, however, on examination, to be the commencement of an ancient
wall, which runs from Regelsbrunn all the way to the Neusiedler See; of
which the origin is lost in the mists of antiquity, but which is
generally supposed to have been thrown up by the Romans. There are
still the remains of towers here and there, which give to it, when
first beheld, its civic character; and it was, I believe, made use of,
so recently as 1683, as a line of defence against the Turks. Moreover
Deutsch Altenburg has its objects of interest also;--a tumulus, or
mound, sixty feet in altitude, but of a date to which tradition goes
not back; while the church of St. John, which crowns an eminence near,
is accounted one of the most perfect Gothic edifices in the Austrian
dominions. And, last of all, there is Hainburg, with its old castle,
and gateways equally old; both exhibiting manifest traces of war on
their exterior defences, even to the cannon-balls, which, since the
last invasion of the Turks, have been left sticking where they fell.
These, meeting you, as it were, one after the other, and forming points
of rest to the eye when it has grown weary of ranging over the plain,
produce a powerful effect upon your imagination; which is certainly not
lessened by the aspect of the living creatures, whether of the human or
some inferior species, which begin to gather round you.

I had been prepared by all that fell from those, who, having themselves
penetrated into Hungary, were obliging enough, both in Dresden and at
Vienna, to give me hints as to my own proceedings, for a state of
things, both animate and inanimate, very different from that which had
met me in Germany. I knew that the people were much less civilized than
the Germans; and that for one, who proposed to wander as I did, alone,
and, wherever it might be possible to do so, on foot, arms might be
found convenient, perhaps necessary. Yet I did not expect to see a
change so complete, in every point of view, as that which became
perceptible even before we passed the frontier. There began to meet us,
a little way in advance of Deutsch Altenburg, troops of those
Torpindas, whom, in the ignorance of our hearts, we had, in Bohemia,
mistaken for gipseys. There they were, with their hosen and coarse
cloaks, their broad sombrero hats, and matted locks, trudging along, in
bands of twelve or fourteen, and looking up with a glance of half
cunning, half curiosity, from beneath their shaggy eyebrows. By-and-by
came herds of cattle, quite different, both in colour and form, from
any which we had previously encountered; and then pigs,--monsters of
the first class,--whom men, evidently but one degree removed from
barbarism, were driving before them. My young companion and I looked
first at one another, and then at the pistols and other weapons which
hung about our persons; and, as if the thoughts of each had wandered
into the same channel, we smiled and said nothing.

We had quitted Vienna early in the morning; it might be about three in
the afternoon when we reached the Custom House,--a station in
Wolfsthal, remarkable for nothing except the constant bustle that goes
on in its street. In order to reach the village we had been again
carried away from the river, through a beautiful valley, hemmed in on
either side, by well-wooded hills; one of which bears upon its summit
what must have been, in its day, a castle of prodigious strength. We
were now clear of that pass, and the process of examination began. In
our case it was both brief and simple. We were asked whether our
knapsacks contained any prohibited article? We did not even know what
was prohibited; but finding that of copper the authorities were chiefly
jealous, we answered in the negative, and were permitted to pass. It
was not so with a whole string of wagons which came from the opposite
direction. One after another they were compelled to discharge their
contents, very much, as it seemed, to the inconvenience of the drivers;
and not till a rigid examination of each separate bale and package had
taken place, was permission given to load again. I could not help
thinking that the policy which drew so broad a line of distinction
between one portion of a great empire and another, was, to say the
least of it, very singular; and I was not slow in being taught that it
is very short-sighted too, because exceedingly distasteful both to the
Hungarians, whom it injures, and the Austrians, whom it is designed to
favour.

Our passports were looked at, of course; stamped with the seal of the
official, and returned to us;--after which we pushed on. We crossed the
frontier, and became sensible, on the instant, that a new country was
before us. To the right, as far as the eye could reach, was one
enormous plain. Rich it was, and apparently well cultivated; for,
except here and there, where a huge meadow intervened, the whole
surface was covered with the most luxuriant corn. Of trees, on the
contrary, scarce a sprinkling appeared; there were no groves at all,
and even hedge-rows were infrequent. Towards the left, again, there was
that sort of character which belongs to a region in which an extensive
range of highlands has terminated. Frequent hills and dales were there;
grassy knolls, with little valleys running through them; and such a
profusion of wood as held out the assurance that, in that direction at
least, the eye would not pine in vain for foliage. By-and-by, from
behind these knolls, the Danube made his appearance; not broader,
certainly, than he had seemed to be at Fischamend, or even above it,
but evidently deeper, I think, more rapid;--and altogether, with a
degree of majesty about him which attaches to the one object, that
gives its peculiar character to a living landscape. The Danube is,
indeed, a magnificent river; albeit the people who inhabit his banks
are only just beginning to find out that he may be turned to more
accounts than that of mere beauty.

The interval between Hainburg and Presburg is but a single post; from
Wolfsthal it is less than half that distance; yet, owing to the delay
which occurred at the Custom House, five o'clock had struck ere we
obtained our first view of this secondary capital of Hungary. Its
situation is fine, close to the Danube, at the base and along the
ascent of low hills; the crest of which is surmounted by the remains of
what was once a royal residence. This latter, the Alba Regali of the
chroniclers, is of very ancient date in its foundation. It was enlarged
in 1766 by the Empress Maria Theresa, and in 1809 burned to the ground.
The Hungarians say, that an Italian regiment in the French service set
fire to it wantonly, when evacuating the place. But, however this may
be, it gives, even in its ruins, an air of aristocracy to the town;
which, though neat and clean, and containing a population of thirty or
forty thousand souls, would otherwise present no very striking feature
to the eye of the stranger. Indeed, Presburg is a great deal too near
the frontier, and maintains a communication too frequent and too
regular with Vienna, to have retained almost any marks of its Hungarian
origin. You might, both from the structure of the buildings, and the
dress and manners of the inhabitants, easily fall into the error of
supposing that it belonged to Austria.

We approached Presburg by a good macadamized road, which follows the
course of the river, on the opposite bank from that along which the
city is built. It was very little thronged either with carriages or
horses, and gave few indications, in other respects, that a large, and,
as we had been assured, a bustling town, lay but a short way ahead of
us. This was the more surprising, that we could discover no evidences
of any transfer of the line of commerce from the land to the water; for
there was neither barge nor steam-boat to ruffle the bosom of the
Danube. But the unfavourable impression created by such an air of
stillness was not destined to remain. There is a long bridge of boats,
which connects the opposite banks of the river, and affords facilities
to the inhabitants of Presburg for passing and repassing. We saw, as we
drove on, that it was crowded with people, in their best attire; and
the sounds of music, which rose from an inclosure hard by, sufficiently
pointed out the nature of the attraction. We had come on a lucky day,
for it was a festival, and all the world was abroad, to enjoy the
delights of a calm and delicious evening amid the shady walks of the
public gardens.

He who goes to Presburg without venturing further, need not flatter
himself that he has made any, even the slightest acquaintance with the
manners and usages of the Hungarians. The town is not a Hungarian, but
a German town; the people are Germans, the language is German, and the
style of living is German. It is true, that the historical associations
connected with the place are all as thoroughly Hungarian as are those
which greet you at Ofen or at Graan; but the living men and women seem
to have striven, and striven successfully, to lay aside all the
peculiarities which could, by possibility, connect them with the tales
of other days. So far we profited by the circumstance that we found at
the Sun excellent accommodations; and excellent accommodations are not
to be procured at all the hotels in Hungary; yet were we, on the whole,
dissatisfied with it. We desired to study human nature under a novel
garb, and we found it still clothed as it had been in Austria.
Nevertheless, the visits which we paid to the Old Palace, to the
Cathedral, and the Königsberg, were highly interesting, because of the
important page in Hungarian story which they may be regarded as
illustrating. What that page contains, it may not be amiss if I take
the present opportunity of stating.

It is the peculiar boast of the Hungarians, that they live under what
they are pleased to term, a free constitution. Subject to the sway of
the house of Hapsburg only through the accidental lapse of the crown
into the female line, they utterly eschew all dependence upon Austria,
and would turn with indignation from him who should insinuate that over
them the laws of the empire exercise the slightest authority. They are
fellow-subjects with the Austrians and Bohemians only so far that the
imperial and the regal crowns happen to be worn by the same individual.
But there is this marked difference in their respective situations,
that whereas over Austria and Bohemia, the emperor exercises an
absolute sway, in Hungary he has his prerogatives, beyond the limits of
which he is not permitted to pass. He cannot, of his own will and
pleasure, enact a new law; he cannot interfere with the privileges of
his nobles; he cannot levy a tax, nor impose a new burden upon the
nation, till the parliament, or estates, have given him authority to do
so. It is because at Presburg the parliament meets, and that there also
the ceremony of the coronation is carried through, that I have selected
this stage in my narrative for the statement of matters which were not
rendered familiar to me till a protracted sojourn in the country gave
me opportunities of collecting information, both from its living
inhabitants, and from the treasured archives with which its libraries
abound.

The tract of territory which, on our maps, we describe as Hungary, is
peopled by two distinct races of men;--the Hungarians, who inhabit the
great plain of the Danube, of which Cormorn may be regarded as the
centre; and the Slavonians, by whom the mountain districts are
occupied, as well in Carpatia and Transylvania, as in Croatia and the
rugged districts that border upon Styria. Of these, the Hungarians are
not considered to amount to more than four millions of souls at the
utmost; whereas the numbers of the Slavonians fall not short of six
millions.

As is the case elsewhere, however, so has it happened here; the
political institutions of the few have been imposed with a strong hand
on the many; for the laws that prevail, as well as the machinery
created to enforce them, are alike Hungarian. Yet the Hungarians are,
so to speak, mere strangers in the land, who owe their original
settlement there to the edge of the sword, and by the edge of the sword
were long compelled to maintain it.

It seems now to be admitted, that the theory which once connected the
conquerors of Pannonia with the Huns, is entirely without foundation.
The Hungarians are the descendants of one of those eastern hordes whom
the Mongols, in their progress southward, drove from their homes; and
who, breaking through Russia, and traversing a large extent of Poland,
won a settlement for themselves late in the ninth century, near the
sources of the Theiss. Their legends say, that by lineage, they are
Magyars, and that they obtained the name which they now bear through an
accident. There stood, near the spot where they first permanently
encamped, a castle, called in the language of the country, Hung-var,
which the strangers won, and converted into a sort of capital. As often
as they sallied forth from that castle on predatory or other
expeditions, the Slavonians were accustomed to exclaim, "Here come the
Hung-varians," and the title thus given at first as a term of mere
derision or hostility, came, by-and-by, to be accepted as a national
distinction.

I am not prepared to avow either my own acceptance, or my own
rejection, of this mode of accounting for the origin of the Hungarian
name. There is no good reason to be assigned one way or the other; for
nations, like individuals, generally owe their designations to some
cause equally simple; but that the Magyars, or Myars, brought with them
the elements of that constitution under which it is the boast of their
descendants that they still live, is just as easily proved as that we
owe our most valuable institutions to the customs and usages of our
Saxon forefathers. The Myars, like the Saxons, appear to have lived,
during seasons of peace, in obedience to a whole host of petty and
independent chiefs. If war broke out, or a foreign expedition was
resolved upon, the heads of clans made choice of one of their order to
command the rest;--when the exigencies of the moment ceased to operate,
the commander fell back into his proper place among his equals. Seven
of these tribes are stated to have taken part in the earliest attack on
Pannonia. They were led by one Almus, a brave and successful warrior;
and soon spread themselves over the whole of the plain; but not for
many generations could they count on a permanent cessation from the
hostilities with which the mountaineers, driven back, yet unsubdued,
continued to harass them. The results were precisely such as occurred
in Normandy and England, and every where else, where tribes advanced to
a similar pitch of civilization, won settlements by the sword. Arpad,
the son of Almus, was chosen to succeed his father; and the foundations
were laid both of an hereditary monarchy, and of a power able and
willing to place limits to that of the crown.

The best historians inform us, that between Arpad and the heads of
tribes, a solemn compact was entered into, which, in addition to other
and less important stipulations, contained the following. It was agreed
that the order of succession to the throne should be hereditary; that
the male line should have the preference; the female not being
excluded; but that the inalienable right of the people to elect their
own sovereign, should never be called in question. Accordingly, in
cases where there is no break in the chain, and the son mounts the
throne which the father has bequeathed to him, certain forms are
enjoined, of which it cannot be said that they are mere idle
ceremonies. The king's title to govern must be solemnly acknowledged by
the states; and oaths are at his accession administered, any refusal to
accept which would lead to his rejection. Moreover there is an article
in this treaty which, in the event of a failure in the royal line,
secures to the nation the right of free and unrestricted choice, and
the right in question was exercised, to its fullest extent, so early as
the beginning of the twelfth century, when the house of Arpad became
extinct, and Charles of Anjou, called to the throne by the free voice
of the people, laid the foundations of a new dynasty.

While they thus consented, as a measure of prudence, to the
establishment among them of an hereditary throne, Arpad's peers were
not willing that it should be filled by an absolute monarch. They
claimed for themselves, and for their children after them, the right of
counselling the prince in every emergency. They stipulated, that
neither their persons nor their property, should be at the prince's
disposal. Military service they were, indeed, bound to pay; that is, it
was their duty to appear in the field when lawfully summoned, and to
defend the country from foreign invasion, or internal revolt. But even
military service, in the advancement of schemes of conquest, the king
could not exact from them; he had no power to lead them across the
border, except with their own consent. Then, again, within the limits
of their respective estates, each noble was independent; while all
situations of general trust and authority under the crown, were claimed
by them as their birth-right. Hence the establishment of the palatinate
in Hungary Proper, of the ban in Croatia and Slavonia, of the Vayvode
in Transylvania, and of the great functionaries, by whatever title
designated, each of whom appears to have enjoyed in his own province,
rather the privileges of a feudal sovereign, than the powers of a high
officer of state.

Such were the commencements of the Hungarian constitution,--an
unbending aristocracy from the outset, into the forms of which time has
doubtless introduced many changes,--but of which the spirit and the
principle continue to this day, precisely what they were nine centuries
ago. The first of these innovations occurred when Stephen ascended the
throne; and by the open profession of Christianity, gave a different
character to the whole order of society. His predecessors had never
worn a title more imposing than that of duke; Stephen received from the
pope both a royal crown, and the style and dignity connected with it.
Moreover, Stephen, by creating bishoprics, and richly endowing both
them and the monasteries, very much widened the circle of the nobility;
which by the creation of new offices, and the granting of fiefs both by
prelates and princes, received from time to time large accessions to
its numbers. Then began distinctions to be claimed and recognised, even
in the rights and privileges of the privileged classes. The nobles were
divided into princes, prelates, barons of the kingdom, and magnates,
whose rights, though in some trifling respects different, were yet so
much akin as to permit their being treated as political equals. Next to
them, yet claiming the essential privileges of nobility, came the
king's chief retainers, with the holders of fiefs under the princes and
prelates, and the principal retainers of the magnates; and finally, a
humbler class followed, who, corresponding to our territorial but
untitled aristocracy, are now content to bear the appellation of
eidelmen, or gentry. All of these were, in the strictest acceptation of
the term, freemen. They owed to the sovereign their right hands in war;
and when the exigencies of the state required, such aids in money as
they themselves might vote, but without such vote, in solemn comitia
granted, there was no authority anywhere to exact from them either a
blade of corn, or the most minute coin of the realm.

It was the right of the nobles to assemble and pass resolutions which,
when approved of by the king, obtained the force of law. Up to the
commencement of the thirteenth century, they used to meet in the open
air; and as each brought to the place of assembly as large an armed
following as he could muster, it was no unusual circumstance to find as
many as eighty thousand men in the field. Such a crowd could effect
nothing of its own free will, and was hardly to be managed by any
species of influence. At length, in 1235, Bea IV. succeeded in
introducing the system of representation which still holds good. By
this arrangement, an hereditary seat in the legislature was restricted
to the magnates, with whom sat likewise such official personages as
prelates and barons of the kingdom. The nobles of inferior rank chose
one or more from each county to represent their body, while the clergy
were represented by abbots, titular bishops, and dignitaries of an
inferior degree. By-and-by, during the reign of Sigismond, in 1386,
free towns and royal cities were authorized, in like manner, to choose
deputies, and then the framework of the Hungarian legislature became
complete.

The Hungarians are never more gratified than when an opportunity offers
of instituting a parallel between their houses of parliament and ours;
indeed, their taste for comparing is such, that they gravely contend
for a perfect similarity of principle between the constitutions of
England and of Hungary. It would be as impolitic as unjust, when
discussing the question with them, to deny that some such resemblance
prevails. Both monarchies are limited monarchies, in which the
sovereigns, though invested with absolute power as executors of the
law, are just as completely circumscribed by the law, as the meanest of
their subjects. It is curious to observe, likewise, how nearly the
prerogatives of the one correspond in all essential points with the
prerogatives of the other. The persons of both are sacred. Each is,
within his own realm, the fountain of honour and of justice; each
commands his own army, though by neither may its numbers be increased
without a vote of the legislature. And more remarkable still, the king
of Hungary, though a Roman Catholic, is the head of the church in
Hungary, in the very same sense which we apply to the term, when we
speak of the king of England as the head of the English church. In
Hungary, the crown appoints absolutely to all bishoprics, abbacies, and
even to canonries. Confirmed the choice must be, in the first of these
cases, by the Pope, otherwise the spiritual authority attached to the
office would be wanting; but the bishop-elect enters at once upon the
possession of his temporalties, of which no exercise of papal influence
can dispossess him. Moreover, it is in Hungary as it is in
England,--the affairs of state are administered in all departments by
the king's authority. The king's taxes, the king's duties, the king's
escheats and forfeitures, are levied; the harbours are the king's
harbours, the courts are the king's courts, the fortresses are the
king's fortresses, and the people are the king's lieges. But here the
resemblance between the constitutions of the two countries ends, and
all endeavour to trace it further is useless.

Even in reference to the kingly office, we soon begin to find ourselves
diverging one from another. The crown in Hungary is elective far more
decidedly than in England. We, indeed, in the ceremony of our
coronation, retain so much of the spirit which animated our Saxon
forefathers, that the question is still put to the people,--"Will ye
have this prince to reign over you?" and the prince is bound by solemn
oath to govern according to law; but the ceremony of a coronation is
not so vital among us, as that it might not be passed over with
impunity. In Hungary, so tenacious are the magnates on the one hand,
and so sensitive the emperor on the other, that he never omits, in his
own life-time, to have the heir to the imperial diadem, crowned king in
Hungary. The present emperor became king of Hungary three years
previous to the death of his father; and now the empress has been
crowned at Presburg, so that there may be no link wanting in the chain
which holds the several portions of the empire together. Again, the
king of Hungary, while he enjoys various privileges, to which the king
of England cannot lay claim, is likewise subjected to various
restraints, from which the king of England is free. The former, for
example, as he appoints arbitrarily to vacant bishoprics, so he
inherits the whole of a bishop's professional savings, who may chance
to have died intestate. If the bishop possess hereditary property, it
goes, of course, at his decease, to his next of kin; but his
accumulations, be they great or small, are taken possession of by the
crown. And even the making of a will saves but one-third of them. On
the other hand, the king of Hungary is watched and restrained in the
exercise of his prerogatives, not only by a parliament, jealous of its
privileges, but by officers appointed for that purpose. The palatine is
a strange compound of king's lieutenant and guardian of the liberties
of the nation. He is chosen for life out of four personages proposed to
the states by the sovereign; and as in the king's absence he exercises
vice-regal powers, so both then, and at other seasons, he mediates
between the crown and the people, taking care that the former shall not
trench upon the liberties of the latter, nor the latter make any
encroachments on the legal prerogatives of the former.

I might specify many other points in which even the parallel between
the kingly offices in Hungary and in England fails; but it is not
necessary. We have but to pass downwards to the classes below royalty,
and all ground of comparison between the institutions of the two
countries ceases. The parliament of Hungary is a very different affair
from the parliament of England. Its members sit, to be sure, in two
chambers, or houses, and enjoy, when assembled, the most absolute
freedom of speech; but they meet very rarely, they transact very little
business when they do meet, and both in the principle which brings them
together, and in their arrangements when assembled, they outrage every
notion which we are accustomed to cherish of perfection in such
matters. The spirit of the Hungarian constitution requires that the
estates should assemble at least once in every five years; the practice
of the same constitution leaves the king at liberty to call together,
and to dissolve the chambers at pleasure. I have already stated, that
to the higher order of nobility, the privilege appertains of meeting,
in their own persons, to deliberate on questions affecting the public
weal. These,--the princes and magnates,--occupy the same chamber with
the prelates and barons of the kingdom. The other chamber is given up
to the representatives of the lesser nobles, of the free towns, and of
the clergy; and, strange to say, to the proxies of such magnates as may
find it inconvenient, personally, to attend in their places. But though
there are only two chambers, there are four distinct estates, each of
which votes within itself in the first instance, and then carries the
result of its scrutiny to the common centre. And finally, while the
Upper House is presided over by the palatine, the lower is regulated
and kept in order by an official personage who bears the somewhat
lengthy title of Personalis presentiæ Regiæ in judiciis locum tenens.
He must be of noble birth, of course, and is likewise President of the
High Court of Justiciary. There are not fewer than 661 members in the
first of these houses, whereas the last can count upon 236 only.

The representative members of the Hungarian legislature are all paid by
their constituents, who again consist of the eidelmen of the several
counties. Of these very many are, in point of fact, mere peasants, whom
the misfortunes or imprudence of their ancestors have reduced to
poverty; but all must have noble blood in their veins,--for it is an
honourable descent, and not the possession of lands or houses, which
entitles a man to exercise the elective franchise in Hungary. Such
poor nobles are, of course, controlled and managed by their wealthier
neighbours, who, when the season of an election comes round, deal with
them pretty much as our own candidates and their committees deal with
the poor voters in boroughs. There is prodigious feasting at the
castle,--there is no end of magnanimous declarations,--no lack of
brilliant and spirit-stirring speeches; under the influence of which,
and of the wine and strong drinks that accompany them, the pauper
eidelman becomes a hero in his own eyes. But, alas! political gratitude
is not more enduring in Hungary than elsewhere. The crisis has its
course, and the scion of a glorious race,--the representative of a
family which followed Almus to the Theiss and gave the coronet to
Arpad,--goes back to his hovel, and his daily toil, and his filth, and
his wretchedness, there to chew the cud of bitter fancy, till the
return of an electioneering season shall call him forth once more to
act a part upon the stage of life.

My reader will be good enough to believe that while I thus speak of a
country,--very much under-peopled by ten millions of souls,--I am
referring to the condition of a minute fraction of that population,--of
something less than two hundred thousand persons, in whom alone the
existence of rights and privileges is by the law recognised. The
people,--properly so called,--the peasants who cultivate the soil, the
mechanics who construct the dwellings, the artisans who fabricate your
household utensils, your wearing apparel, your carriages, your ships,
your machinery; these are precisely in the condition of Gurth and Wamba
in Sir Walter Scott's romance of _Ivanhoe_. In the rural districts
every man whom you meet, provided he be neither a noble nor a soldier,
belongs to somebody. He has no rights of his own. He is a portion of
another man's chattels; he is bought and sold with the land, as if he
were a horse or an ox. On him, too, all the common burdens of the state
are thrown. If the parliament vote an increase of the taxes, it is from
the peasants that these taxes are wrung; for the lord takes care,
though he himself pay immediately, that he shall be indemnified by the
deduction which he makes from his serfs' allowances. It is the same
spirit which provides that the peasantry, who make the roads, and by
the labour of their hands keep them in repair, shall be the only class
of persons of whom toll is anywhere exacted. An eidelman in his chariot
passes free through every barrier,--a poor peasant's wagon is stopped
at each, till the full amount of mout, as it is called, has been
settled. But this is not all. Till the year 1835, each landed
proprietor possessed over his peasantry an almost unlimited power of
punishment, into his manner of exercising which no human being ever
took the trouble to inquire. Accordingly, you still find, as an
appendage to each mansion, a prison, with its bolts and chains, and
other implements of torture; while the rod was as freely applied to the
backs of delinquents, real or imaginary, as ever the whip made
acquaintance with the persons of our own negroes in a West Indian
sugar-field. It is to Count Chechini, (Szechenzi,) in this, and many
other respects, the greatest benefactor to his country which modern
times has raised up, that Hungary stands indebted for a law, which, for
the first time in the annals of the nation, gives to the poor peasant
something like protection against the tyranny of a capricious master.
Since the passing of that act there have been established in all the
counties regular magistrates, before whom delinquents must be brought,
and without whose sanction the punishment of the lash is supposed never
to be inflicted. I did not find, however, on inquiry, that much regard
was paid in practice to this statute. The nobles still flog their
serfs, when the humour takes them, and the serfs are too hopeless of
finding redress, by an appeal from one noble to another, ever, except
in extreme cases, to think of making it.

Such, in few words, is the Hungarian constitution,--a limited monarchy,
doubtless, which secures from the oppression of the sovereign a minute
fraction of his subjects, and leaves all the rest to the tender
mercies, not of one supreme head, whom motives of policy will render
humane, and generally just, but of a band of nobles; who, nursed in the
most exaggerated notions of their own importance, look upon all beneath
them as mere beasts of burden. To speak of it as akin to the
constitution under which we live, is to err entirely. It may, and does,
in numerous points, resemble the constitution of England, as it existed
under the first of the Tudors; but with that which secures to every
Englishman the rights which make him what he is, it has nothing in
common. A Hungarian noble is a very great man. A Hungarian eidelman is
inferior to him, only if he be less wealthy. A Hungarian peasant is a
serf. There is an excellent preparation made, doubtless, for better
things in the future, but in its immediate working, the constitution
which so orders matters, is to the people a thousand-fold more
oppressive than the most absolute despotism.

I have spoken of the solemnity of the king's coronation as taking place
at Presburg; I am not sure that it is necessary to describe the
ceremony in detail. Like its counterpart among ourselves, it is
regarded as the ratification of a covenant between the sovereign and
the people, and is performed, amid much pomp, both religious and civil.
The monarch elect, attended by his magnates and councillors, repairs to
the cathedral, where the officiating prelate administers to him the
customary oaths, by which he binds himself to govern according to law,
to protect the church, to uphold the privileges of the nobility, and to
secure the kingdom against foreign aggression. He is anointed with the
holy oil, and undergoes the usual routine of enrobing and crowning;
after which he proceeds on horseback, the states of the realm in his
train, to the Königsberg. It is a circular mound, perhaps fifty feet
high, which stands just outside the city, and commands an extensive
view over the plain, both eastward and southward. This the king
ascends, his nobles, and knights, and dignified clergy being collected
in a mass round its base; and, as all are on horseback,--as their
dresses are picturesque, their arms and housings costly, and their port
chivalrous in the extreme, the spectacle is, perhaps, as grand as can
be met with in any part of Europe. Beyond the circle of the privileged
classes, again, enormous crowds are gathered,--for the population
flocks from far and near to behold the ceremony; and the curious in
such matters will doubtless find as much to admire in their grotesque
appearance, as in the haughty port and Oriental splendour of their
superiors. Meanwhile the king has ridden to the crest of the hill,
where, before the bishops, he again gives the pledges which had been
exacted from him in the cathedral. Finally, he draws his sword, and
making a cut towards each of the cardinal points, thereby denotes,
that, let danger come from what quarter it may, he will repel it. Then
are medals scattered among the crowd; then is the air rent with shouts,
and the princely cavalcade returns to the city in the same order which
attended its outward progress.


END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


                     *      *      *      *      *


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LONDON: JOHN W. PARKER, PUBLISHER, WEST STRAND





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary, Visited in 1837. Vol. II" ***

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