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Title: Bubbles from the Brunnens of Nassau - By an Old Man.
Author: Head, Francis Bond
Language: English
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project.)



                                BUBBLES

                            BY AN OLD MAN.


                            [Illustration]



                                BUBBLES
                               FROM THE
                          BRUNNENS OF NASSAU,

                                  BY

                              AN OLD MAN.



  BUBBLE, (bobbel, _Dutch_,)

          Anything which wants solidity and firmness.

                                           JOHNSON'S _Dictionary_.


                          THE THIRD EDITION.

                            [Illustration]

                                PARIS,
                      BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY,
                     RUE DU COQ, NEAR THE LOUVRE.

SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX; TRUCHY, BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS;
THEOPHILE BARROIS, JUN., RUE RICHELIEU; LIBRAIRIE DES ETRANGERS, RUE
NEUVE-SAINT-AUGUSTIN; AND FRENCH AND ENGLISH LIBRARY, RUE VIVIENNE.

                                 1834.



               PRINTED BY J. SMITH, 16, RUE MONTMORENCY.



PREFACE.


The writer of this trifling Volume was suddenly sentenced, in the cold
evening of his life, to drink the mineral waters of one of the bubbling
springs, or brunnens, of Nassau. In his own opinion, his constitution
was not worth so troublesome a repair; but, being outvoted, he bowed
and departed.

On reaching the point of his destination, he found not only
water-bibbing--bathing--and ambulation to be the orders of the day,
but it was moreover insisted upon, that the mind was to be relaxed
inversely as the body was to be strengthened. During this severe
regimen, he was driven to amuse himself in his old age by blowing,
as he toddled about, a few literary Bubbles. His hasty sketches of
whatever chanced for the moment to please either his eyes, or his mind,
were only made--_because he had nothing else in the whole world to do_;
and he now offers them to that vast and highly respectable class of
people who read from exactly the self-same motive.

The critic must, of course, declare this production to be
vain--empty--light--hollow--superficial ...... but it is the nature of
Bubbles to be so.

        "The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
         And these are of them."

                                        MACBETH, _Act I., Scene 3_.



BUBBLES.



THE VOYAGE.


By the time I reached the Custom-house Stairs, the paddles of the
Rotterdam steam-boat were actually in motion, and I had scarcely
hurried across a plank, when I heard it fall splash into the muddy
water which separated me farther and farther from the wharf. Still
later than myself, passengers were now seen chasing the vessel in
boats, and there was a confusion on deck, which I gladly availed myself
of, by securing, close to the helmsman, a corner, where, muffled in
the ample folds of an old boat-cloak, I felt I might quietly enjoy an
incognito; for, as the sole object of my expedition was to do myself as
much good and as little harm as possible, I considered it would be a
pity to wear out my constitution by any travelling exclamations in the
Thames.

The hatches being now opened, the huge pile of trunks, black
portmanteaus, and gaudy carpet-bags which had threatened at first to
obstruct my prospect was rapidly stowed away; and, as the vessel,
hissing and smoking, glided, or rather scuffled, by Deptford,
Greenwich, Woolwich, &c., a very motley group of fellow-passengers
were all occupied in making remarks of more or less importance. Some
justly prided themselves on being able to read aloud inscriptions on
shore, which others had declared, from their immense distance, to be
illegible;--some, bending forward, modestly asked for information;
some, standing particularly upright, pompously, imparted it; at
times, wondering eyes, both male and female, were seen radiating in
all directions; then all were concentrated on an approaching sister
steam-boat, which, steering an opposite course, soon rapidly passed
us; the gilt figure at her head, the splashing of the paddles, and the
name written over her stern, occasioning observations which burst into
existence nearly as simultaneously as the thunder and lightning of
heaven;--handkerchiefs were waved, and bipeds of both sexes seemed to
be delighted, save and except one mild, gloomy, inquisitive little man,
who went bleating like a lamb from one fellow-passenger to another,
without getting even from me any answer to his harmless question,
"whether we had or had not passed yet the men hanging in chains?"

As soon as we got below Gravesend, the small volume of life which,
with feelings of good-fellowship to all men, I had thus been calmly
reviewing, began to assume a graver tone; and, as page after page
presented itself to my notice, I observed that notes of interrogation
and marks of admiration were types not so often to be met with, as the
comma, the colon--and, above all--the full stop.

The wind, as it freshened with the sun, seemed to check all exuberance
of fancy; and, as the puny river-wave rose, conversation around me
lulled and lulled into a dead calm. A few people, particularly some
ladies, suddenly at last broke silence, giving utterance to a mass of
heavy matter-of-fact ejaculations, directed rather to fishes than to
men. Certain colours in the picture now began rapidly to alter--the red
rose gradually looked like the lily--brown skin changed itself into
dirty yellow, and I observed two heavy cheeks of warm, comfortable,
fat flesh gradually assume the appearance of cold wrinkled tallow. Off
Margate, a sort of hole-and-corner system very soon began to prevail,
and one human being after another slowly descending heels foremost,
vanished from deck into a sub-stratum, or infernal region, where there
was moaning, and groaning, and gnashing of teeth; and, as head after
head thus solemnly sunk from my view, I gradually threw aside the folds
of my ægis, until finding myself alone, I hailed and inhaled with
pleasure the cool fresh breeze which had thus caused me to be left, as
I wished to be, by myself.

The gale now delightfully increased--(ages ago I had been too often
exposed to it to suffer from its effect);--and, as wave after wave
became tipt with white, there flitted before my mind a hundred
recollections chasing one another, which I never thought to have
re-enjoyed; occasionally they were interrupted by the salt spray, and
as it dashed into my face, I felt my grizzled eyebrows curl themselves
up, as if they wished me once again to view the world in the prismatic
colours of "Auld Lang Syne." Already was my cure half effected; and
the soot of London being thus washed from my brow, I felt a reanimation
of mind and a vigour of frame which made me long for the moment when,
like the sun bursting from behind a cloud, I might cast aside my
shadowy mantle: however, I never moved from my nook, until the darkness
of night at last encouraging me, without fear of observation, to walk
the deck, "I paced along upon the giddy footing of the hatches," till
tired of these vibrations, I stood for a few moments at the gangway.

There was no moon--a star only here and there was to be seen; yet,
as the fire-propelled vessel cut her way, the paddles, by shivering
in succession each wave to atoms, produced a phosphoric sparkling,
resembling immense lanthorns at her side; and while these beacons
distinctly proclaimed where the vessel actually was, a pale shining
stream of light issued from her keel, which, for a ship's length or
two, told fainter and fainter where she _had been_.

The ideas which rush into the mind, on contemplating by night, out of
sight of land, the sea, are as dark, as mysterious, as unfathomable,
and as indescribable as the vast ocean itself. One sees but
little,--yet that little, caught here and there, so much resembles some
of the attributes of the Great Power which created us, that the mind,
trembling under the immensity of the conceptions it engenders, is lost
in feelings which human beings cannot impart to each other. In the
hurricane which one meets with in southern latitudes, most of us have
probably looked in vain for the waves which have been described to be
"mountain high;" but, though the outline has been exaggerated, is there
not a terror in the filling in of the picture which no human artist can
delineate? and in the raging of the tempest--in the darkness which the
lightning makes visible--who is there among us that has not fancied he
has caught a shadow of the wrath, and a momentary glimmering of the
mercy, of the Almighty?

Impressed with these hackneyed feelings, I slowly returned to my nook,
and all being obscure, except just the red, rough countenance of the
helmsman, feebly illuminated by the light in the binnacle, I laid
myself down, and sometimes nodding a little and sometimes dozing, I
enjoyed for many hours a sort of half sleep, of which I stood in no
little need.

As soon as we had crossed the Briell, the vessel being at once in
smooth water, the passengers successively emerged from their graves
below, until, in a couple of hours, their ghastly countenances all were
on deck.

A bell, as if in hysterics, now rang most violently, as a signal to
the town of Rotterdam. The word of command, "STOP HER!" was loudly
vociferated by a bluff, short, Dirk Hatteraick-looking pilot, who
had come on board off the Briell. "Stop her!" was just heard faintly
echoed from below, by the invisible exhausted sallow being who had had,
during the voyage, charge of the engine. The paddles, in obedience
to the mandate, ceased--then gave two turns--ceased,--turned once
again--paused,--gave one last struggle, when, our voyage being over,
the vessel's side slightly bumped against the pier.

With a noise like one of Congreve's rockets, the now useless steam
was immediately exploded by the pale being below, and, in a few
seconds, half the passengers were seen on shore, hurrying in different
directions about a town full of canals and spirit shops.

"Compared with Greece and Italy--Holland is but a platter-faced,
cold-gin-and-water country, after all!" said I to myself, as I entered
the great gate of the _Hôtel des Pays-Bas_; "and a heavy, barge-built,
web-footed race are its inhabitants," I added, as I passed a huge
amphibious wench on the stairs, who, with her stern towards me, was
sluicing the windows with water: "however, there is fresh air, and
that, with solitude, is all I here desire!" This frail sentimental
sentence was hardly concluded, when a Dutch waiter (whose figure I will
not misrepresent by calling him "garcon") popped a long carte, or bill
of fare, into my hands, which severely reproved me for having many
other wants besides those so simply expressed in my soliloquy.

As I did not feel equal to appearing in public, I had dinner apart
in my own room; and, as soon as I came to that part of the ceremony
called dessert, I gradually raised my eyes from the field of battle,
until leaning backwards in my chair to ruminate, I could not help
first admiring, for a few moments, the height and immense size of an
apartment, in which there seemed to be elbow-room for a giant.

Close before the window was the great river upon whose glassy surface
I had often and often been a traveller; and, flowing beneath me, it
occurred to me, as I sipped my wine, that in its transit, or course of
existence, it had attained at Rotterdam, as nearly as possible, the
same period in its life as my own. Its birth, its froward infancy, and
its wayward youth, were remote distances to which even fancy could now
scarcely re-transport us. In its full vigour, the Rhine had been doomed
turbulently to struggle with difficulties and obstructions which had
seemed almost capable of arresting it in its course; and if there was
now nothing left in its existence worth admiring--if its best scenery
had vanished--if its boundaries had become flat, and its banks insipid,
still there was an expansion in its broader surface, and a deep-settled
stillness in its course, which seemed to offer tranquillity instead
of ecstasy, and perfect contentment instead of imperfect joy. I felt
that in the whole course of the river there was no part of it I desired
to exchange for the water flowing slowly before me; and though it
must very shortly, I knew, be lost in the ocean, that great emblem
of eternity, yet in every yard of its existence that fate had been
foretold to it.

Not feeling disposed again so immediately to endure the confinement of
a vessel, I walked out, and succeeded in hiring a carriage, which, in
two days, took me to Cologne, and the following morning I accordingly
embarked, _at six o'clock_, in a steam-boat, which was to reach
Coblentz in eleven hours.

As everybody, now-a-days, has been up the Rhine, I will only say,
that I started in a fog, and, for a couple of hours, was very coolly
enveloped in it. My _compagnons de voyage_ were tricolored--Dutch,
German and French; and, excepting always myself, there was nothing
English--nothing, at least, but a board, which sufficiently explained
the hungry, insatiable inquisitiveness of our travellers. The black
thing hung near the tiller, and upon it there was painted, in white
letters, the following sentence, which I copied literatim:--

  "Enfering any conversation with the Steersner and Pilotes is desired
  to be forborn."

On account of the fog, we could see nothing, yet, once or twice, we
steered towards the tinkling invitation of a bell; stopped for a
moment--took in passengers, and proceeded. The manner in which these
Rhine steam-vessels receive and deliver passengers, carriages, and
horses, is most admirable: at each little village, the birth of a new
traveller, or the death or departure of an old one, does not detain the
vessel ten seconds: but the little ceremony being over, on it instantly
proceeds, worming and winding its way towards its destination.

Formerly, and until lately, a few barges, towed by horses, were
occasionally seen toiling against the torrent of the Rhine, while
immense rafts of timber, curiously connected together, floated
indolently downward to their market: in history, therefore, this
uncommercial river was known principally for its violence, its
difficulties, and its dangers. Excepting to the painter, its points
most distinguished were those where armies had succeeded in crossing,
or where soldiers had perished in vainly attempting to do so; but the
power of steam, bringing its real character into existence, has lately
developed peaceful properties which it was not known to have possessed.
The stream which once relentlessly destroyed mankind, now gives to
thousands their bread;--that which once separated nations, now brings
them together;--national prejudices, which, it was once impiously
argued, this river was wisely intended to maintain, are, by its waters,
now softened and decomposed: in short, the Rhine affords another proof
that there is nothing really barren in creation but man's conceptions,
nothing defective but his own judgment, and that what he looked upon as
a barrier in Europe, was created to become one of the great pavés in
the world.

As the vessel proceeded towards Coblentz, it continually paused in
its fairy course, apparently to barter and traffic in the prisoners
it contained--sometimes stopping off one little village, it exchanged
an infirm old man for two country girls; and then, as if laughing at
its bargain, gaily proceeding, it paused before another picturesque
hamlet, to give three Prussian soldiers of the 36th regiment for a
husband, a mother, and a child; once it delivered an old woman, and got
nothing;--then, luckily, it received two carriages for a horse, and
next it stopped a second to take up a tall, thin, itinerant poet, who,
as soon as he had collected from every passenger a small contribution,
for having recited two or three little pieces, was dropped at the next
village, ready to board the steam-vessel coming down from Mainz.

In one of these cartels, or exchanges of prisoners, we received on
board Sir ---- and Lady ----, a young fashionable English couple, who
having had occasion, a fortnight before, to go together to St-George's
Church, had (like dogs suffering from hydrophobia or tin canisters)
been running straight forwards ever since. As hard as they could
drive, they had posted to Dover--hurried across to Calais--thence to
Brussels--snapped a glance at the ripe corn waving on the field of
Waterloo,--stared at the relics of that great _Saint_, old Charlemagne,
on the high altar of Aix-la-Chapelle, and at last sought for rest
and connubial refuge at Coln; but the celebrated water of that town,
having in its manufacture evidently abstracted all perfume from the
atmosphere, they could not endure the dirt and smell of the place, and,
therefore, had proceeded by land towards Coblentz; but, as they were
changing horses at a small village, seeing our steam-boat in view,
they ordered a party of peasants to draw their carriage to the banks
of the river, and as soon as our vessel, which came smoking alongside,
began to hiss, they, their rosy, fresh-coloured French maid, their
dark, chocolate-coloured chariot, and their brown, ill-looking Italian
courier, came on board.

As soon as this young London couple lightly stepped on deck, I saw, at
one glance, that without at all priding themselves on their abilities,
they fancied, and indeed justly fancied, that they belonged to that
class of society which, in England, so modestly calls itself--_good_.
That it was not healthy society--that its victims were exposed to
late hours, crowded rooms, and impure air, was evident enough from
the contrast which existed between their complexions, and that of
their healthy country attendant; however, they seemed not only to be
perfectly satisfied with themselves, and the clique which they had
left behind them, but to have a distaste for everything else they saw.
Towards some German ladies, who had slightly bowed to them as they
passed, they looked with a vacant haughty stare, as if they conceived
there must be some mistake, and as if, at all events, it would be
necessary to keep such people off. Yet, after all, there was no great
harm in these two young people: that, in the countries which they
were about to visit, they would be fitted only for each other, was
sadly evident; however, on the other hand, it was also evidently their
wish not to extend their acquaintance. Their heads were lanthorns,
illuminated with no more brains than barely sufficient to light them
on their way; and so, like the babes in the wood, they sat together,
hand-in-hand, regardless of everything in creation but themselves.

For running their carriage down to the shore, the brown confidential
courier, whose maxim was, of course, to pay little and charge much,
offered the gang of peasants some kreutzers, which amounted, in English
currency, to about sixpence. This they refused, and the captain of the
party, while arguing with the flint-skinning courier, was actually
carried off by our steam-boat, which, like time and tide, waited for no
man. The poor fellow, finding that the Italian was immoveable, came
aft to the elegant English couple, who were still leaning towards each
other like the Siamese boys. He pleaded his case, stated his services,
declared his poverty, and, in a manly voice, prayed for redress. The
dandy listened--looked at his boots, which were evidently pinching
him,--listened--passed four white fingers through the curls of his
jet-black hair--showed the point of a pink tongue gently playing with a
front tooth, and when the vulgar story was at an end, without moving a
muscle in his countenance, in a sickly tone of voice, he pronounced his
verdict as follows ........ "_Alley!_"

The creditor tried again, but the debtor sat as silent and as inanimate
as a corpse. However, all this time the steam-boat dragging the poor
peasant out of his way, he protested in a few angry exclamations
against the injustice with which he had been treated (a sentiment
I was very sorry to hear more than once mildly whispered by many a
quiet-looking German), and descending the vessel's side into a small
boat, which had just brought us a new captive, he landed at a village
from which he had about eight miles to walk to join his comrades.

It is with no satirical feeling that I have related this little
occurrence. To hurt the feelings of "gay beings born to flutter but a
day"--to break such a pair of young, flimsy butterflies upon the wheel,
affords me neither amusement nor delight; but the every-day occurrence
of English travellers committing our well-earned national character for
justice and liberality to the base, slave-driving hand of a courier,
is a practice which, as well as the bad taste of acting the part of a
London dandy on the great theatre of Europe, ought to be checked.

As we proceeded up the Rhine, there issued from one of the old romantic
castles we were passing a party of young English lads, whose appearance
(as soon as they came on board) did ample justice to their country;
and, comparing them while they walked the deck, with the rest of their
fellow-prisoners, I could not help more than once fancying that I saw a
determination in their step, a latent character in their attitudes, and
a vigour in their young frames, which being interpreted, said--

        "We dare do all that doth become a man,
         He who dares more--is none!"

Besides these young collegians, an English gentleman came on board,
who appeared quite delighted to join their party. He was a stout man,
of about fifty, tall, well-dressed, evidently wealthy, and as ruddy
as our mild wholesome air could make him. Not only had he a high
colour, but there was a network of red veins in his cheeks, which
seemed as if not even death could drive it away: his face shone from
excessive cleanliness, and though his nose certainly was not long,
there was a sort of round bull-dog honesty in his face, which it was
quite delightful to gaze upon. I overheard this good man inform his
countrymen, who had surrounded him in a group, that he had never
before been out of England--and that, to tell the truth, he never
wished to quit it again! "It's surely beautiful scenery!" observed
one of his auditors, pointing to the outline of a ruin which, with
the rock upon which it stood, seemed flying away behind us. "Yes,
yes!" replied the florid traveller. "But, sir! it's the dirtiness of
the people I complain of. Their cookery is dirty--they are dirty in
their persons--dirty in their habits--that shocking trick of smoking
(pointing to a fat German who was enjoying this pleasure close by
his side, and who I rather suspect perfectly understood English) is
dirty--depend upon it, they are what we should call, sir, a very dirty
race!" "Do you speak the language?" said one of the young-listeners
with a smile which was very awkwardly repressed. "Oh, no!" replied
the well-fed gentleman, laughing good-naturedly: "I know nothing of
their language. I pay for all I eat, and I find, by paying, I can
get anything I want. "_Mangez! changez!_" is quite foreign language
enough, sir, for _me_;" and having to the first word suited his action,
by pointing with his fore-finger to his mouth, and to explain the
second, having rubbed his thumb against the self-same finger, as if it
were counting out money, he joined the roar of laughter which his two
French words had caused, and then very good-naturedly paced the deck by
himself.

The jagged spires of Coblentz now came in sight, and every Englishman
walked to the head of the vessel to see them, while several of the
inhabitants of the city, with less curiosity, occupied themselves in
leisurely getting together their luggage. For a moment, as we glided
by the Moselle, on our right, we looked up the course of that lovely
river, which here delivers up its waters to the Rhine; in a few minutes
the bell on board rang, and continued to ring, until we found ourselves
firmly moored to the pier of Coblentz. Most of the passengers went
into the town. I, however, crossing the bridge of boats, took up my
quarters at the Cheval Blanc, a large hotel, standing immediately
beneath that towering rock so magnificently crowned by the celebrated
fortress of Ehrenbreitstein.



THE JOURNEY.


The next day, starting from Coblentz while the morning air was still
pure and fresh, I bade adieu to the picturesque river behind me,
and travelling on a capital macadamized road which cuts across the
duchy of Nassau from Coblentz to Mainz, I immediately began to ascend
the mountains, which on all sides were beautifully covered with
wood. In about two hours, descending into a narrow valley, I passed
through Bad-Ems, a small village, which, composed of hovels for its
inhabitants, and, comparatively speaking, palaces for its guests, is
pleasantly enough situated on the bank of a stream of water (the Lahn),
imprisoned on every side by mountains which I should think very few of
its visiters would be disposed to scale; and, from the little I saw of
this place, I must own I felt but little disposition to remain in it.
Its outline, though much admired, gives a cramped, contracted picture
of the resources and amusements of the place, and as I drove through it
(my postilion, with huge orange-coloured worsted tassels at his back,
proudly playing a discordant voluntary on his horn), I particularly
remarked some stiff, formal little walks, up and down which many
well-dressed strangers were slowly promenading; but the truth is, that
Ems is a regular, fashionable watering-place.

Many people, I fully admit, go there to drink the waters only because
they are salutary, but a very great many more visit it from far
different motives; and it is sad, as well as odd enough, that young
ladies who are in a consumption, and old ladies who have a number of
gaudy bonnets to display, find it equally desirable to come to Bad-Ems.
This mixture of sickness and finery--this confusion between the hectic
flush and red and white ribands--in short, this dance of death, is
not the particular sort of folly I am fond of; and, though I wish to
deprive no human being of his hobby-horse, yet I must repeat I was
glad enough to leave dukes and duchesses, princes and ambassadors
(whose carriages I saw standing in one single narrow street), to be
cooped up together in the hot, expensive little valley of Ems,--an
existence, to my humble taste, not altogether unlike that which
the foul witch, Sycorax, inflicted upon Ariel, when, "in her most
unmitigable rage," she left him hitched in a cloven pine.

On leaving Ems, the road passing through the old mouldering town of
Nassau, and under the beautiful ruins of the ducal Stamm-Schlosz in its
neighbourhood, by a very steep acclivity, continues to ascend until it
mounts at last into a sort of upper country, from various points of
which are to be seen extensive views of the exalted duchy of Nassau,
the features of which are on a very large scale.

No one, I think, can breathe this dry, fresh air for a single moment,
or gaze for an instant on the peculiar colour of the sky, without
both smelling and seeing that he is in a country very considerably
above the level of the sea; yet this upper story, when it be once
attained is by no means what can be termed a mountainous country.
On the contrary, the province is composed either of flat table-land
abruptly intersected by valleys, or rather of an undulation of hills
and dales on an immense scale. In the great tract thus displayed to
view, scarcely a habitation is to be seen, and for a considerable time
I could not help wondering what had become of the people who had sown
the crops (as far I could see they were in solitude waving around
me), and who of course were somewhere or other lurking in ambush for
the harvest: however, their humble abodes are almost all concealed in
steep ravines, or water-courses, which in every direction intersect
the whole of the region I have described. A bird's-eye view would of
course detect these little villages, but from any one point, as the eye
roams over the surface, they are not to be seen. The duchy, which is
completely unenclosed, for there is not even a fence to the orchards,
appears like a royal park on a gigantic scale, about one-half being
in corn-fields or uncultivated land, and the remainder in patches of
woods and forests, which in shape and position resemble artificial
plantations. The province, as far as one can see, thus seems to declare
that it has but one lord and master, and the various views it presents
are really very grand and imposing. A considerable portion of the
wood grows among crags and rocks; and among the open land there is a
great deal of what is evidently a mining country, with much indicating
the existence of both iron and silver. The crops of wheat, oats, and
barley, are rather light, yet they are very much better than one would
expect from the ground from which they grow; but this is the effect of
the extraordinary heavy dews which, during the whole summer, may be
said, once in twenty-four hours, to irrigate the land.

The small steep ravines I have mentioned are the most romantic little
spots that can well be conceived. The rugged sides of the hills which
contain them are generally clothed with oak, or beech trees, feathering
to the very bottom, where a strip of green, rich, grassy land full of
springs, scarcely broader than, and very much resembling, the moat
of an old castle, is all that divides the one wooded eminence from
the other; and it is into these secluded gardens, these smiling happy
valleys, that the inhabitants of Nassau have humbly crept for shelter.
These valleys are often scarcely broad enough to contain the single
street which forms the village, and from such little abodes, looking
upwards, one would fancy that one were living in a mountainous country;
but, climb the hill--break the little petty barrier that imprisons
you, and from the height, gently undulating before you, is the vast,
magnificent country I have described. In short, in the two prospects,
one reads the old story--one sees the common picture of human life.
Beneath lies the little contracted nook in which we were born, studded
with trifling objects, each of which we once fancied to be highly
important; every little rock has its name, and every inch of ground
belongs to one man, and therefore does not belong to another; but,
lying prostrate before us, is a great picture of the world, and until
he has seen it, no one born and bred below could fancy how vast are its
dimensions, or how truly insignificant are the billows of that puddle
in a storm from which he has somehow or other managed to escape. But,
without metaphor, nothing can be more striking than the contrast which
exists between the little valleys of this duchy, and the great country
which soars above them!

With respect to the climate of Nassau, without presuming to dictate
upon that subject, I will, while my postilion is jolting me along,
request the reader to decipher for himself hieroglyphics which I think
sufficiently explain it. In short, I beg leave to offer him the milk of
information--warm as I suck it from the cow.

At this moment, everything, see! is smiling; the trees are in
full leaf; the crops in full bearing. In no part of Devonshire or
Herefordshire have I ever seen such rich crops of apples, the trees
being here surrounded with a scaffolding of poles, which after all
seem scarcely sufficient to save the boughs from breaking under their
load; but I ask--How comes the vine to be absent from this gay scene?
the low country and even the lower part of Nassau, we all know, teems
with vineyards, and for some way have they crawled up the sides of the
mountain; the reason, therefore, for their not appearing in the high
ground is surely one very legible character of the climate.

Again, at all the bendings of the valleys, why do the trees appear so
stunted in their growth, and why are so many of them stag-headed? They
must surely have some sad reason for wearing this appearance, and any
one may guess what it is that in the winter rushes by them with such
violence, that, instinctively, they seem more anxious to grow beneath
the soil than above it. Again, under that hot, oppressive sun which is
now hurrying every crop to maturity, why do not the inhabitants look
like Neapolitans and other indolent Lazzaroni-living people?--how comes
it that their features are so hard?--Can the _sun_ have beaten them
into that shape?

Why are the houses they live in huddled together in the valleys,
instead of enjoying the magnificent prospect before me? Why do the
wealthiest habitations look to the south, and why are the roofs of the
houses built or pitched so perpendicularly that it seems as if nothing
could rest upon their surface? Why are the windows so small and the
walls so thick? I might torment my reader with many other questions,
such as why, in this large country, is there scarcely a bird to be
seen? but I dare say he has already determined for himself, whether the
lofty province of Nassau, during the winter, be hot or cold; in short,
what must be its climate at the moment when the Rhine and the expanse
of low country, lying about 1200 feet beneath it, is frozen and covered
with snow?

Yet whatever may be the climate of the upper country of Nassau, the
duchy, taken altogether, may fairly be said to contribute more than an
average share towards the luxuries and comforts of mankind. Besides
fine timber-trees of oak, beech, birch, and fir, there are crops of
corn of every sort, as well as potatoes which would not be despised
in England; several of the wines (for instance, those on the estates
of Hochheim, Eberbach, Rudesheim, and Johannisburg) are the finest on
the Rhine, while there are fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries,
apricots, strawberries, raspberries (the two latter growing wild), &c.,
&c. in the greatest abundance.

Not only are there mines of the precious metals and of iron, but there
is also coal, which we all know will, when the gigantic powers of steam
are developed, become the nucleus of every nation's wealth. In addition
to all this, the duchy is celebrated over the whole of Germany for its
mineral waters; and certainly if they be at all equal to the reputation
they have acquired, Nassau may be said to contribute to mankind what is
infinitely better than all wealth, namely--health.

From its hills burst mineral streams of various descriptions,
and besides the Selters or Seltzer water, which is drunk as a
luxury in every quarter of the globe, there are bright, sparkling
remedies prescribed for almost every disorder under the sun;--for
instance, should the reader be consumptive, or, what is much more
probable, be dyspeptic, let him hurry to Ems; if he wishes to instil
iron into his jaded system, and brace up his muscles, let him go
to Langen-Schwalbach; if his brain should require calming, his
nerves soothing, and his skin softening, let him glide onwards to
Schlangenbad--the serpent's bath; but if he should be rheumatic in
his limbs, or if mercury should be running riot in his system, let
him hasten, "body and bones," to Wiesbaden, where, they say, by being
parboiled in the Kochbrunnen (boiling spring), all his troubles will
evaporate.

To these different waters of Nassau flock annually thousands and
thousands of people from all parts of Germany; and so celebrated are
they for the cures which they have effected, that not only do people
also come from Russia, Poland, Denmark, &c., but a vast quantity
of the waters, in stone bottles, is annually sent to these remote
countries. Yet it is odd enough, that the number of English, who have
visited the mineral springs of Nassau, bears no proportion to that of
any other nation of Europe, although Spa, and some other continental
watering-places, have been much deserted by foreigners, on account of
the quantity of the British who have thronged there; but, somehow or
other, our country people are like locusts, for they not only fly in
myriads to distant countries, but, as they travel, they congregate in
clouds, and, therefore, either are they found absolutely eating up
a foreign country, or not one of them is to be seen there. How many
thousands and hundreds of thousands of English, with their mouths,
eyes, and purses wide open, have followed each other, in mournful
succession, up and down the Rhine; and yet, though Nassau has stood
absolutely in their path, I believe I may assert that not twenty
families have taken up their abode at Langen-Schwalbach or Schlangenbad
in the course of the last twenty years; and yet there is no country on
earth that could turn out annually more consumptive, rheumatic, and
dyspeptic patients than old England! In process of time, the little
duchy will, no doubt, be as well known as Cheltenham, Malvern, &c.;
however, until fashion, that painted direction-post, points her finger
towards it, it will continue (so far as we are concerned) to exist, as
it really does, _in nubibus_.

There are 56,712 human habitations in the duchy of Nassau, and 355,815
human beings to live in them. Of these, 188,244 are Protestants,
161,535 are Catholics; there are 191 Mennonitens or dissenters; and
scattered among these bleak hills, just as their race is mysteriously
scattered over the face of the globe, there are 5845 Jews. The Duke
of Nassau is the cacique, king, emperor, or commander-in-chief of the
province; and people here are everlastingly talking of THE Duke, as
in England they talk of _the_ sun, _the_ moon, or any other luminary
of which there exists only one in our system. He is certainly the
sovereign lord of this lofty country; and travelling along, I have just
observed a certain little bough sticking out of every tenth sheaf of
corn, the meaning of which is, no doubt, perfectly well understood both
by him and the peasant: in short, in all the principal villages, there
are barns built on purpose for receiving this tribute, with a man, paid
by the Duke, for collecting it.

In approaching Langen-Schwalbach, being of course anxious, as early as
possible, to get a glimpse of a town which I had already determined to
inhabit for a few days, I did all in my power to explain this feeling
to the dull, gaudy fellow who drove me; but whenever I inquired for
Langen-Schwalbach, so often did the mute creature point with a long
German whip to the open country, as if it existed directly before
him; but, no, not a human habitation could I discover! However, as I
proceeded onwards, the whip, in reply to my repeated interrogatories
to its dumb owner, began to show a short of magnetical dip, until, at
last, it pointed almost perpendicularly downwards into a ravine, which
was now immediately beneath me; yet though I could see, as I thought,
almost to the bottom of it, still not a vestige of a town was to be
seen. However, the whip was quite right, for, in a very few seconds,
peeping up from the very bottom of the valley, I perceived, like poplar
trees, a couple of church steeples; then suddenly came in sight a long
narrow village of slated roofs, and, in a very few seconds more, I
found my carriage rattling and trumpetting along a street, until it
stopped at the Goldene Kette, or, as we should call it, the Golden
Chain. The master of this hotel appeared to be a most civil, obliging
person; and though his house was nearly full, yet he suddenly felt so
much respect either for me or for the contents of my wallet, which,
in descending from the carriage, I had placed, for a moment, in his
hands, that he used many arguments to persuade us both to become noble
appendages to his fine Golden Chain: yet there were certain noises,
uncertain smells, and a degree of bustle in his house which did not
at all suit me; and, therefore, at once mercifully annihilating his
hopes by a grave bow which could not be misinterpreted, I slowly
walked into the street to select for myself a private lodging, and,
for a considerable time, experienced very great difficulty. With hands
clasped behind me, in vain did I slowly stroll about, looking out
for any thing at all like a paper or a board in a window; and I was
beginning to fear that there were no lodging-houses in the town, when I
at last found out that there were very few which were not. I therefore
selected a clean, quiet-looking dwelling; and, finding the inside equal
to the out, I at once engaged apartments.

The next morning (having been refreshed by a good night's rest) I put
a small note-book into my pocket, and having learnt that in the whole
valley there was no English blood, except the little that was within my
own black silk waistcoat, I felt that I might go where I liked, do what
I liked, and sketch the outline of whatever either pleased my eye, or
amused my fancy. My first duty, however, evidently was to understand
the geography of the town, or rather village, of Langen-Schwalbach,
which I found to be in the shape of the letter Y, or (throwing, as I
wish to do, literature aside) of a long-handled two-pronged fork. The
village is 1500 paces in length, that is to say, the prongs are each
about 500 yards, and the lower street, or handle of the fork, is about
1000 yards.

On the first glimpse of the buildings from the heights, my eyes had
been particularly attracted by high, irregular, slated roofs, many
of which were fantastically ornamented with little spires, about two
feet high, but it now appeared that the buildings themselves were
constructed even more irregularly than their roofs. The village is
composed of houses of all sizes, shapes, and colours: some, having been
lately plastered, and painted yellow, white, or pale green, have a
modern appearance, while others wear a dress about as old as the hills
which surround them. Of these latter, some are standing with their
sides towards the streets, others look at you with their gables; some
overhang the passenger as if they intended to crush him; some shrink
backwards, as if, like misanthropes, they loathed him, or like maidens,
they feared him; some lean sideways, as if they were suffering from a
painful disorder in their hips; many, apparently from curiosity, have
advanced, while a few, in disgust, have retired a step or two.

All the best dwellings in the towns are "hofs," or lodging-houses,
having jalousies, or Venetian blinds, to the windows; and I must own I
did not expect to find in so remote a situation houses of such large
dimensions. For instance, the Allee Saal has nineteen windows in front;
the great "Indien Hof" is three stories high, with sixteen windows in
each; the Pariser Hof has twelve, and several others have eight and ten.

Of late years a number of the largest houses have been plastered on the
outside, but the appearance of the rest is highly picturesque. They are
built of wood and unburnt bricks, but the immense quantity of timber
which has been consumed would clearly indicate the vicinity of a large
forest, even if one could not see its dark foliage towering on every
side above the town. Wood having been of so little value, it has been
crammed into the houses, as if the builder's object had been to hide
away as much of it as possible. The whole fabric is a network of timber
of all lengths, shapes, and sizes; and these limbs, sometimes rudely
sculptured, often bent into every possible contortion, form a confused
picture of rustic architecture, which amid such wild mountain scenery
one cannot refuse to admire. The interstices between all this woodwork
are filled up with brown, unburnt bricks, so soft and porous, that in
our moist climate they would in one winter be decomposed, while a very
few seasons would also rot the timbers which they connect: however,
such is evidently the dryness of mountain air, that buildings can exist
here in this rude state, and, indeed, have existed, for several hundred
years, with the woodwork unpainted.

In rambling about the three streets, one is surprised, at first, at
observing that apparently there is scarcely a shop in the town! Before
three or four windows carcasses of sheep, or of young calves but a few
days old, are seen hanging by their heels; and loaves of bread are
placed for sale before a very few doors: but, generally speaking, the
dwellings are either "hofs" for lodgers, or they appear to be a set of
nondescript private-houses; nevertheless, by patiently probing, the
little shop is at last discovered. In one of these secluded dens one
can buy coffee, sugar, butter, nails, cottons, chocolate, ribands,
brandy, &c. Still, however, there is no external display of any such
articles, for the crowd of rich people who, like the swallows, visit
during the summer weeks the sparkling water of Langen-Schwalbach,
live at "hofs," whose proprietors well enough know where to search
for what they want. During so short a residence there, fashionable
visiters require no new clothes, nails, brimstone, or coarse linen. It
is, therefore, useless for the little shopkeeper to attempt to gain
their custom; and as, during the rest of the year, the village exists
in simplicity, quietness, and obscurity, the inhabitants, knowing
each other, require neither signs nor inscriptions. Peasants come to
Langen-Schwalbach from other villages, inquire for the sort of shop
which will suit them; or if they want (as they generally do) tobacco,
oil, or some rancid commodity, their noses are quite intelligent enough
to lead them to the doors they ought to enter; indeed, I myself very
soon found that it was quite possible thus to hunt for my own game.

I have already stated that Langen-Schwalbach is like a kitchen fork,
the handle of which is the lower or old part of the town: the prongs
representing two streets built in ravines, down each of which a small
stream of water descends. The Stahl brunnen (steel spring) is at the
head of the town, at the upper extremity of the right prong. Close
to the point of the other prong is the Wein brunnen (wine spring),
and about 600 yards up the same valley is situated the fashionable
brunnen of Pauline. Between these three points, brunnens, or wells, the
visiters at Langen-Schwalbach, with proper intervals for rest and food,
are everlastingly vibrating. Backwards and forwards, "down the middle
and up again," the strangers are seen walking, or rather crawling, with
a constancy that is really quite astonishing. Among the number there
may be here and there a Coelebs in search of a wife, and a very few
_sets_ of much smaller feet may, _impari passu_, be occasionally seen
pursuing nothing but their mammas; however, generally speaking, the
whole troop is chasing one and the same game; they are all searching
for the same treasure--in short, they are seeking for health: but it
is now necessary that the reader should be informed by what means they
hope to attain it.

In the time of the Romans, Schwalbach, which means literally the
swallow's stream, was a forest containing an immense sulphureous
fountain famed for its medicinal effects. In proportion as it rose
into notice, hovels, huts, and houses were erected; until a small
street or village was thus gradually established on the north and
south of the well. There was little to offer to the stranger but its
waters; yet, health being a commodity which people have always been
willing enough to purchase, the medicine was abundantly drunk, and
in the same proportion the little hamlet continued to grow, until it
justly attained and claimed for itself the appellation of Langen (long)
Schwalbach.

About sixty years ago the Stahl and Wein brunnens were discovered.
These springs were found to be quite different from the old one,
inasmuch as, instead of being only sulphureous, they were but strongly
impregnated with iron and carbonic acid gas. Instead, therefore, of
merely purifying the blood, they boldly undertook to strengthen the
human frame; and, in proportion as they attracted notice, so the old
original brunnen became neglected. About three years ago a new spring
was discovered in the valley above the Wein brunnen; this did not
contain quite so much iron as the Stahl or Wein brunnen; but possessing
other ingredients (among them that of novelty) which were declared to
be more salutary, it was patronised by Dr. Fenner, as being preferable
to the brimstone as well as other brunnens in the country. It was
accordingly called Pauline, after the present Duchess of Nassau, and is
now the fashionable brunnen or well of Langen-Schwalbach.

The village doctors, however, disagree on the subject; and Dr.
Stritter, a very mild, sensible man, recommends his patients to the
strong Stahl brunnen, almost as positively as Dr. Fenner sentences his
victims to the Pauline. Which is right, and which is wrong, is one of
the mysteries of this world; but as the cunning Jews all go to the
Stahl brunnen, I strongly suspect that they have some good reason for
this departure from the fashion.

As I observed people of all shapes, ages, and constitutions, swallowing
the waters of Langen-Schwalbach, I felt that, being absolutely on
the brink of the brunnen, I might, at least as an experiment, join
this awkward squad--that it would be quite time enough to desert if
I should find reason to do so--in short, that by trying the waters I
should have a surer proof whether they agreed with me or not, than
by listening to the conflicting opinions of all the doctors in the
universe. However, not knowing exactly in what quantities to take
them,--having learnt that Dr. Fenner himself had the greatest number
of patients, and that moreover being a one-eyed man he was much the
easiest to be found, I walked towards the shady walk near the Allee
Saal, resolving eventually to consult him; however, in turning a
sharp corner, happening almost to run against a gentleman in black,
"cui lumen ademptum," I gravely accosted him, and finding, as I did
in one moment, that I was right, in the middle of the street I began
to explain that he saw before him a wheel which wanted a new tire--a
shoe which required a new sole--a worn-out vessel seeking the hand of
the tinker; in short, that feeling very old, I merely wanted to become
young again.

Dr. Fenner is what would be called in England "a regular character,"
and being a shrewd, clever fellow, he evidently finds it answer, and
endeavours to maintain a singularity of manner, which with his one
eye (the other being extinguished in a college duel) serves to bring
him into general notice. As soon as my gloomy tale was concluded, the
Doctor, who had been walking at my side, stopped dead short, and when
I turned round to look for him, there I saw him, with his right arm
extended, its fore-finger and thumb clenched, as if holding snuff,
and its other three digits horizontally extended like the hand of a
direction-post. With his heels close together, he stood as lean and
as erect as a ramrod, the black patch which like a hatchment hung
over the window of his departed eye being supported by a riband wound
diagonally round his head. "Monsieur!" said he (for he speaks a little
French), "Monsieur!" he repeated, "à six heures du matin vous prendrez
à la Pauline trois verres! trois verres à la Pauline!" he repeated."A
dix heures vous prendrez un bain--en sortant du bain vous prendrez ..
(he paused, and after several seconds of deep thought, he added) ..
encore deux verres, et à cinq heures du soir, Monsieur, vous prendrez
.. (another long pause) .. encore trois verres! Monsieur! ces eaux vous
feront beaucoup de bien!!"

The arm of this sybil now fell to his side, like the limb of a
telegraph which had just concluded its intelligence. The Doctor made me
a low bow, spun round upon his heel, "and so he vanished."

I had not exactly bargained for bathing in, as well as drinking, the
waters; however, feeling in great good-humour with the little world I
was inhabiting, I was willing to go with (i. e. _into_) its stream;
and as I found that almost every visiter was daily soaked for an hour
or two, I could not but admit that what was prescribed for such geese,
might also be good sauce for the gander; and that at all events a bath
would at least have the advantage of drowning for me one hour per day,
in case I should find four-and-twenty of such visiters more than I
wanted.

In a very few days I got quite accustomed to what a sailor would call
the "fresh-water life" which had been prescribed for me; and as no
clock in the universe could be more regular than my behaviour, an
account of one day's performances, multiplied by the number I remained,
will give the reader, very nearly, the history or picture of an
existence at Langen-Schwalbach.



THE REVEILLE.


At a quarter past five I arose, and as soon after as possible left the
"hof." Every house was open, the streets already swept, the inhabitants
all up, the living world appeared broad awake, and there was nothing to
denote the earliness of the hour, but the delicious freshness of the
cool mountain air; which as yet, unenfeebled by the sun, just beaming
above the hill, was in that pure state, in which it had all night long
been slumbering in the valley. The face of nature seemed beaming with
health, and though there were no larks at Schwalbach gently "to carol
at the morn," yet immense red German slugs were everywhere in my path,
looking wetter, colder, fatter, and happier than they or I have words
to express. They had evidently been gorging themselves during the
night, and were now crawling into shelter to sleep away the day.

As soon as, getting from beneath the shaded walk of the Allee Saal, I
reached the green valley leading to the Pauline brunnen, it was quite
delightful to look at the grass, as it sparkled in the sun, every
green blade being laden with dew in such heavy particles, that there
seemed to be quite as much water as grass; indeed the crop was actually
bending under the weight of nourishment which, during the deep silence
of night, Nature had liberally imparted to it; and it was evident that
the sun would have to rise high in the heavens before it could attain
strength enough to rob the turf of this fertilizing and delicious
treasure.

At this early hour, I found but few people on the walks, and on
reaching the brunnen, the first agreeable thing I received there was a
smile from a very honest, homely, healthy old woman, who having seen me
approaching, had selected from her table my glass, the handle of which
she had marked by a piece of tape.

"Guten morgen!" she muttered; and then, without at all deranging the
hospitality of her smile, stooping down, she dashed the vessel into the
brunnen beneath her feet, and in a sort of civil hurry (lest any of
its spirit should escape), she presented me with a glass of her _eau
médicinale_. Clear as crystal, sparkling with carbonic acid gas, and
effervescing quite as much as champagne, it was nevertheless miserably
cold; and the first morning, what with the gas, and what with the low
temperature of this cold iron water, it was about as much as I could
do to swallow it; and, for a few seconds, feeling as if it had sluiced
my stomach completely by surprise, I stood hardly knowing what was
about to happen, when, instead of my teeth chattering, as I expected,
I felt the water suddenly grow warm within my waistcoat, and a slight
intoxication, or rather exhilaration, succeeded.

As I have always had an unconquerable aversion to walking backwards and
forwards on a formal parade, as soon as I had drank my first glass I
at once commenced ascending the hill which rises immediately from the
brunnen. Paths in zigzags are cut in various directions in the wood,
but so steep, that very few of the water-drinkers like to encounter
them. I found the trees to be oak and beech, the ground beneath being
covered with grass and heather, among which were, growing wild,
quantities of ripe strawberries and raspberries. The large red snails
were in great abundance, and immense black-beetles were also in the
paths, heaving at, and pushing upwards, loads of dung, &c., very much
bigger than themselves; the grass and heather were soaked with dew, and
even the strawberries looked much too wet to be eaten. However, I may
observe, that while drinking mineral waters, all fruit, wet or dry, is
forbidden. Smothered up in the wood, there was, of course, nothing to
be seen; but as soon as I gained the summit of the hill, a very pretty
hexagonal rustic hut, built of trees with the bark on, and hatched with
heather, presented itself. The sides were open, excepting two, which
were built up with sticks and moss. A rough circular table was in the
middle, upon which two or three young people had cut their names; and
round the inner circumference of the hut there was a bench, on which I
was glad enough to rest, while I enjoyed the extensive prospect.

The features of this picture, so different from any thing to be seen in
England, were exceedingly large, and the round rolling clouds seemed
bigger even than the distant mountains upon which they rested. Not a
fence was to be seen, but dark patches of wood, of various shapes and
sizes, were apparently dropped down upon the cultivated surface of the
country, which, as far as the eye could reach, looked like the fairy
park of some huge giant. In the foreground, however, small fields, and
little narrow strips of land, denoted the existence of a great number
of poor proprietors; and even if Langen-Schwalbach had not been seen
crouching at the bottom of its deep valley, it would have been quite
evident that, in the immediate neighbourhood, there must be, somewhere
or other, a town; for, in many places, the divisions of land were so
small, that one could plainly distinguish provender growing for the
poor man's cow,--the little patch of rye which was to become bread for
his children--and the half-acre of potatoes which was to help them
through the winter. Close to the town, these divisions and subdivisions
were exceedingly small; but when every little family had been provided
for, the fields grew larger; and at a short distance from where I sat,
there were crops, ripe and waving, which were evidently intended for a
larger and more distant market.

As soon as I had sufficiently enjoyed the freshness and the freedom of
this interesting landscape, it was curious to look down from the hut
upon the walk which leads from the Allee Saal to the brunnen or well of
Pauline; for, by this time, all ranks of people had arisen from their
beds, and the sun being now warm, the _beau monde_ of Langen-Schwalbach
was seen slowly loitering up and down the promenade.

At the rate of about a mile and a half an hour, I observed several
hundred quiet people crawling through and fretting away that portion
of their existence which lay between one glass of cold iron water
and another. If an individual were to be sentenced to such a life,
which, in fact, has all the fatigue without the pleasing sociability
of the treadmill, he would call it melancholy beyond endurance; yet
there is no pill which fashion cannot gild, or which habit cannot
sweeten. I remarked that the men were dressed, generally, in loose,
ill-made, snuff-coloured great coats, with awkward travelling caps,
of various shapes, instead of hats. The picture, therefore, taking it
altogether, was a homely one; but, although there were no particularly
elegant or fashionable-looking people, although their gait was by no
means attractive, yet even, from the lofty distant hut, I felt it was
impossible to help admiring the good sense and good feeling with which
all the elements of this German community appeared to be harmonizing
one with the other. There was no jostling, or crowding; no apparent
competition; no turning round to stare at strangers. There was no
"martial look nor lordly stride," but real genuine good breeding seemed
natural to all: it is true there was nothing which bore a very high
aristocratic polish; yet it was equally evident that the substance of
their society was intrinsically good enough not to require it.

The behaviour of such a motley assemblage of people, who belonged, of
course, to all ranks and conditions of life, in my humble opinion, did
them and their country very great credit. It was quite evident that
every man on the promenade, whatever might have been his birth, was
desirous to behave like a gentleman; and that there was no one, however
exalted was his station, who wished to do any more.

That young lady, rather more quietly dressed than the rest of her sex,
is the Princess Leuenstein; her countenance (could it but be seen from
the hut) is as unassuming as her dress, and her manner as quiet as her
bonnet. Her husband, who is one of the group of gentlemen behind her,
is mild, gentlemanlike, and (if in these days such a title may, without
offence, be given to a young man), I would add--he is modest.

There are one or two other princes on the promenade, with a very fair
sprinkling of dukes, counts, barons, &c.

        "There they go, altogether in a row!"

but though they congregate,--though like birds of a feather they flock
together, is there, I ask, anything arrogant in their behaviour? and
that respect which they meet with from every one, does it not seem to
be honestly their due? That uncommonly awkward, short, little couple,
who walk holding each other by the hand, and who, apropos to nothing,
occasionally break playfully into a trot, are a Jew and Jewess lately
married; and, as it is whispered that they have some mysterious reason
for drinking the waters, the uxorious anxiety with which the little
man presents the glass of cold comfort to his herring-made partner,
does not pass completely unobserved. That slow gentleman, with such an
immense body, who seems to be acquainted with the most select people on
the walk, is an ambassador, who goes nowhere--no, not even to mineral
waters, without his French cook, a circumstance quite enough to make
everybody speak well of him--a very honest, good-natured man he seems
to be; but as he walks, can anything be more evident than that his own
cook is killing him, and what possible benefit can a few glasses of
cold water do to a corporation which Falstaff's belt would be too short
to encircle?

Often and often have I pitied Diogenes for having lived in a tub; but
this poor ambassador is infinitely worse off, for the tub, it is too
evident, lives in _him_, and carry it about with him he must wherever
he goes; but, without smiling at any more of my water companions, it
is time I should descend to drink my second and third glass. One would
think that this deluge of cold water would leave little room for tea
and sugar; but miraculous as it may sound, by the time I got to my
"hof," there was as much stowage in the vessel as when she sailed;
besides this, the steel created an appetite which it was very difficult
to govern.

As soon as breakfast was over, I generally enjoyed the luxury of idling
about the town; and, in passing the shop of a blacksmith, who lived
opposite to the Goldene Kette, the manner in which he tackled and shod
a vicious horse always amused me. On the outside wall of the house, two
rings were firmly fixed; to one of which the head of the patient was
lashed close to the ground; the hind foot, to be shod, stretched out to
the utmost extent of the leg, was then secured to the other ring about
five feet high, by a cord which passed through a cloven hitch, fixed to
the root of the poor creature's tail.

The hind foot was consequently very much higher than the head; indeed,
it was so exalted, and pulled so heavily at the tail, that the animal
seemed to be quite anxious to keep his other feet on _terra firma_.
With one hoof in the heavens, it did not suit him to kick; with his
nose pointing to the infernal regions, he could not conveniently rear;
and as the devil himself was apparently pulling at his tail, the horse
at last gave up the point, and quietly submitted to be shod.

Nearly opposite to this blacksmith, sitting under the projecting
eaves of the Goldene Kette, there were to be seen, every day, a row
of women with immense baskets of fruit, which they had brought over
the hills, on their heads. The cherries were of the largest and finest
description, while the quantity of their stones lying on the paved
street, was quite sufficient to show at what a cheap rate they were
sold. Plums, apricots, greengages, apples, and pears, were also in the
greatest profusion; however, in passing these baskets, strangers were
strictly ordered to avert their eyes. In short, whenever raw fruit and
mineral water unexpectedly meet each other in the human stomach, a sort
of bubble-and-squeak contest invariably takes place--the one always
endeavouring to turn the other out of the house.

The crowd of idle boys, who like wasps were always hovering round these
fruit-selling women, I often observed very amusingly dispersed by the
arrival of some German grandee in his huge travelling carriage. For at
least a couple of minutes before the thing appeared, the postilion,
as he descended the mountain, was heard, attempting to notify to the
town the vast importance of his cargo, by playing on his trumpet a tune
which, in tone and flourish, exactly resembled that which, in London,
announces the approach of Punch. There is something always particularly
harsh and discordant in the notes of a trumpet badly blown; but when
placed to the lips of a great lumbering German postilion, who, half
smothered in his big boots and tawdry finery, has, besides this crooked
instrument, to hold the reins of two wheel horses, as well as of two
leaders, his attempt, in such deep affliction, to be musical, is comic
in the extreme; and, when the fellow at last arrived at the Goldene
Kette, playing a tune which I expected every moment would make the head
of Judy pop out of the carriage, one could not help feeling that, if
the money which that trumpet cost had been spent in a pair of better
spurs, it would have been of much more advantage and comfort to the
traveller; but German posting always reminds me of the remark which
the Black Prince was one day heard to utter, as he was struggling with
all his might to shave a pig.

However, though I most willingly join my fellow-countrymen in
ridiculing the tawdry heavy equipment of the German postilion, one's
nose always feeling disposed to turn itself upwards at the sight of a
horseman awkwardly encumbered with great, unmeaning, yellow worsted
tassels, and other broad ornaments, which seem better adapted to our
fourpost bedsteads than to a rider, yet I reluctantly acknowledge
that I do verily believe their horses are much more scientifically
harnessed, for slow heavy draught, than ours are in England.

Many years have now elapsed since I first observed that, somehow or
other, the horses on the Continent manage to pull a heavy carriage up a
steep hill, or along a dead level, with greater ease to themselves than
our English horses. Let any unprejudiced person attentively observe
with what little apparent fatigue three small ill-conditioned animals
will draw not only his own carriage, but very often that huge overgrown
vehicle, the French diligence, or the German eil-wagen, and I think he
must admit that, somewhere or other, there exists a mystery.

But the whole equipment is so unsightly--the rope harness is so
rude--the horses without blinkers look so wild--there is so much
bluster and noise in the postilion, that, far from paying any
compliment to the turn-out, one is very much disposed at once to
condemn the whole thing, and not caring a straw whether such horses be
fatigued or not, to make no other remark than that, in England, they
would have travelled at nearly twice the rate, with one-tenth of the
noise.

But neither the rate nor the noise is the question which I wish to
consider; for our superiority in the former, and our inferiority in the
latter, cannot be doubted. The thing I want, if possible, to account
for, is, how such small weak horses _do_ manage to draw one's carriage
up hill, with so much unaccountable ease to themselves.

Now, in English, French, and German harness, there exist, as it were,
three degrees of comparison in the manner in which the head of the
horse is treated; for, in England, it is elevated, or borne up, by
what we call the bearing-rein; in France, it is left as nature placed
it (there being to common French harness no bearing-rein); while, in
Germany, the head is tied down to the lower extremity of the collar,
or else the collar is so made that the animal is by it deprived of the
power of raising his head.

Now, it is undeniable that the English extreme and the German extreme
cannot both be right; and passing over for a moment the French method,
which is, in fact, the state of nature, let us for a moment consider
which is best, to bear a horse's head _up_, as in England, or to
pull it _downwards_, as in Germany. In my humble opinion, both are
wrong: still there is some science in the German error; whereas in our
treatment of the poor animal, we go directly against all mechanical
calculation.

In a state of nature, the wild horse (as every-body knows) has two
distinct gaits or attitudes. If man, or any still wilder beast, come
suddenly upon him, up goes his head; and as he first stalks and then
trots gently away, with ears erect, snorting with his nose and proudly
snuffing up the air, as if exulting in his freedom; as one fore-leg
darts before the other, one sees before one a picture of doubt,
astonishment, and hesitation,--all of which feelings seem to rein him,
like a troop-horse, on his haunches; but attempt to pursue him, and the
moment he defies you--the moment, determining to escape, he shakes his
head, and lays himself to his work, how completely does he alter his
attitude!--for then down goes his head, and from his ears to the tip of
his tail, there is in his vertebræ an undulating action which seems to
propel him, which works him along, and which, it is evident, you could
not deprive him of, without materially diminishing his speed.

Now, in harness, the horse has naturally the same two gaits or
attitudes; and it is quite true that he can start away with a carriage,
either in the one or the other; but the means by which he succeeds in
this effort, the physical powers which, in each case, he calls into
action, are essentially different; for in the one attitude he works
by his muscles, and in the other by his own dead, or rather living,
weight. In order to grind corn, if any man were to erect a steam-engine
over a fine, strong, running stream, we should all say to him, "Why
do you not allow your wheel to be turned by cold water instead of
by hot? Why do you not avail yourself of the _weight_ of the water,
instead of expending your capital in converting it into the power of
steam? In short, why do you not use the simple resource which nature
has presented ready made to your hand?" In the same way, the Germans
might say to us, "We acknowledge a horse _can_ drag a carriage by the
power of his muscles, but why do you not allow him to drag it by his
_weight_?"

In France, and particularly in Germany, horses do draw by the weight;
and it is to encourage them to raise up their backs, and lean downwards
with their heads, that the German collars are made in the way I have
described; that with a certain degree of rude science, the horse's
nose is tied to the bottom of his collar, and that the postilion at
starting, speaking gently to him, allows him to get himself into a
proper attitude for his draught.

The horse, thus treated, leans against the resistance which he meets
with, and his weight being infinitely greater than his draught (I mean
the balance being in his favour), the carriage follows him without
much more strain or effort on his part, than if he were idly leaning
his chest against his manger. It is true the flesh of his shoulder
may become sore from severe pressure, but his sinews and muscles are
comparatively at rest.

Now, as a contrast to this picture of the German horse, let any one
observe a pair of English post-horses dragging a heavy weight up a
hill, and he will at once see that the poor creatures are working
by their muscles, and that it is by sinews and main strength the
resistance is overcome; but how can it be otherwise? for their heads
are considerably higher than nature intended them to be even in
_walking_, in a state of liberty, carrying nothing but themselves. The
balance of their bodies is, therefore, absolutely turned _against_,
instead of leaning in favour of, their draught, and thus cruelly
deprived of the mechanical advantage of weight which everywhere else
in the universe is duly appreciated, the noble spirit of our high-fed
horses induces them to strain and drag the carriage forwards by their
muscles; and, if the reader will but pass his hands down the back
sinews of any of our stage-coach or post-chaise horses, he will soon
feel (though not so keenly as they do) what is the fatal consequence.
It is true that, in ascending a very steep hill, an English postilion
will occasionally unhook the bearing-reins of his horses; but the poor
jaded creatures, trained for years to work in a false attitude, cannot,
in one moment, get themselves into the scientific position which the
German horses are habitually encouraged to adopt; besides this, we are
so sharp with our horses--we keep them so constantly on the _qui vive_,
or, as we term it, in hand--that we are always driving them from the
use of their weight to the application of their sinews.

That the figure and attitude of a horse, working by his sinews, are
infinitely prouder than when he is working by his weight (there may
exist, however, false pride among horses as well as among men), I most
readily admit, and, therefore, for carriages of luxury, where the
weight bears little proportion to the powers of the two noble animals,
I acknowledge that the sinews are more than sufficient for the slight
labour required; but to bear up the head of a poor horse at plough,
or at any slow, heavy work, is, I humbly conceive, a barbarous error,
which ought not to be persisted in.

I may be quite wrong in the way in which I have just endeavoured to
account for the fact that horses on the Continent draw heavy weights
with apparently greater ease to themselves than our horses, and I
almost hope that I am wrong; for laughing, as we all do, at the German
and French harness, sneering, as we do, at their ropes, and wondering
out loud, as we always do, why they do not copy us, it would not be
a little provoking were we, in spite of our fine harness, to find
out, that for slow, heavy draught, it is better to tie a horse's nose
_downwards_, like the German, than _upwards_, like the English, and
that the French way of leaving them at liberty is better than both.



THE BATH.


The eager step with which I always walked towards the strong steel
bath, is almost indescribable. Health is such an inestimable blessing;
it colours so highly the little picture of life; it sweetens so
exquisitely the small cup of our existence; it is so like sunshine, in
the absence of which the world, with all its beauties, would be, as it
once was, without form and void, that I can conceive nothing which a
man ought more eagerly to do than get between the stones of that mill
which is to grind him young again, particularly when, as in my case,
the operation was to be attended with no pain. When, therefore, I had
once left my hof to walk to the bath, I felt as if no power on earth
could arrest my progress.

The oblong slated building, which contains the famous waters of
Langen-Schwalbach, is plain and unassuming in its elevation, and very
sensibly adapted to its purpose. The outside walls are plastered,
and coloured a very light red. There are five-and-twenty windows in
front, with an arcade or covered walk beneath them, supported by an
equal number of pilasters, connected together by Saxon arches. On
entering the main door, which is in the centre, the great staircase is
immediately in front, and close to it, on the left, there sits a man,
from whom the person about to bathe purchases his ticket, for which he
pays forty-eight kreuzers, about sixteen pence.

The Pauline spring is conducted to the baths on the upper story; the
Wein brunnen supplies those below on the left of the staircase; the
strong Stahl, or steel brunnen, those on the right; all these baths
opening into passages, which, in both stories, extend the whole length
of the building. At the commencement of each hour, there was always
a great bustle between the people about to be washed, and those who
had just undergone the operation. A man and woman attend above and
below, and, quite regardless of their sex, every person was trying to
prevail upon either of these attendants to let the old water out of
the bath, and to turn the hot and cold cocks which were to replenish
it. Restlessness and anxiety were depicted in every countenance;
however, in a few minutes, a calm having ensued, the water was heard
rushing into fifteen or sixteen baths on each floor. Soon again the
poor pair were badgered and tormented by various voices, from trebles
down to contra-bassos, all calling to them to stop the cocks. With a
thermometer in one hand, a great wooden shovel in the other, and a face
as wet as if it had just emerged from the bath, each servant hurried
from one bath to another, adjusting them all to about 25° of Reaumur.
Door after door was then heard to shut, and in a few minutes the
passage became once again silent. A sort of wicker basket, containing a
pan of burning embers, was afterwards given to any person who, for the
sake of having warm towels, was willing to breathe carbonic acid gas.

As soon as the patient was ready to enter his bath, the first feeling
which crossed his mind, as he stood shivering on the brink, was a
disinclination to dip even the foot into a mixture which looked about
as thick as a horse-pond, and about the colour of mullagitawny soup.
However, having come as far as Langen-Schwalbach, there was nothing to
say, but "_en avant_," and so, descending the steps, I got into stuff
so deeply coloured with the red oxide of iron, that the body, when a
couple of inches below the surface, was invisible. The temperature of
the water felt neither hot nor cold; but I was no sooner immersed in
it, than I felt it was evidently of a strengthening, bracing nature,
and I could almost have fancied myself lying with a set of hides in a
tan-pit. The half-hour, which every day I was sentenced to spend in
this red decoction, was by far the longest in the twenty-four hours;
and I was always very glad when my chronometer, which I always hung on
a nail before my eyes, pointed permission to me to extricate myself
from the mess. While the body was floating, hardly knowing whether to
sink or swim, I found it was very difficult for the mind to enjoy any
sort of recreation, or to reflect for two minutes on any one subject;
and as half shivering I lay watching the minute hand of the dial, it
appeared the slowest traveller in existence.

These baths are said to be very apt to produce head-ache, sleepiness,
and other slightly apoplectic symptoms; but surely such effects must
proceed from the silly habit of not immersing the head? The frame of
man has beneficently been made capable of existing under the line, or
near either of the poles of the earth. We know it can even live in
an oven in which meat is baking; but, surely, if it were possible to
send one half of the body to Iceland while the other was reclining
on the banks of Fernando Po, the trial would be exceedingly severe;
in as much as nature, never having contemplated such a vagary, has
not thought it necessary to provide against it. In a less degree, the
same argument applies to bathing, particularly in mineral waters; for
even the common pressure of water on the portion of the body which is
immersed in it, tends mechanically to push or force the blood towards
that part (the head) enjoying a rarer medium; but when it is taken
into calculation that the mineral mixture of Schwalbach acts on the
body not only mechanically, by pressure, but medicinally, being a very
strong astringent, there needs no wizard to account for the unpleasant
sensations so often complained of.

For the above reason, I resolved that my head should fare alike with
the rest of my system; in short, that it deserved to be strengthened
as much as my limbs. It was equally old--had accompanied them in all
their little troubles; and, moreover, often and often, when they had
sunk down to rest, had it been forced to contemplate and provide for
the dangers and vicissitudes of the next day. I, therefore, applied
no half remedy--submitted to no partial operation--but resolved that,
if the waters of Langen-Schwalbach were to make me invulnerable, the
box which held my brains should humbly, but equally, partake of the
blessing.

The way in which I bathed, with the reasons which induced me to do so,
were mentioned to Dr. Fenner. He made no objection, but in silence
shrugged up his shoulders. However, the fact is, in this instance, as
well as in many others, he is obliged to prescribe no more than human
nature is willing to comply with. And as Germans are not much in the
habit of washing their heads,--and even if they were, as they would
certainly refuse to dip their sculls into a mixture which stains the
hair a deep-red-colour, upon which common soap has not the slightest
detergent effect,--the doctor probably feels that he would only lose
his influence were he publicly to undergo the defeat of being driven
from a system which all men would agree to abominate; indeed, one has
only to look at the ladies' flannel dresses which hang in the yard to
dry, to read the truth of the above assertion.

These garments having been several times immersed in the bath, are
stained as deep a red as if they had been rubbed with ochre or
brickdust; yet the upper part of the flannel is quite as white,
and, indeed, by comparison, appears infinitely whiter than ever: in
short, without asking to see the owners, it is quite evident that, at
Schwalbach, young ladies, and even old ones, cannot make up their minds
to stain any part of their fabric which towers above their evening
gowns; and, though the rest of their lovely persons are as red as the
limbs of the American Indian, yet their faces and cheeks bloom like the
roses of York and Lancaster; but the effect of these waters on the skin
is so singular, that one has only to witness it to understand that it
would be useless for the poor doctor to prescribe to ladies more than a
pie-bald application of the remedy.

Although, of course, in coming out of the bath, the patient rubs
himself dry, and apparently perfectly clean, yet the rust, by exercise,
comes out so profusely, that not only is the linen of those people who
bathe stained, but even their sheets are similarly discoloured; the
dandy's neckcloth becomes red; and when the head has been immersed,
the pillow in the morning looks as if a rusty thirteen-inch shell had
been reposing on it.

To the servant who has cleaned the bath, filled it, and supplied it
with towels, it is customary to give each day six kreuzers, amounting
to twopence; and, as another example of the cheapness of German
luxuries, I may observe, that, if a person chooses, instead of walking,
to be carried in a sedan-chair, and brought back to his hof, the price
fixed for the two journeys is--threepence.

Having now taken my bath, the next part of my daily sentence was, "to
return to the place from whence I came, and there" to drink two more
glasses of water from the Pauline. The weather having been unusually
hot, in walking to the bath I was generally very much overpowered by
the heat of the sun; but on leaving the mixture to walk to the Pauline,
I always felt as if his rays were not as strong as myself; I really
fancied that they glanced from my frame as from a polished cuirass;
and, far from suffering, I enjoyed the walk, always remarking that
the cold evaporation proceeding from wet hair formed an additional
reason for preventing the blood from rushing upwards. The glass of
cold sparkling water which, under the mid-day sun, I received after
quitting the bath, from the healthy-looking old goddess of the Pauline,
was delicious beyond the powers of description. It was infinitely
more refreshing than iced soda water, and the idea that it was doing
good instead of harm--that it was medicine, not luxury--added to it a
flavour which the mind, as well as the body, seemed to enjoy.

What with the iron in my skin, the rust in my hair, and the warmth
which this strengthening mixture imparted to my waistcoat, I always
felt an unconquerable inclination to face the hill; and selecting
a different path from the one I had taken in the morning, I seldom
stopped until I had reached the tip-top of one of the many eminences
which overhang the promenade and its _beau monde_.

The climate of this high table-land was always invigorating; and
although the sun was the same planet which was scorching the saunterers
in the valley beneath, yet its rays did not take the same hold upon the
rare, subtile mountain air.

At this hour the peasants had descended into the town to dine. The
fields were, consequently, deserted; yet it was pleasing to see where
they had been toiling, and how much of the corn they had cut since
yesterday. I derived pleasure from looking at the large heap of
potatoes they had been extracting, and from observing that they had
already begun to plough the stubble which only two days ago had been
standing corn. Though neither man, woman, nor child were to be seen,
it was, nevertheless, quite evident that they could only just have
vanished; and though I had no fellow-creature to converse with, yet I
enjoyed an old-fashioned pleasure in tracing on the ground marks where,
at least, human beings had been.

Quite by myself I was loitering on these heights, when I heard the
troop of Langen-Schwalbach cows coming through the great wood on my
left; and wanting, at the moment, something to do, diving into the
forest I soon succeeded in joining the gang. They were driven by a man
and a woman, who received for every cow under their care forty-two
kreuzers, or fourteen pence, for the six summer months: for this humble
remuneration, they drove the cows of Schwalbach every morning into the
great woods, to enjoy air and a very little food; three times a-day
they conducted them home to be milked, and as often re-ascended to the
forest. At the hours of assembling, the man blew a long, crooked, tin
horn, which the cows and their proprietors equally well understood.
Everybody must be aware, that it is not a very easy job to keep a set
of cows together in a forest, as the young ones, especially, are always
endeavouring to go astray; however, the two guides had each a curious
sort of instrument by which they managed to keep them in excellent
subjection. It consisted of a heavy stick about two feet long, with
six iron rings, so placed that they could be shaken up and down; and,
certainly, if it were to be exhibited at Smithfield, no being there,
human or inhuman, would ever guess that it was invented for driving
cows; and were he even to be told so, he would not conceive how it
could possibly be used for that purpose. Yet, in Nassau, it is the
regular engine for propelling cattle of all descriptions.

In driving the cows through the wood, I observed that the man and woman
each kept on one flank, the herd leisurely proceeding before them; but
if any of the cows attempted to stray--if any of them presumed to lie
down--or if any one of them appeared to be in too earnest conversation
with a great lumbering creature of her own species, distinguished by
a ring through his nose, and a bright iron chain round his neck, the
man, and especially the woman, gave two or three shakes with the ring,
and if that lecture was not sufficient the stick, rings and all, flew
through the air, inflicting a blow which really appeared sufficient to
break a rib, and certainly much more than sufficient to dislodge an eye.

It was easy to calculate the force of this uncouth weapon, by the fear
the poor animals entertained of it; and I observed, that no sooner did
the woman shake it at an erring, disobedient cow, than the creature at
once gave up the point, and hurried forwards.

In the stillness of the forest, nothing could sound wilder than the
sudden rattling of these rings, and almost could one fancy that beings
in chains were running between the trees. A less severe discipline
would, probably, not be sufficient. However, I must record that the
severity was exercised with a considerable proportion of discretion;
for I particularly remarked that, when cows were in a certain
interesting situation, their rude drivers, with unerring aim, always
pelted them on the hocks.

Leaving the cows, and descending the mountain's side, I strolled
through the little mountain hamlet of Wambach. In the middle of this
simple retreat, there stood, overtopping most of the other dwellings,
a tall slender hut, on the thatched roof of which was a wooden
pent-house, containing a bell, which, three times a-day, tolled for
reveille, noon-tide meal, and curfew. As the human tongue speaks by the
impulse of the mind, so did this humble clapper move in obedience to
the dictates of _a village watch_, which, when out of order, the parish
was bound to repair.

From the upper windows of the principal house, I saw suspended
festoons, or strings of apples cut in slices, and exposed to the sun
to dry. A lad, smoking his pipe, was driving his mother's cow to
fetch grass from the valley. Women, with pails in their hands, were
proceeding towards the spring for water; others were returning to their
homes heavily laden with fagots, while several of their idle children
were loitering about before their doors.

But, as I had still another dose of water to drink from the Pauline,
I hastened to the brunnen, and having emptied my glass (which, like
the outside of a bottle of iced water, was instantaneously covered by
condensation with dew), I found that it was time to prepare myself (as
I beg leave to prepare my reader) for that very lengthy ceremony--a
German dinner.



THE DINNER.


During the fashionable season at Langen-Schwalbach, the dinner hour at
all the Saals is one o'clock. From about noon scarcely a stranger is
to be seen; but a few minutes before the bell strikes one, the town
exhibits a picture curious enough, when it is contrasted with the
simple costume of the villagers, and the wild-looking country which
surrounds them. From all the hofs and lodging-houses, a set of demure,
quiet-looking, well-dressed people are suddenly disgorged, who, at
a sort of funeral pace, slowly advance towards the Allee Saal, the
Goldene Kette, the Kaiser Saal, and one or two other houses, _où l'on
dîne_. The ladies are not dressed in bonnets, but in caps, most of
which are quiet; the rest being of those indescribable shapes which are
to be seen in London or Paris. Whether the stiffstand-up frippery of
bright-red ribands was meant to represent a house on fire, or purgatory
itself--whether those immense white ornaments were intended for reefs
of coral or not--it is out of my department to guess--ladies' caps
being riddles only to be explained by themselves.

With no one to affront them--with no fine-powdered footman to attend
them--with nothing but their appetites to direct them--and with their
own quiet conduct to protect them--old ladies, young ladies, elderly
gentlemen, and young ones, were seen slowly and silently picking their
way over the rough pavement. There was no greediness in their looks;
nor, as they proceeded, did they lick their lips, or show any other
signs of possessing any appetite at all; they looked much more as if
they were coming from a meal, than going to one: in short, they seemed
to be thinking of anything in the dictionary but the word _dinner_.
And when one contrasted or weighed the quietness of their demeanour,
against the enormous quantity of provisions they were placidly about to
consume, one could not help admitting that these Germans had certainly
more self-possession, and could better muzzle their feelings, than many
of the best-behaved people in the universe.

Seated at the table of the Allee Saal, I counted a hundred and eighty
people at dinner in one room. To say, in a single word, whether the
fare was good or bad, would be quite impossible, it being so completely
different to anything ever met with in England.

To my simple taste, the cooking is most horrid; still there were
now and then some dishes, particularly sweet ones, which I thought
excellent. With respect to the made-dishes, of which there was a great
variety, I beg to offer to the reader a formula I invented, which will
teach him (should he ever come to Germany) what to expect. The simple
rule is this:--let him taste the dish, and if it be not sour, he may
be quite certain that it is greasy;--again, if it be not greasy, let
him not eat thereof, for then it is sure to be sour. With regard to
the order of the dishes, that, too, is unlike any thing which Mrs.
Glasse ever thought of. After soup, which all over the world is the
alpha of the gourmand's alphabet, the barren meat from which the said
soup has been extracted is produced. Of course it is dry, tasteless,
withered-looking stuff, which a Grosvenor-square cat would not touch
with its whisker; but this dish is always attended by a couple of
satellites--the one a quantity of cucumbers dressed in vinegar, the
other a black, greasy sauce; and if you dare to accept a piece of this
flaccid beef, you are instantly thrown between Scylla and Charybdis;
for so sure as you decline the indigestible cucumber, souse comes into
your plate a deluge of the greasy sauce! After the company have eaten
heavily of messes which it would be impossible to describe, in comes
some nice salmon--then fowls--then puddings--then meat again--then
stewed fruit; and after the English stranger has fallen back in his
chair quite beaten, a leg of mutton majestically makes its appearance!

I dined just two days at the Saals, and then bade adieu to them for
ever. Nothing which this world affords could induce me to feed in this
gross manner. The pig, who lives in his sty, would have some excuse;
but it is really quite shocking to see any other animal overpowering
himself at mid-day with such a mixture and superabundance of food.
Yet only think what a compliment all this is to the mineral waters of
Langen-Schwalbach; for if people who come here and live in this way
morning, noon, and night can, as I really believe they do, return to
their homes in better health than they departed, how much more benefit
ought any one to derive, who, maintaining a life of simplicity and
temperance, would resolve to give them a fair trial! In short, if the
cold iron waters of the Pauline can be of real service to a stomach
full of vinegar and grease, how much more effectually ought they to
tinker up and repair the inside of him who has sense enough to sue them
_in formâ pauperis_.

Dr. Fenner was told that I had given up dining in public, as I
preferred a single dish at home; and he was then asked, with a
scrutinizing look, whether eating so much was not surely very bad for
those who were drinking the waters? The poor doctor quietly shrugged up
his shoulders,--silently looking at his shoes,--and what else could he
have done? Himself an inhabitant of Langen-Schwalbach, of course he was
obliged to feel the pulse of his own fellow-citizens, as well as that
of the stranger; and into what a fever would he have thrown all the
innkeepers--what a convulsion would he have occasioned in the village
itself--were he to have presumed to prescribe temperance to those
wealthy visiters by whose intemperance the community hoped to prosper!
He might as well have gone into the fields to burn the crops, as thus
wickedly to blight the golden harvest which Langen-Schwalbach had
calculated on reaping during the short visit of its consumptive guests.

Our dinner is now over; but I must not rise from the table of the Allee
Saal until I have made an '_amende honorable_' to those against whose
vile cooking I have been railing, for it is only common justice to
German society to offer an humble testimony that nothing can be more
creditable to any nation; one can scarcely imagine a more pleasing
picture of civilized life, than the mode in which society is conducted
at these watering-places.

The company which comes to the brunnens for health, and which
daily assembles at dinner, is of a most heterogeneous description,
being composed of Princes, Dukes, Barons, Counts, &c., down to the
petty shopkeeper, and even the Jew of Frankfort, Mainz, and other
neighbouring towns; in short, all the most jarring elements of society,
at the same moment, enter the same room, to partake together the same
one shilling and eight-penny dinner.

Even to a stranger like myself, it was easy to perceive that the
company, as they seated themselves round the table, had herded together
in parties and coteries, neither acquainted with each other, nor with
much disposition to be acquainted--still, all those invaluable forms
of society which connect the guests of any private individual were
most strictly observed; and, from the natural good sense and breeding
in the country this happy combination was apparently effected without
any effort. No one seemed to be under any restraint, yet there was
no freezing formality at one end of the table, nor rude boisterous
mirth at the other. With as honest good appetites as could belong to
any set of people under the sun, I particularly remarked that there
was no scrambling for favourite dishes;--to be sure, here and there,
an eye was seen twinkling a little brighter than usual, as it watched
the progress of any approaching dish which appeared to be unusually
sour or greasy, but there was no greediness--no impatience--nothing
which seemed for a single moment to interrupt the general harmony of
the scene; and, though I scarcely heard a syllable of the buzz of
conversation which surrounded me; although every moment I felt less and
less disposed to attempt to eat what for some time had gradually been
coagulating in my plate; yet, leaning back in my chair, I certainly did
derive very great pleasure, and I hope a very rational enjoyment, in
looking upon so pleasing a picture of civilized life.

In England we are too apt to designate, by the general term "society,"
the particular class, clan, or clique in which we ourselves may happen
to move, and if that little speck be sufficiently polished, people are
generally quite satisfied with what they term "the present state of
society;" yet there exists a very important difference between this
ideal civilization of a part or parts of a community, and the actual
civilization of the community as a whole: and surely no country can
justly claim for itself that title, until not only can its various
members move separately among each other, but until, if necessary, they
can all meet and act together. Now, if this assertion be admitted, I
fear it cannot be denied that we islanders are very far from being as
highly polished as our continental neighbours, and that we but too
often mistake odd provincial habits of our own invention, for the
broad, useful, current manners of the world.

In England, each class of society, like our different bands of trades,
is governed by its own particular rules. There is a class of society
which has very gravely, and for aught I care very properly, settled
that certain food is to be eaten with a fork--that others are to be
launched into the mouth with a spoon; and that to act against these
rules (or whims) shows "that the man has not lived in _the world_."
At the other end of society there are, one has heard, also rules of
honour, prescribing the sum to be put into a tin money-box, so often
as the pipe shall be filled with tobacco, with various other laws of
the same dark caste or complexion. These conventions, however, having
been firmly established among each of the many classes into which our
country people are subdivided, a very considerable degree of order is
everywhere maintained; and, therefore, let a foreigner go into any
sort of society in England, and he will find it is apparently living
in happy obedience to its own laws; but if any chance or convulsion
brings these various classes of society, each laden with its own laws,
into general contact, a sort of Babel confusion instantly takes place,
each class loudly calling its neighbour to order in a language it
cannot comprehend. Like the followers of different religions, the one
has been taught a creed which has not even been heard of by the other;
there is no sound bond of union--no reasonable understanding between
the parties: in short, they resemble a set of regiments, each of which
having been drilled according to the caprice or fancy of its colonel,
appears in very high order on its own parade, yet, when all are brought
together, form an unorganized and undisciplined army; and in support
of this theory, is it not undeniably true, that it is practically
impossible for all ranks of society to associate together in England
with the same ease and inoffensive freedom which characterizes similar
meetings on the Continent? And yet a German duke or a German baron is
as proud of his rank, and rank is as much respected in his country as
it is in our country.

There _must_, therefore, in England exist somewhere or other a
radical fault. The upper classes will of course lay the blame on the
lowest--the lowest will abuse the highest--but may not the error lie
between the two? Does it not rather rest upon both? and is it not
caused by the laws which regulate our small island society being odd,
unmeaning, imaginary, and often fictitious, instead of being stamped
with those large intelligible characters which make them at once
legible to all the inhabitants of the globe?

For instance, on the Continent, every child, almost before he learns
his alphabet, before he is able even to crack a whip, is taught what is
termed in Europe civility; a trifling example of which I witnessed this
very morning. At nearly a league from Langen-Schwalbach, I walked up to
a little boy who was flying a kite on the top of a hill, in the middle
of a field of oat stubble. I said not a word to the child--scarcely
looked at him--but as soon as I got close to him, the little village
clod, who had never breathed anything thicker than his own mountain
air, actually almost lost string, kite, and all, in an effort, quite
irresistible, which he made to bow to me, and take off his hat. Again,
in the middle of the forest, I saw the other day three labouring boys
laughing together, each of their mouths being, if possible, wider open
than the others; however, as they separated, off went their caps, and
they really took leave of each other in the very same sort of manner
with which I yesterday saw the Landgrave of Hesse Hombourg return a bow
to a common postilion.

It is this general, well founded, and acknowledged system which binds
together all classes of society. It is this useful, sensible system,
which enables the master of the Allee Saal, as he walks about the
room during dinner time, occasionally to converse with the various
descriptions of guests who have honoured his table with their presence;
for, however people in England would be shocked at such an idea, on the
Continent, so long as a person speaks and behaves correctly, he need
not fear to give any one offence.

Now, in England, as we all know, we have all sorts of manners, and
a man actually scarcely dares to say which is the true idol to
be worshipped. We have very noble aristocratic manners;--we have
the short, stumpy manners of the old-fashioned English country
gentleman;--we have thick, dandified manners;--blackstock military
manners;--"your free and easy manners" (which, by the by, on the
Continent, would be translated "_no manners at all_.") We have the
ledger manners of a steady man of business;--the last-imported monkey
or ultra-Parisian manners;--manners not only of a school-boy, but of
the particular school to which he belongs;--and, lastly, we have the
party-coloured manners of the mobility, who, until they were taught the
contrary, very falsely flattered themselves that on the throne they
would find the "ship, a-hoy!" manners of "a true British sailor."

Now, with respect to these motley manners, these "black spirits and
white, blue spirits and grey," which are about as different from
each other as the manners of the various beasts collected by Noah in
his ark, it may at once be observed, that (however we ourselves may
admire them) there are very few of them indeed which are suited to the
Continent; and consequently, though Russians, Prussians, Austrians,
French, and Italians, to a certain degree, can anywhere assimilate
together, yet, somehow or other, our manners--(never mind whether
better or worse)--are different. Which, therefore, I am seriously
disposed to ask of myself, are the most likely to be right? the manners
of "the right little, tight little island," or those of the inhabitants
of the vast Continent of Europe?

The reader will, I fear, think that my dinner reflections have partaken
of the acidity of the German mess which lay so long before me untouched
in my plate; and at my observations I fully expect he will shake his
head, as I did when, afterwards, expecting to get something sweet, I
found my mouth nearly filled with a substance very nearly related to
sour-crout. Should the old man's remarks be unpalatable, they are not
more so than was his meal; and he begs to apologize for them by saying,
that had he, as he much wished, been able to eat, he would not, against
his will, have been driven to reflect.



THE PROMENADE.


A few minutes after the dessert had been placed on the table of the
Allee Saal, one or two people from different chairs rose and glided
away; then up got as many more, until, in about a quarter of an hour,
the whole company had quietly vanished, excepting here and there,
round the vast circumference of the table, a couple, who, not having
yet finished their phlegmatic, long-winded argument, sat like pairs of
oxen, with their heads yoked together.

It being yet only three o'clock in the day, and as people did not begin
to drink the waters again till about six, there was a long, heavy
interval, which was spent very much in the way in which English cows
pass their time when quite full of fine red clover,--bending their fore
knees, they lie down on the grass to ruminate.

As it was very hot at this hour, the ladies, in groups of two, three,
and four, with coffee before them on small square tables, sat out
together in the open air, under the shade of the trees. Most of them
commenced knitting; but, at this plethoric hour, I could not help
observing that they made several hundred times as many stitches
as remarks. A few of the young men, with cigars in their mouths,
meandered, in dandified silence, through these parties of ladies; but
almost all the German lords of the creation had hidden themselves
in holes and corners, to enjoy smoking their pipes; and surely
nothing can be more filthy--nothing can be a greater waste of time
and intellect than this horrid habit. If tobacco were even a fragrant
perfume, instead of stinking as it does, still the habit which makes
it necessary to a human being to carry a large bag in one of his
coat-pockets, and an unwieldy crooked pipe in the other, would be
unmanly; inasmuch as, besides creating an artificial want, it encumbers
him with a real burden, which, both on horseback and on foot, impedes
his activity and his progress; but when it turns out that this sad
artificial want is a nasty, vicious habit,--when it is impossible to
be clean if you indulge in it,--when it makes your hair and clothes
smell most loathsomely,--when you absolutely pollute the fresh air as
you pass through it:--when, besides all this, it corrodes the teeth,
injures the stomach, and fills with red inflammatory particles the
naturally cool, clear, white brain of man, it is quite astonishing
that these Germans, who can act so sensibly during so many hours of
the day, should not have strength of mind enough to trample their
tobacco-bags under their feet--throw their reeking, sooty pipes behind
them, and learn (I will not say from the English, but from every bird
and animal in a state of nature) to be clean; and certainly whatever
faults there may be in our manners, our cleanliness is a virtue which,
above every nation I have ever visited, pre-eminently distinguishes
us in the world. During the time which was spent in this stinking
vice, I observed that people neither interrupted each other, nor did
they very much like to be interrupted; in short, it was a sort of
siesta with the eyes open, and with smoke coming out of the mouth.
Sometimes gazing out of the window of his hof, I saw a German baron,
in a tawdry dressing-gown and scullcap (with an immense ring on his
dirty forefinger), smoking, and pretending to be thinking; sometimes I
winded a creature who, in a similar attitude, was seated on the shady
benches near the Stahl brunnen; but these were only exceptions to the
general rule, for most of the males had vanished, one knew not where,
to convert themselves into automatons which had all the smoky nuisance
of the steam-engine--without its power.

At about half-past five or six o'clock, "the world" began to come to
life again; the ladies with their knitting needles lying in their laps,
gradually began to talk to each other, some even attempting to laugh.
Group rising after group, left the small white painted tables and
empty coffee-cups round which they had been sitting, and in a short
time, the walks to the three brunnens in general, and to the Pauline in
particular, were once again thronged with people; and as slowly, and
very slowly, they walked backwards and forwards, one again saw German
society in its most amiable and delightful point of view. A few of the
ladies, particularly those who had young children, were occasionally
accompanied through the day by a nice steady, healthy-looking young
woman, whose dress (being without cap or bonnet, with a plain cloth
shawl thrown over a dark cotton gown) at once denoted that she was a
servant.

The distinction in her dress was marked in the extreme, yet it was
pleasing to see that there was no necessity to carry it farther, the
woman appearing to be so well behaved, that there was little fear of
her giving offence. Whenever her mistress stopped to talk to any of her
friends, this attendant became a harmless listener to the conversation,
and when a couple of families, seated on a bank, were amusing each
other with jokes and anecdotes, one saw by the countenances of these
quiet-looking young people, who were also permitted to sit down, that
they were enjoying the story quite as much as the rest.

In England, our fine people would of course be shocked at the idea
of thus associating with, or rather sitting in society with their
servants, and on account of the manners of our servants, it certainly
would not be agreeable; however, if we had but one code, instead of
having one hundred and fifty thousand (for I quite forgot to insert
in my long list the manners of a fashionable lady's maid), this would
not be the case; for then English servants, like German servants,
would learn to sit in the presence of their superiors without giving
any offence at all. But besides observing how harmlessly these German
menials conducted themselves, I must own I could not help reflecting
what an advantage it was, not only to them, but to the humble hovel
to which, when they married, they would probably return--in short, to
society, that they should thus have had an opportunity of witnessing
the conduct, and of listening to the conversation of quiet, sensible,
moral people, who had had the advantages of a good education.

Of course, if these young people were placed on high wages--tricked
out with all the cast-off finery of their mistresses--and if laden
with these elements of corruption, and hopelessly banished from the
presence of their superiors, they were day after day, and night after
night, to be stewed up together with stewards, butlers, &c., in the
devil's frying-pan--I mean, that den of narrow-minded iniquity, a
housekeeper's room--of course, these strong, bony, useful servants
would very soon dress as finely, and give themselves all those airs for
which an English lady's maid is so celebrated even in her own country;
but, in Germany, good sense and poverty have as yet firmly and rigidly
prescribed, not only the dress which is to distinguish servants from
their masters, but that, with every rational indulgence, with every
liberal opportunity of raising themselves in their own estimation, they
shall be fed and treated in a manner and according to a scale, which,
though superior, still bears a due relation to the humble station
and habits in which they were born and bred. Of course, servants
trained in this manner cost very little, yet if they are not naturally
ill-disposed, there is every thing to encourage them in good behaviour,
with very little to lead them astray. They are certainly not, like our
servants, clothed in satin, fine linen, and superfine cloth; nor like
Dives himself, do they fare sumptuously every day, but I believe they
are all the happier, and infinitely more at their ease, for being kept
to their natural station in life, instead of being permitted to ape an
appearance for which their education has not fitted them, or repeat
fine slip-slop sentiments which they do not understand.

However, it is not our servants who deserve to be blamed; they are
quite right to receive high wages, wear veils, kid gloves, superfine
cloth, give themselves airs, mock the manners of their lords and
ladies, and to farcify below stairs the "Comedy of Errors," which
they catch an occasional glimpse of above; in short, to do as little,
consume as much, and be as expensive and troublesome as possible. No
liberal person can blame _them_, but it is, I fear, on _our_ heads
that all their follies must rest; we have no one but ourselves to
blame, and until a few of the principal families in England, for the
credit and welfare of the country, agree together to lower the style
and habits of their servants, and by a long pull, a strong pull, and
a pull all together, to break the horrid system which at present
prevails,--the distinction between the honest ploughman, who whistles
along the fallow, and his white-faced, powder-headed, silver-laced,
scarlet-breached, golden-gartered brother in London, must be as
strikingly ridiculous as ever: the one must remain an honour, the other
a discredit, to the wealth of a country which (we all say unjustly)
has been called by its enemy a "nation of shopkeepers."

If once the system were to be blown up, thousands of honest,
well-meaning servants would, I believe, rejoice; and while the
aristocracy and wealthier classes would in fact be served at least as
well as ever, the middle ranks, and especially all people of small
incomes, would be relieved beyond description from an unnatural and
unnecessary burden which but too often embitters all their little
domestic arrangements. There can be no points of contrast between
Germany and England more remarkable than that, in the one country,
people of all incomes are supported and relieved in proportion to the
number of their servants, while in the other they are tormented and
oppressed. Again, that in the one country, servants humbly dressed,
and humbly fed, live in a sort of exalted and honourable intercourse
with their masters; while, in the other, servants highly powdered, and
grossly fed, are treated _de haut en bas_, in a manner which is not to
be seen on the Continent.

The enormous wealth of England is the commercial wonder of the world,
yet every reflecting man who looks at our debt, at the immense fortunes
of individuals, and at the levelling, unprincipled, radical spirit of
the age, must see that there exist among us elements which may possibly
some day or other furiously appear in collision. The great country may
yet live to see distress; and in the storm, our commercial integrity,
like an over weighted vessel, may, for aught we know, founder and go
down, stern foremost. I therefore most earnestly say, should this
calamity ever befall us, let not foreigners be entitled, in preaching
over our graves, to pronounce, "that we were a people who did not know
how to enjoy prosperity--that our money, like our blood, flew to our
heads--that our riches corrupted our minds--and that it was absolutely
our enormous wealth which sunk us."

Without saying one other word, I will only again ask, is it or is it
not the interest of our upper classes to countenance this island system?

Should it be argued, that they ought not to be blamed because vulgar,
narrow-minded people are foolish enough to ruin themselves in a vain
attempt to copy them, I reply, that they must take human nature, good
and bad, not as it ought to be, but as it is; and that, after all,
it is no compliment to the high station they hold, that the middle
and lower classes will absolutely ruin themselves in overfeeding and
overdressing their servants--in short, in following any bad example
which such high authority may irrationally decree to be fashionable.
But to return to the Promenade.

From everlastingly vibrating backwards and forwards on this walk, one
gets so well acquainted with the faces of one's comrades, that it is
easy to note the arrival of any stranger, who, however, after having
made two or three turns, is considered as received into, and belonging
to, the ambulatory community.

In constantly passing the people on the promenade, one occasionally
heard a party talking French. During the military dominion of Napoleon,
that language, of course, flooded the whole of the high duchy of Nassau
as completely as almost the rest of Europe: a strong ebb or re-action,
however, has of late years taken place, and in Prussia, for instance,
the common people do not like even to hear the language pronounced.
On the other hand, thanks to Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, and other
worn-out literary labourers, now resting in their graves, our language
is beginning to make an honest progress; and even in France it is
becoming fashionable to display in literary society a flower or two
culled from that North border, the Jardin Anglais.

As a passing stranger, the word I heard pronounced on the promenade the
oftenest was "Ja! Ja!" and it really seemed to me that German women to
all questions invariably answer in the affirmative, for "Ja! Ja!" was
repeated by them, I know, from morning till night, and, for aught I
know, from night till morning.

As almost every stranger at Langen-Schwalbach, as well as several
of its inhabitants, were at this hour on the promenade, the three
brunnens were often surrounded by more open mouths than the women in
attendance could supply. The old mother at the Pauline was therefore
always assisted in the evening by her daughter, who, without being at
all handsome, was, like her parent, a picture of robust, ruddy health;
and to poor withered people, who came to them to drink, it was very
satisfactory indeed to see the practical effect which swallowing and
baling out this water from morning till night had had on these two
females; and as they stood in the burning sun bending downwards into
the brunnen, to fill the glasses which in all directions converged
towards them, it was curious to observe the different descriptions of
people who from every point of Europe (except England) had surrounded
one little well. As I earnestly looked at their various figures and
faces, I could not help feeling that it was quite impossible for the
goddess Pauline to cure them all: for I saw a tall, gaunt, brown,
hard-featured, lantern-jawed officer, _à demi-solde_, the sort of
fellow that the French call "_un gros maigre_," drinking by the side
of a red-faced, stuffy, stumpy, stunted little man, who seemed made on
purpose to demonstrate that the human figure, like the telescope, could
be made portable.--What in the whole world (I mumbled to myself) can
be the matter with that very nice, fresh, comfortable, healthy-looking
widow? Or what does that huge, unwieldy man in the broad-brimmed hat
require from the Pauline?--Surely he is already about as full as he can
hold? And that poor sick girl, who has just borrowed the glass from her
withered, wrinkled, skinny, little aunt? Can the same prescription be
good for them both? A couple of nicely-dressed children are extending
their little glasses to drink the water with milk; and see! that gang
of countrymen, who have stopped their carts on the upper road, are
racing and chasing each other down the bank to crowd round the brunnen!
Is it not curious to observe that in such a state of perspiration they
can drink such deadly cold water with impunity? But this really is the
case; and whether it is burning hot, or raining a deluge, this simple
medicine is always agreeable, and no sooner is it swallowed, than, like
the fire in the grate, it begins to warm its new mansion.

Such was the scene, and such was the effect, daily witnessed round one
of nature's simplest and most beneficent remedies. All the drinkers
seemed to be satisfied with the water, which, I believe, has only one
virtue, that of strengthening the stomach; yet it is this solitary
quality which has made it cure almost every possible disorder of body
and mind: for though people with an ankle resting on a knee sometimes
mysteriously point to their toes, and sometimes as solemnly lay their
hands upon their foreheads, yet I rather believe that almost every
malady to which the human frame is subject is either by highways
or byways connected with the stomach; and I must own I never see a
fashionable physician mysteriously counting the pulse of a plethoric
patient, or, with a silver spoon on his tongue, importantly looking
down his red, inflamed gullet (so properly termed by Johnson "the
meat-pipe"), but I feel a desire to exclaim, "Why not tell the poor
gentleman at once--Sir! you've eaten too much, you've drunk too
much, and you've not taken exercise enough!" That these are the main
causes of almost every one's illness, there can be no greater proof,
than that those savage nations which live actively and temperately
have only one great disorder--death. The human frame was not created
imperfect--it is we ourselves who have made it so; there exists no
donkey in creation so overladen as our stomachs, and it is because they
groan under the weight so cruelly imposed upon them, that we see people
driving them before them in herds to drink at one little brunnen.

A list of the strangers visiting Bad-Ems, Langen-Schwalbach, and
Schlangenbad, is published twice a week, and circulated on all the
promenades. From it, I find that there are 1200 visiters at Schwalbach
alone--an immense number for so small a place. Still, the habits of
the people are so quiet, that it does not at all bear the appearance
of an English watering-place, and certainly I never before existed in
a society where people are left so completely to go their own ways.
Whether I stroll up and down the promenade or about the town, whether I
mount the hill or ramble into distant villages, no one seems to notice
me any more than if I had been born there; and yet out of the 1200
strangers, I happen to be the only specimen to be seen of Old England.
No one knows that I have given up feasting in public, for it is not the
custom to dine always at the same house; but when one o'clock comes,
people go to the Allee Saal, Goldene Kette, &c. just as they feel
disposed at the moment.

There are no horses to be hired at Schwalbach, but a profusion of
donkeys and mules. It is a pretty, gaudy sight to witness a group
of these animals carrying ladies in their parti-coloured bonnets,
&c. descending one of the hills. The saddles are covered with coarse
scarlet, or bright blue cloth, and the donkey always wears a fine red
brow-band; nevertheless, under these brilliant colours, to the eye of
a cognoscente, it is too easy to perceive that the poor creatures are
sick in their hearts of their finery, and that they are tired, almost
unto death, of carrying one large curious lady after another to see
Hohenstein, Adolfseck, and other lions, which without metaphor are
actually consuming the carcasses of these unhappy asses. The other day
I myself hired one, but not being allowed to have the animal alone, I
was obliged to submit to be followed by the owner, who, by order of the
Duke, was dressed in a blue smockfrock, girded by a buff belt.

I found that I could not produce the slightest effect on the animal's
pace, but that if the man behind me only shook his stick, down went
the creature's long ears, and on we trotted. By this arrangement, I
was hurried by objects which I wished to look at, and obliged to crawl
before what I was exceedingly anxious to leave behind; and altogether
it was travelling so very much like a bag of sand, that ever since I
have much preferred propelling myself.



THE SCHWEIN-GENERAL.


Every morning at half-past five o'clock, I hear, as I am dressing, the
sudden blast of an immense long wooden horn, from which always proceed
the same four notes. I have got quite accustomed to this wild reveille,
and the vibration has scarcely subsided, it is still ringing among the
distant hills, when, leisurely proceeding from almost every door in
the street, behold a pig! Some, from their jaded, careworn, dragged
appearance, are evidently leaving behind them a numerous litter; others
are great, tall, monastic, melancholy-looking creatures, which seem to
have no other object left in this wretched world than to become bacon;
while others are thin, tiny, light-hearted, brisk, petulant piglings,
with the world and all its loves and sorrows before them. Of their own
accord these creatures proceed down the street to join the herdsman,
who occasionally continues to repeat the sorrowful blast from his horn.

Gregarious, or naturally fond of society, with one curl in their tails,
and with their noses almost touching the ground, the pigs trot on,
grunting to themselves and to their comrades, halting only whenever
they come to anything they can manage to swallow.

I have observed that the old ones pass all the carcasses, which,
trailing to the ground, are hanging before the butchers' shops, as
if they were on a sort of _parole d'honneur_ not to touch them; the
middle-aged ones wistfully eye this meat, yet jog on also, while the
piglings, who (so like mankind) have more appetite than judgment, can
rarely resist taking a nibble; yet, no sooner does the dead calf begin
again to move, than from the window immediately above out pops the
head of a butcher, who, drinking his coffee, whip in hand, inflicts
a prompt punishment, sounding quite equal to the offence. As I have
stated, the pigs, generally speaking, proceed of their own accord; but
shortly after they have passed, there comes down our street a little
bareheaded, barefooted, stunted dab of a child, about eleven years
old,--a Flibbertigibbet sort of creature, which, in a drawing, one
would express by a couple of blots, the small one for her head, the
other for her body; while, streaming from the latter, there would be a
long line ending in a flourish, to express the immense whip which the
child carries in its hand. This little goblin page, the whipper-in,
attendant, or aid-de-camp of the old pig-driver, facetiously called,
at Langen-Schwalbach, the "Schwein-General," is a being no one looks
at, and who looks at nobody. Whether the hofs of Schwalbach are full
of strangers, or empty--whether the promenades are occupied by princes
or peasants--whether the weather be good or bad, hot or rainy, she
apparently never stops to consider; upon these insignificant subjects
it is evident she never for a moment has reflected. But such a pair
of eyes for a pig have perhaps seldom beamed from human sockets! The
little intelligent urchin knows every house from which a pig ought to
have proceeded; she can tell by the door being open or shut, and even
by footmarks, whether the creature has joined the herd, or whether,
having overslept itself, it is still snoring in its sty--a single
glance determines whether she shall pass a yard or enter it; and if a
pig, from indolence or greediness, be loitering on the road, the sting
of the wasp cannot be sharper or more spiteful than the cut she gives
it. As soon as finishing with one street, she joins her General in the
main road, the herd slowly proceed down the town.

On meeting them this morning, they really appeared to have no hams at
all; their bodies were as flat as if they had been squeezed in a vice,
and when they turned sideways, their long sharp noses, and tucked-up
bellies, gave to their profile the appearance of starved greyhounds.

As I gravely followed this grunting, unearthly-looking herd of unclean
spirits, through that low part of Langen-Schwalbach which is solely
inhabited by Jews, I could not help fancying that I observed them
holding their very breaths, as if a loathsome pestilence were passing;
for though fat pork be a wicked luxury--a forbidden pleasure which the
Jew has been supposed occasionally in secret to indulge in, yet one may
easily imagine that such very lean ugly pigs have not charms enough to
lead them astray.

Besides the little girl who brought up the rear, the herd was preceded
by a boy of about fourteen, whose duty it was not to let the foremost,
the more enterprising, or, in other words, the most empty pigs, advance
too fast. In the middle of the drove, surrounded like a shepherd by his
flock, slowly stalked the "SCHWEIN-GENERAL," a wan, spectre-looking
old man, worn out, or nearly so, by the arduous and every-day duty of
conducting, against their wills, a gang of exactly the most obstinate
animals in creation. A single glance at his jaundiced, ill-natured
countenance was sufficient to satisfy one that his temper had been
soured by the vexatious contrarieties and "untoward events" it had met
with. In his left hand he held a staff to help himself onwards, while
round his right shoulder hung one of the most terrific whips that
could possibly be constructed. At the end of a short handle, turning
upon a swivel, there was a lash about nine feet long, formed like the
vertebræ of a snake, each joint being an iron ring, which, decreasing
in size, was closely connected with its neighbour, by a band of hard
greasy leather. The pliability, the weight, and the force of this
iron whip rendered it an argument which the obstinacy even of the pig
was unable to resist; yet, as the old man proceeded down the town,
he endeavoured to speak kindly to the herd, and as the bulk of them
preceded him, jostling each other, grumbling and grunting on their
way, he occasionally exclaimed, in a low, hollow, worn-out tone of
encouragement, "Nina! Anina!" drawling of course very long on the last
syllable.

If any little savoury morsel caused a contention, stoppage, or
constipation on the march, the old fellow slowly unwound his dreadful
whip, and by merely whirling it round his head, like reading the Riot
Act, he generally succeeded in dispersing the crowd; but if they
neglected the solemn warning, if their stomachs prove stronger than
their judgments, and if the group of greedy pigs still continued to
stagnate--"ARRIFF!" the old fellow exclaimed, and rushing forwards,
the lash whirling round his head, he inflicted, with strength which no
one could have fancied he possessed, a smack, that seemed absolutely
to electrify the leader. As lightning shoots across the heavens, I
observed the culprit fly forwards, and for many yards continuing to
sidle towards the left, it was quite evident that the thorn was still
smarting in his side; and no wonder, poor fellow! for the blow he
received would almost have cut a piece out of a door.

As soon as the herd got out of the town, they began gradually to ascend
the rocky, barren mountain which appeared towering above them; and
then the labours of the Schwein-general and his staff became greater
than ever; for as the animals from their solid column began to extend
or deploy themselves into line, it was necessary constantly to ascend
and descend the slippery hill, in order to outflank them. "ARRIFF!"
vociferated the old man, striding after one of his rebellious subjects;
"Arriff!" in a shrill tone of voice was re-echoed by the lad, as he ran
after another; however, in due time the drove reached the ground which
was devoted for that day's exercise, the whole mountain being thus
taken in regular succession.

The Schwein-general now halted, and the pigs being no longer called
upon to advance, but being left entirely to their own motions, I became
exceedingly anxious attentively to observe them.

No wonder, poor reflecting creatures! that they had come unwillingly to
such a spot--for there appeared to be literally nothing for them to eat
but hot stones and dust; however, making the best of the bargain, they
all very vigorously set themselves to work. Looking up the hill, they
dexterously began to lift up with their snouts the largest of the loose
stones, and then grubbing their noses into the cool ground, I watched
their proceedings for a very long time. Their tough wet snouts seemed
to be sensible of the quality of every thing they touched; and thus out
of the apparently barren ground they managed to get fibres of roots,
to say nothing of worms, beetles, or any other travelling insects they
met with. As they slowly advanced working up the hill, their ears most
philosophically shading their eyes from the hot sun, I could not help
feeling how little we appreciate the delicacy of several of their
senses, and the extreme acuteness of their instinct.

There exists, perhaps, in creation, no animal which has less justice
and more injustice done to him by man than the pig. Gifted with every
faculty of supplying himself, and of providing even against the
approaching storm, which no creature is better capable of foretelling
than a pig, we begin by putting an iron ring through the cartilage of
his nose, and having thus barbarously deprived him of the power of
searching for, and analyzing, his food, we generally condemn him for
the rest of his life to solitary confinement in a sty.

While his faculties are still his own, only observe how, with a
bark or snort, he starts if you approach him, and mark what shrewd
intelligence there is in his bright twinkling little eye: but with
pigs, as with mankind, idleness is the root of all evil. The poor
animal finding that he has absolutely nothing to do--having no
enjoyment--nothing to look forward to but the pail which feeds him,
naturally most eagerly, or, as we accuse him, most greedily, greets
its arrival. Having no natural business or diversion--nothing to
occupy his brain--the whole powers of his system are directed to the
digestion of a superabundance of food. To encourage this, nature
assists him with sleep, which, lulling his better faculties, leads
his stomach to become the ruling power of his system--a tyrant
that can bear no one's presence but his own. The poor pig, thus
treated, gorges himself--sleeps--eats again--sleeps--awakens in a
fright--screams--struggles against the blue apron--screams fainter and
fainter--turns up the whites of his little eyes--and ...... dies!

It is probably from abhorring this picture, that I know of nothing
which is more distressing to me than to witness an indolent man eating
his own home-fed pork.

There is something so horridly similar between the life of the human
being and that of his victim--their notions on all subjects are so
unnaturally contracted--there is such a melancholy resemblance between
the strutting residence in the village, and the stalking confinement
of the sty--between the sound of the dinner-bell and the rattling
of the pail--between snoring in an arm-chair and grunting in clean
straw--that, when I contrast the "pig's countenance" in the dish with
that of his lord and master, who, with outstretched elbows, sits
leaning over it, I own I always feel it is so hard the one should have
killed the other--in short, there is a sort of "Tu quoque, BRUTE!"
moral in the picture, which to my mind is most painfully distressing.

But to return to the Schwein-general, whom, with his horn and whip, I
have left on the steep side of a barren mountain.

In this situation do the pigs remain every morning for four hours,
enjoying little else than air and exercise. At about nine or ten
o'clock, they begin their march homewards, and nothing can form a
greater contrast than their entry into their native town does to their
exit from it.

Their eager anxiety to get to the dinner-trough that awaits them is
almost ungovernable; and they no sooner reach the first houses of the
town, than a sort of "sauve qui peut" motion takes place: away each
then starts towards his dulce domum; and it is really curious to stand
still and watch how very quickly they canter by, greedily grunting and
snuffling as if they could smell with their stomachs, as well as their
noses, the savoury food which was awaiting them.

At half-past four, the same four notes of the same horn are heard
again; the pigs once more assemble--once more tumble over the hot
stones on the mountain--once more remain there for four hours--and in
the evening once again return to their styes.

Such is the life of the pigs not only of Langen-Schwalbach, but those
of every village throughout a great part of Germany: every day of their
existence, summer and winter, is spent in the way I have described.
The squad consists here of about a hundred and fifty, and for each pig
the poor old Schwein-general receives forty kreuzers (about 13_d._)
for six months' drilling of each recruit. His income, therefore, is
about 20_l._ a year, out of which he has to pay the board, lodging,
and clothing of his two aid-de-camps; and when one considers how
unremittingly this poor fellow-creature has to contend with the gross
appetites, sulky tempers, and pig-headed dispositions of the swinish
multitude, surely not even the most niggardly reformer would wish to
curtail his emoluments.



THE LUTHERAN CHAPEL.


I have just come from the little Lutheran chapel, and while the picture
is fresh before my mind, I will endeavour to describe it.

On entering the church, the service I found had begun, and the first
thing that struck me was, that the pulpit was empty, there being
no minister of any sort or kind to be seen! The congregation were
chaunting a psalm to very much the same sort of drawling tune which one
hears in England; yet the difference in their performance of it was
very remarkable. As all were singing about as loud as they could, the
chorus was certainly too much for the church: indeed, the sound had
not only filled its walls, but, streaming out of the doors and every
aperture, it had rolled down the main street, where I had met it long
before I reached the church. Yet, though it was certainly administered
in too strong a dose, it was impossible to help acknowledging that it
proceeded from a peasantry who had a gift or natural notion of music,
quite superior to anything one meets with in an English village, or
even in a London church. The song was simple, and the lungs from which
it proceeded were too stout; yet there was nothing to offend the ear:
in short, there were no bad faults to eradicate--no nasal whine--no
vulgar tremulous mixture of two notes--no awkward attempts at musical
finery--but in every bar there was tune and melody, and with apparently
no one to guide them, these native musicians proceeded with their psalm
in perfect harmony and concert.

As this singing lasted nearly twenty minutes, I had plenty of time to
look about me. The church, which with its little spire stands on a
gentle eminence above the houses of the main street, is a small oblong
building of four windows in length by two in breadth; the glass in
these recesses is composed of round, plain, unpainted panes, about the
size of a common tea-saucer. The inside of the building is whitewashed:
a gallery of unpainted wood, supported by posts very rudely hewn,
going nearly round three sides of it. There were no pews, but rows of
benches occupied about three-fourths of the body of the church; the
remaining quarter (which was opposite to the principal entrance-door)
being elevated three steps above the rest. At the back of this little
platform, leaning against the wall, there was a pulpit containing only
one reading-desk, and above it a sounding-board, surmounted by a gilt
image of the sun--the only ornament in the church. In front of the
pulpit, between it and the congregation, I observed a small, high,
oblong table, covered with a plain white table-cloth, and on the right
and left of the pulpit, there existed an odd-looking pew, latticed so
closely that no one could see at all perfectly through it.

The three galleries were occupied by men dressed all alike in the
common blue cloth Sunday clothes of the country. The benches beneath
were filled with women; and as I glanced an eye from one row to
another, it was impossible to help regretting the sad progress, or
rather devastation, which fashion is making in the national costume
even of the little village of Langen-Schwalbach. Three benches nearest
to the door were filled with women all dressed in the old genuine "buy
a broom" costume of this country--their odd little white caps, their
open stays, and their fully-plaited short petticoats seeming to have
been cast in one model; in short, they were clad in the native livery
of their hills. Next to these were seated four rows of women and girls,
who, nibbling at novelty, had ventured to exchange the caps of their
female ancestors for plain horn combs; over their stays some had put
cotton gowns, the coloured patterns of which seemed to be vulgarly
quarrelling among each other for precedence. Next came a row of women
in caps, frilled and bedizened.

The Langen-Schwalbach ladies, who occupied the other two benches,
and who were seated behind a row of boys immediately before the
white table, had absolutely ventured to put on their heads bonnets
with artificial flowers, &c.; in short, they had rigged themselves
out as fine ladies--wore gloves--tight shoes--blew their noses with
handkerchiefs, evidently conceiving themselves (as indeed they were)
fit for London, Paris, or any other equally brilliant speck in the
fashionable world.

As soon as the singing was over, a dead pause ensued, which lasted for
many seconds, and I was wondering from what part of the chapel the
next human voice would proceed, when very indistinctly I saw something
moving in one of the latticed pews--slowly it glided towards the stair
of the pulpit, until mounting above the lattice-work, the uncertain
vision changed into a remarkably tall, portly gentleman in black, who
was now clearly seen leisurely ascending towards the pulpit, on the
right of which hung a large black slate, on which were written, in
white chalk, the numbers 414 and 309.

As soon as the clergyman had very gravely glanced his eyes round
the whole church, as if to recognise his congregation, he slowly,
syllable by syllable, began an extempore address; and the first words
had scarcely left his lips when I could not help feeling that I was
listening to the deepest--the gravest--and the most impressive voice
I ever remember to have heard. But the whole appearance and manner of
the man quite surprised me, so completely superior was he to anything I
had at all expected to have met with. Indeed, for many minutes, I had
given up all hopes of hearing any clergyman at all; certainly not one
whose every look, word, and action, seemed to proceed from the deepest
thought and reflection. Dressed in a suit of common black clothes, he
had apparently nothing to distinguish his holy vocation but the two
white bands which are worn by our clergymen, and which appeared to
be the only neckcloth he wore. In a loud calm tone of voice, which,
perfectly devoid of energy, seemed to be directed not to the hearts but
to the understandings of his hearers, he advocated a cause in which
he evidently felt that he was triumphant; and the stillness of his
attitude, the deep calmness of his voice, and the icy cold deliberation
with which he spoke, proved that he was master not only of his subject,
but of himself.

Every word he said was apparently visible in his eyes, as if reflected
there from his brain. He stood neither entreating, commanding, nor
forbidding; but like a man mathematically demonstrating a problem, he
was, step by step, steadily laying before the judgment of his hearers
truths and arguments which he well knew it was out of their power to
deny. When he had reached his climax he suddenly changed his voice,
and, apparently conscious of the victory he had gained, in a sort of
half-deep tone he began to ask a series of questions, each of which
was followed by a long pause; and in these solemn moments, when his
argument had gained its victory--when the fabric he had been raising
was crowned with success--there was a benignity in the triumph of his
unexpected smile, which I could not but admire, as the momentary joy
seemed to arise more for the sake of others than for his own.

Occasionally during the discourse he raised a hand towards
heaven--occasionally he firmly placed it on the bosom of his own
dark cloth waistcoat, and then, slowly extending it towards his
congregation, it fell again lifeless to his side; yet these actions,
trifling as they were, became very remarkable when contrasted with the
motionless attention of the congregation.

At times, an old woman, with the knuckle of her shrivelled finger,
would wipe an eye, as if the subject were stealing from her head to
her heart; but no show of feeling was apparent in the minister who was
addressing her; with apostolic dignity, he coldly proceeded with his
argument, and amidst the storm, the tempest of her feelings--he calmly
walked upon the wave! Never did I before see a human being listened to
with such statue-like attention.

As soon as the discourse was concluded, the psalm was given out--a
general rustling of leaves was heard, and in a few moments the whole
congregation began, with open barn-door mouths, to sing. During this
operation the preacher did not sit up in his pulpit to be stared at,
but his presence not being required there, he descended into his pew,
where I could just faintly trace him through the lattice-work. Whether
he sang or not I do not know; he was probably resting after his fatigue.

The singing lasted a long time--the tune and performance were much what
I have already described, and when the psalm came to an end, the same
dead pause ensued. It continued rather longer than before; at last
the front door of the latticed pew opened, and out walked the tall
self-same clergyman in black. As he slowly advanced along the little
platform, there was a general rustling of the congregation shutting
their books, until he stood directly in front of the little high table
covered with the white cloth.

With the same pale, placid dignity of manner, he pronounced a short
blessing on the congregation, who all leant forwards, as if anxious to
receive it; and then dropping his two arms, which, during this short
ceremony, had been extended before him, he turned round, and as he
slowly walked towards his latticed cell, the people all shuffled out
the other way--until, in a few seconds, the small Lutheran chapel of
Langen-Schwalbach was empty.



THE NEW SCHOOL.


One morning, during breakfast, I observed several little children
passing my window in their best clothes. The boys wore a sort of green
sash of oak-leaves, which, coming over the right shoulder, crossed
the back and breast, and then winding once round the waist, hung in
two ends on the left side. The girls, dressed in common white frocks,
had roses in their hair, and held green garlands in their hands. On
inquiring the reason of the children being dressed in this way, I found
out, with some difficulty, that there was to be a great festival and
procession, to celebrate the taking possession of a new school, which,
built by the town, was only just completed. Accordingly, following
some of the little ones down the main street, I passed this village
seminary, whose first birth-day was thus about to be commemorated.
It was a substantial building, consisting of a centre, with two
square projecting wings, and it was quite large enough to be taken
by any stranger for the Hotel-de-Ville of Langen-Schwalbach. Wreaths
of oak-leaves were suspended in front, and long verdant garlands
from the same trees hung in festoons from one wing to the other. It
was impossible to contrast the size of this building with the small
houses in its neighbourhood, without feeling how creditable it was
to the inhabitants of so small a town thus to show that a portion
of the wealth they had mildly sucked from the stranger's purse was
so sensibly and patriotically expended. The scale of the building
seemed to indicate that the peasants of Langen-Schwalbach were liberal
enough to desire that their children should grow up more enlightened
than themselves; and as I passed it, I could not help recollecting,
with feelings of deep regret, that although in England there is no
art or trade that has not made great improvement and progress, the
cramped pater-noster system of our public schools, as well as of our
universities, have too long remained almost the only pools stagnant in
the country, a fact which can scarcely be reconciled with the rapid
progress which our lower orders have lately made in useful knowledge.

After passing this new seminary, I continued descending the main street
about one hundred yards, which brought me to a small crowd of people,
standing before the old school, into the door of which, creeping under
the arms of the people, child after child hurried and disappeared, like
a bee going into its hive.

The old school of Langen-Schwalbach is one of the most ancient
buildings in the town. Its elevation is fantastic, bordering on the
grotesque. The gable seems to be nodding forwards, the hump-backed roof
to be sinking in. The wooden frame-work of the house, composed of beams
purposely bent into almost every form, has besides been very curiously
hewn and carved, and on the front wall, placed most irregularly there
are several inscriptions, such as "_ora et labora_," "1552," and then
again a sentence in German, dated 1643, describing that in that year
the house was repaired. There is also a grotesque image on the wall,
of a child hugging a cornucopia, &c., &c. Nevertheless, though all the
parts of this ancient edifice are very rude, there is "a method in the
madness" with which they are arranged, that, somehow or other, makes
the _tout ensemble_ very pleasing; and whether it be admitted to be
good-looking or not, its venerable appearance almost any one would be
disposed to respect.

I observed that no one entered this door but the children. However, as
in this simple, civil country great privileges are granted to strangers
(for here, like kings, they can hardly do wrong), I ascended an old
rattle-trap staircase, until coming to a landing-place, I found one
large room on my left crammed full of little boys, and one on my right
overflowing with little girls, these two chambers composing the whole
of the building.

On the landing-place I met the three masters, all dressed very
respectably in black cloth clothes. The senior was about forty years
of age, the two others quiet, nice-looking men of about twenty-six,
one of whom, to my very great astonishment, addressed me in English.
He spoke the language very well, said he could read it with ease, but
added that he had great difficulty in understanding it, unless when
spoken very slowly; in short, as an enjoyment through the long-winded
evenings of winter, he had actually taught himself our hissing, crabbed
language, which he had only heard spoken by a solitary Englishman whose
acquaintance he had formed last year.

He seemed not only to be well acquainted with our English authors,
but talked very sensibly about the institutions and establishments of
our country; in short, he evidently knew a great deal more of England
than England knows of Langen-Schwalbach, of the duchy of Nassau, or of
many much vaster portions of the globe. He informed me that the school
was composed of 150 boys, and about the same number of girls;--that
of these 300 children 180 were Protestants, 90 Catholics; and that
since the year 1827 the town having agreed to admit to the blessings
and advantages of education the children of the Jews, there were
twenty little boys of that persuasion, and one girl. Having witnessed
the prejudice, and indeed hatred, which Christians and Jews in many
countries mutually entertain towards each other, I was not little
surprised at the statement thus related to me.

After listening for some time to the tutor, he offered to show me the
children, and accordingly with some difficulty we worked our way into
the boys room. It was a pretty sight to witness such an assemblage of
little fellows with clean shining faces, and their native oak-leaves
gave a freshness to the scene which was very delightful.

Among these white-haired laddies, most of whom were from four to eight
years of age, it was quite unnecessary to inquire which were the Jew
boys, for there each stood, as distinctly marked as their race is all
over the face of the globe; yet I must acknowledge they were by far
the handsomest children in the room, looking much more like Spaniards
than Germans. The chamberfull of little girls would have pleased
anybody, so nicely were they dressed, and apparently so well-behaved.
Several were exceedingly pretty children, and the garlands they held in
their hands, the wreaths of roses which bloomed on their heads, and the
smiles that beamed in their faces, formed as pretty a mixture of the
animal and vegetable creation as could well be imagined.

In one corner stood the only Jewish girl in the room, and Rebecca
herself could not have had a handsomer nose, a pair of brighter eyes,
or a more marked expression of countenance. She was more richly dressed
than the other village girls--wore a necklace, and I observed a thick
gold or brass ring on the forefinger of her left hand. We went several
times from one room full of children to the other, and it was really
pleasing to see in a state of such thoughtless innocence those who
were to become the future possessors of the houses and property of
Langen-Schwalbach. All of a sudden, a signal was given to the children
to descend, and it became then quite as much as the three masters could
do to make them go out of the room hand-in-hand. Down scrambled first
the boys, and then more quietly followed the little girls, though not
without one or two screams proceeding from those who, in their hurry,
had dropped their garlands. One of these green hoops I picked up, and
seeing a little girl crying her heart out, I gave it to her, and no
balm of Gilead ever worked so sudden a cure; for away she ran, and
joined her comrades, laughing.

As soon as the children had all left the two rooms, the three masters
descended, and we followed them into the street, where the civil
authorities of the town, and almost all the parents of the little ones,
had assembled. With great difficulty the children were all collected
together in a group, in the open air exactly in front of the school;
and when this arrangement was effected, the mayor, two Catholic
ministers, two Protestant clergymen, and the three masters, stood
exactly in front of the children, facing also the house from which
they had proceeded. For some time, the masters and the four Christian
ministers stood smiling and talking to each other; however, at last
the mayor made a bow, everybody took off their hats, the ministers'
countenances stiffened, and for a few seconds a dead silence ensued. At
last the mayor with due ceremony took off his hat, when the youngest of
the Lutheran ministers, advancing one step in front, commenced a long
address to the children.

What he said I was not near enough to hear; but I saw constantly
beaming in his countenance that sort of benevolent smile, which
would be natural almost to any one, in addressing so very youthful a
congregation. Occasionally he pointed with his hand to heaven, and
then, continuing his subject, smiled as if to cheer them on the way;
but the little toads, instead of attending to him, were all apparently
eager to get to their fine new school, and with roses on their heads,
and garlands in their hands, they seemed as if they did not feel that
they stood in need of a routing dose of good advice; in short, not one
of them appeared to pay the slightest attention to a discourse which
could not but have been very interesting to the parents. However, in
one respect I must own I was slightly disappointed; the burden of the
discourse must have been on the duties and future prospects of the
children, and on the honours and advantages of the new school; for I
particularly remarked that not once did the clergyman point or address
himself to the old building--not a single eye but my own was ever
turned towards it, and none but myself seemed to feel for it any regret
that it was about to lose a village importance which for so many years
it had enjoyed. It was sentenced to be deserted, and walls which had
long been enlivened by the cheerful sound of youthful voices, were in
their old age suddenly to be bereft of all!

I could not help feeling for the old institution, and when the
discourse was ended--when hats had returned to people's heads, and
when the procession of children, followed by the ministers, had
already begun to move, I could not for some time take my eyes off
the old fabric. The date of 1552, and the rude-looking image of the
boy, particularly attracted my attention; however, the old hive was
deserted,--the bees had swarmed,--had already hovered in the air, and
to their new abode they had all flown away. Jostled from my position by
people who were following the procession, I proceeded onwards with the
crowd, but not without mumbling to myself--

        "Let others hail the rising sun,
         I bow to him whose course is run."

As soon as the children reached their fine new abode, a band, which
had been awaiting their arrival, struck up; and in the open air they
instantly sung a hymn. The doors were then thrown open, and in high
glee the little creatures scrambled up the staircase, and the mayor,
clergymen, and schoolmasters having followed, a great rush was made by
parents and spectators. I managed to gain a good place, but in a very
few moments the room was filled, and so jammed up with people, that
they could scarcely raise their hands to wipe the perspiration which
soon began to appear very copiously on all faces. It became dreadfully
hot, and besides suffering from this cause, I felt by no means happy
at a calculation which very unwelcomely kept forcing itself into my
mind,--namely, that the immense weight of human flesh which was for the
first time trying new beams, might produce a consummation by no means
"devoutly to be wished."

As soon as order was established, and silence obtained, the Catholic
minister addressed the children; and when he had finished, the tall
Lutheran clergyman, whose description I have already given to the
reader, followed in his deepest tone, and with his gravest demeanour;
but it was all lost upon the children: indeed it was so hot, and we
were so little at our ease, that all were very glad, indeed, to hear
him conclude by the word "Amen!"

The children now sang another hymn, which, in a cooler climate, would
have been quite beautiful; the mayor made a bow--the thing was at an
end, and I believe every one was as much delighted as myself to get
once again into pure fresh air.

As I had been told by the teacher that the children would dance and eat
in the evening, at four o'clock, I went again to the school at that
hour, expecting that there would be what in England would be called "a
ball and supper;" however, the supper had come first, and the remains
of it were on two long tables. The feast which the little ones had been
enjoying had consisted of a slice of white bread and a glass of Rhenish
wine for each; and, as soon as I entered the room, two policemen bowed
and begged me to be seated. They and their friends were evidently
regaling themselves with the wine which had been furnished for the
children; however, the little creatures did not seem to want it, and
I was very glad to see it inflaming the eyes of the old party, and
flushing their cheeks, instead of having a similar effect on the young
ones.

It had been settled that the children were to dance; but they were
much too young to care for such an amusement. The little boys had
got together at one end of the room, and the girls were sitting
laughing at the other, both groups being as happily independent as
it was possible to be. Sometimes the boys amused themselves with a
singing game--one chaunting a line, and all the rest bursting in with
the chorus, which, though it contained nearly as much laughter as
music, showed that the youngsters were well enough conversant with
both. The girls had also their song. As I left the room several of
the children were singing on the stairs--all were as happy as I had
desired to see them; and yet I firmly believe that the whole festival
I have described,--oak-leaves, roses, garlands, festoons, bread, wine,
&c., altogether,--could not have cost the town of Langen-Schwalbach
ten shillings! Nevertheless, in its history, the opening of a public
establishment so useful to future generations, and so creditable to the
present one, was an event of no inconsiderable importance.



THE OLD PROTESTANT CHURCH.


The old Protestant Church, at the lower extremity of Langen-Schwalbach,
has not been preached in for about three years; and being locked up,
I had to call for admission at a house in the centre of the town. The
man was not at home, but his wife (very busily employed in dressing,
against its will, a squalling infant) pointed to the key, which I
gravely took from a nail over her head. This venerable building stands,
or rather totters, on a small eminence close to the road--long rents in
its walls, and the ruinous, decayed state of the mortar, sufficiently
denoting its great antiquity. The roof and spire are still covered with
slates, which seem fluttering as if about to take their departure. The
churchyard continues in the valley to be the only Christian receptacle
for the dead; and within its narrow limits, Catholics, Lutherans, and
Calvinists end their worldly differences by soundly sleeping together,
side by side. Here and there a tree is seen standing at the head of a
Protestant's grave; but though the twig was exclusively planted there,
yet its branches, like knowledge, have gradually extended themselves,
until they now wave and droop alike over those who, thus joined in
death, had, nevertheless, lived in paltry opposition to each other.
The rank grass also grows with equal luxuriance over all, as if the
turf, like the trees, was anxious to level all human animosities, and
to become the winding-sheet or covering of Christian fraternities which
ought never to have disputed.

In various parts of the cemetery I observed several worn-out, wooden,
triangular monuments on the totter; while others were lying prostrate
on the grass--the "hic jacet" being exactly as applicable to each of
themselves as to that departed being, whose life and death they had
vainly presumed to commemorate. Although the inscriptions recorded by
these frail historians were scarcely legible, yet roses and annual
flowers, blooming on the grave, plainly showed that there was still
in existence some friendly hand, some foot, some heart, that moved
with kindly recollection towards the dead. Upon several recent graves
of children there were placed, instead of tombstones, the wreaths of
artificial flowers, which, during their funeral, had either rested upon
the coffin, or had been carried in the hands of parents and friends.
The sun and rain--the wind and storm--had blanched the artificial bloom
from the red roses, and, of course, had sullied the purity of the white
ones; yet this worthless finery, lying upon the newly-moved earth, had
probably witnessed unaffected feelings, to which the cold, white marble
monument is often a stranger. The little heap of perishable wreaths,
so lightly piled one upon the other, was the act, the tribute, the
effusion of the moment; it was all the mother had had to record her
feelings; it was what she had left behind her, as she tore herself
away; and though it could not, I own, be compared to a monument
sculptured by an artist, yet, resting above the coffin, it had one
intrinsic value, at least--it had been left there by a friend!

At one corner of the churchyard, there was a grave which was only just
completed. The living labourer had retired from it; the dead tenant
had not yet arrived; but the moment I looked into it, I could not help
feeling how any one of our body-snatchers would have rubbed his rough
hands, and what rude raptures he would have enjoyed, at observing that
the lid of the coffin would be deposited scarcely a foot and a half
below the sod. However, in the little duchy of Nassau, human corpses
have not yet become coin current in the realm; and whatever may be a
man's troubles during his life, at Langen-Schwalbach he may truly say
he will, at least, find rest in the grave.

I know it is very wrong--I know that one is always blamed for
bringing before the mind of wealthy people any truth which is at all
disagreeable to them; yet on the brink of this grave I could not help
feeling how very much one ought to detest the polite Paris and London
fashion of smartening up us old people with the teeth and hair of
the dead? It always seems to me so unfair, for us who have _had_ our
day--who have ourselves _been_ young--to attempt, when we grow old, to
deprive the rising generation of the advantage of that contrast which
so naturally enhances their beauties. The spring of life, to be justly
appreciated and admired, requires to be compared with the snow and
storms of winter, and if by chicanery you hide the latter, the sunshine
of the former loses a great portion of its beauty. In naked, savage
life, there exists no picture on which I have so repeatedly gazed
with calm pleasure, as that of the daughter supporting the trembling,
dilapidated fabric of the being to whom she owes her birth; indeed,
it is as impossible for man to withhold the respect and pity which is
due to age whenever it be seen labouring under its real infirmities,
as it is for him to contain his admiration of the natural loveliness
of youth. The parent and child, thus contrasted, render to each other
services of which both appear to be insensible; for the mother does
not seem aware how the shattered outlines of her faded frame heighten
the robust, blooming beauties of her child, who, in her turn, seems
equally unconscious how beautifully and eloquently her figure explains
and pleads for the helpless decrepitude of age! In the Babel confusion
of our fashionable world, this beautifully arranged contrast of nature,
the effect of which no one who has ever seen it can forget, does not
exist. Before the hair has grown really grey--before time has imparted
to it even its autumnal tint, it is artfully replaced by dark flowing
locks, obtained by every revolting contrivance. The grave itself is
attacked--our living dowagers of the present day do not hesitate to
borrow their youthful ornaments even from the dead--and to such a
horrid extreme has fashion encouraged this unnatural propensity, that
even the carcase of the soldier, who has fallen in a foreign land, and
who,

        "----------leaving in battle no blot on his name,
         Looks proudly to heaven from the death-bed of fame,"

has not been respected!

One would think that the ribands and honours on his breast, flapping
in the wind, would have scared even the vulture from such prey; but no!
the orders which the London dentist has received must, he pleads, be
punctually executed; and it is a revolting fact, but too well known to
"the trade," that many, and many, and many a set of teeth which bit the
dust of Waterloo, by an untimely resurrection, appeared again on earth,
smiling lasciviously at Almack's ball! So much for what is termed
FASHION.

After rambling about the churchyard for some minutes, occasionally
spelling at an inscription, and sometimes looking at (not picking) a
sepulchral flower, I walked to the church-door, and turning round its
old-fashioned key, which ever since I had received it had been dangling
in my hand, the lock started back, and then, as if I had said "Open
Sesame!" the door opened.

On looking before me, my first impression was that my head was
swimming! for the old gallery, hanging like the gardens of Babylon,
seemed to be writhing; the four-and-twenty pews were leaning sideways;
the aisle, or approach to the altar, covered with heaps of rubbish, was
an undulating line, and an immense sepulchral flag-stone had actually
been lifted up at one side, as if the corpse, finding the church
deserted, had resolutely burst from his grave, and had wrenched himself
once again into daylight. The pulpit was out of its perpendicular;
some pictures, loosely hanging against the wall, had turned away
their faces; and a couple of planks were resting diagonally against
the altar, as if they had fallen from the roof. I really rubbed my
eyes, fancying that they were disordered; however, the confusion I
witnessed was real, and as nearly as possible as I have described it.
Still, however, there was no dampness in the church, and it was, I
thought, a remarkable proof of the dryness of the light mountain air of
Langen-Schwalbach, that the sepulchral wreaths of artificial flowers
which were hanging around on the walls were as starched and stiff as on
the day they were placed there.

A piece of dingy black cloth, with narrow white fringe, was the only
ornament to the pulpit, from which both book and minister had so long
departed. The thing was altogether on the totter; yet when I reflected
what little harm it had done in the world, and how much good, I could
not help acknowledging that respect was justly due to its old age, and
that, even by the stranger, it ought to be regarded with sentiments
of veneration. In gazing at monuments of antiquity, one of the most
natural pleasures which the mind enjoys is by them fancifully
transported to the scenes which they so clearly commemorate. The Roman
amphitheatre becomes filled with gladiators and spectators;--the
streets of Pompeii are seen again thronged with people;--the Grecian
temple is ornamented with the votive offerings of heroes and of
senators;--even the putrid marsh of Marathon teems with noble
recollections;--while at home, on the battlements of our old English
castles, we easily figure to ourselves barons proud of their deeds, and
vassals in armour faithfully devoted to their service: in short, while
beholding such scenes, the heart glows, until, by its feverish heat,
feelings are produced to which no one can be completely insensible:
however, when we awaken from this delightful dream, it is difficult,
indeed impossible, to drive away the painful moral which, sooner or
later in the day, proves to us much too clearly, that these ruins have
outlived, and in fact commemorate, the errors, the passions, and the
prejudices, which caused them to be built.

But after looking up at the plain, unassuming pulpit of an old
Lutheran church, one feels, long after one has left it, that all that
has proceeded from its simple desk has been to promulgate peace,
good-will, and happiness among mankind--and though, in its old age, it
be now deserted, yet no one can deny that the seeds which in various
directions it has scattered before the wind are not only vigorously
flourishing in the little valley in which it stands, but must continue
there and elsewhere to produce effects, which time itself can scarcely
annihilate.

Turning towards the altar, I was looking at pictures of the twelve
apostles, who, like sentinels at their posts, were in various attitudes
surrounding it, when _à propos_ to nothing, the great clock in the
belfry struck four, and so little did I expect to hear any noise at
all, that I could not help starting at being thus suddenly reminded,
that the watch was still ticking in the fob of the dead soldier--in
short, that that clock was still faithfully pointing out the progress
of time, though the church to which it belonged had already,
practically speaking, terminated its existence! Never did I before
listen to four vibrations of an old church clock with more reverential
attention: however, at each stroke involuntarily looking upwards, I did
not altogether enjoy the sight of some loose rafters which were hanging
over my head. I therefore very quietly moved onwards, yet, passing a
small door, I could not resist clambering up an old well staircase
which led to the belfry; not, however, until I had calculated that,
as the building could bear the bells, my weight was not likely to
turn the scale. I did not, however, feel disposed to reach the bells,
but managed, through a rent in the wall, to look down on the roof,
and such a scene of devastation it would be difficult to describe.
The half-mouldered slates had not only been ripped away by the wind
in every direction, but the remainder appeared as if they were just
ready to follow in the flight. The roof was bending in, and altogether
it looked so completely on the totter, that the slightest additional
weight would have brought every thing to the ground. After descending,
I went once more round the church, opened some of the old latticed
pews--peeped into the marble font, which was half-filled with decayed
mortar--took up a bird's nest that had fallen into the chancel from
the roof, and strolling towards the altar, I found there a small board
covered with white pasteboard, and ornamented with a garland of roses.
On this simple tablet were inscribed, in black letters, the names of
the little band of Langen-Schwalbachians who had been present in the
great campaign of 1815; and in case the reader should like to know not
only who were the heroes of so remote a valley, but also what sort of
names they possessed, I offer him a copy of the muster-roll of those
thus distinguished for having served their native country, which the
German language emphatically calls "Vaterland."--

  Dem. Verdientfeer
  Conrad Blies
  Adam Buslach
  Adam Klenig
  Christop Lindle
  Ludwig Liedebach
  Ludwig Diefenbach
  Martin Eschenever
  Philipp Hoenig
  Eberhard Rucker
  Casper Schenk
  Philipp Singhoff
  Eberhard Hofman
  Wilhelm Koch
  Philipp Kraus
  Johannes Sartor
  Ferdinand Wensel.

Having carefully locked up the old church with all the relics it
contained, descending the steps of the eminence on which it stood, I
once more found myself in the street among fellow-creatures.

The new Protestant church, which is very shortly to be built, and to
which the bells of this old one, if possible, are to be removed, will
be in the centre of the town, but this site, though more convenient,
will not, I think, be so picturesque as that of the old building,
which, with the Catholic Church at the other extremity of the
town, seem to be the alpha and omega--the beginning and the end of
Langen-Schwalbach. From the surrounding hills, as the eye glances from
the one of these old buildings to the other, they appear to be the
good Genii of the town--two guardian angels to watch over the welfare
of its people here and hereafter.



THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE.


The low part of Langen-Schwalbach, where the Jews live, is the most
ancient portion of the town, the houses they inhabit being just above
and below the great original brunnen or fountain, which, as I have
stated, was celebrated for its medicinal properties even in the time of
the Romans. This immense spring, which rises within a foot and a half
of the surface of the ground (being then carried away by a subterranean
drain), is two or three times as large as the Stahl brunnen, the Wein
brunnen, or the fashionable Pauline. It contains very little iron,
being principally sulphureous. From the violence with which it rises
from the rock, the water is apparently constantly boiling, and such a
suffocating gas arises from it, that, as at the Grotto del Cane, at
Naples, one single inhalation would be nearly sufficient to deprive a
person of his senses. Besides being strongly impregnated with this gas,
it has also such an unearthly taste, that one almost fancies it must
flow direct from the cellar of his Satanic majesty. Still, however, the
Jews constantly drink, cook, and even wash with this water; however,
being below the surface, it is necessary for them to stoop into the
suffocating vapour whenever they fill their pitchers; and as one sees
Jewess after Jewess dipping her dark greasy head into this infernal
caldron, holding her breath, and then suddenly raising her head, with
a momentary paleness and an aspiration which sufficiently explain
her sensations, one feels anything but sympathy for a being who can
voluntarily flutter in such a fetid climate.

With sentiments, I fear, not very liberal, I stood for many minutes
looking at those who came to fill their pitchers; at last, rather a
better feeling shooting across me, I resolved once more to make a trial
of water on which so many of my fellow-creatures seemed to subsist,
and I accordingly dipped my hand into a large washing-tub which an old
Jewess had half suffocated herself in filling with her pitcher. The
woman offered me no sign or word of disrespect; but I saw her cast a
withering look at the water, as if a cup of poison had been poured into
it: she continued, however, very quietly to fill her other tubs; but
after I had walked away, turning suddenly round for a moment, I saw her
upset the tub from which I had drunk, her lips muttering at the same
time some short observation to a sister Jewess standing beside her.

I could not, however, help acknowledging that her prejudice was not
more illiberal, and certainly far more excusable, than my own; and as
I had determined to attend that evening the Jewish synagogue, in the
meanwhile I did what I could to bring my mind to a proper state of
feeling towards a people whose form of worship I was desirous seriously
to witness.

Never had I before chanced to enter a synagogue; yet, when I had
reflected on the singular history of the Jews, I had often concluded
that there must be some strange, unaccountable attraction, something
inexplicably mysterious in their forms of worship, which could have
induced them to brave the persecutions that in all ages, and in so many
countries, had traced out their history in letters of blood.

Full of curiosity, I had therefore inquired at what hour on Friday
their church would assemble, and being told that they would meet "as
soon as the stars were visible," I walked towards the synagogue, a few
minutes after sunset, and in every Jewish house I observed, as I passed
it, seven candles burning in a circle. The house of worship was a small
oblong hovel, not unlike a barn. The door was open, but no human being
appeared within, excepting a man over whose shoulders there was thrown
a piece of common brown sackcloth. This personage, who turned out to
be the priest, stood before a sort of altar; and, just as careless of
it as of us, he stood bowing to it incessantly. There being not much
to see in these vibrations, I walked away, and returning in about five
minutes, I found the congregation had suddenly assembled, and the
service begun.

In the course of my life, like most people, I have chanced to witness
a great variety of forms of worship, several of which it would not
be very easy to describe. For instance, it would be difficult, or
rather impossible, to delineate, by words, high mass, as performed
in the great church of St. Peter, at Rome. One might, indeed,
fully describe any part of it, but the silence of one moment, the
burst of music at another, the immensity of the building, and the
assembled congregation, produce altogether sensations on the eye and
ear which the goose-quill has not power to impart. Again, to the
simple homage which a Peruvian Indian pays to the sun no man could
do justice; one might describe his attitude as he prostrates himself
before what he conceives to be the burning ruler of the universe,
but the fleeting expressions of his supplicating countenance, as it
trembles--hopes--flashes--and then, with eyes dazzled to dimness,
trembles again,--may be witnessed, but cannot be described. One of
the wildest forms of worship I ever beheld was, perhaps, the dance of
the Dervishes, at Athens; for there is a sort of enthusiasm in the
convulsions into which these twelve men throw themselves, which has a
most indescribable effect on those who witness it: it is madness,--yet
it is a tempest of the mind within the range of which no man's senses
can live unruffled;--the strongest judgment bends before the gale, and
insensibly are the feelings led astray by conduct, actions, words,
grimaces, and contortions, which, taken altogether, are indescribable.

But although these and many other forms of worship may be original
pictures which cannot be copied, yet I think a child of ten years
of age, if he could only hold a pen, might give a reader as good a
notion of the Langen-Schwalbach synagogue, as if he had been there
himself a thousand times; for all the poor child would have to do
would be to beg him imagine a small dirty barn, swarming with fleas,
filled with dirty-looking men in dirty dresses, with old hats on their
heads, spitting--hallooing--reading--bowing--hallooing louder than
ever--scratching themselves as they leave the synagogue,--and then
calmly walking home to their seven candles!

To any serious, reflecting mind, all religions, to a certain point,
are worthy of respect. It is true, all cannot be right, yet the errors
are those which fellow-creatures need not dispute among each other;
he who has the happiness to go right has no just cause to be offended
with those who unfortunately have mistaken their course; and however
men's political opinions may radiate from each other, yet their zeal
for religion is at least one tie which ought to connect them together.
However, the Jews of Langen-Schwalbach, so far as a spectator can
judge by their behaviour, do not even pretend to be zealous in their
cause. There is no pretence of feeling, not attempt either at humbug
or effect. They perform their service as if, having made a regular
bargain to receive certain blessings for hallooing a certain time,
they conceived that all they had to do was scrupulously to perform
their part of the contract, that there was no occasion to exceed their
agreement, or give more than was absolutely required by the bond.

As I stood just within the door of the synagogue, listening to their
rude, uncouth, noisy worship, almost every eye was turned upon me, and
the expression of many of the countenances was so ill-favoured, that I
very soon left them, though I had even then a long way to walk before I
ceased to hear the strange wild hullabulloo they were making.



THE HARVEST.


All this day I have been strolling about the fields, watching
the getting in of the harvest. The crops of oats, rye, and wheat
(principally bearded) are much heavier than any one would expect
from such light and apparently poor land; but the heavy dews which
characterize the summer climate of this high country impart a
nourishment which, in richer lands, often lies dormant from drought.
In Nassau, the corn is cut principally by women, who use a sickle so
very small and light, that it seems but little labour to wield it. They
begin early in the morning, and with short intervals of rest continue
till eleven o'clock, when the various village bells suddenly strike
up a merry peal, which is a signal to the labourers to come home to
their dinners. It is a very interesting scene to observe, over the
undulating surface of the whole country, groups of peasants, brothers,
sisters, parents, &c., all bending to their sickles--to see children
playing round infants lying fast asleep on blue smock-frocks placed
under the shade of the corn sheaves. It is pleasing to remark the rapid
progress which the several parties are making; how each little family,
attacking its own patch or property, works its way into the standing
corn, leaving the crop prostrate behind them; and then, in the middle
of this simple, rural, busy scene, it is delightful indeed to hear from
the belfry of their much-revered churches a peal of cheerful notes,
which peacefully sound "lullaby" to them all. In a very few seconds
the square fields and little oblong plots are deserted, and then the
various roads and paths of the country suddenly burst in lines upon
the attention, each being delineated by a string of peasants, who are
straggling one behind the other, until paths in all directions are seen
converging towards the parental village churches, which seem to be
attracting them all.

As soon as each field of corn is cut, it is bound into sheaves, about
the size they are in England: seven of these are then made to lean
towards each other, and upon them all is placed a large sheaf reversed,
the ears of which hanging downwards form a sort of thatch, which keeps
this little stack dry until its owner has time to carry it to his home.
It generally remains many days in this state, and after the harvest has
been all cut, the country covered with these stacks resembles a vast
encampment.

The carts and waggons used for carrying the corn are exceedingly well
adapted to the country. Their particular characteristic is excessive
lightness, and, indeed, were they heavy, it would be quite impossible
for any cattle to draw them up and down the hills. Occasionally
they are drawn by horses--often by small active oxen; but cows more
generally perform this duty, and with quite as much patience as their
mistresses, at the same moment, are labouring before them at the
sickle. The yoke, or beam, by which these cows are connected, is placed
immediately behind their horns; a little leathern pillow is then laid
upon their brow, over which passes a strap that firmly lashes their
heads to the beam, and it is, therefore, against such soft cushions
that the animals push to advance: and thus linked together for life,
by this sort of Siamese band, it is curious to observe them eating
together, then by agreement raising their heads to swallow, then
again standing motionless chewing the cud, which is seen passing and
repassing from the stomach to the mouth.

At first, when, standing near them, I smelt from their breath the
sweet fresh milk, it seemed hard that they should thus be, as it were,
domestic candles, lighted at both ends: however, verily do I believe
that all animals prefer exercise, or even hard work, to any sort of
confinement, and if so, they are certainly happier than our stall-fed
cows, many of which, in certain parts of Britain, may be seen with
their heads fixed economically for months between two vertical beams
of wood. The Nassau cows certainly do not seem to suffer while working
in their light carts; as soon as their mistress advances, they follow
her, and if she turns and whips them, then they seem to hurry after her
more eagerly than ever.

It is true, hard labour has the effect of impoverishing their milk, and
the calf at home is consequently (so far as it is concerned) a loser
by the bargain: however, there is no child in the peasant's family who
has not had cause to make the same complaint; and, therefore, so long
as the labourer's wife carries her infant to the harvest, the milch cow
may very fairly be required to draw to the hovel what has been cut by
her hands.

Nothing can be better adapted to the features of the country, nothing
can better accord with the feeble resources of its inhabitants, than
the equipment of these economical waggons and carts: the cows and oxen
can ascend any of the hills, or descend into any of the valleys; they
can, without slipping, go sideways along the face of the hills, and in
crossing the green, swampy, grassy-ravines, I particularly remarked the
advantage of the light waggon drawn by animals with cloven feet; for
had one of our heavy teams attempted the passage, like a set of flies
walking across a plate of treacle, they would soon have become unable
to extricate even themselves. But in making the comparison between the
horse and the cow (as far as regards Nassau husbandry), I may further
observe, that the former has a very expensive appetite, and wears very
expensive shoes; as soon as he becomes lame he is useless, and as soon
as he is dead he is carrion. Now a placid, patient Langen-Schwalbach
cow, in the bloom of her youth, costs only two or three pounds; she
requires neither corn nor shoeing: the leaves of the forest, drawn by
herself to the village, form her bed, which in due time she carries out
to the field as manure: there is nothing a light cart can carry which
she is not ready to fetch, and from her work she cheerfully returns to
her home to give milk, cream, butter and cheese to the establishment:
at her death she is still worth eleven kreuzers a pound as beef; and
when her flesh has disappeared, her bones, after being ground at the
mill, once again appear upon her master's fields, to cheer, manure, and
enrich them.

As, quite in love with cows, I was returning from the harvest, I met
the Nassau letter-cart, one of the cheapest carriages for its purpose
that can well be conceived. It consists of a pair of high wheels
connected by a short axle, upon which are riveted a few boards framed
together in the form of a small shallow box; in this little coffin the
letter-bag is buried, and upon it, like a monument, sits a light boy
dressed in the uniform of a Nassau postillion, who with a trumpet in
one hand, a long whip in the other, and the reins sporting loose under
his feet, starts as if he deliberately meant mischief, intending to get
well over his ground; and there being scarcely any weight to carry, the
horse really might proceed as a mail-coach horse ought to go; but that
horrible Punch and Judy trumpet upsets the whole arrangement, for as
the thing is very heavy, the child soon takes two hands to it instead
of one, when down goes the whip, and from that moment the picture,
which promised to be a good one, is spoiled.

The letter-bag crawls, like a reptile, along the road; while the boy,
amusing himself with his plaything, reminds one of those "nursery
rhymes" which say,

        "And with rings on his fingers, and bells on his toes,
         We shall have music wherever he goes."

It is quite provoking to see a government carriage in its theory
so simply imagined, and so cleverly adapted to its purpose, thus
completely ruined in its practice. Music may be, and indeed is, very
delightful in its way; but a tune is one thing--speed another; and it
always seems to me a pity that the Duke of Nassau should allow these
two substantives to be so completely confounded in his dominions.

How admirably does the long tin horn of the guard of one of our
mail-coaches perform its blunt duty!--a single blast is sufficient
to remove the obstruction of an old gentleman in his gig--two are
generally enough for a heavy cart--three for a waggon--and half-a-dozen
slowly and sternly applied, are always sufficient to awaken the snoring
keeper of a turnpike-gate--in short, to

        "Break his bands of sleep asunder,
         And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder.
         Hark! hark! the horrid sound
         Has raised up his head, as awaked from the dead,
         And amazed he stares around!"

The gala turn-out of our mail-coaches on the King's birth-day, I always
think must strike foreigners more than anything else in our country
with the sterling solid integrity of the English character. To see so
many well-bred horses in such magnificent condition--so many well-built
carriages--so many excellent drivers, and such a corps of steady,
quiet, resolute-looking men as guards, each wearing, as well as every
coachman, the King's own livery--all this must silently point out, even
to our most jealous enemies, not only the wealth of the country, but
the firm basis on which it stands; in short, it must prove to them most
undeniably, that there is no one thing in England which, throughout
the land, is treated with so much universal attention and respect, as
the honest, speedy, and safe delivery of the letters and commercial
correspondence of the country. Nevertheless, if our English coachmen
were to be allowed, instead of attending to their horses, to play on
trumpets as they proceeded, we should, as in the Duchy of Nassau, soon
pay very dearly for their music.



THE SUNSET.


It had been hot all day--the roads had been dusty--the ground, as
one trod upon it, had felt warm--the air was motionless--animal as
well as vegetable life appeared weak and exhausted--Nature herself
seemed parched and thirsty--the people on the promenade, as it got
hotter and hotter, had walked slower and slower, until they were
now crawling along as unwillingly as if they had been marching to
their graves. The world, as if from apathy, was coming to a stand
still--Langen-Schwalbach itself appeared to be fainting away, when
the evening sun, having rested for a moment on the western height,
gradually vanished from our sight.

His red tyrannical rays had hardly left our pale abject faces, when all
people suddenly revived; like a herd of fawning courtiers who had been
kept trembling before their king, they felt that, left to themselves,
they could now breathe, and think, and stamp their feet. Parasols, one
after another, were shut up--the pedestrians on the promenade freshened
their pace--even fat patients, who had long been at anchor on the
benches, began to show symptoms of getting under weigh--every leaf
seemed suddenly to be enjoying the cool gentle breeze which was now
felt stealing up the valley; until, in a very few minutes, everything
in Nature was restored to life and enjoyment.

It was the hour for returning to my "hof," but the air as it blew into
my window was so delightfully refreshing, and so irresistibly inviting,
that I and my broad-brimmed hat went out _tête-à-tête_ to enjoy it. As
we passed the red pond of iron water, opposite to the great "Indian
Hof," which comes from the strong Stahl brunnen, having nothing to do,
I lingered for some time watching the horses that were brought there.
After having toiled through the excessive heat of the day, any water
would have been agreeable to them; but the nice, cool, strengthening,
effervescing mixture into which they were now led, seemed to be so
exceedingly delightful, that they were scarcely up to their knees
before they made a strong attempt to drink: but the rule being that
they should first half walk and half swim two or three times round the
pond, this cleansing or ablution was no sooner over--the reins were no
sooner loosened--when down went their heads into the red cooling pool;
and one had then only to look at the horses' eyes to appreciate their
enjoyment. With the whole of their mouths and nostrils immersed, they
seemed as if they fancied they could drink the pond dry; however, the
greedy force with which they held their heads down gradually relaxed,
until, at last, up they were raised, with an aspiration which seemed
to say, "We can hold no more!" In about ten seconds, however, their
noses again dropped to the surface, but only to play with an element
which seemed now to be useless--so completely had one single draught
altered its current value! As I stood at the edge of this pond, leaning
over the rail, mentally participating with the horses in the luxury
they were enjoying, a violent shower of rain came on; yet, before I
had hurried fifty yards for an umbrella, it had ceased. These little
showers are exceedingly common amongst the hills of Nassau in the
evenings of very hot days. From the power of the sun, the valleys
during the day are filled brimful with a steam, or exhalation, which
no sooner loses its parent, the sun, than the cold condenses it; and
then, like the tear on the cheek of a child that has suddenly missed
its mother, down it falls in heavy drops, and the next instant--smiles
again.

As the air was very agreeable, I wandered up the hilly road which
leads to Bad-Ems; and then, strolling into a field of corn, which
had been just cut, I continued to climb the mountain, until, turning
round, I found, as I expected, that I had attained just the sort of
view I wanted; but it would be impossible to describe to the reader
the freshness of the scene. Beneath was the long scrambling village
of the Langen-Schwalbach, the slates of which, absolutely blooming
from the shower they had just received, looked so very clean and
fresh, that for some time my eyes quite enjoyed rambling from one
roof to the next, and then glancing from one extremity of the town to
the other;--they had been looking at hot dazzling objects all day--I
thought I never should be able to raise them from the cool blue wet
slates. However, as the light rapidly faded, the landscape itself soon
became equally refreshing, for the dry parched corn-fields assumed a
richer hue, the green crops seemed bending under dew, and the whole
picture, hills, town, and all, appeared so newly painted, that the
colours from Nature's brush were too fresh to be dry. All of a sudden,
majestically rolling up the valley, was seen a misty vapour, which, at
last, reaching the houses, rolled from roof to roof, until it hovered
over, or rather rested upon the whole town, and this was no sooner the
case than the slates seemed all to have vanished!

In vain I looked for them, for the cloud exactly matching them in
colour had so completely disguised them, that they formed nothing
now but the base or foundation of the misty fabric which rested upon
them. Instead of a blue town, Langen-Schwalbach now appeared to be a
white one; for, the roofs no longer attracting attention, the shining
walls burst into notice, and a serpentine line of glistening patches,
nearly resembling a ridge of snow, clearly marked out the shape and
limits of the town; but as, in this elevated country, there is little
or no twilight, the features of the picture again rapidly faded, until
even this white line was hardly to be seen; corn-fields could now
scarcely be distinguished from green crops--all became dark--and the
large forest on the south hills, as well as the small woods which are
scattered on the heights, had so completely lost their colour, that
they appeared to be immense black pits or holes. In a short time every
thing beneath me was lost; and sitting on the ground, leaning against
seven sheaves of corn piled up together, I was enjoying the sublime
serenity, the mysterious uncertainty of the scene before me, when
another very beautiful change took place!

I believe I have already told the reader that, beside myself, there
were about 1200 strangers in the little village of Langen-Schwalbach.
Of course every hof was fully inhabited, and, as soon as darkness
prevailed, the effect produced by each house being suddenly and
almost simultaneously lighted up, was really quite romantic. In
every direction, sometimes at the top of one hof, then at the bottom
of another, lights burst into existence--the eye attracted, eagerly
flew from one to another, until, from the number which burst into
life, it became quite impossible to attend to each. The bottom of the
valley, like the dancing of fire-flies, was sparkling in the most
irregular succession; till, in a short time, this fantastic confusion
vanished, and every room (there being no shutters) having its light,
Langen-Schwalbach was once again restored to view--each house, and
every story of each house, being now clearly defined by a regular and
very pleasing illumination; and while, seated in utter darkness, I
gazed at the gay sparkling scene before me, I could not help feeling
that, of all the beautiful contrasts in Nature, there can be no one
more vivid than the sudden change between darkness and light. How weary
we should be of eternal sunshine,--how gloomy would it be to grope
through one's life in utter darkness, and yet what loveliness do each
of these, by contrast, impart to the other! On the heights above the
village, how magnificent was the darkness after a hot sun-shining day;
and then, again, how lovely was the twinkling even of tallow-candles,
when they suddenly burst upon this darkness! Yet it is with these two
ingredients that Nature works up all her pictures; and, as Paganini's
tunes all come out of two strings of cat-gut, and two of the entrails
of a kitten, so do all the varieties which please our eyes proceed
from a mixture in different proportions of light and shade; and,
indeed, in the moral world, it is the chiaro-oscuro, the brightness
and darkness of which alone form the happiness of our existence. What
would prosperity be, if there was no such sorrow as adversity? what
would health be if sickness did not exist? and what would be the smile
of an approving conscience if there was not the torment of repentance
writhing under guilt? But I will persecute the reader no longer with
the reflections which occurred to me, as I sat in a wheat-field,
gazing on the lights of Langen-Schwalbach. Good or bad, they managed
to please me; however, after remaining in darkness, till it became
much colder than was agreeable, I wandered back to my hof, entered my
dormitory, and my head having there found its pillow, as I extinguished
my candle, I mumbled to myself--"There goes one of the tallow stars of
Langen-Schwalbach!--Sic transit gloria mundi!"

I was lying prostrate, still awake--and (there being no shutters to the
window at the foot of the bed) I was looking at some oddly-shaped,
tall, acute-angled, slated roofs, glistening in the light of the round
full moon, which was hanging immediately above them. The scene was
delightfully silent and serene. Occasionally I faintly heard a distant
footstep approaching, until treading heavily under the window, its
sound gradually diminished, till all again was silent. Sometimes a
cloud passing slowly across the moon would veil the roofs in darkness;
and then, again, they would suddenly burst upon the eye, in silvery
light, shining brighter than ever. As somewhat fatigued I lay half
enjoying this scene, and half dozing, I suddenly heard, apparently
close to me, the scream of a woman, which really quite electrified me!

On listening it was repeated, when, jumping out of bed and opening the
door, I heard it again proceeding from a room at the distant end of
the passage; and such was the violence of its tone, that my impression
was--"the lady's room is on fire!"

There is something in the piercing shriek of a woman in distress which
produces an irresistible effect on the featherless biped, called man;
and, in rushing to her assistance, he performs no duty--he exercises
no virtue--but merely obeys an instinctive impulse which has been
benevolently imparted to him--not for his own good, but for the safety
and protection of a weaker and a better sex.

But although this feeling exists so powerfully chez nous, yet it has
not by nature been imparted to common-place garments, such as coats,
black figured silk waistcoats, rusty knee-breeches, nor even to easy
shoes, blue worsted stockings, or such like; and, therefore, while,
by an irresistible attraction which I could not possibly counteract,
obeying the mysterious impulse of my nature, I rushed along the
passage, these base, unchivalric garments remained coldly dangling over
the back of a chair: in short, I followed the laws of my nature--they,
theirs.

With some difficulty, having succeeded in bursting open the door just
as a fifth shriek was repeated, I rushed in, and there, sitting up
in her bed--her soft arms most anxiously extended towards me--her
countenance expressing an agony of fear--sat a young lady, by no means
ill-favoured, and aged (as near as I could hastily calculate) about
twenty-one!

Almost in hysterics, she began, in German, to tell a long incoherent
story; and though, with calm, natural dignity, I did what I could
to quiet her, the tears rushed into her eyes--she then almost in
convulsions began, with her hands under the bed-clothes, to scratch
her knees, then shrieked again; and I do confess that I was altogether
at a loss to conceive what in the sacred name of virtue was the matter
with the young lady, when, by her repeating several times the word
"Ratten! Ratten!!" I at once comprehended that there were (or that the
amiable young person fancied that there were)--_rats in her bed_!

The dog Billy, as well as many puppies of less name, would instantly,
perhaps, have commenced a vigorous attack; rats, however, are reptiles
I am not in the habit either of hunting or destroying.

The young lady's aunt, an elderly personage, now appeared at the door,
in her night-clothes, as yellow and as sallow as if she had just
risen from the grave; peeping over her shoulder, stood our landlady's
blooming daughter in her bed-gown--Leonhard, the son _cum multis
aliis_. What they could all have thought of the scene--what they could
have thought of my strange, gaunt, unadorned appearance--what they
could have thought of the niece's screams--and what they would have
thought had I deigned to tell them I had come to her bedside merely to
catch rats--it was out of my power to divine: however, the fact was, I
cared not a straw what they thought; but, seeing that my presence was
not requisite, I gravely left the poor innocent sufferer to tell her
own story. "Ratten! Ratten!!" was its theme; and, long before her fears
subsided, my mind, as well as its body, were placidly intranced in
sleep.



THE CROSS OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM.


To an old man, one of the most delightful features in a German
watering-place, is the ease with which he can associate, in the most
friendly manner, with all his brother and sister water-bibbers, without
the fatigue of speaking one single word.

Almost every glass of water you get from the brunnen adds, at least,
one to the list of your acquaintance. Merely touching a man's elbow is
sufficient to procure from him a look of goodfellowship, which, though
it does not inconveniently grow into a bow, or even into a smile, is
yet always afterwards displayed in his physiognomy whenever it meets
yours. If, as you are stretching out your glass, you retire but half
a stride, to allow a thirsting lady to step forward, you clearly
see, whensoever you afterwards meet her, that the slight attention
is indelibly recorded in your favour. Even running against a German
produces, as it were by collision, a spark of kind feeling, which, like
a star in the heavens, twinkles in his serene countenance whenever
you behold it. Smile only once upon a group of children, and the
little urchins bite their lips, vainly repressing their joy whenever
afterwards you meet them.

Shrouded in this delightful taciturnity, my list of acquaintances at
Langen-Schwalbach daily increased, until I found myself on just the
sort of amicable terms with almost everybody, which, to my present
taste, is the most agreeable. In early life young people (if I
recollect right) are never quite happy, unless they are either talking,
or writing letters to their fellow-creatures. Whenever, even as
strangers, they get together, everything that happens or passes seems
to engender conversation--even when they have parted, there is no end
to epistolary valedictions, and creation itself loses half its charms,
unless the young beholder has some companion with whom the loveliness
of the picture may be shared and enjoyed.

But old age I find stiffens, first of all, the muscles of the tongue;
indeed, as man gradually decays, it seems wisely provided by Nature
that he should be willing to be dumb, before time obliges him to
be deaf: in short the mind, however voraciously it might once have
searched for food, at last instinctively prefers rumination, to seeking
for more.

By young people I shall be thought selfish, yet I do confess that I
enjoy silence, because my own notions now suit me best; other people's
opinions, like their shoes, don't fit me, and however ill-constructed
or old-fashioned my own may really be, yet use has made them easy: my
sentiments, ugly as they may seem, don't pinch, and I therefore feel
I had rather not exchange them; the one or two friends I have lost
rank in my memory better than any I can ever hope to gain: in fact,
I had rather not replace them, and at Langen-Schwalbach, as there
was no necessity for a passing stranger like myself to set up a fine
new acquaintance with people he would probably never see again, I
considered that with my eyes and ears open, my tongue might harmlessly
enjoy natural and delightful repose.

But there is a perverseness in human nature, which it is quite out
of my power to account for; and strange as it may sound, it is
nevertheless too true, that the only person at Langen-Schwalbach I
felt desirous to address, was the only individual who seemed to shun
every human being.

He was a withered, infirm man, who appeared to be tottering on the
brink of his grave; and I had long remarked that, for some reason
or other, he studiously avoided the brunnen until every person had
left it. He spoke to no one--looked at no one--but as soon as he had
swallowed off his dose, he retired to a lone bench, on which, with
both hands leaning upon his ivory-handled cane, he was always to be
seen sitting with his eyes sorrowfully fixed on the ground. Although
the water was, to every person but himself, oppressively hot, he was
constantly muffled up in a thick cloak, and I think I must have passed
him a hundred times before I detected, one exceedingly warm day, that
underneath it there hung upon his left breast the Cross of the Order
of St. John of Jerusalem. As, ages ago, I had myself passed many a
hot summer on the parched, barren rock of Malta,--always, however,
feeling much interested in the history of its banished knights,--I
at once fully comprehended why the poor old gentleman's body was so
chilly, and why his heart felt so chilled with the world. By many
slow and scientific approaches which it would be only tedious to
detail, I at last managed, without driving him from his bench, most
quietly to establish myself at his side, and then by coughing when
he coughed,--sighing when he sighed,--and by other (I hope innocent)
artifices, I at last ventured in a _sotto voce_ to mumble to him
something about the distant island in which apparently all his youthful
feelings lay buried. The words Valetta, Civitta Vecchia, Floriana,
Cottonera, &c., as I pronounced them, produced, by a sort of galvanic
influence, groans--ejaculations--short sentences, until at last he
began to show me frankly without disguise the real colour of his
mind. Poor man! like his eye it was jaundiced--"nullis medicabilis
herbis!" I could not at all extract from him what rank, title, or
situation he held in the ancient order, but I could too clearly see
that he looked upon its extinction as the Persian would look upon
the annihilation of the sun. Creation he fancied had been robbed of
its colours,--Christianity he thought had lost its heart,--and he
attributed every political ailment on the surface of the globe to the
non-existence of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem.

For several hours I patiently listened to his unhappy tale; for as
lamentations of all sorts are better out of the human heart than
in it, I felt that as the vein was open, my patient could not be
encouraged to bleed too freely: without therefore once contradicting
him, I allowed his feelings to flow uninterrupted, and by the time he
had pumped himself dry, I was happy to observe that he was certainly
much better for the operation. On leaving him, however, my own pent-up
view of the case, and his, continued for the remainder of the day
bubbling and quarrelling with each other in my mind. Therefore, to
satisfy myself before I went to bed, I drew out in black and white
the following sketch of what has always appeared to me to be a fair,
impartial history of these--Knights of Malta.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Mediterranean forms a curious and beautiful feature in the picture
of the commercial world. By dint of money and shipping we laboriously
bring to England the produce of the most distant regions, but the
commerce of the whole globe seems to have a natural or instinctive
tendency to flow, almost of its own accord, into the Mediterranean Sea.
Beginning with the great Atlantic Ocean, which connects the old world
with the new, we know that, over that vast expanse, the prevailing wind
is one which blows from America towards Europe; and, moreover, that the
waters of the Atlantic are, without any apparent return, everlastingly
flowing into the narrow straits of Gibraltar. When the produce of
America, therefore, is shipped for the Mediterranean, in general terms
it may be asserted that wind and tide are in its favour.

Across the trackless deserts of Africa caravans from various parts of
the interior are constantly toiling through the sand towards the waters
of this inland sea. The traveller who goes up the Nile is doomed, we
all know, to stem its torrent, but the produce of Egypt and the triple
harvest of that luxuriant land is no sooner embarked, than of its own
accord it glides majestically towards this favoured sea; and there is
truth and nothing speculative in still further remarking, that this
very harvest is absolutely produced by the slime or earth of Abyssinian
and other most remote mountains, which by the laws of nature has calmly
floated 1200 miles through a desert to top-dress or manure Egypt, that
garden which eventually supplies so many of the inhabitants of the
Mediterranean with corn.

Again, the Red Sea is a passage apparently created to connect Europe
with the great Eastern world; and as the power of steam gradually
increases in its stride, it is evident that by this gulf, or natural
canal, much of the produce of India eventually will easily flow into
the Mediterranean Sea.

Finally, it might likewise be shown, that much of the commerce of Asia
Minor and Europe, either by great rivers or otherwise, naturally moves
towards this central point; but besides these sources of external
wealth, the Mediterranean, as we all know, is most romantically studded
with an Archipelago and other beautiful islands, the inhabitants of
which have the power not only of trading on a large scale with every
quarter of the globe, but of carrying on in small open boats a sort of
little village commerce of their own. Among the inhabitants of this sea
are to be found at this moment the handsomest specimens of the human
race; and if a person not satisfied with the present and future tenses
of life, should prefer reflecting or rather ruminating on the past,
with antiquarian rapture he may wander over these waters from Carthage
to Egypt, Tyre, Sidon, Rhodes, Troy, Ephesus, Athens, Corinth, Argos,
Syracuse, Rome, &c., until tired of his flight he may rest upon one of
the ocean-beaten pillars of Hercules--and seated there, may most truly
declare that the history of the Mediterranean is like the picture of
its own waves beneath him, which one after another he sees to rise,
break, and sink.

In the history of this little sea, in what melancholy succession has
nation and empire risen and fallen, flourished and decayed; and if the
magnificent architectural ruins of these departed states mournfully
offer to the traveller any political moral at all, is it not that
homely one which the most common tomb-stone of our country churchyard
preaches to the peasant who reads it?

        "As I am now, so you will be,
         Therefore prepare to follow me!"

However, fully admitting the truth of the lesson which history and
experience thus offer to us--admitting that no one can presume to
declare which of the great Mediterranean powers is doomed to be the
next to suffer--or what new point is next to burst into importance;
yet if a man were forced to select a position which, in spite of fate
or fortune, feuds or animosities, has been, and ever must be, the
nucleus of commerce, he would find that in the Mediterranean Sea that
point, as nearly as possible, would be the little island of Malta;
and the political importance of this possession being now generally
appreciated, it is curious rapidly to run over the string of little
events which have gradually prepared, fortified, and delivered this
valuable arsenal and fortress to the British flag.

In the early ages of navigation, when men hardly dared to lose sight
of the shore, ignorantly trembling if they were not absolutely hugging
the very danger which we now most strenuously avoid, it may be easily
conceived that a little barren island, scarcely twenty miles in length
or twelve in breadth, was of little use or importance. It is true, that
on its north coast there was a spit or narrow tongue of land (about a
mile in length and a few hundred yards in breadth), on each side of
which were a series of connected bays, now forming two of the most
magnificent harbours in the world; but in the ages of which we speak
this great outline was a nautical hieroglyphic which sailors could not
decipher. Accustomed to hide their Lilliputian vessels and fleets in
bays and creeks on the same petty scale as themselves, they did not
comprehend or appreciate the importance of these immense Brobdignag
recesses, nor did they admire the great depth of water which they
contained; and as in ancient warfare, when warriors used javelins,
arrows and stones, scalding each other with hot sand, the value of a
position adapted to the present ranges of our shot and shells would not
have been understood, in like manner was the importance of so large
a harbour equally imperceptible; and that Malta could have had no
very great reputation is proved by the fact, that it is even to this
day among the learned a subject of dispute, whether it was upon this
island, or upon Melita in the Adriatic, that St. Paul was shipwrecked.
Now if either had been held in any particular estimation, the question
of the shipwreck would not now be any subject of doubt.

As navigators became more daring, and as their vessels, increasing in
size, required more water and provisions, &c., Malta fell into the
hands of various masters. At last, when Charles V. conquered Sicily
and Naples, he offered it to those warriors of Christendom, those
determined enemies of the Turks and Corsairs--the Knights Hospitallers
of St. John of Jerusalem. This singular band of men, distinguished by
their piebald vow of heroism and celibacy, had, after a most courageous
resistance, been just overpowered by an army of 300,000 Saracens,
who, under Solyman II., had driven them from the island of Rhodes,
which had been occupied by their Order 213 years. Animated by the most
noble blood of Europe which flowed in their veins--thirsting for
revenge--yet homeless and destitute, it may easily be conceived that
these brave, enthusiastic men would most readily have accepted almost
any spot on which they could once again establish their busy hive: yet
so little was the importance of Malta, even at that time, understood,
so arid was its surface, and so burning was its rock, that, after
minutely surveying it, their commissioners made a report to Charles V.,
which must ever be regarded as a most affecting document; for although
the Knights of Malta were certainly in their day the "bravest of the
brave," although by that chivalric oath which bound them together, they
had deliberately sworn "_never to count the number of their enemies_,"
yet after the strong, proud position which they had held at Rhodes, it
was only hard fate and stern necessity that could force them to seek
refuge on a rock upon which there was scarcely soil enough to plant
their standard. But though honour has been justly termed "an empty
bubble," yet to all men's eyes its colours are so very beautiful, that
they allure and encourage us to contend with difficulties which no
other advocate could persuade us to encounter; and so it was that the
Knights of Malta, seeing they had no alternative, sternly accepted the
hot barren home that was offered to them, and in the very teeth, and
before the beard of their barbarous enemy, these lions of the Cross
landed and established themselves in their new den.

When men have once made up their minds to stand against
adversity, the scene generally brightens; for danger, contrary
to the rules of drawing, is less in the foreground than in the
perspective--difficulties of all sorts being magnified by the misty
space which separates us from them; and accordingly the knights were no
sooner established at Malta, than they began to find out the singular
advantages it possessed.

The whole island being a rock of freestone, which could be worked
with peculiar facility, materials for building palaces and houses,
suited to the dignity of the Order, existed everywhere on the spot;
and it moreover became evident, that by merely quarrying out the rock,
according to the rules of military science, they would not only obtain
materials for building, but that, in fact, the more they excavated for
their town, the deeper would be the ditch of its fortress. Animated
by this double reward, the knights commenced their operations, or, in
military language, they "broke ground;" and, without detailing how
often the rising fortress was jealously attacked by their barbarous
and relentless enemies, or how often its half-raised walls were
victoriously cemented with the blood of Christians and of Turks, it
will be sufficient merely to observe, that before the island had been
in possession of the Order one century, it assumed very nearly the same
astonishing appearance which it now affords--a picture and an example,
proving to the whole world what can be done by courage, firmness, and
perseverance.

The narrow spit or tongue of barren rock which on the north side of the
island separated the two great harbours, was scarped in every part,
so as to render it inaccessible by sea, and on the isthmus, or only
side on which it could be approached by land, demi-lunes, ravelins,
counter-guards, bastions, and cavaliers, were seen towering one above
another on so gigantic a scale, that, as a single datum, it may be
stated, that the wall of the escarp is from 130 to 150 feet in height,
being nearly five times the height of that of a regular fortress.
On this narrow tongue of land, thus fortified, arose the city of
Valetta, containing a palace for its Grand Master; and almost equally
magnificent residences for its knights, the whole forming at this day
one of the finest cities in the world. On every projecting point of the
various beautiful bays contained in each of the two great harbours,
separated from each other by the town of Valetta, forts were built
flanking each other, yet all offering a concentrating fire upon any and
every part of the port; and when a vessel labouring, heaving, pitching,
and tossing, in a heavy gale of wind, now suddenly enters the great
harbour of Malta, the sudden lull--the unexpected calm--the peaceful
stillness which prevails on its deep unruffled surface, is most
strangely contrasted in the mind of the stranger with the innumerable
guns which, bristling in every direction from batteries one above
another, seem fearfully to announce to him that he is in the chamber of
death--in a slaughter-house from which there is no escape, and that, if
he should dare to offer insult, although he has just escaped from the
raging of the elements, the silence around him is that of the grave!

It was from the city and harbour of Valetta, in the state above
described,--it was from this proud citadel of Christianity, that the
Knights of Malta continued for some time sallying forth to carry on
their uncompromising hostility against the Turks and against the
corsairs of Algiers and Tripoli; but the brilliant victories they
gained, and the bloody losses they sustained, must be passed over, as
it is already time to hurry their history to a close.

The fact is, the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem
gradually outlived the passions and objects which called them into
existence, and their Order decayed for want of that nourishment which,
during so many ages, it received from the sympathy, countenance,
and applause of Christendom. In short, as mankind had advanced in
civilization, its angry, savage, intolerant passions had gradually
subsided, and thus the importance of the Order unavoidably faded with
its utility. There was nothing premature in its decay--it had lived
long enough. The holy, or rather unholy, war, with all its unchristian
feelings, having long since subsided, it would have been inconsistent
in the great nations of Europe to have professed a general disposition
for peace, or to have entered into any treaty with the Turks, while
at the same time they encouraged an Order which was bent on their
extermination.

The vow of celibacy, once the pride of the Order, became, in a more
enlightened age, a mill-stone round its neck; it attracted ridicule--it
created guilt--the sacred oath was broken; and although the head, the
heart, and the pockets, of a soldier may be as light as the pure air
he breathes, yet he can never truly be reported "fit for duty" if his
conscience or his stomach be too heavily laden. In short, in two words,
the Order of St. John of Jerusalem was no longer suited to the times;
and Burke had already exclaimed--"_The age of chivalry has fled!_"

In the year 1798, this Order, after having existed nearly 700
years, signed its own death-warrant, and in the face of Europe died
ignominiously--"_felo de se_." On the 9th of June, in that year, their
island was invaded by the French; and although, as Napoleon justly
remarked, to have excluded him it would have been only necessary
to have shut the gates, Valetta was surrendered by treachery, the
depravity of which will be best explained by the following extract from
a statement made by the Maltese deputies:--"No one is ignorant that
the plan of the invasion of Malta was projected in Paris, and confided
to the principal knights of the Order resident at Malta. Letters
in cyphers were incessantly passing and repassing, without however
alarming the suspicions of the deceased Grand Master, or the Grand
Master Hompesch."

As soon as the French were in possession of the city, harbours, and
impregnable fortresses of Valetta, they began, as usual, to mutilate
from the public buildings everything which bore the stamp of nobility,
or recalled to mind the illustrious actions which had been performed.
The arms of the Order, as well as those of the principal knights, were
effaced from the palace and principal dwelling-houses; however, as the
knights had sullied their own reputation, and had cast an indelible
blot on their own escutcheons, they had but little right to complain
that the image of their glory was thus insulted, when they themselves
had been guilty of the murder of its spirit. The Order of St. John of
Jerusalem being now worn out and decayed, its elements were scattered
to the winds. The knight who were not in the French interest were
ordered to quit the island in three days, and a disgraceful salary was
accepted by the Grand Master Hompesch. Those knights who had favoured
the French were permitted to remain, but, exposed to the rage of the
Maltese, and unprotected by their false friends, some fled, some
absolutely perished from want, but all were despised and hated.

In the little theatre of Malta the scene is about to change, and the
British soldier now marches upon its stage! On the 2d of September,
1798, the island was blockaded by the English, and the fortifications
being absolutely impregnable, it became necessary to attempt the
reduction of the place by famine.

For two years most gallantly did the French garrison undergo the most
horrid suffering and imprisonment--steadily and cheerfully did they
submit to every possible privation--their stock of spirits, wine,
meat, bread, &c., doled out in the smallest possible allowances,
gradually diminished until all came to end. Sooner than strike, they
then subsisted upon the flesh of their horses, mules, and asses; and
when these also were consumed, and when they had eaten not only their
cats, but the rats which infested the houses, drains, &c., in great
numbers--when, from long-protracted famine, the lamp of life was
absolutely expiring in the socket; in short, having, as one of their
kings once most nobly exclaimed, "lost all but their honour," these
brave men--with nerves unshaken, with reputation unsullied, and with
famine proudly painted in their lean, emaciated countenances--on the
4th of September, 1800, surrendered the place to that nation which
Napoleon has since termed "the most powerful, the most constant, and
the most generous of his enemies."

During the long-winded game of war which France and England lately
played together, our country surely never made any better move than
when she thus laid hold of Malta. Even if the island had been in the
rude state in which it was delivered to the knights of Jerusalem,
still, to a maritime power like England, such splendid harbours in the
Mediterranean would have been a most valuable conquest; but when we
not only appreciate their noble outline, but consider the gigantic and
expensive manner in which this town has been impregnably fortified,
as well as furnished with tanks, subterraneous stores, bomb-proof
magazines, most magnificent barracks, palaces, &c., it is quite
delightful to reflect on the series of events which have led to such
a well-assorted alliance between two of the strongest harbours in the
world and the first maritime power on the globe.

If, like the French, we had taken the island from the knights, however
degraded, worn out, and useless their Order might have become, yet
Europe in general, and France in particular, might always have
reproached us, and, for aught we know, our own consciences might have
become a little tender on the subject. But the delightful truth is,
that no power in Europe can breathe a word or a syllable against our
possession of the island of Malta--it is an honour in open daylight we
have fairly won, and I humbly say, long, very long, may we wear it!

With respect to the Maltese themselves, I just at this moment recollect
a trifling story which will, I think, delineate their character with
tolerable accuracy.



THE RENEGADE.


Of all the little unhappy prejudices which in different parts of the
globe it has been my fortune, or rather misfortune, to witness, I
nowhere remember to have met with a deeper-rooted hatred or a more
implacable animosity than existed, some twenty or thirty years ago,
in the hearts of the Maltese towards the Turks. In all warm glowing
latitudes, human passions, good as well as bad, may be said to stand
at least at that degree which on Fahrenheit's scale would be denoted
"fever heat;" and steam itself can hardly be more different from
ice,--the Bengal tiger springing on his prey cannot form a greater
contrast to that half-frozen fisherman the white bear, as he sits on
his iceberg sucking his paws,--than are the passions of hot countries
when compared with the cold torpid feelings of the inhabitants of the
northern regions of the globe.

In all parts of the Mediterranean I found passions of all sorts very
violent, but, without any exception, that which, at the period I refer
to, stood uppermost in the scale, was bigotry. Besides the eager
character which belonged to their latitude, one might naturally expect
that the Maltese, from being islanders, would be rather more prejudiced
than their continental neighbours; however, in addition to these
causes, when I was among them, they really had good reason to dislike
the Turks, who during the time of the knights had been _ex officio_
their constant and most bitter enemies.

Whether these fine knights of Jerusalem conquered the Turks or were
defeated, the Maltese on board their galleys (like the dwarf who fought
with the giant) always suffered: besides this, their own little trading
vessels were constantly captured by the Turks, the crews being not only
maltreated and tortured, but often in cold blood cruelly massacred; in
short, if there was any bad feeling in the heart of a Maltese, which
the history of his island, as well as every bitter recollection of his
life, seemed naturally to nourish, it was an implacable hatred for the
Turks; and that this sad theory was most fully supported by the fact,
became evident the instant one observed a Maltese, on the commonest
subject, utter that hated, accursed word, _Turco_, or Turk. The sort of
petty convulsion of the mind with which this dissyllable was delivered
was really very remarkable, and the roll and flash of the eye--the
little bullying shake of the head--the slight stamp of the left
foot--and the twitch in the fingers of the right hand, reminded one for
the moment of the manner in which a French dragoon, when describing an
action, mentions that his regiment came on _sabre à la main_!--words
which, if you were to give him the universe, he could not pronounce
without grinding his teeth, much less with that cold-hearted simplicity
with which one of our soldiers would calmly say "sword in hand."

This hatred of the Maltese towards the Turks was a sort of cat and dog
picture which always attracted my notice; however, I witnessed one
example of it, on which occasion I felt very strongly it was carried
altogether beyond a joke.

One lovely morning--I remember it as if it were yesterday--there had
been a great religious festival in the island, which, as usual, had
caused a good deal of excitement, noise, and fever; and, as a nation
seldom allays its thirst without quarrelling, as soon as the hot sun
set, a great many still hotter disturbances took place. In one of
these rows, a party of Turks, justly or injustly, became offended with
the inhabitants; an affray occurred, and a Mahometan having stabbed a
Maltese, he was of course thrown into prison; and in process of time,
surrounded by a strong guard, he was led into the Maltese court to be
tried (_Anglicè_ condemned) for the offence. As he threaded his way
through the crowd which had assembled in those dirty passages and dark
chambers that led to the tribunal, the women shrunk back as the _Turco_
passed them, as if his very breath would have infected them with the
plague; while in the countenances of the men, as they leant forwards
arresting him in his progress, and almost touching him with their brown
faces, it was evident that they were all animated with but one feeling
and one desire, that is to say, hatred and revenge: however, nothing
was heard but a very slight murmur or groan, and the prisoner was soon
seen a little raised above the crowd, trembling at the bar. He was a
diminutive, mean-looking, ill-favoured little fellow, dressed in the
loose Turkish costume, with a very small dirty white turban, the folds
of which were deemed more odious to the Christian eye than if they
had been formed by the wreathing body of the serpent. While the crowd
were shouldering each other, head peeping over head, and before the
shuffling of moving feet could be silenced, avvocati, or clerks, who
sat in the small space between the prisoner and the bench, were seen
eagerly mending their pens, and they had already dipped them into ink,
and the coarse, dirty, rough-edged paper on which they were to write
was folded and placed ready in front of them, before it was possible to
commence the trial.

The court was insufferably hot, and there was such a stench of garlic
and of clothing impregnated with the stale fumes of tobacco, that
one longed almost as much as the prisoner to escape into the open
air, while the sallow faces of the avvocati, clerks, and every one
connected with the duties of the court, showed how unhealthy, as well
as offensive, was the atmosphere which they breathed. On the bench
sat what one must call the Judges, but to an English mind such a
title but ill belonged to those who had only lately been forced, most
reluctantly, to expel torture from their code. Just before Malta fell
into the hands of the French and English, my own servant, Giuseppe,
had lived in the service of one of the Maltese Judges; and among
many horrors which he often very calmly described to me (for he had
witnessed them until he had become quite accustomed to them), he told
me that he had had constantly to pass through a court in which were
those who were doomed to ride upon what was called the "cavallo di
legno," or wooden horse. With weights attached to each foot he used
to see them sitting bolt upright on this sharp narrow ridge, with two
torches burning within a few inches of their naked chests and backs, in
order that they should relieve themselves by a change of attitude no
longer than they could endure the pain of leaning against the flame.
But to return to the court.

The trial of the Turk now began, and every rigid form was most
regularly followed. The accusation was read--the story was
detailed--the Maltese witnesses in great numbers one after another
corroborated almost in the same words the same statement--several times
when the prisoner was ordered to be silent, as by some ejaculation he
interrupted the thread of the narrative, did the eyes of every being
in court flash in anger and contempt upon him, their countenances
as suddenly returning to a smile as the evidence of the witnesses
proceeded with their criminatory details. At last, the case being fully
substantiated, the culprit was called upon for his defence. Although a
poor, mean, illiterate wretch, it is possible he might have intended to
have made a kind of a sort of a speech; but when he came to the point,
his heart failed him, and his lips had only power to utter one single
word.

Regardless of the crowd, as if it had not existed, looking as if he
thought there was no object in creation but the central Judge on the
bench, he fixed his eyes for some moments upon his cold, immoveable
countenance, until overpowered by his feelings, almost sinking into the
ground, he clasped his hands, and in an agony of expression, which it
is quite impossible to describe, he asked for "MERCY!"

"_Nix standy! I don't understand ye!_" said an old English soldier
one day, in the _Bois de Boulogne_, to a French general, who, with
mush gesture and grimace, was telling in French, that the English were
acting against the laws of nations in thus cutting down so beautiful
a forest as the said _Bois de Boulogne_. "_Nix standy!_" repeated
the soldier, continuing to hack with all his might at the young tree
which he had almost cut down with his sabre. The very same answer was
strongly expressed in the countenance of the Judge, to the petition
of the unhappy Turk, who, had he been in the desert of Africa, might
just as well have asked merely for the ocean, as, in a Maltese court,
to have supplicated for _mercy_. For some time the Judge sat in awful
silence--then whispered a few words to his colleagues--again all was
silent: at last, when some little forms had been observed, the Chief
Judge pronounced a sentence on the prisoner, which he might just as
well have done without his having endured the pain and anxiety of a
long trial. It is hardly worth while mentioning the sentence; for,
of course, it was that the Turco, being guilty of the murder of the
Maltese, was to be hanged by the neck till he was dead; every word of
which sentence was most ravenously devoured by the audience: and the
trial being now over, the prisoner was hurried away to his dungeon,
while the crowd eagerly rushed into the hot sunshine and open air.

A very considerable time elapsed between the sentence and the day fixed
for execution. Where the prisoner was--what were his feelings--how he
was fed--"and how he fared--no one knew, and no one cared:" however,
on the last day of his existence, I happened to be riding along Strada
Forni, when I heard a bellowing sort of a blast from a cow's horn,
which I instantly knew to be the signal that a fellow creature was
going to the gallows. In any country in the world, the monotonous moan
which proceeds from this wild uncouth instrument would be considered as
extremely harsh and disagreeable; but at Malta, where the ear has been
constantly accustomed to good Italian music, and to listen to nothing
more discordant than the lovely and love-making notes of the guitar,
this savage whoop was indescribably offensive, particularly being
accompanied by the knowledge that it was the death-march, and the dirge
of the murderer--"the knell, that summoned him to heaven or to hell!"

As I rode towards Strada Reale, the principal street of Valetta, down
which the procession was proceeding, a dismal blast from this horn was
heard about every ten seconds; and, as it sounded louder and louder, it
was evident the procession was approaching. At last, on coming to the
corner of the street, I saw the culprit advancing on his funeral car.
The streets on both sides were lined with spectators, and every window
was filled with outstretched figures and eager faces. In the middle
of Strada Reale, preceding the prisoner, were three or four mutes;
while several others were also begging in different parts of the town.
These people, who belonged to some of the principal Maltese families,
were covered from head to foot, with long loose robes of white linen,
a couple of holes being cut for their eyes. Their feet were bare, and
to each ancle was affixed a chain of such weight and length, that it
was as much as they could do to drag one leg after the other. In the
right hand they held a tin money-box, in the shape of a lantern, with
death's head and bloody bones painted upon it. A small slit in this
box received the copper contributions of the multitude; and, as these
mutes passed me in horrid triumph, shaking the box every step they took
(the rattling of the money forming a sort of savage accompaniment to
the deep clanking of their chains), they had altogether an unearthly
appearance, which certainly seemed less to belong to heaven than to
hell; however, the malefactor now approached, and as soon as he came
up to the corner of my street, I, loosening my rein, rode for a few
moments at his side, attracted by one of the strangest scenes which I
think I have ever beheld. The man was half sitting, half reclining,
on a sort of low, rattling, iron vehicle, of an indescribable shape,
which raised his head a little above the level of the people; and the
very moment I looked him in the face, much of the secret history of
what had passed since the day of his condemnation was as legible in
his countenance as if it had been written there. He had been existing
in some dark place, for his complexion was blanched by absence from
light--he had evidently been badly fed, for there was famine in his
sunken features--his nerves were gone, for he was trembling--his health
had been materially impaired, either by suffering of body or mind, for
the man was evidently extremely ill--and last, though not least, for
some mysterious reason, either from an expectation of obtaining mercy
in this world or in the next, he had evidently abjured his religion,
for his dirty white turban was gone, and, very ill at his ease, he sat,
or rather reclined, in the clothes of a Christian!

The car on which he proceeded was surrounded by an immense number of
priests, belonging to the different churches of Valetta, and apparently
to those also of all the _casals_ and villages in the island. All
angry feelings had most completely subsided; in their minds, as well
as in the minds of the people, the day was one only of triumph and
joy; and, intoxicated with the spirit of religious enthusiasm, the
priests were evidently beside themselves with joy at having succeeded
in the miraculous conversion which they had effected. Shouldering and
pushing each other with all their strength, with outstretched arms,
and earnest countenances, they were all, in different attitudes and
voices, calling upon the malefactor to repeat the name of their own
peculiar saint; some behind him were trying to attract his notice
by pulling his clothes, while those before him, by dint of voice
and gesture, were equally endeavouring to catch his eye; and such a
confused cry of "Viva San Tommaso!" "Viva San Giuseppe!" "Viva San
Giovanni!" "Viva San Paolo!" I will not pretend to describe. It was,
of course, impossible for the wretch to comply with all their noisy
demands; yet, poor fellow, he did his best; and in a low faint voice,
being dreadfully exhausted by the jolting and shaking of the carriage,
he repeated "Viva San Paolo!" &c. &c., as he caught the eye of the
different priests. He had evidently no rule in these exclamations
which he uttered, for I observed that the strong brawny-shouldered
priests who got nearest to him, often made him repeat the name of their
saints twice, before the little bandy-legged ones in the rear could
get him to mention theirs once. As this strange concert proceeded, it
was impossible to help pitying the poor culprit; for, if one had been
travelling from one magnificent palace to another, to be so jolted and
tormented both in body and mind when one was ill, would by any of us
have been termed dreadfully disagreeable; but for all this to happen
to a man just at the very moment he was going to be hanged--at that
moment of all others in which any of us would desire to be left to his
own reflections--appeared at the time to be hard indeed. After passing
under the great gate and subterraneous exit called Porta Reale, the
procession wound its way across the drawbridges, and along the deep
ditches, &c., of the fortification, until coming out upon the great
esplanade which lies between Valetta and Floriana, an immense crowd
of people was suddenly seen waiting round the gallows--at the sight
of which I pulled up. The priests were now more eager than ever in
beseeching the criminal to call upon the name of their saint;--the
mutes, whose white robes in all directions were seen scattered among
the people, were evidently shaking their boxes more violently than
ever, while among the crowd there was a general lifting of feet, which
showed the intense anxiety of their feelings.

As the procession slowly approached the gallows, I could not hear
what was going on; but in a very short time, from the distance at
which I stood, I saw the man led up the ladder by the executioner, who
continued always a step or two above him: the rope was round his neck,
and resting loosely on the culprit's head, there was something like
a round wooden plate, through a hole in the centre of which the rope
passed. As soon as the poor creature got high up on the ladder, the
vociferations of the priests suddenly ceased; for a few seconds a dead
silence ensued, when all of a sudden, there was a simultaneous burst or
shriek of exclamation from priests and populace, echoing and re-echoing
the words "Viva la Cristianità!" which the man, in a low tone of voice,
had just been persuaded to utter. All caps waved--every human being
seemed congratulating each other on the delightful conversion; and
no person seemed to pay the slightest possible attention to the poor
wretch, who, with the last syllable on his lips, had been pushed off
the ladder, and was now calmly swinging in the air, the executioner
standing on the loose wooden plate above his head, holding by the
rope, and, with many antics, stamping with all his force to break the
neck, while the people, in groups, were already bending their steps
homewards. Not wishing to encounter such a crowd, I turned my horse in
another direction, and passed a number of mules and asses belonging to
many of the people who had come from the most remote casals to see the
execution. The animals were all standing half asleep, nodding their
heads in the sun--a herd of goats were as quietly grazing near the
ramparts; and when I contrasted the tranquillity which these animals
were enjoying, with the scene I had just witnessed, I could not help
feeling that I had more cause than Virgil to exclaim--"_Sic vos non
vobis!_"

In returning from my ride I had to cross the esplanade, and as there
was then no one at the gallows, I rode close by it. The figure, which
was still hanging, was turning round very slowly, as if it were
roasting before the sun; the neck was so completely disjointed that
the head almost hung downwards, and as I rode by it I was much struck
in observing that the tongue was out of the mouth half bitten off--a
dreadful emblem, thought I, of a renegade to his religion! Whether or
not the poor wretch had been induced to utter his last exclamation,
from a hollow promise that it would save his life, is a mystery which
will probably never on this earth be explained to us; however, whatever
was his creed, it is impossible to deny that when he swung from this
world to eternity, he had but little reason to admire the practical
part of a Roman Catholic's mercy, however unanswerably its theory might
have been explained to him.

As soon as I got to Valetta, I put up my horse, and, strolling about
the streets, soon found myself in the immense church of St. John,
which, in point of size and magnificence, is only second in the world
to St. Peter's, at Rome. The congregation was almost exclusively
composed of the people who had attended the execution, and quantities
of men, as well as women, shrouded in their black silk faldettes, were
listening to a tall, strong-looking Capuchin friar, who, with great
emphasis, was preaching from a high pulpit, placed at a projecting
angle of one of the many chapels which ramified from the aisle or great
body of the church. He was a remarkably handsome man, of about thirty,
and though his face was pale, or rather brown, yet his eye and features
were strikingly vivid and intellectual; a rim or band of jet-black
hair encircled his head, the rest of his hair by a double tonsure
having been shaved at the top and from ear to ear; his throat was
completely uncovered, and as he suddenly turned from one part of his
congregation to another, his earnest attitudes were very beautiful. His
brown sackcloth cowl hung in folds over his shoulders, and the loose
negligent manner in which a cloak of the same coarse material hung upon
his body, being apparently merely kept together by the white rope, or
whip of knots, which encircled his waist, displayed a series of lines
which any painter might well have copied; indeed, the whole dress of
the Capuchins has been admirably well imagined, and above all others is
it calculated to impress upon the mind of the spectator that its wearer
is a man doomed to abstinence and mortification, seeking no enjoyment
on this side of the grave, and never lowering his eyes from heaven, but
fervently to exclaim--

        "Vain pomp and glory of the world, I hate ye!"

The subject of the sermon was, of course, the execution which we had
all witnessed. The hard-hearted infidelity of the Turks was very richly
painted and described, and the crime which they had just seen expiated
was clearly proved to be the effect, and the natural effect, of a
Mahometan's anger. The happy conversion of the infidel then became a
subject which was listened to with the most remarkable stillness, and
every eye was riveted upon the mouth of the Capuchin, as he minutely
detailed the triumph and the conquest which had been made of the sheep
which had that day, before their eyes, been added to the flock. He
then explained, or endeavoured to explain (for it was no very easy
task), that the money which had that morning been collected for the
purchase of masses proved to be just sufficient to purify the soul of
the departed sinner; but this, he very eloquently demonstrated, was
only to be effected through the mediation of one whose image nailed to
the cross was actually erected in the pulpit on his right hand. After
expatiating on this subject at considerable length, working himself
and his hearers into a state of very great excitement, with both his
arms stretched out, with his eyes uplifted, he most fervently addressed
the figure, exclaiming in a most emphatic tone of voice--"_Si! mio
caro Signore! Si!_" &c. The effect which was instantly produced in the
hearts of his hearers was very evident, and the fine melodious voice,
together with the strong, nervous, muscular attitude of the preacher,
contrasted with the drooping, exhausted, lifeless image above him,
would have worked its effect upon the mind of any Christian spectator.

As soon as the sermon was over, the congregation dispersed. The day
ended in universal joy and festivity; no revengeful recollections--no
unkind feelings were entertained towards him who had been the principal
actor of that day; on the contrary, the Maltese seemed rather to feel,
that it was to him they were especially indebted for the pleasurable
performances they had witnessed, and thus--

      "In peaceful merriment ran down the sun's declining ray."



SCHLANGENBAD; OR, THE SERPENTS' BATH.


Time had glided along so agreeably ever since my arrival at
Langen-Schwalbach, my body had enjoyed such perpetual motion, my mind
such absolute rest, that I had almost forgotten, though my holiday was
nearly over, I had not yet reached the intended _nec plus ultra_ of
my travels--namely, Schlangenbad, or the Serpents' Bath. On the spur
of the moment, therefore, I ordered a carriage; and, with my wallet
lying by my side, having bidden adieu to a simple-hearted village,
which, for the short remainder of my days, I believe, I shall remember
with regard, I continued for some time gradually to ascend its eastern
boundary, until I arrived nearly at the summit or pinnacle of the
Taunus hills. The view from this point was very extensive indeed, and
the park-like appearance of the whole of the lofty region or upper
story of Nassau formed a prospect at once noble and pleasing. The
Langen-Schwalbach band of wind-instruments was playing deep beneath me
in the valley, but hidden by the fog, its sound was so driven about by
the wind, that had I not recognized the tunes I but faintly heard, I
should not have been able to determine from what point of the compass
they proceeded. Sometimes they seemed to rise, like the mist, from one
valley--sometimes from another--occasionally I fancied they were like
the hurricane, sweeping across the surface of the country, and once I
could almost have declared that the Æolian band was calmly seated above
me in the air.

The numberless ravines which intersect Nassau were not discernible from
the spot where my carriage had halted, and Langen-Schwalbach was so
muffled in its peaceful retreat, that a stranger could scarcely have
guessed it existed.

From this elevated point the Taunus hills began gradually to fall
towards Wiesbaden and Frankfort; but a branch road, suddenly turning to
the right, rapidly descended, or rather meandered down a long, rocky,
narrow ravine, clothed with beech and oak-trees to its summit.

With a wheel of the carriage dragged, as I glided fast down this
romantic valley, the scenery, compared with what I had just left, was
on a very confined, contracted scale--in short, nothing was to be seen
but a trickling stream running down the grassy bottom of a valley, and
hills which appeared to environ it on both sides; besides this, the
road writhed and bent so continually, that I could seldom see a quarter
of a mile of it at once.

After descending about three-quarters of a league, I came to a new
turn, and here SCHLANGENBAD, the SERPENTS' BATH, dressed in its magic
mantle of tranquillity, suddenly appeared not only before, but within
less than a hundred yards of me.

This secluded spot, to which such a number of people annually retreat,
consists of nothing but an immense old building, or "Bad-Haus," a new
one, with two or three little mills, which, fed, as it were, by the
crumbs that fall from the rich man's table, are turned by the famous
spring of water, after fine, fashionable ladies have done washing
themselves in it.

When the carriage stopped, my first impression (which but too often,
I regret to say, has been an erroneous one) was not in favour of the
place; for, though its colours were certainly very beautiful, yet,
from being so completely surrounded by hills, it seemed to wear some
of the features of a prison; and when, my vehicle driving away, I was
first left by myself, I felt for a moment that the little band of
music, which was playing upon the terrace above my head, was not quite
competent to enliven the scene. However, after I had walked in various
directions about this sequestered spot, sufficiently not only to become
acquainted with its _locale_, but to discover that it possessed a
number of modest beauties, completely veiled from the passing gaze of
the stranger, I went to the old "Bad-Haus," to obtain rooms from the
bath-master (appointed by the Duke), who has charge of both these great
establishments.

I found the little man seated in his office, in the agony of
calculating upon a slate the amount of seven times nine; perceiving,
however, that instead of multiplying the two figures together, he had
reared up a ladder of seven nines, which he was slowly ascending, step
by step, I felt quite unwilling to interrupt him; and as his wife
appeared to be gifted with all or many of the little abilities in which
he might have been deficient, I gladly availed myself of her offer
to show me over the two buildings, in order that I might select some
apartments.

The old "Bad-Haus," and Hotel de Nassau, which, being united together,
form one of the two great buildings I have mentioned, are situated
on the side of the hill close to the macadamized road which leads to
Mainz; and to give some idea of the gigantic scale on which these sorts
of German bathing establishments are constructed, I will state, that in
this rambling "Bad-Haus" I counted 443 windows, and that, without ever
twice going over the same ground, I found the passages measured 409
paces, or, as nearly as possible, a quarter of a mile!

Below this immense barrack, and on the opposite side of the road,
is the new "Bad-Haus," or bathing house, pleasantly situated in a
shrubbery. This building (which contains 172 windows) is of a modern
construction, and straddling across the bottom of the valley, the
celebrated water, which rises milk-warm from the rock, after supplying
the baths on the lower story, runs from beneath it. No sooner,
however, does the fluid escape from the building, than a group of poor
washerwomen, standing up to their knees on a sheet, which is stretched
upon the ground, humbly make use of it before it has time to get to the
two little mills which are patiently waiting for it about a couple of
hundred yards below.

After having passed, in the two establishments, an immense number
of rooms, each furnished by the Duke with white window-curtains, a
walnut-tree bed with bedding; a chestnut-tree table, an elastic spring
sofa, and three or four walnut-tree chairs, the price of each room
(on an average from 10_d._ to 2_s._ a-day) being painted on the door,
I complimented the good, or, to give her her proper title, the "bad"
lady who attended me, on the plain, but useful order in which they
appeared; in return for which she very obligingly offered to show me
the source of the famous water, for the sake of which two such enormous
establishments had been erected.

In the history of the little duchy of Nassau, the discovery of this
spring forms a story full of innocence and simplicity. Once upon a time
there was a heifer, with which everything in nature seemed to disagree.
The more she ate, the thinner she grew--the more her mother licked
her hide, the rougher and the more staring was her coat. Not a fly in
the forest would bite her--never was she seen to chew the cud, but
hide-bound, and melancholy, her hips seemed actually to be protruding
from her skin. What was the matter with her no one knew--what could
cure her no one could divine;--in short, deserted by her master and her
species, she was, as the faculty would term it, "given over."

In a few weeks, however, she suddenly re-appeared among the herd,
with ribs covered with flesh--eyes like a deer--skin sleek as a
mole's--breath sweetly smelling of milk--saliva hanging in ringlets
from her jaw! Every day seemed to re-establish her health; and the
phenomenon was so striking, that the herdsman, feeling induced to watch
her, discovered that regularly every evening she wormed her way, in
secret, into the forest, until she reached an unknown spring of water,
from which, having refreshed herself, she quietly returned to the
valley.

The trifling circumstance, scarcely known, was almost forgotten by
the peasant, when a young Nassau lady began decidedly to show exactly
the same incomprehensible symptoms as the heifer. Mother, sisters,
friends, father, all tried to cure her, but in vain; and the physician
had actually

        "Taken his leave with sighs and sorrow,
         Despairing of his fee to-morrow,"

when the herdsman, happening to hear of her case, prevailed upon her,
at last, to try the heifer's secret remedy--she did so; and, in a very
short time, to the utter astonishment of her friends, she became one of
the stoutest and roundest young women in the duchy.

What had suddenly cured one sick lady was soon deemed a proper
prescription for others, and all cases meeting with success, the
spring, gradually rising into notice, received its name from a
circumstance which I shall shortly explain. In the meanwhile, I will
observe, that even to this day horses are brought by the peasants to
be bathed, and I have good authority for believing, that in cases
of slight consumption of the lungs (a disorder common enough among
horses), the animal recovers his flesh with surprising rapidity--nay, I
have seen even the pigs bathed, though I must own that _they_ appeared
to have no other disorder except hunger. But to return to the "bad"
lady.

After following her through a labyrinth of passages (one of which
not only leant sideways, but had an ascent like a hill), she at last
unlocked a door, which was no sooner opened, than I saw glide along the
floor close by me a couple of small serpents! As the lady was talking
very earnestly at the time, I merely flinched aside as they passed,
without making any observation; but after I had crossed a small garden,
she pointed to a door which she said was that of the source, and while
she stopped to speak to one of the servants, I advanced alone, and
opening the gate, saw beneath me a sort of brunnen with three serpents
about the size of vipers swimming about in it! Unable to contain my
surprise, I made a signal to the lady with my staff, and as she hurried
towards me, I still pointed to the reptiles, as if to know why in the
name of Æsculapius they were allowed thus to contaminate the source of
the baths?

In the calmest manner possible, my conductress (who seemed perfectly to
comprehend my sensations) replied, "_Au contraire, c'est ce qui donne
qualité à ces eaux!_"

The quantity of these reptiles, or Schlangen, that exist in the woods
surrounding the spring is very great; and they of course have given
their name to the place. When full grown they are about five feet long,
and in hot weather are constantly seen gliding across the paths, or
rustling under the dead leaves of the forest.

As soon as the lady had shown me the whole establishment, she strongly
recommended me to take up my abode in the old "Bad-Haus;" however,
on my first arrival, in crossing the promenade in front of it, I had
caught a glimpse of some talkative old ladies, whose tongues and
knitting needles seemed to be racing against each other, which made
it very advisable to decline the polite invitation; and I accordingly
selected apartments at one extremity of the new Bad-Haus, my windows
on the north looking into the shrubbery, those on the east upon the
two little water-mills, revolving in the green lonely valley of
Schlangenbad.

The cell of the hermit can hardly be more peaceful than this abode: it
is true it was not only completely inhabited (there being no more rooms
unoccupied), but it was teeming with people many of whom are known in
the great world. For instance, among its inmates were the Princess
Romanow, first wife of the late Grand Duke Constantine of Russia--the
Duke of Saxe-Coburg--the Prince of Hesse Homburg (whose brother, the
late Landgrave, married the Princess Elizabeth of England)--a Prussian
Minister from Berlin, and occasionally the Princess Royal of Prussia,
married to the son of King Frederic William. No part of the building
was exclusively occupied by these royal guests, but paying for their
rooms no more than the prices marked upon the doors, they ascended the
same staircase and walked along the same passages with the humblest
inmates of the place. Yet within the narrow dominion of their own
chamber, visiters were received with every attention due to form and
etiquette. The silence and apparent solitude which reigned, however,
in this new "Bad-Haus" was to me always a subject of astonishment and
admiration. Sometimes a person would be seen carefully locking his
door, and then, with the key in his pocket, quietly stealing along the
passage: at other times, a lady might be caught on tip-toes softly
ascending the stairs; but neither steps nor voices were to be heard;
and far from witnessing anything like ostentation, it seemed to me that
concealment was rather the order of the day. As soon as it grew dark, a
single wick floating in a small glass lamp, open at the top, was placed
at each great entrance door; and another at each extremity of the
long passages into which the rooms on each floor communicated, giving
the visiters just light enough to avoid running against the walls: in
obscure weather, there was also a lamp here and there in the shrubbery,
but as long as the pale moon shone in the heavens, its lovely light was
deemed sufficient.

A table d'hôte dinner, at a florin for each person, was daily prepared,
for all, or any, who might choose to attend it; and for about the same
price, a dinner with knives, forks, table-cloth, napkins, &c., would
be forwarded to any guest who, like myself, was fond of the luxury of
solitude: coffee and tea were cheap in proportion.

I have dwelt long upon these apparently trifling details, because,
humble as they may sound, I conceive that they contain a very important
moral. How many of our country people are always raving about the
cheapness of the Continent, and how many every year break up their
establishments in England to go in search of it; yet, if we had but
sense, or rather courage enough to live at home as economically and as
nationally as princes and people of all ranks live throughout the rest
of Europe, how unnecessary would be the sacrifice, and how much real
happiness would be the result!

The baths at Schlangenbad are the most harmless and delicious luxuries
of the sort I have ever enjoyed; and I really quite looked forward to
the morning for the pleasure with which I paid my addresses to this
delightful element. The effect the water produces on the skin is very
singular; it is about as warm as milk, but infinitely softer: and after
dipping the hand into it, if the thumb be rubbed against the fingers,
it is said by many to resemble satin. Nevertheless, whatever may be
its sensation, when the reader reflects that people not only come to
these baths from Russia, but that the water in stone bottles, merely
as a cosmetic, is sent to St. Petersburg and other distant parts of
Europe, he will admit that it must be soft indeed to have gained for
itself such an extraordinary degree of celebrity: for there is no
town at Schlangenbad, not even a village--nothing therefore but the
real or fancied charm of the water could attract people into a little
sequestered valley, which in every sense of the word is out of sight of
the civilized world; and yet I must say, that I never remember to have
existed in a place which possessed such fascinating beauties; besides
which (to say nothing of breathing pure, dry air), it is no small
pleasure to live in a skin which puts all people in good humour--at
least, with themselves. But besides the cosmetic charms of this water,
it is declared to possess virtues of more substantial value: it is said
to tranquillize the nerves, to soothe all inflammation; and from this
latter property; the cures of consumption which are reported to have
been effected, among human beings and cattle, may have proceeded. Yet
whatever _good_ effect the water may have upon this insidious disorder,
its first operation most certainly must be to neutralize the _bad_
effect of the climate, which to consumptive patients must decidedly
be a very severe trial, for delightful as it is to people in robust
health, yet the keenness of the mountain air, together with the sudden
alternations of temperature to which the valley of Schlangenbad is
exposed, must, I think, be anything but a remedy for weak lungs.

The effect produced upon the skin, by lying about twenty minutes in the
bath, I one day, happened to overhear a short, fat Frenchman describe
to his friend in the following words--"_Monsieur, dans ces bains on
devient absolument amoureux de soi-même!_" I cannot exactly corroborate
this Gallic statement, yet I must admit that limbs, even old ones,
gradually do appear as if they were converted into white marble. The
skin assumes a sort of glittering, phosphoric brightness, resembling
very much white objects, which, having been thrown overboard, in calm
weather within the tropics, many of my readers have probably watched
sinking in the ocean, which seems to blanch and illuminate them as
they descend. The effect is very extraordinary, and I know not how to
account for it, unless it be produced by some prismatic refraction,
caused by the peculiar particles with which the fluid is impregnated.

The Schlangenbad water contains the muriates and carbonates of lime,
soda, and magnesia, with a slight excess of carbonic acid which holds
the carbonates in solution. The celebrated embellishment which it
produces on the skin is, in my opinion, a sort of corrosion, which
removes tan, or any other artificial covering that the surface may
have attained from exposure and ill-treatment by the sun and wind.
In short the body is cleaned by it, just as a kitchen-maid scours
her copper saucepan; and the effect being evident, ladies modestly
approach it from the most distant parts of Europe. I am by no means
certain, however, that they receive any permanent benefit; indeed, on
the contrary, I should think that their skins would eventually become,
if anything, coarser, from the removal of a slight veil or covering,
intended by Nature as a protection to the cuticle.

But whether this water be permanently beneficial to ladies or not, the
softness it gives to the whole body is quite delightful; and with two
elements, air and water, in perfection, I found that I grew every hour
more and more attached to the place.

On the cellar-floor, or lower story of my abode ("the New Bad-Haus"),
where the baths are situated, there lived an old man and his wife,
whose duty it was to prepare the baths, and to give towels, &c. I do
not know whether the Schlangenbad waters corrode the temper as well
as the skin, yet, certainly, this old couple appeared to me to be
continually quarrelling; and every little trifle I required for my
bath, though given to me with the greatest good-will, seemed to form
a subject of jealous dispute between this subterranean pair. The old
woman, however, invariably got the best of the argument,--a triumph
which I suspect proceeded more from her physical than moral powers: in
short, as is occasionally the case, the old gentleman was afraid of his
companion; and I observed that his attitude, as he argued, very much
resembled that of a cat in a corner, when spitting in the face of a
terrier dog. Finding that they did not work happily together, I always
managed to prevent both of them coming to me at once. The old woman,
however, insisted on preparing my bath; and, with a great pole in one
hand, stirring up the water--a thermometer in the other, and a pair
of spectacles blinded with steam on her nose, she very good-naturedly
brought the temperature of the water to the proper degree, which is
said to be 27 of Reaumur.

After I had had my bath, the old wife being out of the way, I one day
paid a visit of compliment to her husband, who had shown, by many
little attempted attentions, that he was, had he dared, as anxious
as his partner to serve me. With great delight, he showed me several
bottles full of serpents; and then, opening a wooden box, he took
out, as a fisherwoman would handle eels, some very long ones--one of
which (first looking over his shoulder to see that a certain personage
was away) he put upon a line, which she had stretched across the
room for drying clothes. In order, I suppose, to demonstrate to me
that the reptile was harmless, he took it off the rope, along which
it was moving very quickly; and, without submitting his project for
my approbation, he suddenly placed it on my breast, along which it
crawled, until, stretching its long neck with half its body into
the air, it held on, in a most singular manner, by a single fold in
the cloth, which, by a sort of contortion of the vertebræ, it firmly
grasped.

The old man, apparently highly satisfied with this first act of his
entertainment, gravely proceeded to show living serpents of all colours
and sizes,--stuffed serpents, and serpents' skins,--all of which seemed
very proper hobbies, to amuse the long winter evenings of the aged
servant of Schlangenbad, or the Serpents' Bath.

At last, however, the fellow's dry, blanched, wrinkled face began
to smile. Grinning, as he slowly mounted on a chair, he took from a
high shelf a broad-mouthed, white glass bottle, and then, in a sort
of savage ecstasy, pronouncing the word "BAROMET!" he placed it in my
hands.

The bottle was about half full of dirty water--a few dead flies and
crumbs of bread were at the bottom--and near the top there was a small
piece of thin wood which went about half across the phial. Upon this
slender scaffolding, its fishy eyes staring upwards at a piece of
coarse linen, which, being tied round the mouth, served as a cork--the
shrivelled skin of its under-jaw moving at every sweltering breath
which it took--there sat a large, speckled, living toad!

Like Sterne's captive, he had not by his side "a bundle of sticks,
notched with all the dismal days and nights he had passed there;" yet
their sum total was as clearly expressed in the unhealthy colour of the
poor creature's skin; and certainly, in my lifetime, I never had seen
what might truly be called--a sick toad.

It was quite impossible to help pitying any living being, confined by
itself in so miserable a dungeon. However, the old man's eyes were
beaming with pride and delight at what he conceived to be his own
ingenuity--and exclaiming "Schönes Wetter!" (fine weather!) he pointed
to the wood-work on which the poor creature was sitting--and then he
exultingly explained that, so soon as it should be going to rain, the
toad would get down into the water. "BAROMET!" repeated the old fellow,
grinning from ear to ear, as, mounting on the chair, he replaced his
prisoner on the shelf.

My first impression was, "_coûte qui coûte_," to buy this
barometer,--carry its poor captive to the largest marsh I could
find,--and then, breaking the bottle into shivers, to give him, what
toads appreciate better than mankind--liberty; but, on reflecting a
moment, I felt quite sure that the old inquisitor would soon procure
another subject for torture; and, as with toads as with ourselves,
"_c'est le premier pas qui coûte_," I thought it better that this poor
imprisoned creature, to a certain degree accustomed to his misery,
should exist in it, than that a fresh toad should suffer:--it also
occurred to me, that if I should dare to purchase his rude instrument,
the ingenious, unfeeling old wretch of a philosopher might be
encouraged to make others for sale.

The old bath, or "bad" man, had vipers' nests, their eggs, and many
other Caliban curiosities, which he was desirous to show me; but
having seen quite enough for one morning's visit, and besides, hearing
his wife's tongue coming along the subterranean passage, I left
him--her--toad--reptiles, &c., to fret away their existence, while I
rose into far brighter regions above them.

After ascending a couple of flights of stairs, I strolled for some
time on the little parade, which is close to the entrance of the old
"Bad-Haus;" but the benches being all occupied by people listening to
the band of music, and besides, not liking the artificial passages
of hedges cut, without metaphor, to the quick, I bade adieu to the
scene; and, entering the great forest, with which the hills in every
direction were clothed to their summits, I ascended a steep, broad road
(across which a couple of schlangens glided close by me), until I came
to a hut, from which there is a very pleasing home view of the little
valley of Schlangenbad. It is certainly a most romantic spot, and that
it had appeared so to others was evident, from a marble pillar and
inscription which stood on the edge of a precipice before me. The tale
it commemorated is simply beautiful. The Count de Grunne, the Dutch
Ambassador at Frankfort, having, in the healthy autumn of his life,
come to Schlangenbad, with his young wife, was so enchanted with the
loveliness of the country, the mildness of the air, and the exquisite
softness of the water, that, quite unable to contain himself, on a
black marble column he caused to be sculptured, as emblems of himself
and his companion, two crested schlangens, eating leaves (apparently a
salad) out of the same bowl--with the following pathetic inscription:--

                                  EN
                            Reconnaissance
                        Des Délicieuses Saisons
                         Passées Ici Ensemble
                                  Par
                         CHARLES C'te DEGRUNNE
                                  Et
                        BETSI C'tesse DEGRUNNE.
                                 1830.

Leaving this quiet sentimental bower, and descending the hill,
I entered the great pile of buildings of the old Bad-Haus, or
Nassauer-Hof, and as I was advancing along one of its endless passages,
I passed an open door, from which a busy hum proceeded which clearly
proclaimed it to be a school. My grave Mentor-like figure was no
sooner observed silently standing at its portal, than its master, a
short, slight, hectic-looking lad, scarcely twenty, seemed to feel
an unaccountable desire to form my acquaintance. Begging me to enter
his small literary dominion, he very modestly requested leave to be
permitted to explain to me the nature of the studies he was imparting
to his subjects; the little creatures, from their benches, looking at
me all the time with the same sort of fear with which mice look into
the face of a bull-dog, or frogs at the terrific bill and outline of a
stork.

Having, by a slight inclination, accepted this offer, the young Dominie
commenced by stating that all the children in Nassau are _obliged_,
by order of the Duke, to go to school, from six to fourteen years of
age;--that the parents of a child, who has intentionally missed, are
forced to pay two kreuzers the first time, four the second, six the
third, and that if they are too poor to pay these fines, they are
obliged to work them out in hard labour, or are otherwise punished for
their children's neglect;--that the inhabitants of each village pay
the schoolmaster among themselves, in proportions, varying according
to their means, but that the Duke prescribes what the children are to
learn--namely, religion, singing, reading, writing, Scripture history,
the German language, natural history, geography, and accounts;--and
that the mode of imparting this education is grounded upon the system
of Pestalozzi.

This introductory explanation being concluded, the young master now
displayed to me specimens of his scholars' writing--showed me their
slates covered with sums in the first rules of arithmetic--and then
calling up several girls and boys, he placed his wand in the hand of
each trembling little urchin, who one by one was desired to point
out upon maps, which hung against the walls, the great oceans, seas,
mountains, and capitals of our globe. Having expressed my unqualified
approbation of the zeal and attention with which this excellent young
man had evidently been labouring, at the arduous, "never-ending, still
beginning" duties of his life, I was about to depart, when, as a last
favour, he anxiously intreated me to hear his children, for one moment,
sing; and striking the table with his wand, it instantly, as if it had
been a tuning fork, called them to attention--at a second blow on the
table, they pushed aside their slates and books--at a third, opening
their eyes as wide as they could, they inflated their tiny lungs
brimfull--and at a fourth blow, in full cry, they all opened, to my
no small astonishment, mouths which, in blackness of inside, exactly
resembled a pack of King Charles's spaniels: had the children been
drinking ink, their tongues and palates could not have been darker; and
though, accompanied by their master, the psalm they were singing was
simply beautiful, and though their infantine voices streaming along
the endless passages produced a reverberation which was exceedingly
pleasing, yet there was something so irresistibly comic in their
appearance, that any countenance but my own would have smiled.

The cause of the odd-looking phenomenon suddenly occurred to
me,--having, in the morning, observed several peasants, whose trowsers
at the knees were stained perfectly black, by their having knelt down
to pick bilberries, which grow on the forest-covered hills of Nassau
in the greatest profusion. The children had evidently been grazing on
the same ground, and as soon as the idea occurred, I observed by their
little black fingers that my solution of the dark problem was correct.

Returning to my residence, the New Bad-Haus, the sun, though much
less weary than myself, having sunk to rest, I sat alone for some
time in one of the bowers of the shrubbery belonging to the building.
Occasionally a human figure, scarcely visible from the deep shade of
the trees, glided slowly by me, but whether that of a prince or a
peasant I neither knew nor cared. What interested me infinitely more,
was to observe the fire-flies, which, with small lanterns in their
tails, were either soaring close above me, or sparkling among the
bushes. The bright emerald green light which they possessed was lovely
beyond description, yet apparently they had only received permission to
display it so long as they remained on the wing--and as two young ones,
gliding before me, rested for a moment on a rose-leaf, at my side,
the instant they closed their wings, they were left together in total
darkness. Some (probably old ones) steadily sailing, passed me, as if
on business, while others, dancing in the air, had evidently no object
except pleasure; yet, whether flying in a circle or in a line, each
little creature, as it proceeded, gaily illuminated its own way, and
like a pure, cheerful, well-conditioned mind, it also shed a trifling
lustre on whatever it approached.

As I sat here alone in the dark, I could not drive from my mind the
interesting picture I had just been witnessing in the little village
school of Schlangenbad.

We are all in England so devotedly attached to that odd, easily
pronounced, but difficult to be defined word--liberty, that there
is, perhaps, nothing we should all at once set our backs, our faces,
and our heads against more, than a national compulsatory system of
education, similar to that prescribed in Nassau; and yet, if law has
the power to punish crime, there seems at first to exist no very
strong reason why it should not also be permitted, by education, to
prevent it. Every respectable parent in our country will be ready to
admit, that the most certain recipe for making his son a useful, a
happy, and a valuable member of society, is carefully to attend to
the cultivation of his mind. We all believe that good seeds can be
sown there, that bad ones can be eradicated--that ignorance leads
a child to error and crime--that his mental darkness, like a town,
can be illuminated--that the judgment (his only weapon against his
passions) can, like the blacksmith's arm, by use, be strengthened;
and if it be thus universally admitted that education is one of the
most valuable properties a rational being can bequeath to his own
child, it would seem to follow that a parental government might claim
(at least before Heaven) nearly as much right to sentence a child to
education, as a criminal to the gallows. Nevertheless, as a curious
example of the difference in national taste, it may be observed, that
though in England judges and juries can anywhere be found to condemn
the body, they would everywhere be observed to shrink at the very idea
of chastening the mind; they see no moral or religious objection to
imprison the former, but they all agree that it would be a political
offence to liberate the latter. Although our poor-laws oblige every
parish to feed, house, and clothe its offspring, yet in England it is
thought wrong to enforce any national provision for the mind, and yet
the Duke of Nassau might argue, that in a civilized community children
have no more natural _right_ to be brought up ignorant than naked; in
short, that if the mildest government be justified in forcing a man,
for decency's sake, to envelop his body, it might equally claim the
power of obliging him, for the welfare, prosperity, and advancement of
the community--to develop his mind.

Into so complicated an argument I feel myself quite incompetent to
enter; yet were I at this moment to be leaving this world, there is
no one assertion I think I could more solemnly maintain--there is
no important fact I am more seriously convinced of--and there is no
evidence which, from the observation of my whole life, I could more
conscientiously deliver, than that, as far as I have been capable of
judging, our system of education in England has produced, does produce,
and so long as it be persisted in, must produce, the most lamentable
political effects.

Strange as it may sound, I believe few people will, on reflection,
deny, what a most remarkable difference exists between a man and what
is termed mankind--in fact, between the intelligence of the human being
and that of the species to which he belongs.

If a man of common or of the commonest abilities be watched throughout
a day, it is quite delightful to remark how cleverly he adapts his
conduct to the various trifling unforeseen circumstances which
occur--how shrewdly, as through a labyrinth, he pursues his own
interests, and with what alacrity he can alter his plans, or, as it
is vulgarly termed, change his mind, the instant it becomes advisable
for him to do so. Appeal to him on any plain subject, and you find
him gifted with quick perception, possessed with ready judgment,
and with his mind sparkling with intelligence. Now, mix a dozen
such men together, and intellect instantly begins to coagulate; in
short, by addition you have produced subtraction. One man means what
he cannot clearly explain--another ably expresses what he did not
exactly mean--one, while disputing his neighbour's judgment, neglects
his own--another indolently reclines his head upon his neighbour's
brain--one does not care to see--another forgets to foresee--in short,
though any one pilot could steer the vessel into port, with twelve
at the helm she inevitably runs upon the rocks. Now, instead of a
dozen men, if anything be committed to the care, judgment, or honour
of a large body, or, as it is not improperly termed, a "corporation"
of men, their torpor, apathy, and sloth are infinitely increased, and
when, instead of a corporation, it be left to that nonentity, a whole
nation--the total neglect it meets with is beyond all remedy. In short,
the individuals of a community, compared with the community itself,
are like a swarm of bees compared with bees that have swarmed or clung
together in a lump; and as the countryman stands shaking the dull mass
from the bough, one can scarcely believe that it is composed of little,
active, intelligent, busy creatures, each armed with a sting as well
as with knowledge, and arrangements which one can hardly sufficiently
admire. If this theory be correct, it will account at once for our
unfortunate system of education in England, which, being everybody's
duty, is therefore nobody's duty, and which, like

        "The child whom many fathers share,
         Has never known a father's care."

In the evening of a long, toilsome life, if a man were to be obliged
solemnly to declare what, without any exception, has been the most
lovely thing which on the surface of this earth it has been his
good fortune to witness, I conceive that, without hesitation, he
might reply--_The mind of a young child_. Indeed, if we believe that
creation, with all its charms, was beneficently made for man, it seems
almost to follow that his mind, that mirror in which every minute
object is to be reflected, must be gifted with a polish sufficiently
high to enable it to receive the lovely and delicate images created
for its enjoyment. Accordingly, we observe with what delight a child
beholds light--colours--flowers--fruit, and every new object that
meets his eye; and we all know that before his judgment be permitted
to interfere, for many years he feels, or rather suffers, a thirst for
information which is almost insatiable.

He desires, and very naturally desires, to know what the moon is?--what
are the stars?--where the rain, wind, and storm come from? With
innocent simplicity he asks, what becomes of the light of a candle when
it is blown out? Any story or any history he greedily devours; and so
strongly does his youthful mind retain every sort of image impressed
upon it, that it is well known his after life is often incapable of
obliterating the terror depicted there by an old nurse's tales of
ghosts, and hobgoblins of darkness.

Now with their minds in this pure, healthy, voracious state, the sons
of all our noblest families, and of the most estimable people in the
country, are, after certain preparations, eventually sent to those
slaughter-houses of the understanding, our public schools, where,
weaned from the charms of the living world, they are nailed to the
study of two dead languages--like galley-slaves, they are chained to
these oars, and are actually flogged if they neglect to labour. Instead
of imbibing knowledge suited to their youthful age, they are made to
learn the names of Actæon's hounds--to study the life of Alexander's
horse--to know the fate of Alcibiades's dog;--in short, it is too
well known that Dr. Lempriere made 3000_l._ a-year by the sale of a
dictionary, in which he had amassed, "for the use of schools," tales
and rubbish of this description. The poor boy at last "gets," as it
is termed, "into Ovid," where he is made to study everything which
human ingenuity could invent to sully, degrade, and ruin the mind of a
young person. The Almighty Creator of the Universe is caricatured by
a set of grotesque personages termed gods and goddesses, so grossly
sensual, so inordinately licentious, that were they to-day to appear in
London, before sunset they would probably be every one of them where
they ought to be--at the tread-mill. The poor boy, however, must pore
over all their amours, natural and unnatural;--he must learn the birth,
parentage, and education of each, with the biography of their numerous
offspring, earthly as well as unearthly. He must study love-letters
from the heavens to the earth, and metamorphoses which have almost
all some low, impure object. The only geography he learns is "the
world known to the ancients." Although a member of the first maritime
nation on the globe, he learns no nautical science but that possessed
by people who scarcely dared to leave their shores; all his knowledge
of military life is that childish picture of it which might fairly be
entitled "war without gunpowder." But even the little which on these
subjects he does learn, is so mixed up with fable, that his mind gets
puzzled and debilitated to such a degree, that he becomes actually
unable to distinguish truth from falsehood, and when he reads that
Hannibal melted the Alps with vinegar, he does not know whether it be
really true or not.

In this degraded state, with the energy and curiosity of their young
minds blunted--actually nauseating the intellectual food which they
had once so naturally desired, a whole batch of boys at the age of
about fourteen[1] are released from their schools to go on board men
of war, where they are to strive to become the heroes of their day.
They sail from their country ignorant of almost everything that has
happened to it since the days of the Romans--having been obliged to
look upon all the phenomena of nature, as well as the mysteries of art,
without explanation, their curiosity for information on such subjects
has subsided. They lean against the capstan, but know nothing of its
power--they are surrounded by mechanical contrivances of every sort,
but understand them no more than they do the stars in the firmament.
They steer from one country to another, ignorant of the customs,
manners, prejudices, or languages of any; they know nothing of the
effect of climate--it requires almost a fever to drive them from the
sun; in fact they possess no practical knowledge. The first lesson they
learn from adversity is their own guiltless ignorance, and no sooner
are they in real danger, than they discover how ill spent has been the
time they have devoted to the religion of the heathen--how vain it is
in affliction to patter over the names of Actæon and his hounds!

That in spite of all these disadvantages, a set of high-bred,
noble-spirited young men eventually become, as they really do, an
honour to their country, is no proof that their early education has not
done all in its power to prevent them. But, to return to those we left
at our public schools.

As these boys rise, they become, as we all know, more and more
conversant in the dead languages, until the fatal period arrives, when,
proudly laden with these two panniers, they proceed to one of our
universities. Arriving, for instance, at Oxford, they find a splendid
high street, magnificently illuminated with gas, filled with handsome
shops, traversed by the mail, macadamized, and, like every other part
of our great commercial country, beaming with modern intelligence. In
this street, however, they are not permitted to reside, but, conducted
to the right and left, they meander among mouldering monastic-looking
buildings, until they reach the cloisters of the particular college to
which they are sentenced to belong. By an ill-judged misnomer, they are
from this moment encouraged, even by their preceptors, to call each
other _men_; and a _man_ of seventeen, "too tall for school," talks
of another _man_ of eighteen, as gravely as I always mention the name
of my prototype Methusalem. What their studies are, will sufficiently
appear from what is required of them, when they come before the public
as candidates for their degrees. At this examination, which is to give
them, throughout their country, the rank of finished scholars, these
self-entitled _men_ are gravely examined first of all in Divinity,--and
then, as if in scorn of it, almost in the same breath, they descant
about the God of this vice, and the God of that; in short, they are
obliged to translate any two heathen authors in Latin, and any other
two in Greek, they themselves may select. They are next examined
in Aristotle's moral philosophy, and their examination, like their
education, being now concluded, their minds, being now decreed to be
brimfull, they are launched into their respective grades of society, as
accomplished, polished men, who have reaped the inestimable advantages
of a _good classical education_. But it is not these gentlemen that I
presume to ridicule; on the contrary, I firmly believe that the 1200
students, who at one time are generally at Oxford, are as high-minded,
as highly talented, as anxious to improve themselves, as handsome, and,
in every sense of the word, as fine a set of lads as can anywhere be
met with in a body on the face of the globe. I also know that all our
most estimable characters, all the most enlightened men our country
has ever produced, have, generally speaking, been members of one of
our universities; but, in spite of all this, will any reasonable
being seriously maintain that the workmanship has been equal to the
materials? I mean, that their education has been equal to themselves?

Let any one weigh what they have _not_ learnt against what they have,
and he will find that the difference is exactly that which exists
between creation itself and a satchel of musty books. I own they are
skilfully conversant in the latter; I own that they have even deserved
prizes for having made verses in imitation of Sappho--odes in imitation
of Horace--epigrams after the model of the Anthologia, as well as after
the mode of Martial; but what has the university taught them of the
former? Has it even informed them of the discovery of America? Has it
given them the power of conversing with the peasant of any one nation
in Europe? Has it explained to them any one of the wonderful works of
creation? Has it taught them a single invention of art? Has it shown
the young landed proprietor how to measure the smallest field on his
estate? Has it taught him even the first rudiments of economy? Has it
explained to him the principle of a common pump? Has it fitted him
in any way to stand in that distinguished situation which by birth
and fortune he is honestly entitled to hold? Has it given him any
agricultural information, any commercial knowledge, any acquaintance
with mankind, or with business of any sort or kind; and, lastly, has
it made him modestly sensible of his own ignorance?--or has it, on the
contrary, done all in its power to make him feel not only perfectly
satisfied with his own acquirements, but contempt for those whose minds
are only filled with plain useful knowledge?

But it will be proudly argued, "THE UNIVERSITY HAS TAUGHT HIM
DIVINITY!" In theory, I admit it may have done so; but, in all his
terms, has the student practically learnt as much Omnipotence as the
hurricane could explain to him in five minutes? To teach young lads the
simple doctrines of Christianity, is it advisable to hide from their
minds creation? It is advisable to allow them to remain out of their
colleges till midnight? But taking leave of the university, let us, for
a moment, consider the political effects of its cramped, short-sighted,
narrow-minded system.

On quitting their colleges, our young men, instead of being sensible,
that although they have read much that is ornamental, their education
has scrupulously avoided all that is useful--instead of modestly
feeling that they have to make up for lost time, and to fight their way
from nothing to distinction like subaltern officers in our army, or
like midshipmen in the navy, they have very great reason to consider
that, far from being literary vessels, rudely put together, they are
launched into society as perfect as a frigate from its dock!

With respect to the drudgery of gaining honours, they feel that they
already possess them, can _produce_ them, and true enough, they show
1st class, 2nd class, and 3d class honours, which are as current in
the country as the coin of the realm; and, with respect to their
education being _imperfect_, by universal consent, it has for centuries
been coupled with the most flattering adjectives;--it is termed
polite--elegant--accomplished--good--complete--excellent--regular--
classical, &c., &c. In literary creation these young men conceive that
they are luminaries, not specks--ornaments, not blemishes! not merely
in their own opinions, but by universal consent and acclamation. Their
political place is undeniably, therefore, the helm, not before the
mast; they are to guide, conduct, steer the vessel of the state, not
ignobly labour at its oar!

Accordingly, when they take their places in both houses of Parliament,
plunging at once into their own native element, they rise up in the
immediate presence of noblemen and gentlemen who not only boast of
having received exactly the same education as themselves, but who,
as youths, have proudly won the self-same honours which they enjoy;
and I here very humbly beg leave again to repeat, that because our
Parliament maintains, and always has maintained, a front rank of men
of undaunted resolution, transcendent abilities, brilliant natural
genius, and clear, comprehensive, enlightened minds, it does not
follow that the system of our public schools and universities must
necessarily be practically good. On the contrary, it only proves that
human institutions can no more extinguish the native virtue, talent,
and integrity of a country, than they can hide from the world the light
of the sun; but education can misdirect, though it cannot annihilate;
it can give the national mind a hankering for unwholesome instead of
wholesome food,--it can encourage a passion for useless instead of
useful information. On its course high-bred lads may be trained to race
against each other, until the vain object they have strived for can
never in after life re-appear, but their blood warms within them.

Now supposing, for a single moment, that English education be admitted
to be as useless and dangerous as I have endeavoured to describe it,
let us consider what might naturally be expected to be its practical
political effects.

In our two houses of Parliament, classical eloquence would unavoidably
become the order of the day; and classical allusions, when neatly
expressed, would always receive that heartfelt cheer which even the
oldest among us are unable to withhold from what reminds us of the
pleasures and attachments of our early days. Thus encouraged, young
statesmen would feel their power rather than their inexperience;
and, with their minds stored with knowledge declared to possess
intrinsic value, they would not be very backward in displaying it.
Language, rather than matter, would thus become the object of
emulation--speeches would swell into orations--and, in this contention
and conflict of genius, men of cleverness, ready wit, brilliant
imagination, retentive memory, caustic reply, and last, though not
least, soundness of constitution, would rise to the surface, far above
those who, with much deeper reflection, much heavier sense, more
sterling knowledge, and more powerful judgment, were yet found to be
wanting in activity in their parts of speech. Baffled, therefore, in
their laconic attempts to expound their uninteresting, ledger-like,
unfashionable opinions, this useful class of men would probably, by
silence or otherwise, retire from the unequal contest, which would
become more and more of an art, until extraordinary talent was required
to carry political questions so plain and simple, that were votes
mutely to be given by any set of hum-drum men, there would scarcely be
a difference in their opinions.

In the midst of this civil war, a young man, scarcely one-and-twenty
would be very likely rapidly to rise to be the Prime Minister of our
great commercial country! for although, if this world teaches us any
one moral, it is, that youth and inexperience are synonymous; yet when
talent only be the palm, surely none have better right to contend for
it than the young!

Seated on the exalted pinnacle which he has most fairly and honourably
attained, if not by general acclamation, at least by the applauding
voice of the majority, he must, of course, stand against the
intellectual tempest which has unnaturally brought a person of his
age to the surface. Accordingly, by the main strength of his youthful
genius, by his admitted superiority of talent, this beardless pilot
would probably triumphantly maintain his place at the helm--requiring,
however, support from those of his admirers most approaching in
eloquence to himself. To obtain the services of some great orator,
he would (copying the system of his opponents) be induced to appoint
a man, for instance, Secretary for the Colonies, who on this earth
had never reached the limits even of its temperate zone; another, who
had not heard a shot fired, or even seen a shell in the air, would,
perhaps, be created Master-General of our Ordnance; in short, talent
being the weapon or single-stick of Parliament, he would, like others
before him, arm himself with it at any cost, and thus reign triumphant.

However, without supposing such an extreme case, let us fearlessly
recall to mind a miserable fact almost of yesterday. In the fatal year
1825, the British government conceived the purely classical and highly
poetical idea of "bringing a new world into existence!" Most people
will remember with what flowery eloquence the elegant project was laid
before Parliament, and how loudly and generally it was cheered--the
blind were led by the blind--all our senators being equally charmed
at the splendid possibility of their thus politically dabbling in
creation. The truth or moral, however, came upon us at last, like the
simmoon upon the traveller who ignorantly ventures on the deserts of
Africa. The country almost foundered, and though she has, to a certain
degree, recovered from the shock, yet thousands of widows, orphans,
and people of small incomes, are to this day, in indigence and sorrow,
secretly lamenting the hour in which the high-flown parliamentary
project was disseminated.

The charity, pater-noster system of education pursued to this day at
our universities and public schools has produced other historical
facts, which it is now equally out of our power to obliterate, atone
for, or deny. For instance, we all know that in five years Charles II.
touched 23,601 of his subjects for the evil;--that our bishops invented
(just as Ovid wrote his "Metamorphoses") a sort of heathen service
for the occasion;--that the unchristianlike, superstitious ceremony
was performed in public; and that as soon as prayers were ended, we
are told, "_The Duke of Buckingham brought a towel, and the Earl of
Pembroke a basin and ewer, who, after they had made obeisance to his
Majesty, kneeled down till his Majesty had washed._"

Again, everybody knows that Amy Drury and her daughter, eleven years
of age, were tried before "the great and good Sir Matthew Hale," then
Lord Chief Baron, for witchcraft, and were convicted and executed at
Bury St. Edmund's, principally on the evidence of Sir Thomas Brown,
one of the first physicians and scholars of his day: also that Dr.
Wiseman, an eminent surgeon of that period, in writing on scrofula,
says--"_However, I must needs profess that His Majesty (Charles II.)
cureth more in any one year than all the chirurgeons of London have
done in an age._"

The above degrading facts are moral tragedies, which were not acted in
a dark corner, by a few obscure strolling individuals--not even by any
great political faction,--but the audience was the British nation--the
performers the King on his throne, the bishops, the nobility, the
judges, the physicians, the philosophers of the day. In short, theory
and practice, hand in hand, both prove to the whole world the double
error in our system of education. Says theory--if young people,
instead of being taught to look at the ground under their feet, at
the heavens above their head, or at creation around them, are forced
by the rod to study events that never happened, speeches that never
were made, metamorphoses that never took place, forms of worship and
creeds ridiculous and impious, such a nation must inevitably grow up
narrow-minded, ignorant, superstitious, and cruel. Says practice--this
prophecy has been most fatally fulfilled; and accordingly, in England,
people _have_ believed in witchcraft--_have_ put savage faith in the
King's touch,--and, under the name of a mild and merciful religion,
they _have_ burnt each other to ashes at the stake!

The mute steadiness of British troops under fire,--the total want of
bluster or bravado in our naval actions, where, as we all know,

        "There is silence deep as death,
         And the boldest holds his breath
         For a time,"--

the laconic manner in which business all over England is transacted
(millions being exchanged with little more than a nod of assent);
in short, our national respect for silent conduct, form a most
extraordinary contrast with the flatulent eloquence of our
Parliamentary debates.

But to return to our houses of Parliament: shall we now proceed to
calculate what would be the expense of such a system of government or
misgovernment as that which has just been shown to have proceeded,
not from the imbecility of individuals, but from the system of false
education maintained by our public schools and universities? No! no!
for the history of our country has already solved this great problem,
and, at this moment, does it record to our posterity, as well as to the
whole world, that the expense of a great mercantile nation, looking
behind it instead of before it--the price of its statesmen studying
ancient poets instead of modern discoveries--of mistaking the "orbis
veteribus cognitus" for the figure of the earth, amounts to neither
more nor less than a national debt of EIGHT HUNDRED MILLIONS of English
pounds sterling! In short, economy having fatally been classed at
our universities among the vulgar arts, the current expenses of our
statesmen have naturally enough been ordered to be put down to their
children, just as their college bills were carelessly ordered to be
forwarded to their fathers.

However, so long as a nation is _willing_ to purchase at the above
enormous, or at any still greater price, the luxury of reading
Greek and Latin poetry, the misfortune at first appears to be only
pecuniary; and it might almost further be argued, that a nation, like
an individual, ought to be allowed to spend its money according to its
own whim or fancy; but, though this may or may not be true so far as
our money be concerned, yet there is an event which must arrive, and in
England this event HAS JUST ARRIVED, when a continuance of such a mode
of education must inevitably destroy our church, aristocracy, funds; in
short, every thing which a well-disposed mind loves, venerates, and is
desirous to uphold.

The fearful event to which I allude, is that of the lower classes of
people becoming enlightened.

In spite of all that party spirit angrily asserts to the contrary,
most firmly do I believe that there does not exist, in England, any
revolutionary spirit worth being afraid of. In a rich commercial
country, the idle, the profligate, and the worthless will always be
anxious to level the well-earned honours, as well as plunder the
wealth amassed by the brave, intelligent, and industrious; but every
respectable member of society, with the coolness of judgment natural
to our country, must feel that he possesses a stake, and enjoys
advantages which I firmly believe he is desirous to maintain; in fact,
not only the good feeling, but the good sense of the country, support
the fabric of our society, which we all know, like the army, derives
its spirit from possessing various honours (never mind whether they be
of intrinsic value or not) which we are all more or less desirous to
obtain.

But if those who wear these honours degrade themselves--if our upper
classes culpably desert their own standards--if they shall continue
to insist on giving to their children an elegant, useless education,
while the tradesman is filling his son with steady useful knowledge--if
our aristocracy, with the Goule's horrid taste, _will_ obstinately
feed itself on dead languages, while the lower classes are healthily
digesting fresh wholesome food--if writing, arithmetic, modern
geography, arts, sciences, and discoveries of all sorts are to continue
(as they hitherto have been) to be most barbarously disregarded at our
public schools and universities, while they are carefully attended
to and studied by the poor--the moment must arrive when the dense
population of our country will declare that they can no longer afford
to be governed by classical statesmen; and, with an equally honest
feeling, they will further declare, they begin to find it difficult to
look up to people who have ceased to be morally their superiors. That
the lower orders of people in England are rising not only in their
own estimation, but in the honest opinion of the world, is proved by
the singular fact, that the wood-cuts of our _Penny Magazine_ (so
rapidly printed by one of Clowes's great steam-presses) are sent, in
stereotype, to Germany, France, and Belgium, where they are published,
as with us, for the instruction of the lower classes. The same Magazine
is also sent to America (page for page) stereotyped. The common people
of England are thus proudly disseminating their knowledge over the
surface of the globe, while our upper classes, by an infatuation which,
without any exception, is the greatest phenomenon in the civilized
world, are still sentencing their children to heathen, obscene, and
useless instruction; and, though it has beneficently been decreed
"LET THERE BE LIGHT!" our universities seriously maintain that the
religious as well as moral welfare of this noble country depends upon
its continuing in intellectual darkness.

It is now much too late in the day to argue whether the education of
the lower classes be a political advantage or not. One might as well
stand on the Manchester rail-road to stop its train, as to endeavour
to prevent that. The people, whether we like it or not, WILL be
enlightened; and, therefore, without bewailing the disorder, our
simple and only remedy is, by resolutely breaking up the system of our
public schools and universities, to show the people that we have nobly
determined to become enlightened too.

The English gentleman (a name which, in the army, navy, hunting-field,
or in any other strife or contention, has always shown itself able to
beat men of low birth) will then hold his ground in the estimation
of his tenants, and continue to inhabit his estate. The English
nobleman, and the noble Englishman, will continue to be synonymous--a
well-educated clergy will continue to be revered--the throne, as
it hitherto has been, will be loyally supported--our mercantile
honour will be saved--THE HOPES OF THE RADICAL WILL BE IRRETRIEVABLY
RUINED--and when the misty danger at which we now tremble has
brightened into intellectual sunshine, remaining, as we must do (as
long as we continue to be the most industrious), the wealthiest
and first commercial nation on the globe, we shall remember, and
history will transmit to our children, that old-fashioned prophecy of
Faulconbridge, which so truly says,

        "Nought shall make us rue,
         If England to itself do rest but true."

       *       *       *       *       *

I had retired to rest much pleased with Schlangenbad and all that
belonged to it, when about midnight I was awakened by a general
slamming of doors, windows, and shutters, occasioned by a most violent
gale of wind, and on opening my eyes, the bright moonlight scene,
which, without even moving my head, I beheld, was mysteriously grand
and imposing. Although the moon, which had just risen, was as I lay
not discernible through my windows, yet its silvery light beamed so
strongly that the two little white-washed mill-cottages in the valley
seemed to be even brighter than I had observed them during the day. But
what particularly attracted my attention was the apparent writhing of
those great hills which, as if they had only just been rent asunder,
hemmed me in. Every tree on them was bending and waving from the
violence of the squall, and as cloud after cloud rapidly hurried across
the moon, sometimes, obscuring and then suddenly restoring to my view
the strange prospect, the uncertainty of this undulating movement
gave a supernatural appearance to the scene, which more resembled the
fiction of a dream, or of a romance, than any possible effect of wind
on trees. The clean, glistening foliage seemed scarcely able to stand
against the gale, which still continued to increase, until a loud peal
of thunder, followed by a few heavy drops, announced a calm, which
was no sooner established, than the light of the moon appeared to be
converted by Nature into a heavy deluge of rain. For some few moments,
I listened, I believe, to the refreshing sound, and to the rushing of
the stream beneath me; but as the darkness around me increased, my eyes
closed, and I again dropped off to sleep.

The little society of Schlangenbad, like that of most of the towns and
villages in this part of Germany, is composed of Lutherans, Catholics,
and Jews. The two former sects have each a place of worship allotted
to them in the Old Bad-Haus or Nassauer-Hof, and their two chambers,
standing nearly opposite to each other, remind me very strongly of
those twin-roads which in England often lead from one little country
town to another.

On each is the stranger invited to travel--one boasts that it is the
nearest by half a quarter of a mile, the other brags that "it avoids
the hill." Such is the distinction between the two Christian sects at
Schlangenbad;--both start from the same point--both strain for the same
goal, and yet they querulously refuse to travel together.

After having spent two or three days in rambling up and down the
valley, searching for and admiring its sequestered beauties, like
Rasselas, I felt anxious to scale the mountains which surrounded me,
and accordingly inquired for a path, which, I was told, would extricate
me from my happy valley; however, after I had continued on it some
way, fancying I could attain the summit by a shorter cut, I attempted
to ascend the mountain by a straight course. For some time I appeared
to succeed pretty well, feeling every moment encouraged at observing
how high I had risen above the grassy valley beneath; however, the
mountain grew steeper, and the trees thicker and larger, until I began
to find that I had a much heavier job on my hands than I had bargained
for; nevertheless, upwards I proceeded, winding my way through some
magnificent oak timber, until at last I attained actually the top of
the mountain: yet so surrounded was I by trees, that, very much to my
disappointment, I found it impossible to see ten yards before me. For
a considerable distance I walked along the ridge, hoping to find some
gap or open spot which would enable me to get a glimpse of the country
beneath me, but in vain,--for, go where I would, I was like a reptile
crawling through a field of standing corn; in short, nothing could I
see but trees, and even they appeared to be of no value, as a great
number of stately oaks were in every direction rotting just as if they
were beyond the reach and ken of mankind. As I was winding between
these timber trees, hoping, at least, to see deer or wild game of
some sort, it began to rain, and though I had no disposition, on that
account, to abandon my object, yet absolutely not knowing where to seek
it, I was almost in despair, when it occurred to me to climb one of the
trees; and the idea had no sooner entered my head, than I felt quite
angry with myself for not having thought of it before: however, I was
some little time before I could find one to suit, for to swarm up the
huge body of any of the great oaks would have been quite impossible.
As soon as I found a tree adapted to my purpose and my age, I climbed
it in spite of the rain, and I was no sooner in the position of King
Charles the Second, than I witnessed one of the most splendid views
that can be well conceived.

Beneath me was the Rhine, glistening and meandering in its course,
while nearly opposite and beneath me lay Bingen, which appeared to be
basking on the banks of a lake. Almost every one who has travelled
on the Rhine speaks in raptures of this part of it, yet the view I
enjoyed, seated on the limb of my tree, was altogether superior to
what they could have witnessed, because at one view I beheld the
beauties which they had only successively admired. The hills on which
I was placed were clothed to their summits with foliage, feathering
down to the very water's edge; and instead of the little portion of
the river, which, as one niggles along, is seen bit by bit from the
steam-boat, its whole course seemed to be displaying itself to my view.
The opposite shore was comparatively flat, and as far as I could see,
a boundless fertile wine country appeared to extend there. The shower,
which was still falling in heavy drops upon my tree, only belonged to
the mountain on which it stood, for the whole country and river beneath
were basking in sunshine. It was really delightful to enjoy at once the
sight of so many beautiful objects, and I hardly knew whether to admire
most the lovely little islands which seemed floating at anchor in the
Rhine, or the vast expanse of continent which was prostrate before me;
but without continuing the description, any one who will only look in
his map for Bingen, and then imagine an old man seated in the clouds
above it, will perceive what a salient angle I occupied, and what a
magnificent prospect I enjoyed.

As soon as I had imbibed a sufficient dose of it, I commenced my
descent, which was of course easy enough when compared with the fatigue
I had suffered in attaining the object. The trees were dripping, and
the mossy surface of the ground made my feet equally wet; however,
rapidly descending, I soon got first a glimpse of my own window in
the New Bad-Haus, then a peep of the little quiet mills whose wheels
I saw slowly turning under the clear bright water that sparkled
above them; and really when I at last got down to the green secluded
valley of Schlangenbad, I felt that I would not exchange its peaceful
tranquillity for the possession of all the splendid objects I had just
witnessed.

Yet in viewing this humble scene, as well as in revelling over that
magnificent prospect where space and wood seemed to be infinite, the
very air smelling of health and freedom, there was a small feature
in the picture which gave me very painful reflections. There are
perhaps many who will say, that two or three peasants' roofs are
specks, which (whatever sad secrets may lie hidden beneath them) ought
not to disturb the mind of the spectator, being objects much too
insignificant to be worthy of his notice; yet the more I observed the
splendour of the mountain scenery,--the more the verdant valley seemed
to rejoice,--the more the wild deer, dashing by me, appeared to enjoy
the gifts of creation,--the more difficult did I find it to forget the
abject poverty of the two or three poor families which were inhabiting
this smiling valley; and (on the principle of not muzzling the ox
that treadeth out the corn) it certainly did seem to me hard, that,
surrounded as these poor people are by an almost boundless forest of
timber trees, quantities of which, stag-headed, are actually returning
to the dust from which they sprung, they should by the laws of their
country be rigidly forbidden to collect fuel to cheer the inclemency of
the winter, or even with their fingers to tear up a little wild grass
beneath the trees for their cow.

Considering that the storm, like the wind, cometh where it listeth,
afflicting the poor man even more than the well-sheltered rich one, it
seems hard, in districts so nearly uninhabited, that when the oak tree
is levelled with the ground, the mountain peasant who has weathered the
gale should be prevented from plundering this wreck of the desolate
forest in which he has been born. Nevertheless, that such is the case,
will be but too evident from the following short extracts from a very
long list of forest penalties, rigidly enforced by the Duke of Nassau:--

                        FOREST PENALTIES.

                                                        Fine.

    For a load of sear wood      { a child           34 kreuzers.
                                 { grown-up person   54 do.

            If it be green wood, the fine is doubled.

    For a load of dead leaves    { a child           26 to 28 kreuzers.
                                 { grown-up person   46 to 48.

  For a load of green grass torn {a child            30 do.
      up by the hand             {grown-up person    50 do.

  Should a sickle or scythe be used, the fine then becomes doubled;
  likewise for a second trespass: for a third, imprisonment ensues.

  It is against the Duke's laws to take birds' nests; even those of
  birds of prey cannot be taken without the permission of the keeper of
  the forests.

      For a nest taken of common singing-birds,       5 florins.

      For nightingales                               15 do.

  Should the nest be taken out of a pleasure-ground, the fine then
  becomes doubled.

It may appear to many people quite impossible that these penalties can
be enforced in desolate districts so nearly uninhabited: nevertheless,
by a sort of diamond-cut-diamond system, the Duke's forest officers
have various cunning ways of detecting those who infringe them, and the
fact is that fuel and wild grass are very often wanting in a solitary
hovel absolutely environed by both. I myself was one day told that I
had become liable to be fined eighteen kreuzers, because in a reverie
I had allowed a rough pony I was riding to bend his head down and
eat a few mouthfuls of grass; and another day, seeing a man who was
driving the ass I was riding rub with mud the end of a switch he had
just cut, I was told by him, in answer to my inquiry, that he did so in
order that it might not be proved he had _cut_ it. However, lest these
trifling data should not be deemed sufficient proof, I will at once
add, that I have myself seen the peasants lying in the Duke's prison
for having offended against these petty laws.

I took some pains to inquire what possible objection there could be to
the poor people collecting a few dead leaves, or the rank wild grass
which grows here and there all over the forest, and I was told that
both of these by rotting are supposed to manure the trees, yet, as I
have already stated, quantities of the largest timber are to be seen
decaying in every direction.

In a crowded, populous country, all descriptions of property must be
clearly distinguished and most sternly protected; but in a state of
nature, or in districts so nearly approaching to it as many parts of
Nassau, the same rule is not applicable--the same necessity does not
exist; and under such circumstances, the punishment inflicted upon a
child for tearing up wild grass with his hands most certainly is (and
who can deny it?) greater than the offence.

It is with no hostile or bad feeling towards the Duke of Nassau that I
mention these details: he is a personage much beloved in his duchy, and
I believe with great reason is he respected there; yet his forest laws
no one surely can admire; and though custom certainly has sanctioned
them,--though the humble voice of those who have suffered under them
has hitherto been too feeble to reach his ears,--and though those about
his court and person are but little disposed to awaken his attention to
such mean complaints,--yet no one can calmly see and foresee the state
of political feeling in Germany without admitting that the most humble
traveller (and why not an English one?) may render the Duke of Nassau a
friendly service, by bringing into daylight, unveiled by flattery, an
act of oppression in his government, which, while it has most probably
escaped his attention, is seditiously hoarded up by his political
enemies to form part of that fulcrum which they are secretly working
at, in order to effect by it, if possible, his downfall. A grievance,
like a wound, often only requires to be laid open to be cured; whereas
if, deeply seated, it be concealed from view, like gunpowder imbedded
in a rock, when once the spark _does_ reach it, it explodes with a
violence proportionate to the power which would vainly have attempted
to smother it in the earth.



NIEDER-SELTERS.


Having in various countries drunk so much and heard so much of the
celebrated refreshing Selters or Selzer water, I determined one
lovely morning to exchange the pleasure of rambling about the woods
of Schlangenbad for the self-imposed duty of visiting the brunnen of
Nieder-Selters: accordingly, I managed to procure a carriage, and with
three post-horses away I trotted, sitting as upright and as full of
exuberant enjoyment as our great departed lexicographer in his hack
chaise. The macadamized road on which I travelled, with the sight of
men and boys sitting by its side, spitefully cracking with slight
hammers little stones upon flat big ones, might easily have reminded
me of old England; but five women, each carrying on her head sixteen
large stone bottles of Schlangenbad water to wash the faces of the
ladies of Schwalbach--the dress of three peasants with long pipes in
their mouths--a little cart drawn by two cows--the Prince of Saxe
Cobourg in a rough carriage pulled by horses without blinkers and in
rope harness--an immense mastiff, driving before him to be slaughtered
a calf not a week old, and scarcely as high as himself--all these
trifling incidents, combined with the magnificent outline of wooded
hills which towered above the road, constantly reminded me that I was
still under the political roof and in the dominions of "The Duke."

On arriving at Schwalbach, I learned that the remainder of the journey,
which was to occupy six hours, was to be performed on roads which, in
the English language, are termed so very properly "cross." Accordingly,
passing under the great barren hill appropriated to the Schwein-General
of Langen-Schwalbach, we followed for some time the course of a green
grassy valley, the herbage of which had just been cut for the second
time; and then getting into a country much afflicted with hills, the
horses were either straining to ascend them, or suffering equally
severely in the descent. In many places the road was hardly as broad
as the carriage, and as there was generally a precipice on one side,
I might occasionally have felt a little nervous, had it not been for
sundry jolts, happily just violent enough to prevent the mind thinking
of anything else.

Passing the Eisenhammer, a water-mill lifting an immense hammer, which
forges iron by its fall (a lion which the water-drinkers of Schwalbach
generally visit), I proceeded through the village of Neuhof to Würges,
where we changed horses and, what was still more important, bartered
an old postilion for a young one. For a considerable time our road
ascended, passing through woods and park-like plantations belonging to
the Duke of Nassau's hunting-seat "Die Platte;" at last we broke away
from these coverts which had environed us, traversing a vast undulating
unenclosed country, furrowed by ravines and deep valleys, many of which
we descended and ascended. The principal crops were potatoes, barley,
oats, rye, and wheat,--the three former being perfectly green, the
two latter completely ripe; and as it happened, from some reason or
other, that these sets of crops were generally sown on the same sort
of land, it constantly occurred that the entire produce of some hills
wore the green dress of spring, while other eminences were as wholly
clothed in the rich dusky garments of autumn. The harvest, however, not
having commenced, and the villages being, generally speaking, hidden in
the ravines, the crops often seemed to be without owners. Descending,
however, into valleys, we occasionally passed through several very
large villages, which were generally paved, or rather studded with
paving-stones; and as the carriage-wheels hopped from one to another,
the sensation (being still too fresh in my memory) I had rather decline
to describe: suffice it to say, that the painful excitation vividly
expressed in my countenance must have formed an odd contrast with the
dull, heavy, half-asleep faces, which, as if raised from the grave by
the rattling of my springs as well as joints, just showed themselves at
the windows, as if to scare me as I passed. From poverty, their thin
mountain air and meagre food, the inhabitants of all these villages
looked dreadfully wan, and really there was a want of animation among
the young people, as well as the old, which it was quite distressing to
witness; the streets seemed nearly deserted, while the mud houses, with
their unpainted windows, appeared to be as dry and cheerless as their
inmates; here and there were to be seen children, with hair resembling
in colour and disorder a bunch of flax--but no youthful merriment, no
playfulness--in short, they were evidently sapless chips off the old
wooden blocks which were still gaping at me from the window-frames.

At one of these solemn villages the postilion stopped at a "gasthaus"
to bait his horses. Odd as it may sound, it is nevertheless true,
that German post-horses have seldom what we should term bridles.
Snaffle-bits, ending with Ts instead of rings, being put into their
mouths, are hooked (by these Ts) to iron billets in the head-pieces of
common stable-halters, by which arrangement, to feed the animals, it is
only necessary, without taking them from the carriage, to unhook one
end of the bits, which immediately fall from their mouths; a slight
trough, on four legs, is then placed before them, and the traveller
generally continues, as I did, to sit in his carriage watching the
horses voraciously eating up slices of black rye bread.

In England, there is no surer recipe known for making a pair of horses
suddenly run away with one's carriage, than by taking off their
blinkers to allow them to see it; but though our method decidedly suits
us the best, yet in Germany the whole system of managing horses from
beginning to end is completely different from ours. Whether there is
most of the horse in a German, or of the German in a horse, is a nice
point on which people might argue a great deal; but the broad fact
really is, that Germans live on more amicable terms with their horses,
and understand their dispositions infinitely better, than the English:
in short, they treat them as horses, while we act towards them, and
drill them, as if they were men; and in case any one should doubt that
Germans are better horsemasters than we are, I beg to remind them of
what is perfectly well known to the British army--namely, that in the
Peninsular war the cavalry horses of the German legion were absolutely
fat, while those of our regiments were skin and bone.

In a former chapter I have already endeavoured to explain, that instead
of reining a horse's head _up_, as we do, for draught, the Germans
encourage the animal to keep it _down_; but besides this, in all their
other arrangements they invariably attend to the temper, character,
and instinct of the beast. For instance, in harness, they intrust
these sensible animals (who are never known to forget what they have
once seen) with the free use of their eyes. Their horses see the wheel
strike a stone, and they avoid the next one; if they drag the carriage
against a post, they again observe the effect; and seeing at all
times what is behind them, they know that by kicking they would hurt
themselves: when passengers and postilion dismount, from attentive
observation, they are as sensible as we are that the draught will
suddenly become less, and, consequently, rejoicing at being thus left
to themselves, instead of wishing to run away, they invariably are
rather disposed to stand still.

As soon as, getting tired, or, as we are often too apt to term it,
"lazy," they see the postilion threaten them with his whip, they know
perfectly well the limits of his patience, and that after eight, ten,
or twelve threats, there will come a blow: as they travel along, one
eye is always shrewdly watching the driver--the moment he begins the
heavy operation of lighting his pipe, they immediately slacken their
pace, knowing, as well as Archimedes could have proved, that he cannot
strike fire and them at the same time: every movement in the carriage
they remark; and to any accurate observer who meets a German vehicle,
it must often be perfectly evident that the poor horses know and feel,
even better than himself, that they are drawing a coachman, and three
heavy baronesses with their maid, and that to do that on a hot summer's
day is--no joke. When their driver urges them to proceed, he does it
by degrees; and they are stopped, not as bipeds, but in the manner
quadrupeds would stop themselves.

Now, though we all like our own way best, let us for a moment (merely
while the horses are feeding) contrast with the above description our
English mode of treating a horse.

In order to break in the animal to draught, we put a collar round his
neck, a crupper under his tail, a pad on his back, a strap round his
belly, with traces at his sides, and lest he should see that though
these things tickle and pinch, they have not power to do more, the poor
intelligent creature is blinded with blinkers; and in this fearful
state of ignorance, with a groom or two at his head and another at his
side, he is, without his knowledge, fixed to the pole and splinter-bar
of a carriage. If he kicks, even at a fly, he suddenly receives a heavy
punishment, which he does not comprehend--something has struck him, and
has hurt him severely; but, as fear magnifies all danger, so, for aught
we know or care, he may fancy that the splinter-bar, which has cut him,
is some hostile animal, and expect, when the pole bumps against his
legs, to be again assailed in that direction.

Admitting that in time he gets accustomed to these phenomena,
becoming, what we term, steady in harness, still, to the last hour
of his existence, he does not clearly understand what it is that is
hampering him, or what is that rattling noise which is always at his
heels: the sudden sting of the whip is a pain with which he gets but
too well acquainted, yet the "_unde derivatur_" of the sensation he
cannot explain--he neither knows when it is coming, nor where it comes
from. If any trifling accident, or even irregularity, occurs--if any
little harmless strap, which ought to rest upon his back, happens to
fall to his side--the poor, noble, intelligent animal, deprived of
his eyesight, the natural lanterns of the mind, is instantly alarmed;
and though, from constant heavy draught, he may literally, without
metaphor, be on his last legs, yet if his blinkers should happen to
fall off, the sight of his own master--of his very own pimple-faced
mistress--and of his own fine yellow carriage in motion--would scare
him so dreadfully, that off he would probably start, and the more they
all pursued him the faster would he fly!

I am aware that many of my readers, especially those of the fairer sex,
will feel disposed to exclaim--Why admire German horses? Can there be
any in creation better fed or warmer clothed than our own? In black and
silver harness are they not ornamented nearly as highly as ourselves?
Is there any amusement in town which they do not attend? Do we not take
them to the Italian Opera, to balls, plays, to hear Paganini, &c.; and
don't they often go to two or three routs of a night? Are our horses
ever seen standing before vulgar shops? And do they not drive to church
every Sunday as regularly as ourselves?

Most humbly do I admit the force of these observations; all I persist
in asserting is, that horses are foolishly fond of their eyesight--like
to wear their heads awkwardly, as Nature has placed them; and that they
have bad taste enough to prefer dull German grooms and coachmen to our
sharp English ones.

As soon as my horses had finished their black bread, all my idle
speculations concerning them vanished; the snaffle-bits were put into
their mouths--the trough removed--and on we proceeded to a village
where we again changed.

The features of the country now began to grow larger than ever; and
though crops, green and brown, were, as far as the eye could reach,
gently waving around me, yet the want of habitations, plantations, and
fences gave to the extensive prospect an air of desolation: the picture
was perhaps grand, but it wanted foreground; however, this deficiency
was soon most delightfully supplied by the identical object I was in
search of--namely, the brunnen and establishment of Nieder-Selters,
which suddenly appeared on the road-side close before me, scarcely a
quarter of a mile from its village.

The moment I entered the great gate of the enclosure which, surrounded
by a high stone wall, occupies about eight acres of ground, so strange
a scene presented itself suddenly to my view, that my first impression
was, I had discovered a new world inhabited by brown stone bottles; for
in all directions were they to be seen rapidly moving from one part
of the establishment to another--standing actually in armies on the
ground, or piled in immense layers or strata one above another. Such a
profusion and such a confusion of bottles it had never entered human
imagination to conceive; and, before I could bring my eyes to stoop
to detail, with uplifted hands I stood for several seconds in utter
amazement.

On approaching a large circular shed, covered with a slated roof,
supported by posts, but open on all sides, I found the single brunnen
or well from which this highly celebrated water is forwarded to
almost every quarter of the globe--to India, the West Indies, the
Mediterranean, Paris, London, and to almost every city in Germany. The
hole, which was about five feet square, was bounded by a framework of
four strong beams mortised together; and the bottom of the shed being
boarded, it very much resembled, both in shape and dimensions, one of
the hatches in the deck of a ship. A small crane with three arms, to
each of which there was suspended a square iron crate or basket, a
little smaller than the brunnen, stood about ten feet off; and while
peasant girls, with a stone bottle (holding three pints) dangling on
every finger of each hand, were rapidly filling two of these crates,
which contained seventy bottles, a man turned the third by a winch,
until it hung immediately over the brunnen, into which it then rapidly
descended. The air in these seventy bottles being immediately displaced
by the water, a great bubbling of course ensued; but, in about twenty
seconds, this having subsided, the crate was raised; and, while seventy
more bottles descended from another arm of the crane, a fresh set of
girls curiously carried off these full bottles, one on each finger
of each hand, ranging them in several long rows upon a large table
or dresser,--also beneath the shed. No sooner were they there, than
two men, with surprising activity, put a cork into each; while two
drummers, with a long stick in each of their hands hammering them down,
appeared as if they were playing upon musical glasses.

Another set of young women now instantly carried them off, four and
five in each hand, to men who, with sharp knives, sliced off the
projecting part of the cork; and this operation being over, the poor
jaded bottles were delivered over to women, each of whom actually
covered 3000 of them a day with white leather, which they firmly bound
with packthread round the corks; and then, without placing the bottles
on the ground, they delivered them over to a man seated beside them,
who, without any apology, dipped each of their noses into boiling hot
rosin; and, before they had recovered from this operation, the Duke of
Nassau's seal was stamped upon them by another man, when off they were
hurried, sixteen and twenty at a time, by girls to magazines, where
they peacefully remained ready for exportation.

Although this series of operations, when related one after another,
may sound simple enough, yet it must be kept in mind that all were
performed at once; and when it is considered that a three-armed crane
was drawing up bottles seventy at a time, from three o'clock in the
morning till seven o'clock at night (meal hours excepted), it is
evident that, without very excellent arrangement, some of the squads
either would be glutted with more work than they could perform, or
would stand idle with nothing to do:--no one, therefore, dares to hurry
or stop; the machinery, in full motion, has the singular appearance
which I have endeavoured to describe; and certainly, the motto of the
place might be that of old Goethe's ring--

              "Ohne hast, ohne rast."

Having followed a set of bottles from the brunnen to the store, where I
left them resting from their labours, I strolled to another part of the
establishment, where were empty bottles calmly waiting for their turn
to be filled. I here counted twenty-five bins of bottles, each four
yards broad, six yards deep, and eight feet high. A number of young
girls were carrying thirty-four of them at a time on their heads to
an immense trough, which was kept constantly full by a large fountain
pipe of beautiful clear fresh water. The bottles on arriving here were
filled brimful (as I conceived for the purpose of being washed), and
were then ranged in ranks, or rather solid columns, of seven hundred
each, there being ten rows of seventy bottles.

It being now seven o'clock, a bell rung as a signal for giving over
work, and the whole process came suddenly to an end: for a few seconds,
the busy labourers (as in a disturbed ant-heap) were seen irregularly
hurrying in every direction: but in a very short time, all had
vanished. For a few minutes I ruminated in solitude about the premises,
and then set out to take up my abode for the night at the village, or
rather town, of Nieder-Selters: however, I had no sooner, as I vainly
thought, bidden adieu to bottles, than I saw, like Birnam Wood coming
to Dunsinane, bottles approaching me in every possible variety of
attitude. It appears that all the inhabitants of Nieder-Selters are
in the habit of drinking in their houses this refreshing water; but
as the brunnen is in requisition by the Duke all day long, it is only
before or after work that a private supply can be obtained: no sooner,
therefore, does the evening bell ring, than every child in the village
is driven out of its house to take empty bottles to the brunnen; and
it was this singular-looking legion which was now approaching me. The
children really looked as if they were made of bottles; some wore a
pyramid of them in baskets on their heads--some were laden with them
hanging over their shoulders before and behind--some carried them
strapped round their middle--all had their hands full; and little
urchins that could scarcely walk were advancing, each hugging in its
arms one single bottle. In fact, at Nieder-Selters, "an infant" means
a being totally unable to carry a bottle, puberty and manhood are
proved by bottles; a strong man brags of the number he can carry; and a
superannuation means a being no longer able in this world to bear ....
bottles.

The road to the brunnen is actually strewed with fragments, and so are
the ditches; and when the reader is informed that, besides all he has
so patiently heard, bottles are not only expended and exported, but
actually are _made_ at Nieder-Selters, he must admit that no writer can
possibly do justice to that place unless every line of his description
contains, at least once, the word .... bottle. The moralists of
Nieder-Selters preach on bottles. Life, they say, is a sound bottle,
and death a cracked one--thoughtless men are empty bottles--drunken
men are leaky ones; and a man highly educated, fit to appear in any
country and in any society, is, of course, a bottle corked, rosined,
and stamped with the seal of the Duke of Nassau.

As soon as I reached the village inn, I found there all the slight
accommodation I required: a tolerable dinner soon smoked on the table
before me; and, feeling that I had seen quite enough for one day of
brown stone bottles, I ventured to order (merely for a change) a
long-necked glass one of a vegetable fluid superior to all the mineral
water in the world.

The following morning, previous to returning to the brunnen, I strolled
for some time about the village; and the best analysis I can offer
of the Selters water is the plain fact, that the inhabitants of the
village, who have drunk it all their lives, are certainly, by many
degrees, the healthiest and ruddiest looking peasants I have anywhere
met with in the dominions of the Duke of Nassau.

This day being a festival, on reaching the brunnen at eleven o'clock
I found it entirely deserted--no human being was to be seen: all had
been working from three o'clock in the morning till nine, but they were
now at church, and were not to return to their labour till twelve. I
had, therefore, the whole establishment to myself; and going to the
famous brunnen, my first object was to taste its water. On drinking it
fresh from the source, I observed that it possessed a strong chalybeate
taste, which I had never perceived in receiving it from the bottle. The
three iron crates suspended to the arms of the crane were empty, and
there was nothing at all upon the wooden dressers which, the evening
before, I had seen so busily crowded and surrounded: in the middle of
the great square were the stools on which the several cork-covering
women had sat; while, at some distance to the left, were the solid
columns or regiments of uncorked bottles, which I had seen filled
brimful with pure crystal water the evening before. On approaching this
brown looking army, I was exceedingly surprised at observing from a
distance that several of the bottles were noseless, and I was wondering
why such should ever have been filled, when, on getting close to these
troops, I perceived, to my utter astonishment, that not only about
one-third of them were in the same mutilated state, but that their
noses were calmly lying by their sides, supported by the adjoining
bottles! What could possibly have been the cause of the fatal disaster
which in one single night had so dreadfully disfigured them, I was
totally at a loss to imagine: the devastation which had taken place
resembled the riddling of an infantry regiment under a heavy fire; yet
few of our troops, even at Waterloo, lost so great a proportion of
their men as had fallen in twelve hours among these immovable phalanxes
of bottles. Had they been corked, one might have supposed that they had
exploded, but why nothing but their noses had suffered I really felt
quite incompetent to explain.

As it is always better honestly to confess one's ignorance, rather
than exist under its torture, with a firm step I walked to the door of
the governor of the brunnen; and sending up to him a card, bearing the
name under which I travelled, he instantly appeared, politely assuring
me that he should have much pleasure in affording any information I
desired.

Instantly pointing to the noseless soldiers, my instructor was good
enough to inform me, that bottles in vast numbers being supplied to
the Duke from various manufactories, in order to prove them, they are
filled brimful (as I had seen them) with water, and being left in that
state for the night, they are the next morning visited by an officer of
the Duke, whose wand of office is a thin, long-handled, little hammer,
which at the moment happened to be lying before us on the ground.

It appears that the two prevailing sins to which stone bottles are
prone, are having cracks, and being porous, in either of which cases
they, of course, in twelve hours, leak a little.

The Duke's officer, who is judge and jury in his own _court_-yard,
carries his own sentences into execution with a rapidity which even
our Lord Chancellor himself can only hope eventually to imitate.
Glancing his hawk-like eye along each line, the instant he sees a
bottle not brimful, without listening to long-winded arguments, he
at once decides "that there can be no mistake--that there shall be
no mistake;" and thus at one blow or tap of the hammer, off goes the
culprit's nose. "So much for Buckingham!"

Feeling quite relieved by this solution of the mystery, I troubled
the governor with a few questions, to reply to which he very kindly
conducted me to his counting-house, where, in the most liberal and
gentlemanlike manner, he gave me all the data I required.

The following, which I extracted from the daybook, is a statement
showing the number of bottles which were filled for exportation during
the year 1832, with the proportionate number filled during each month.

                             Large.        Small.
      January, 1832             301            25
      February                9,235         2,100
      March                 304,529        95,714
      April                 207,887        49,562
      May                   167,706        61,589
      June                  155,688        14,063
      July                   76,086        16,388
      August                 58,848         9,159
      September              27,216         9,555
      October                23,512         3,297
      November                2,323            25
      December                  151            44
                          ---------       -------
                          1,033,662       261,521

Besides the above, there is a private consumption, amounting, on an
average, to very nearly half a million of bottles per annum.

It will, I hope, be recollected that by the time a bottle is sealed
it has undergone fifteen operations, all performed by different
people. The Duke, in his payments, does not enter into these details,
but, delivering his own bottles, he gives 17 1/2 kreuzers (nearly
sixpence) for every hundred, large or small, which are placed, filled,
in his magazines. The peasants, therefore, either share their labour
and profits among themselves, or the whole of the operations are
occasionally performed by the different members of one family; but so
much activity is required in constantly stooping and carrying off the
bottles, that this work is principally performed by young women of
eighteen or nineteen, assembled from all the neighbouring villages;
and who, by working from three in the morning till seven at night, can
gain a florin a day, or 30 florins a month, Sunday (excepting during
prayers) not being, I am sorry to say, at Nieder-Selters, a day of rest.

For the bottles themselves the Duke pays 4 1/2 florins per cent. for
the large ones, and 3 florins per cent. for the small ones. The large
bottles, when full, he sells at the brunnen for 13 florins a hundred.

His profit, last year, deducting all expenses, appeared to be,
as nearly as possible, 50,000 florins; and yet, this brunnen was
originally sold to the Duke's ancestor for a single butt of wine!

On coming out of the office, the establishment was all alive again,
and the peasants being in their Sunday clothes, the picture was highly
coloured. Young women in groups of four and five, with little white or
red caps perched on the tops of their heads, from which streamed three
or four broad ribands, of different colours, denoting the villages
they proceeded from, in various directions, singing as they went, were
walking together, heavily laden with bottles. They were dressed in
blue petticoats, clean white shifts tucked up above the elbows, with
coloured stays laced, or rather half unlaced, in front. Old women,
covering the corks with leather, in similar costume, but in colours
less gaudy, were displaying an activity much more vigorous than their
period of life. Across this party-coloured, well-arranged system, which
was as regular in its movements as the planets in their orbits, an
officer of the Duke, like a comet, occasionally darted from the office
to the brunnen, or from the tiers of empty bottles which had not yet
been proved, to the magazine of full ones ready to embark on their
travels.

In quitting the premises, as I passed the regiments of bottles, an
operation was proceeding which I had not before witnessed. Women in
wooden shoes were reversing the full bottles; in fact, without driving
these brown soldiers from their position, they were making them stand
upon their heads instead of upon their heels--the object of this
military somerset being to empty them; however, every noseless bottle,
water and all, was hurled over a wall, into a bin prepared on purpose
to receive them; and the smashing sound of devastation which proceeded
from this odd-looking operation it would be very difficult to describe.

Having now witnessed about as much as I desired of the lively brunnen
of Nieder-Selters, I bade adieu to this well-regulated establishment,
feeling certain that its portrait would, in future, re-appear before my
mind, in all its vivid colours whensoever and wheresoever I might drink
the refreshing, wholesome beverage obtained from its bright, sparkling
source. My carriage had long been waiting at the gate: however, having
aroused my lumbering and slumbering driver, I retraced my steps,
was slowly re-jolted homewards, and it was late before I reached my
peaceful abode in the gay, green little valley of Schlangenbad.



THE MONASTERY OF EBERBACH.


Exactly at the appointed moment, Luy with his favourite ass,
Katherinchen, appeared at the door of the new Bad-Haus; the day,
overcast with clouds, was quite cool, and, under such favourable
auspices, starting at twelve o'clock, in less than a hundred yards we
were all hidden in the immense forest which encircles that portion of
the duchy of Nassau which looks down upon the Maine and the Rhine.
For about an hour, the ass, who after the second turn seemed to be
perfectly sensible where she was carrying me, patiently threaded
her way along narrow paths, which, constantly crossing each other
at various angles, seemed sufficient to puzzle even the brain of a
philosopher: however, although human intellect is said to be always
on the march, yet we often find brute instinct far before it; and
certainly it did appear that Katherinchen's knowledge of the carte
du pays of Nassau was equal almost to that of "The Duke" himself.
Sometimes we suddenly came to tracks of wheels which seemed to have
been formed by carriages that had not only dropped from, but had
returned back to, the clouds, for they began _à propos_ to nothing,
and vanished in an equally unaccountable manner. Sometimes we came
to patches bare of timber, except here and there an old oak left on
purpose to supply acorns for the swine; then again we followed a path
which seemed only to belong to deer, being so narrow that we were
occasionally obliged to force our way through the bushes; at last, all
of a sudden, I unexpectedly found myself on the very brink of a most
picturesque and precipitous valley.

Close above me, standing proudly on its rock, and pointing to a heavy
white cloud which happened at the moment to be passing over it, was the
great pillar or tower of Sharfenstein, a castle formerly the residence
of the bishops of Mainz. The village of Kiedrich lay crouching at a
considerable depth beneath, the precipitous bank which connected us
with it being a vineyard, in which every here and there were seen
flights of rough stone steps, to enable the peasants to climb to their
work. By a rocky path, about a foot or nine inches broad, Katherinchen,
with Luy following as if tied to her tail, diagonally descended through
this grape garden, until we at last reached the village mill, the wheel
of which I had long observed indolently turning under a stream of water
scarcely heavy enough for its purpose. The little village of Kiedrich,
as I rode by it, appeared to be a confused congregation of brown hovels
and green gardens, excepting a large slated mansion of the Baron von
Ritter, whose tower of Sharfenstein now seemed in the clouds, as if
to draw the lightning from the village; and almost breaking my neck
to look up to it, I could not help feeling, as I turned towards the
east, how proud its laird must be at seeing every morning its gigantic
shadow lying across the valley, then paying its diurnal visit to every
habitation, thus eclipsing for a few moments, from each vassal, even
the sun in the heavens.

After passing Kiedrich, I again entered the forest, and for above
an hour there was little to be seen except the noble trees which
encompassed me; but the mind soon gets accustomed to ever so short a
tether, and though I could seldom see fifty yards, yet within that
distance there existed always plenty of minute objects to interest me.
The foliage of the beeches shone beautifully clear and brilliant, and
there were new shoots, which, being lighter in colour than the old,
had much the appearance of the autumnal tint, yet when the error was
discovered, one gladly acknowledged that youth had been mistaken for
age. The forest now suddenly changed from beech trees into an army of
oaks, which seemed to be, generally speaking, about fifty years of age;
among them, however, there stood here and there a few weather-beaten
veterans, who had survived the race of comrades with whom they had once
flourished; but we must drop the military metaphor, for their hearts
were gone--their bodies had mouldered away--nothing but one side was
left--in fact, they were more like sentry-boxes than sentinels, and
yet, in this decayed state, they were decked with leaves as cheerfully
as the rest. In this verdant picture, there was one pale object which,
for a few moments, as I passed it, particularly attracted my attention;
it was an immense oak, which had been struck dead by lightning; it
had been, and indeed still was, the tallest to be seen in the forest,
and pride and presumption had apparently drawn it to its fate. Every
leaf, every twig, every small branch was gone; barkless--blasted--and
blanched--its limbs seemed stretched into the harshest outlines; a
human corpse could not form a greater contrast with a living man,
than this tree did with the soft green foliage waving around it:
it stood stark--stiff--jagged as the lightning itself; and as its
forked, sapless branches pointed towards the sky, it seemed as if no
one could dare pass it without secretly feeling that there exists a
power which can annihilate as well as create, and that what the fool
said in his heart--was wrong! I, however, had not much time for this
sort of reflection, for whenever Katherinchen, coming to two paths,
selected the right one, Luy from behind was heard loudly applauding her
sagacity, which he had previously declared to be superior to that of
all the asses in Nassau--and yet, Luy, in his more humble department,
deserved quite as much praise as Katherinchen herself.

He was a slender, intelligent, active man, of about thirty, dressed
in a blue smock frock, girded round the middle by the buff Nassau
belt: and though, from some cause or other, which he could never
satisfactorily account for, his mouth always smelt of rum, yet he was
never at a loss--always ready for an expedition, and foot-sore or not,
the day seemed never long enough to tire him. The fellow was naturally
of an enterprising disposition, and the winters in Nassau being long
and cheerless, it occurred to Luy on his march, that were he with
Katherinchen and his other two asses to go to England (of which he
had only heard that it was the richest country under the sun), they
would no doubt there be constantly employed for the whole twelvemonth,
instead of only finding lady and gentleman riders at Schlangenbad for
a couple of months in the year. His project appeared to himself a most
brilliant one, and though I could not enter into it quite as warmly as
he did (indeed I almost ruined his hopes by merely hinting that our
sea, which he had never heard of, might possibly object to his driving
asses from Schlangenbad to London), yet I inwardly felt that poor Luy's
speculation had quite as sound a foundation, displayed quite as much
knowledge of the world, and had infinitely less roguery in it, than
the bubble projects of more civilized countries, which have too often
eventually turned out to be nothing more nor less than ass-driving with
a vengeance.

After winding my way through the trees for a considerable time,
inclining gently to the left, I suddenly saw close before me, at the
bottom of a most sequestered valley, the object of my journey,--namely,
the very ancient monastery of EBERBACH. The sylvan loveliness, and
the peaceful retirement of this spot, I strongly feel it is quite
impossible to describe. Almost surrounded by hills or rather mountains,
clothed with forest trees, one does not expect to find at the bottom
of such a valley an immense solitary building, which in size and
magnificence not only corresponds with the bold features of the
country, but seems worthy of a place in any of the largest capitals of
Europe.

The irregular building, with its dome, spires, statues, and high slated
roofs, looks like the palace of some powerful king; and yet the monarch
has apparently no subjects but the forest trees, which on all sides
almost touch the architecture, and even closely environ the garden
walls.

A spot better suited to any being or race of beings who wished to say
to the world "_Fare thee well! and if for ever, still for ever fare
thee well!_" could scarcely be met with on its vast circumference; and
certainly if it were possible for the vegetable creation to compensate
a man for losing the society of his fellow-creatures, the woods of
Eberbach would, in a high degree, afford him that consolation. A more
lovely and romantic situation for a monastery could not have existed;
yet I should have wondered how it could possibly have been discovered,
had not its history most clearly explained that marvel.

In the year 1131, St. Bernhard, the famous preacher of the crusade
(whose followers eventually possessed, merely in the Rhine-gau, six
monastic establishments--namely, Tiefenthal, Gottesthal, Eberbach,
Eibinger, Nothgottes, and Marienhausen), was attacked by a holy itch,
or irresistible determination to erect a monastery; but not knowing
where to drop the foundation-stone, he consulted, it is said, a wild
boar, on this important subject. The sagacious creature shrewdly
listened to the human being who addressed it; and a mysterious meeting
being agreed upon, he silently grubbed with his snout, the valley
of Eberbach, lines marking out the foundation of the building; and
certainly such a lovely stye, for men basking in sunshine, to snore
away their existence, no animal but a pig would ever have thought of!

St. Bernhard, highly approving of the boar's taste, employed the best
architects to carry his plan into execution; and sparing no expense,
a magnificent cathedral--a large palace, with a monastery, connected
together by colonnades, as well as ornamented in various places with
the image of a pig, its founder--were quickly reared upon the spot;
and when all was completed, monks were brought to the abode, and the
holy hive, for many centuries, was heard buzzing in the wild mountains
which surrounded it: however, in the year 1803, the Duke of Nassau
took violent possession of its honey, and its inmates were thus rudely
shaken from their cells. Three or four of the monks, of this once
wealthy establishment, are all that now remain in existence, and their
abode has ever since been used partly as a government prison, and
partly as a public asylum for lunatics.

Before entering the great gate, which was surmounted by colossal
figures of the Virgin Mary, St. John, and the great St. Bernhard
himself, I was advised by my cicerone, Luy, to go to some grotto he
kept raving about; and, as Katerinchen's nose also seemed placidly to
point the same way, I left the monastery, and through a plantation
of very fine oaks, which were growing about twenty feet asunder, we
ascended, by zigzags, a hill surmounted by a beautiful plantation of
firs; and the moment I reached the summit, there suddenly flashed upon
me a view of the Rhine, which, without any exception, I should say, is
the finest I have witnessed in this country. Uninterrupted by anything
but its own long, narrow islands, I beheld the course of the river,
from Johannisburg to Mainz, which two points formed, from the grotto
where I stood, an angle of about 120 degrees. Between me and the water,
lay, basking in sunshine, the Rhine-gau, covered with vineyards, or
surrounded by large patches of corn, which were evidently just ready
for the sickle; but the harvest not having actually commenced, the only
moving objects in the picture were young women with white handkerchiefs
on their heads, busily pruning the vines; and the Coln, or, as it might
more properly be termed, the _English_ steam-boat, which, immediately
before me, was gliding against the stream towards Mainz. On the
opposite side of the Rhine, an immense country, highly cultivated, but
without a fence, was to be seen.

Turning my back upon this noble prospect, the monastery lay
immediately beneath me, so completely surrounded by the forest, that
it looked as if, ready built, it had been dropped from heaven upon its
site.

A more noble-looking residence could hardly be imagined, and the
zigzag walks and plantations of fir imparted to it a gentlemanlike
appearance, which I could not sufficiently admire; yet, notwithstanding
the rural beauty of the place, I felt within me a strong emotion of
pity for those poor, forlorn, misguided beings, whose existence had
been uselessly squandered in such mistaken seclusion; and I could not
help fancying how acutely, from the spot on which I stood, they might
have compared the moral loneliness of their mansion, with the natural
joy and loveliness of that river scenery, from which their relentless
mountain had severed them: indeed, I hope my reader will not think an
old man too Anacreontic for saying, that if any thing in this world
could penetrate the sackcloth garment of a monk, "and wring his bosom,"
it would be the sight of what I had just turned my back upon--namely, a
vineyard full of women! That the fermentation of the grape was intended
to cheer decrepitude, and that the affections of a softer sex were made
to brighten the zenith of mid-day life, are truths which, within the
walls of a convent or a monastery, it must have been most exquisite
torture to reflect upon.

As I descended from the grotto, I saw beneath me, entering the great
gate of the building, half a dozen carts laden with wood, each drawn
by six prisoners. None being in irons, and the whole gang being
escorted by a single soldier in the Nassau uniform, I was at first
surprised,--why, when they penetrated the forest, they did not all run
away! However, fear of punishment held them together: there being no
large cities in the duchy, they had no where to run, but to their own
homes, where they would instantly have been recaptured; and though, to
a stranger like myself, the forest seemed to offer them protection, yet
it was certain death by starvation to remain in it.

On entering the great square, I found it would be necessary to apply
to the commandant of the establishment for permission to view it. I
accordingly waited upon him, and was agreeably surprised at being
politely informed by him, in English, that he would be proud and most
happy to attend me. He was a fine, erect, soldierlike-looking man, of
about forty, seventeen years of which he had reigned in this valley,
over prisoners and lunatics; the average number of the former being
250, and of the latter about 100.

As I was following him along some very handsome cloisters, I observed,
hanging against a wall, twenty-five pictures in oil, of monks, all
dressed in the same austere costume, and in features as in dress so
much resembling each other, that the only apparent distinction between
them was the name of each individual, whose barren, useless existence
was thus intended to be commemorated beyond the narrow grave which
contained him. Ascending a stone staircase, I now came to the lower
division of the prison, one half being appropriated to women, and the
other to men.

Although I had been for the whole day enjoying pure fresh air, yet the
establishment was so exceedingly clean, that there was no smell of any
sort to offend me. The monks' cells had in many places been thrown by
threes into large rooms for tailors, weavers, carpenters, shoemakers,
&c., &c.,--each of these trades working separately, under the direction
of one overseer. In all these chambers every window was wide open, the
walls were white-washed, and the blanched floors were without a stain;
indeed, this excessive cleanliness, although highly praised by me, and
exceedingly attractive to any English traveller, probably forms no
small part of the punishment of the prison, for there is nothing that
practically teases dirty people more than to inflict upon them foreign
habits of cleanliness. The women's rooms were similarly arranged, and
the same cleanliness and industry insisted upon; while, for younger
culprits, there was an excellent school, where they were daily taught
religious singing, reading, writing, arithmetic, and weaving. Having
finished with this floor, I mounted to the upper story, where, in
solitary cells, were confined patients who had relapsed, or, in plainer
terms, culprits who had been convicted a second time of the same
offence.

Many of these unfortunate people were undergoing a sentence of three,
four, and five years' imprisonment; and to visit them, as I did, in
their cells, was, I can assure my reader, anything but pleasing. On
the outside of each door hung a small black board, upon which was
laconically inscribed, in four words, the name and surname of the
captive--his or her offence--and the sentence. I found that their
crimes, generally speaking, were what we should call petty thefts--such
as killing the Duke's game--stealing his wood--his grass, &c., &c.

As I paid my melancholy visits, one after another, to these poor
people, I particularly observed that they seemed, at least, to be
in the enjoyment (if, without liberty, it may be so termed) of good
health; the natural effect of the cool, temperate lives they were
obliged to lead, and of the pure fresh air which came to each of them
through a small open window; yet so soon as their doors were opened,
there was an eagerness in their countenances, and a peculiar anxiety
in their manner of fixing their eyes upon mine, which seemed to curdle
into despondency, as the door was rapidly closed between us. Each
individual had some work to perform--one man had just finished a coffin
for a poor maniac who had lately ended his melancholy career--the lid,
instead of being flat, was a prism of many sides, and, on the upper
slab, there was painted in black a cross, very nearly the length of the
coffin.

So long as the soldier, in his buff belt, who attended the commandant,
continued to unlock for me, and lock, the dungeons of the male
prisoners, so long did I feel myself capable of witnessing their
contents; for to see _men_ suffer, is what we are all, more or less,
accustomed to; but as soon as he came to the women's cells, I felt,
certainly for the first time in my existence, that I should be obliged
to abandon my colours, and cease to be of the scene before me--a
"reviewer."

In the countenance of the very first female captive that I beheld I
could not but remark a want of firmness, for the possession of which I
had not given to the other sex sufficient credit--the poor woman (to be
sure she might have been a mother) showed an anxiety for her release,
which was almost hysterical; and hurrying towards me, she got so close
to the door, that it was absolutely forcibly slammed by the soldier,
almost in her face.

In the third cell that I came to, there stood up before me, with
a distaff in her hand, a young slight-made peasant-girl of about
eighteen; her hair was black, and her countenance seemed to me beaming
with innocence and excessive health. She was the only prisoner who did
not immediately fix her eyes upon mine; but, neither advancing nor
retiring, she stood, looking downwards, with an expression of grief,
which I expected every moment, somewhere or other, would burst into
tears. Such a living picture of youthful unhappiness I felt myself
incapable of gazing upon; and the door, being closed upon her, was no
sooner locked, than I thanked the commandant for his civility, adding,
that I would not trouble the soldier to open any more of the cells,
observing, as an excuse, that I perceived they were all alike.

After standing for some time listening to the rules and discipline of
the prison, I inquired of the commandant whether he had any prisoners
confined for any greater crimes than those which I have already
mentioned, to which he replied in the negative; and he was going to
descend the staircase, when I asked him, as coldly as I could, to be so
good as to state for what offence the young person I had just left was
suffering so severely. The commandant, with silent dignity, instantly
referred me to the little black board, on which was written the girl's
name (I need not repeat it) and her crime, which, to my very great
astonishment, turned out to be "DISSOLUTE;" and it was because she had
been convicted a second time of this offence, that she was imprisoned,
as I saw her, in a cell, which, like all the others, had only one
small window in the roof, from which nothing was to be seen but what
she, perhaps, least dared to look at--the heavens! I certainly, from
her appearance, did not judge rightly of her character: however, upon
such points I neither outwardly profess, nor inwardly do I believe
myself, to be what is vulgarly termed--knowing. Had I looked into the
poor girl's countenance for guilt, it is most probable I should not
have searched there in vain, but, at her age, one sought for feelings
of a better cast; and, notwithstanding what was written on the black
board, those feelings most certainly did exist, as I have very faintly
described them.

I now accompanied the commandant (going along, I may just observe, that
he had learned English from his father, who had served as an officer
in our German Legion) to another part of the monastery, which had long
been fitted up as an asylum for lunatics, most of whom were provided
for by the Nassau government, the rest being people of family, supplied
with every requisite by their friends.

There was but little here which particularly attracted my attention.
In clean, airy rooms, formed out of three cells, as in the prison,
there lived together from eight to ten lunatics, many of whom appeared
to be harmless and even happy, although, in the corner of the room,
there certainly was a large iron cage for refractory or dangerous
patients. In one of these groups stood a madman, who had been a medical
student. He was about thirty years of age, extremely dark, exceedingly
powerfully made,--and no sooner did I enter the room, than raising
his eyes from a book which he was reading, he fixed them (folding
his arms at the time) upon me, with a ferocity of countenance, which
formed a very striking contrast to the expression of imbecility which
characterized the rest of his companions. The longer he looked at me,
the deeper and the darker was his frown; and though I steadily returned
it, yet, from the flashing of his eyes, I really believe that like
a wild beast, he would have sprung upon me, had I not followed the
soldier to the next room.

Having inspected the great apartments, I next visited the cells in
which were confined those who were not fitted for intercourse with
others; they were generally of a gloomy temperament. Some were lying on
their beds, apparently asleep; while some, particularly women, actually
tried to escape, but were mildly repressed by the commandant, whose
manner towards them seemed to be an admirable mixture, in about equal
parts, of mildness and immovable firmness.

I should have continued along the passage which connected these
cells, but the poor creature, whose coffin I had seen, was lying
there; I therefore left the building, and went into a great garden
of the monastery, filled with standard fruit-trees, which had been
planted there by the monks. In this secluded spot there was a sort
of summer-house, where the worst lunatic cases were in confinement;
none, however, were in chains; though some were so violent, that the
commandant made a sign to the soldier not to disturb them.

Having now very gratefully taken leave of the deserving officer in
charge of this singular establishment for crime and lunacy, the whole
of which was kept in complete subjection by a garrison of eight
soldiers, for a considerable time I strolled alone about the premises.
Sometimes I looked at ancient figures of a boar, which I found in
more than one place, rudely carved both on wood and stone; then I
wandered into the old cathedral, which was now strangely altered from
the days of its splendour, for the glass in its Gothic windows having
been broken, had been plastered up with mud, and upon the tombs of
bishops and of abbots there was lying corn in sheaves,--heaps of
chaff,--bundles of green grass.

My attention was now very particularly attracted by the venerable
entrance-gate of the monastery, which, on turning a corner, suddenly
appeared before me, surmounted by colossal statues of the Great St.
Bernhard with his crosier--of St. John, holding a long thin cross, at
the foot of which there was seated a lamb--and of the Virgin Mary, who,
with a glory round her head, and an olive branch in her hand, stood in
the centre, considerably exalted above both.

The sun had long ago set--and I was no sooner immediately under the
great arched gateway, than, leaning on my staff, I stood as it were
riveted to the ground at the sight of the moon, which, having risen
above the great hill, was shining directly upon the picturesque pile
and images above my head.

As in silence and solitude I gazed upon the lovely planet, which
majestically rose before me, growing brighter and brighter as the
daylight decayed, I could not help feeling what strange changes she
had witnessed in the little valley of Eberbach! Before the recorded
meeting of the "sus atque sacerdos," she had seen it for ages and
ages existing alone in peaceful retirement--one generation of oaks,
and beech-trees had been succeeded by another, while no human being
had felt disposed either to flourish or to decay among this vegetable
community. After this solemn interview with the pig, she had seen the
great St. Bernhard collecting workmen and materials, and as in the
midst of them he stood waving his cross, she had observed a monastery
rise as if by magic from the earth, rapidly overtopping the highest
of the trees which surrounded it. In the days of its splendour she
had witnessed provisions and revenues of all sorts entering its lofty
walls, but though processions glittered in its interior, nothing was
known by her to have been exported to save a matin and vesper moan,
which, accompanying the wind as it swept along the valley, was heard
gradually dying, until, in a few moments, it had either ceased to
exist, or it had lost itself among the calm, gentle rustling of the
leaves. Lastly, she had seen the monks of St. Bernhard driven from
their fastness--and from their holy cells. As with full splendour she
had since periodically gazed at midnight upon the convent, too often
had she heard--first, the scream of the poor maniac, uttered, as her
round gentle light shone mildly upon his brain; and then his wild laugh
of grief, as, starting from a distempered sleep, he forced his burning
forehead against the barred window of his cell, as if, like Henri
Quatre,--

          "Pour prendre la lune avec les dents."

As she proceeded in her silent course, shining successively into each
window of the monastery, how often did she now see the criminal lying
on the couch of the bigot--and the prostitute solitarily immured in the
cell of celibacy! The madman is now soundly sleeping where the fanatic
had in vain sought for repose--and the knave unwillingly suffering for
theft where the hypocrite had voluntarily confined himself!

From a crowd of these reflections, which, like mushrooms, rapidly
grew up by the light of the moon, I was aroused by Katherinchen and
her satellite Luy, whose heads (scarcely visible from the shadow of
the great gateway), pointing homewards, mildly hinted that it was
time I should return there; but on my entering the convent, rather an
odd scene presented itself. The supper of the lunatics, distributed
in separate plates, being ready in the great kitchen, like a pack
of hounds, they were all of a sudden let loose, and their appetites
sufficiently governing their judgments, each was deemed perfectly
competent to hunt for his own food, which was no sooner obtained,
than, like an ant, he busily carried it off to his cell. The prisoners
were also fed from another kitchen at the same hour; and as certain
cravings, which with considerable dignity I had long repressed, were
painfully irritated by the very savoury smells which assailed me,
stopping for a moment, I most gladly partook of the madman's fare, and
then, full of soup and of the odd scenes I had witnessed, leisurely
seating myself in my saddle, guided by Katherinchen, and followed
by Luy, we retraced our intricate paths through the forest, until,
late at night, we found ourselves once again in sight of the little
lamps which light up the garden and bowers of my resting-place, or
caravanserai--the New Bad-Haus of Schlangenbad.



JOURNEY TO MAINZ.


Having occasion to go to Mainz, I sent overnight to apprise the ass,
Katherinchen, and the groom of her bedchamber, Luy, that I should
require the one to carry, the other to follow me to that place.
Accordingly, when seven o'clock, the hour for my departure, arrived,
on descending the staircase of the great Bad-Haus, I found Luy in
light marching order, leaning against one of the plane trees in the
shrubbery, but no quadruped! In the man's dejected countenance, it
was at once legible that his Katherinchen neither was nor would
be forthcoming; and he had began to ejaculate a very long-winded
lamentation, in which I heard various times repeated something about
sacks of flour and Langen-Schwalbach: however, Luy's sighs smelt so
strongly of rum, that not feeling as sentimental on the subject as
himself, I at once prevailed upon him to hire for me from a peasant
a little long-tailed pony, which he accordingly very soon brought to
the door. The wretched creature (which for many years had evidently
been the property of a poor man) had been employed for several months
in the dryest of all worldly occupations, namely, in carrying hard
stone bottles to the great brunnen of Nieder-Selters, and had only
the evening before returned home from that uninteresting job. It was
evident she had had alloted to her much more work than food, and as she
stood before me with a drooping head, she shut her eyes as if she were
going to sleep. I at first determined on sending the poor animal back,
but being assured by Luy that, in that case, she would have much harder
work to perform, I reluctantly mounted her, and at a little jog-trot,
which seemed to be her best--her worst--in fact, her only pace, we
both, in very humble spirits, placidly proceeded towards Mainz.

Luy, who besides what he had swallowed, had naturally a great deal of
spirit of his own, by no means, however, liked being left behind; and
though I had formally bidden him adieu, and was greatly rejoicing that
I had done so, yet, while I was ascending the mountain, happening to
look behind me, I saw the fellow following me at a distance like a
wolf. I, therefore, immediately, pulled at my rein, a hint which the
pony most readily understood, and as soon as Luy came up, I told him
very positively he must return. Seeing that he was detected, he at once
gave up the point; yet the faithful vassal, still having a hankering to
perform for me some little parting service, humbly craved permission
to see if the pony's shoes were, to use the English expression, "all
right." The two fore ones were declared by him (with a hiccup) to
be exactly as they should be; but no sooner did he proceed to make
his tipsy reflections on the hind ones, than in one second the pony
seemed by magic to be converted into a mad creature! Luy fell, as if
struck by lightning, to the ground, while the tiny thing, with its
head between its legs (for the rein had been lying loose on its neck),
commenced a series of most violent kicks, which I seriously thought
never would come to an end.

As good luck would have it, I happened, during the operation, to cleave
pretty closely to my saddle, but what thunder-clap had so suddenly
soured the mild disposition of my palfray, I was totally unable to
conceive! It turned out, however, that the poor thing's paroxysm had
been caused by an unholy alliance that had taken place between the root
of her tail and the bowl of Luy's pipe, which, on his reeling against
her, had become firmly entangled in the hair, and it was because it
remained there for about half a minute, burning her very violently,
that she had kicked, or, as a lawyer would term it, had protested in
the violent manner and form I have described.

After I had left Luy, it took some time before the poor frightened
creature could forget the strange mysterious sensation she had
experienced; however, her mind, like her tail, gradually becoming easy,
her head drooped, the rein again hung on her neck, and in a mile or two
we continued to jog on together in as good and sober fellowship as if
no such eccentric calamity had befallen us.

As we were thus ascending the mountain by a narrow path, we came
suddenly to a tree loaded with most beautiful black cherries evidently
dead ripe. The poor idiot of Schlangenbad had escaped from the hovel
in which he had passed so many years of his vacant existence, and I
here found him literally gorging himself with the fruit. For a moment
he stopped short in his meal, wildly rolling eyes, and looking at
me, as if his treacherous, faithless brain could not clearly tell
him whether I was a friend or an enemy: however, his craving stomach
being much more violent than any reflections the poor creature had
power to entertain, he suddenly seemed to abandon all thought, and
again greedily returned to his work. He was a man about thirty, with
features, separately taken, remarkably handsome: he had fine hazel
eyes, and aquiline nose, and a good mouth; yet there was a horrid twist
in the arrangement, in which not only his features but his whole frame
was put together, which, at a single glance, pointed him out to me as
one of those poor beings who, here and there, are mysteriously sent to
make their appearance on this earth, as if practically to explain to
mankind, and negatively to prove to them, the inestimable blessing of
reason, which is but too often thanklessly enjoyed.

The cherries, which were hanging in immense clusters around us, were
plucked five or six at a time by the poor lame creature before me,
but his thumb and two fore-fingers being apparently paralyzed, he
was obliged to grasp the fruit with his two smallest, and thus, by a
very awkward turn of his elbow, he seemed apparently to be eating the
cherries out of the palm of his hand, which was raised completely above
his head.

Not a cherry did he bite, but, with canine voracity, he continued to
swallow them, stones and all; however, there was evidently a sharp
angle or tender corner in his throat, for I particularly remarked, that
whenever the round fruit passed a certain point, it caused the idiot's
eyes to roll, and a slight convulsion in his frame continued until the
cherry had reached the place of its destination.

The enormous quantity of ripe fruit which I saw this poor creature
swallow in the way I have described quite astonished me; however, it
was useless to attempt to offer him advice, so instead I gave him what
all people like so much better--a little money--partly to enable him to
buy himself richer food, and partly because I wished to see whether he
had sense enough to attach any value to it.

The silver was no sooner in his hand than, putting it most rationally
into the loose pocket of his ragged, coarse cloth trowsers, he
instantly returned to his work with as much avidity as ever. Seeing
that there was to be no end to his meal, I left him hard at it, and
continued to ascend the hill, until the path, suddenly turning to the
right, took me by a level track into the great forest.

The sun had hitherto been very unpleasantly hot, but I was now
sheltered from its rays, while the pure mountain air gave to the
foliage a brightness which in the Schlangenbad woods I had so often
stopped to admire. Although it was midsummer, the old brown beech
leaves of last year still covered the surface of the ground; yet they
were so perfectly dry, that far from there being anything unhealthy or
gloomy in their appearance, they formed a very beautiful contrast with
the bright, clean, polished leaves, as well as with the white, shining
bark of the beech trees, out of which they had only a year ago sprung
into existence. This russet covering of the ground was, generally
speaking, in shade, but every here and there were bright sparkling
patches of sunshine, which, having penetrated the foliage, shone like
gaudy patterns in a dark carpet.

As the breeze gently stole among the trees, their branches in silence
bowing as it passed them, their brown leaves, being crisp and dry,
occasionally moved;--occasionally they were more violently turned over
by small fallow deer, which sometimes darted suddenly across my path,
their skin clean as the foliage on which they slept--their eye darker
than the night, yet brighter than the pure stream from which they drank.

Enjoying the variety of this placid scene, I took every opportunity,
in search of novelty, to change my track; still, from the position
of the sun, always knowing whereabouts I was, I contrived ultimately
to proceed in the direction I desired, and after having been for a
considerable time completely enveloped in the forest, I suddenly burst
into hot sunshine close to Georgenborn, a little village, hanging most
romantically on the mountain's side.

The Rhine, and the immense country beyond it, now flashed upon my view,
and as I trotted along the unassuming street, it was impossible to
help admiring the magnificent prospect which these humble villagers
constantly enjoyed; however, the mind, like the eye, soon becomes
careless of the beauties of creation, and as my pony jogged onwards in
his course, I found that the cottagers looked upon us both with much
greater interest than upon that everlasting traveller the Rhine. Every
woman we met, with great civility grunted "Guten Morgen!" as we passed
her, while each mountain peasant seen standing at a door, or even at a
window, made obeisance to us as we crossed his meridian, all people's
eyes following us as far as they could reach.

From Georgenborn, descending a little, we crossed a piece of table or
level land, on which there stood a rock of a very striking appearance.
Where it had come from, Heaven (from whence apparently it had fallen)
probably only knows. As if from the force with which it had been
dropped upon its site, it had split into two pieces, separated by a
yawning crevice, yet small trees or bushes had grown upon each summit,
while the same beech foliage appeared in the forest which surrounded
them.

Passing close beneath this rock, I continued trotting towards the east
for about a league, when gradually descending into a milder climate, I
was hailed by the vineyards which luxuriously surround the sequestered
little village of Frauenstein.

Upon a rock overhanging the hamlet there stood solemnly before me the
remains of the old castle of Frauenstein or Frankenstein, supposed to
have been built in the thirteenth century. In the year 1300 it was sold
to the Archbishop Gerhardt, of Mainz, but soon afterwards, being ruined
by the Emperor Albrecht I., in a tithe war which he waged against the
prelate, it was restored to its original possessors.

But what more than its castle attracted my attention in the village
of Frauenstein, was an immense plane-tree, the limbs of which had
originally been trained almost horizontally, until, unable to support
their own weight, they were now maintained by a scaffolding of stout
props. Under the parental shadow of this venerable tree, the children
of the village were sitting in every sort of group and attitude; one
or two of their mothers, in loose, easy dishabille, were spinning,
many people were leaning against the upright scaffolding, and a couple
of asses were enjoying the cool shade of the beautiful foliage, while
their drivers were getting hot and tipsy in a wine-shop, the usual sign
of which is in Germany the branch of a tree affixed to the door-post.

As I had often heard of the celebrated tree of Frauenstein, before
which I now stood, I resolved not to quit it until I had informed
myself of its history, for which I well knew I had only to apply to
the proper authorities: for in Germany, in every little village, there
exists a huge volume either deposited in the church, or in charge of an
officer called the Schuldheisz, in which the history of every castle,
town, or object of importance is carefully preserved. The young peasant
reads it with enthusiastic delight, the old man reflects upon it with
silent pride, and to any traveller, searching for antiquarian lore, its
venerable pages are most liberally opened, and the simple information
they contain generously and gratuitously bestowed.

On inquiring for the history of this beautiful tree, I was introduced
to a sort of doomsday-book about as large as a church Bible; and when I
compared this volume with a little secluded spot so totally unknown to
the world as the valley or glen of Frauenstein, I was surprised to find
that the autobiography of the latter could be so bulky,--in short, that
it had so much to say of itself. But it is the common weakness of man,
and particularly, I acknowledge, of an old man, to fancy that all his
thoughts as well as actions are of vast importance to the world; why
therefore should not the humble Frauenstein be pardoned for an offence
which we are all in the habit of committing?

In this ancient volume, the rigmarole history of the tree was told
with so much eccentric German genius, it displayed such a graphic
description of highborn sentiments and homely life, and altogether
it formed so curious a specimen of the contents of these strange
sentimental village histories, that I procured the following literal
translation, in which the German idiom is faithfully preserved at the
expense of our English phraseology.

       *       *       *       *       *

LEGEND OF THE GREAT PLANE-TREE OF FRAUENSTEIN.

The old count Kuno seized with a trembling hand the pilgrim's staff--he
wished to seek peace for his soul, for long repentance consumed his
life. Years ago he had banished from his presence his blooming son,
because he loved a maiden of ignoble race. The son, marrying her,
secretly withdrew. For some time the Count remained in his castle in
good spirits--looked cheerfully down the valley--heard the stream rush
under his windows--thought little of perishable life. His tender wife
watched over him, and her lovely daughter renovated his sinking life;
but he who lives in too great security is marked in the end by the hand
of God, and while it takes from him what is most beloved, it warns him
that here is not our place of abode.

The "Haus-frau" (wife) died, and the Count buried the companion of
his days; his daughter was solicited by the most noble of the land,
and because he wished to ingraft this last shoot on a noble stem, he
allowed her to depart, and then solitary and alone he remained in his
fortress. So stands deserted upon the summit of the mountain, with
withered top, an oak!--moss is its last ornament--the storm sports with
its last few dry leaves.

A gay circle no longer fills the vaulted chambers of the castle--no
longer through them does the cheerful goblet's "clang" resound. The
Count's nightly footsteps echo back to him, and by the glimmer of the
chandeliers the accoutred images of his ancestors appear to writhe
and move on the wall as if they wished to speak to him. His armour,
sullied by the web of the vigilant spider, he could not look at without
sorrowful emotion. Its gentle creaking against the wall made him
shudder.

"Where art thou," he mournfully exclaimed, "thou who art banished? oh
my son, wilt thou think of thy father, as he of thee thinks--or ....
art thou dead? and is that thy flitting spirit which rustles in my
armour, and so feebly moves it? Did I but know where to find thee,
willingly to the world's end would I in repentant wandering journey--so
heavily it oppresses me, what I have done to thee;--I can no longer
remain--forth will I go to the God of Mercy, in order, before the image
of Christ, in the Garden of Olives, to expiate my sins!"

So spoke the aged man--enveloped his trembling limbs in the garb
of repentance--took the cockle-hat--and seized with the right hand
(that formerly was accustomed to the heavy war-sword) the light long
pilgrim's staff. Quietly he stole out of the castle, the steep path
descending, while the porter looked after him astounded, without
demanding "Whither?"

For many days the old man's feet bore him wide away; at last he reached
a small village, in the middle of which, opposite to a ruined castle,
there stands a very ancient plane-tree. Five arms, each resembling
a stem, bend towards the earth, and almost touch it. The old men of
former times were sitting underneath it, in the still evening, just
as the Count went by; he was greeted by them, and invited to repose.
As he seated himself by their side, "You have a beautiful plane-tree,
neighbours," he said.

"Yes," replied the oldest of the men, pleased with the praise bestowed
by the pilgrim on the tree, "it was nevertheless PLANTED IN BLOOD!"

"How is that?" said the Count.

"That will I also relate," said the old man. "Many years ago there
came a young man here, in knightly garb, who had a young woman with
him, beautiful and delicate, but, apparently from their long journey,
worn out. Pale were her cheeks, and her head, covered with beautiful
golden locks, hung upon her conductor's shoulder. Timidly he looked
round--for, from some reason, he appeared to fear all men, yet, in
compassion for his feeble companion, he wished to conduct her to some
secure hut, where her tender feet might repose. There, under that
ivy-grown tower, stands a lonely house, belonging to the old lord of
the castle; thither staggered the unhappy man with his dear burden, but
scarcely had he entered the dwelling, than he was seized by the Prince,
with whose niece he was clandestinely eloping. Then was the noble
youth brought bound, and where this plane-tree now spreads its roots
flowed his young blood! The maiden went into a convent; but before she
disappeared, she had this plane-tree planted on the spot where the
blood of her lover flowed: since then it is as if a spirit life were in
the tree that cannot die, and no one likes a little twig to cut off, or
pluck a cluster of blossom, because he fears it would bleed."

"God's will be done!" exclaimed suddenly the old Count, and departed.

"That is an odd man," said the most venerable of the peasants, eyeing
the stranger who was hastening away; "he must have something that
heavily oppresses his soul, for he speaks not, and hastens away; but,
neighbours, the evening draws on apace, and the evenings in spring are
not warm; I think in the white clouds yonder, towards the Rhine, are
still concealed some snow-storms--let us come to the warm hearth."

The neighbours went their way, while the aged Count, in deep thought,
passed up through the village, at the end of which he found himself
before the churchyard. Terrific black crosses looked upon the
traveller--the graves were netted over with brambles and wild roses--no
foot tore asunder the entwinement. On the right hand of the road there
stands a crucifix, hewn with rude art. From a recess in its pedestal a
flame rises towards the bloody feet of the image, from a lamp nourished
by the hand of devotion.

"Man of sorrow," thus ascended the prayer of the traveller, "give me my
son again--by thy wounds and sufferings give me peace--peace!"

He spoke, and turning round towards the mountain, he followed a narrow
path which conducted him to a brook, close under the flinty, pebbly
grape hill. The soft murmurs of its waves rippling here and there over
clear, bright stones harmonized with his deep devotion. Here the Count
found a boy and a girl, who, having picked flowers, were watching them
carried away as they threw them into the current.

When these children saw the pilgrim's reverend attire, they
arose--looked up--seized the old man's hand, and kissed it. "God bless
thee, children!" said the pilgrim, whom the touch of their little hands
pleased. Seating himself on the ground, he said, "Children, give me to
drink out of your pitcher."

"You will find it taste good out of it, stranger-man," said the little
girl; "it is our father's pitcher in which we carry him to drink upon
the vine-hill. Look, yonder, he works upon the burning rocks--alas!
ever since the break of day; our mother often takes out food to him."

"Is that your father," said the Count, "who with the heavy pickaxe
is tearing up the ground so manfully, as if he would crush the rocks
beneath?"

"Yes," said the boy, "our father must sweat a good deal before the
mountain will bring forth grapes; but when the vintage comes, then how
gay is the scene!"

"Where does thy father dwell, boy?"

"There in the valley beneath, where the white gable end peeps between
the trees: come with us, stranger-man, our mother will most gladly
receive you, for it is her greatest joy when a tired wanderer calls in
upon us."

"Yes," said the little girl, "then we always have the best dishes;
therefore _do_ come--I will conduct thee."

So saying, the little girl seized the old Count's hand, and drew
him forth--the boy, on the other side, keeping up with them, sprung
backwards and forwards, continually looking kindly at the stranger, and
thus, slowly advancing, they arrived at the hut.

The Haus-frau (wife) was occupied in blowing the light ashes to
awaken a slumbering spark, as the pilgrim entered: at the voices of
her children she looked up, saw the stranger, and raised herself
immediately; advancing towards him with a cheerful countenance, she
said--

"Welcome, reverend pilgrim, in this poor hut--if you stand in need of
refreshment after your toilsome pilgrimage, seek it from us; do not
carry the blessing which you bring with you farther."

Having thus spoken, she conducted the old man into the small but clean
room. When he had sat down, he said--

"Woman! thou hast pretty and animated children; I wish I had such a boy
as that!"

"Yes!" said the Haus-frau, "he resembles his father--free and
courageously he often goes alone upon the mountain, and speaks of
castles he will build there. Ah! Sir, if you knew how heavy that weighs
upon my heart!"--(the woman concealed a tear).

"Counsel may here be had," said the Count; "I have no son, and will of
yours, if you will give him me, make a knight--my castle will some of
these days be empty--no robust son bears my arms."

"Dear mother!" said the boy, "if the castle of the aged man is empty, I
can surely, when I am big, go thither?"

"And leave me here alone?" said the mother.

"No, you will also go!" said the boy warmly; "How beautiful is it to
look from the height of a castle into the valley beneath!"

"He has a true knightly mind," said the Count; "is he born here in the
valley?"

"Prayer and labour," said the mother, "is God's command, and they are
better than all the knightly honours that you can promise the boy--he
will, like his father, cultivate the vine, and trust to the blessing
of God, who rain and sunshine gives: knights sit in their castles and
know not how much labour, yet how much blessing and peace can dwell in
a poor man's hut! My husband was oppressed with heavy sorrow; alas! on
my account was his heartfelt grief; but since he found this hut, and
works here, he is much more cheerful than formerly; from the tempest of
life he has entered the harbour of peace--patiently he bears the heat
of the day, and when I pity him he says, 'Wife, I am indeed now happy;'
yet frequently a troubled thought appears to pierce his soul--I watch
him narrowly--a tear then steals down his brown cheeks. Ah! surely he
thinks of the place of his birth--of a now very aged grey father--and
whilst I see you, a tear also comes to me--so is perhaps now--"

At this minute, the little girl interrupted her, pulled her gently by
the gown, and spoke--

"Mother! come into the kitchen; our father will soon be home."

"You are right," said the mother, leaving the room; "in conversation I
forget myself."

In deep meditation the aged Count sat and thought, "Where may, then,
this night my son sleep ....?"

Suddenly he was roused from his deep melancholy by the lively boy, who
had taken an old hunting-spear from the corner of the room, and placing
himself before the Count, said--

"See! thus my father kills the wild boar on the mountains--there runs
one along! My father cries 'Huy!' and immediately the wild boar throws
himself upon the hunter's spear; the spear sticks deep into the brain!
it is hard enough to draw it out!" The boy made actions as if the boar
was there.

"Right so, my boy!" said the aged man; "but does thy father, then,
often hunt upon these mountains?"

"Yes! that he does, and the neighbours praise him highly, and call him
the valiant extirpator, because he kills the boars which destroy the
corn!"

In the midst of this conversation the father entered; his wife ran
towards him, pressed his sinewy hand, and spoke--

"You have had again a hot labouring day!"

"Yes," said the man, "but I find the heavy pickaxe light in hand when I
think of you. God is gracious to the industrious and honest labourer,
and that he feels truly when he has sweated through a long day."

"Our father is without!" cried suddenly the boy; threw the hunter's
spear into the middle of the room, and ran forwards. The little girl
was already hanging at his knees.

"Good evening, father," cried the boy, "come quick into the
room,--there sits a stranger-man--a pilgrim whom I have brought to you!"

"Ah! there you have done well," said the father, "one must not allow
one tired to pass one's gate without inviting him in. Dear wife,"
continued he, "does not labour well reward itself, when one can receive
and refresh a wanderer? Bring us a glass of our best home-grown wine--I
do not know why I am so gay to-day, and why I do not experience the
slightest fatigue."

Thus spoke the husband--went into the room--pressed the hand of the
stranger, and spoke--

"Welcome, pious pilgrim! your object is so praiseworthy; a draught
taken with so brave a man must taste doubly good!"

They sat down opposite to each other in a room half dark--the children
sat upon their father's knees.

"Relate to us something, father, as usual!" said the boy.

"That won't do to-day," replied the father; "for we have a guest
here--but what does my hunter's spear do there? have you been again
playing with it? carry it away into the corner."

"You have there," said the pilgrim, "a young knight who knows already
how to kill boars--also you are, I hear, a renowned huntsman in this
valley; therefore you have something of the spirit of a knight in you."

"Yes!" said the vine-labourer, "old love rusts not, neither does the
love of arms; so often as I look upon that spear, I wish it were there
for some use ... formerly ... but, aged sir, we will not think of the
past! Wife! bring to the revered--"

At this minute the Haus-frau entered, placed a jug and goblets on the
table, and said--

"May it refresh and do thee good!"

"That it does already," said the pilgrim, "presented by so fair a hand,
and with such a friendly countenance!"

The Haus-frau poured out, and the men drank, striking their glasses
with a good clank; the little girl slipped down from her father's knee,
and ran with the mother into the kitchen; the boy looked wistfully into
his father's eyes smilingly, and then towards the pitcher--the father
understood him, and gave him some wine; he became more and more lively,
and again smiled at the pitcher.

"This boy will never be a peaceful vine-labourer, as I am," said the
father; "he has something of the nature of his grandfather in him:
hot and hasty, but in other respects a good-hearted boy--brave and
honourable... Alas! the remembrance of what is painful is most apt to
assail one by a cheerful glass... If he did but see thee ... thee ...
child of the best and most affectionate mother--on thy account he would
not any longer be offended with thy father and mother; thy innocent
gambols would rejoice his old age--in thee would he see the fire of his
youth revive again--but..."

"What dost thou say there?" said the pilgrim, stopping him abruptly;
"explain that more fully to me!"

"Perhaps I have already said too much, reverend father, but ascribe it
to the wine, which makes one talkative; I will no more afflict thee
with my unfortunate history."

"SPEAK!" said the pilgrim, vehemently and beseechingly; "SPEAK! who art
thou?"

"What connexion hast thou with the world, pious pilgrim, that you can
still trouble yourself about one who has suffered much, and who has new
arrived at the port of peace?"

"SPEAK!" said the pilgrim; "I must know thy history."

"Well!" replied he, "let it be!--I was not born a vine-labourer--a
noble stem has engendered me--but love for a maiden drove me from my
home."

"Love?" cried the pilgrim, moved.

"Yes! I loved a maiden, quite a child of nature, not of greatness--my
father was displeased--in a sudden burst of passion he drove me from
him--wicked relations, who, he being childless, would inherit, inflamed
his wrath against me, and he, whom I yet honour, and who also surely
still cherishes me in his heart--he..."

The pilgrim suddenly rose and went to the door.

"What is the matter with thee?" said the astonished vine-labourer; "has
this affected thee too much?"

The boy sprang after the aged man, and held him by the hand. "Thou wilt
not depart, pilgrim?" said he.

At this minute the Haus-frau entered with a light. At one glance into
the countenance of the vine-labourer, the aged Count exclaimed, "MY
SON!" and fell motionless into his arms. As his senses returned, the
father and son recognized each other. Adelaide, the noble, faithful
wife, weeping, held the hands of the aged man, while the children knelt
before him.

"Pardon, father!" said the son.

"Grant it to me!" replied the pilgrim, "and grant to your father
a spot in your quiet harbour of peace, where he may end his days.
Son! thou art of a noble nature, and thy lovely wife is worthy of
thee--thy children will resemble thee--no ignoble blood runs in their
veins. Henceforth bear my arms; but, as an honourable remembrance for
posterity, add to them a pilgrim and the pickaxe, that henceforth no
man of high birth may conceive that labour degrades man--or despise the
peasant who in fact nourishes and protects the nobleman."

       *       *       *       *       *

On leaving Frauenstein, which lies low in the range of the Taunus
hills, I found that every trot my pony took introduced me to a more
genial climate and to more luxuriant crops. But vegetation did not
seem alone to rejoice in the change. The human face became softer and
softer as I proceeded, and the stringy, weather-beaten features of
the mountain peasant were changed for countenances pulpy, fleshy, and
evidently better fed. As I continued to descend, the cows became larger
and fatter, the horses higher as well as stouter, and a few pigs I
met had more lard in their composition than could have been extracted
from the whole Langen-Schwalbach drove, with their old driver, the
Schwein-General, to boot. Jogging onwards, I began at last to fancy
that my own mind was becoming enervated; for several times, after
passing well-dressed people, did I catch myself smoothing with my long
staff the rough, shaggy mane of my pony, or else brushing from my
sleeve some rusty hairs, which a short half-hour ago I should have felt
were just as well sticking upon my coat as on his.

Instead of keen, light mountain air, I now felt myself overpowered
by a burning sun; but, in compensation, Nature displayed crops which
were very luxuriant of their sorts. The following is a list of those
I passed, in merely riding from Frauenstein to Mainz; it will give
some idea of the produce of that highly-favoured belt, or district,
of Nassau (known by the name of the Rhein-gau) which lies between the
bottom of the Taunus hills and the Rhine:--

  Vineyards
  Hop-gardens
  Fields of Kidney-beans
  Tobacco
  Hemp
  Flax
  Buck Wheat
  Kohl-rabi
  Mangel Wurzel
  Fields of Beans and Peas
  Indian Corn
  Wheat of various sorts
  Barley
  Oats
  Rye
  Rape
  Potatoes
  Carrots
  Turnips
  Clover of various sorts
  Grass
  Lucerne
  Tares
  Plum Trees of several sorts
  Standard Apricots
  Peaches
  Nectarines
  Walnuts
  Pears  }
  Apples } of various sorts
  Spanish Chestnuts
  Horse Chestnuts
  Almonds
  Quinces
  Medlars
  Figs
  Wild Raspberries
  Wild Gooseberries
  Wild Strawberries
  Currants
  Gooseberries
  Whortleberries
  Rhubarb
  Cabbages of all sorts
  Garlick
  Tomatos

To any one who has been living in secluded retirement, even for a short
time, a visit to a populous city is a dram, causing an excitement of
the mind, too often mistaken for its refreshment. Accordingly, on my
arrival at Mainz, I must own, for a few minutes, I was gratified with
every human being or animal that I met--at all the articles displayed
in the shops--and for some time, in mental delirium, I revelled in
the bustling scene before me. However, having business of some little
importance to transact, I had occasion, more than once, to walk from
one part of the town to another, until getting leg-weary, I began to
feel that I was not suited to the scene before me; in short, that
the crutches made by Nature for declining life, are quietness and
retirement; I, therefore, longed to leave the sun-shiny scene before
me, and to ascend once again to the clouds of Schlangenbad, from which
I had so lately fallen.

With this object I had mounted my pony, who, much less sentimental
than myself, would probably most willingly have expended the remainder
of his existence in a city which, in less than three hours, had
miraculously poured into his manger three feeds of heavy oats, and I
was actually on the bridge of boats which crosses the Rhine, when,
finding that the saddle was pressing upon his withers, I inquired where
I could purchase any sort of substance to place between them, and
being directed to a tailor celebrated for supplying all the government
postilions with leather breaches, I soon succeeded in reaching a door,
which corresponded with the street and number that had been given to
me; however, on entering, I found nothing but a well staircase, pitch
dark, with a rope instead of a hand rail.

At every landing-place, inquiring for the artist I was seeking, I was
always told to go up higher; at last, when I reached the uppermost
stratum of the building, I entered a room which seemed to be made
of yellow leather, for on two sides buckskins were piled up to the
ceiling; leather breeches, trowsers, drawers, gloves, &c., were hanging
on the other walls, while the great table in the middle of the room
was covered with skinny fragments of all shapes and sizes. In this
new world which I had discovered, the only inhabitants consisted of a
master and his son. The former was a mild tall man of about fifty, but
a human being so very thin, I think, I never before beheld! He wore
neither coat, waistcoat, neckcloth, nor shirt, but merely an elastic
worsted dress (in fact, a Guernsey frock), which fitted him like his
skin, the rest of his lean figure being concealed by a large, loose,
coarse linen apron. The son, who was about twenty-two, was not bad
looking, but "_talis pater, talis filius_," he was just as thin as
his father, and really, though I was anxious hastily to explain what
I wanted, yet my eyes could not help wandering from father to son,
and from son to father, perfectly unable to determine which was the
thinnest; for though one does not expect to find very much power of
body or mind among tailors of any country (nor indeed do they require
it), yet really this pair of them seemed as if they had not strength
enough united to make a pair of knee breeches for a skeleton.

Having gravely explained the simple object of my visit, I managed to
grope my way down and round, and round and down, the well staircase,
stopping only occasionally to feel my way, and to reflect with several
degrees of pity on the poor thin beings I had left above me; and
even when I got down to my pony (he had been waiting for me very
patiently), I am sure we trotted nearly a couple of hundred yards
before I could shake off the wan, spectre-like appearance of the old
man, or the weak, slight, hectic-looking figure of the young one; and I
finished by sentimentally settling in my own mind that the father was
consumptive--that the son was a chip from the same block--and that they
were both galloping, neck and neck, from their breeches-board to their
graves, as hard as they could go.

These reflections were scarcely a quarter of a mile long, when I
discovered that I had left my memorandum-book behind me, and so,
instantly returning, I groped my way to the top of the identical
staircase I had so lately descended. I was there told that the old
gentleman and his son were at dinner, but, determining not to lose
my notes, in I went--and I cannot describe one-hundredth part of the
feelings which came over me, when I saw the two creatures upon whom I
had wasted so much pity and fine sentiment, for there they sat before
me on their shop-board, with an immense wash-hand basin, that had been
full of common blue Orleans plums, which they were still munching with
extraordinary avidity. A very small piece of bread was in each of their
left hands, but the immense number of plum-stones on both sides of them
betrayed the voracity with which they had been proceeding with their
meal.

"THIN!--no wonder you are THIN!" I muttered to myself; "no wonder that
your chests and back bones seem to touch each other!"

Never before had I, among rational beings, witnessed such a repast,
and it really seemed as if nothing could interrupt it, for all the
time I was asking for what I wanted, both father and son were silently
devouring these infernal plums; however, after remounting my pony, I
could not help admitting that the picture was not without its tiny
moral. Two German tailors had been cheerfully eating a vegetable
dinner--so does the Italian who lives on macaroni;--so does the
Irish labourer who lives on potatoes;--so do the French peasants who
eat little but bread;--so do the millions who subsist in India on
rice--in Africa on dates--in the South-Sea Islands and West Indies on
the bread-tree and on yams; in fact, only a very small proportion of
the inhabitants of this globe are carnivorous: yet, in England, we
are so accustomed to the gouty luxury of meat, that it is now almost
looked upon as a necessity; and though our poor, we must all confess,
generally speaking, are religiously patient, yet so soon as the middle
classes are driven from animal to vegetable diet, they carnivorously
both believe and argue that they are in the world remarkable objects
of distress--that their country is in distress--that "things cannot
last;"--in short, pointing to an artificial scale of luxury, which
they themselves have hung up in their own minds, or rather in their
stomachs, they persist that vegetable diet is low diet--that being
without roast beef is living below zero, and that molars, or teeth for
grinding the roots and fruits of the earth, must have been given to
mankind in general, and to the English nation in particular--by mistake.

After re-crossing the Rhine by the bridge of boats, the sun being
oppressively hot, I joyfully bade adieu to the sultry dry city and
garrison of Mainz. As I gradually ascended towards my home, I found
the air becoming cooler and fresher, the herbage greener, and greener,
the foliage of the beech-trees brighter and cleaner; everything in the
valley seemed in peaceful silence to be welcoming my return; and when
I came actually in sight of the hermitage of Schlangenbad, I could not
help muttering to myself, "Hard features--hard life--lean pigs, and
lovely nature, for ever!"



EXCURSION TO THE NIEDERWALD.


Wishing to see Rudesheim and its neighbourhood, I one morning left
Schlangenbad very early, in a hired open carriage, drawn by a pair of
small punchy horses.

We were to get first to the Rhine at the village of Ellfeld, and
we accordingly proceeded about a league on the great macadamized
road towards Mainz, when, turning to the right, we passed under the
celebrated hill of Rauenthal, and then very shortly came in sight of
the retired peaceful little village of Neudorf. The simple outline of
this remote hamlet, as well as the costume and attitudes of a row of
peasants, who, seated on a grassy bank at the road side, were resting
from their labour, formed the subject of an interesting sketch which
the Paneidolon presented to me in a very few minutes.

This exceedingly clever, newly-invented instrument, the most
silent--the most faithful, and one of the most entertaining _compagnons
de voyage_ which any traveller can desire, consists of a small box, in
which can be packed anything it is capable of holding. On being emptied
for use, all that is necessary is to put one's head into one side, and
then trace with a pencil the objects which are instantly seen most
beautifully delineated at the other.

Whether the perspective be complicated or simple--whether the figures
be human or inhuman, it is all the same, for they are traced with equal
facility, rain not even retarding the operation. The Paneidolon also
possesses an advantage which all very modest people will, I think,
appreciate, for the operator's face being (like Jack's) "in a box,"
no person can stare at it or the drawing; whereas, while sketching
with the camera lucida, everybody must have observed that the village
peasants, in crowds, not only watch every line of the pencil, but laugh
outright at the contortion of countenance with which the poor Syntax,
in search of the picturesque, having one optic closed, squints with the
other through a hole scarcely bigger than the head of a pin, standing
all the time in the inquisitive attitude of a young magpie looking into
a marrow-bone.

On leaving Neudorf, getting into a cross country road, or _chemin de
terre_, we began, with the carriage-wheel dragged, an uninterrupted
descent, which was to lead us to the banks of the Rhine. The horses
(which had no blinkers) having neither to pull nor to hold back, were
trotting merrily along, occasionally looking at me--occasionally biting
at each other; every thing was delightful, save and except a whiff of
tobacco, which, about six times a minute, like a sort of pulsation,
proved that my torpid driver was not really, as he appeared to be--a
corpse; when, all of a sudden, as we were jolting down a narrow ravine,
surmounted by vineyards, I saw, about a hundred yards before us, a cart
heavily laden, drawn by two little cows. There happened at the moment
to be a small road at right angles on our left, into which we ought to
have turned to let our opponent pass: but either the driver did not
see, or would not see, the humble vehicle, and so onwards he recklessly
drove, until our horses' heads and the cows' horns being nearly close
together, the dull, heavy lord of the creation pulled at his reins and
stopped.

The road was so narrow, and the banks of the ravine so precipitous,
that there was scarcely room on either side of the vehicle for a
human being to pass; and the cows and horses being vis-à-vis, or "at
issue," the legal question now arose which of the two carriages was to
retrograde.

As, without metaphor, I sat on my woolsack, or cushion stuffed with
wool, my first judgement was, that the odds were not in favour of the
defendant, the poor old woman,--for she had not only to contend with
the plaintiff (my stupid driver), his yellow carriage, and two bay
horses, but the hill itself was sadly against her; her opponent loudly
exclaiming that she and her cows could retire easier than he could.
The toothless old woman did not attempt to plead for herself; but what
was infinitely better, having first proved, by pushing at her cows'
heads with all her force, that they actually did not know how to back,
she showed us her face, which had every appearance of going to sleep.
Seeing affairs in this state, I got out of the carriage, and quietly
walked on: however, I afterwards learnt, with great pleasure, that the
old woman gained her cause, and that the squabble ended by the yellow
carriage retreating to the point where its stupid, inanimate driver
ought to have stopped it.

On arriving at the bottom of the lane, we reached that noble road,
running parallel with and close to the Rhine, which was brought into
its present excellent state in the time of Napoleon. Along it, with
considerable noise, we trotted steadily, stopping only about once every
half hour to pay a few kreuzers at what was called the _Barrière_. No
barrier, however, existed, their being nothing to mark the fatal spot
but an inanimate, party-coloured post, exhibiting, in stripes of blue
and orange, the government colours of Nassau.

On the horses stopping, which they seemed most loyally to do of their
own accord, the person whose office it was to collect this road-money,
or _chaussée-gelt_, in process of time, appeared at a window with a
heavy pipe hanging in his mouth, and in his hand an immense long stick,
to the end of which there was affixed a small box containing a ticket,
in exchange for which I silently dropped my money into this till. Not
a word was spoken, but, with the gravity of an angler, the man having
drawn in his rod, a whiff of tobacco was vomited from his mouth, and
then the window, like the transaction--closed.

After proceeding for some hours, having passed through Erbach and
Hattenheim, we drove through the village of Johannisberg, which lies
crouching at the foot of the hill so remarkable on the Rhine for being
crowned with the white, shining habitation of Prince Metternich. The
celebrated vineyards on this estate were swarming with labourers, male
and female, who were seen busily lopping off the exuberant heads of the
vines, an operation which, with arms lifted above their heads, was not
inelegantly performed with a common sickle.

The Rhine had now assumed the appearance of a lake, for which, at this
spot, it is so remarkable, and Rudesheim, to which I was proceeding,
appeared to be situated at its extremity, the chasm which the river has
there burst for itself through the lofty range of the Taunus mountains
not being perceptible.

On arriving at Rudesheim, I most joyfully extricated myself from the
carriage, and instantly hiring a guide and a mule, I contentedly
told the former to drive me before him to whatever point in his
neighbourhood was generally considered to be the best worth seeing;
and perfectly unconscious where he would propel me, the man began
to beat the mule--the mule began to trot along--and, little black
memorandum-book in hand, I began to make my notes.

After ascending a very narrow path, which passed through vineyards, the
sun, as I became exposed to it, feeling hotter and hotter, I entered a
wild, low, stunted, plantation of oak shrubs, which was soon exchanged
for a noble wood of oak and beech trees, between which I had room
enough to ride in any direction.

The shade was exceedingly agreeable; the view, however, was totally
concealed, until I suddenly came to a projecting point, on which there
was a small temple, commanding a most splendid prospect.

After resting here for a few minutes, my mule and his burden again
entered the forest; and, continuing to ascend to a considerable height,
we both at last approached a large stone building like a barrack,
part of which was in ruins; and no sooner had we reached its southern
extremity, than my guide, with a look of vast importance, arrested the
progress of the beast. As I beheld nothing at all worth the jolting
I had had in the carriage, I felt most grievously disappointed; and
though I had no one's bad taste to accuse but my own, in having
committed myself to the barbarous biped who stood before me, yet I
felt, if possible, still more out of sorts at the fellow desiring
me to halloo as loud as I could, he informing me, with a look of
indescribable self-satisfaction, that as soon as I should do so, an
echo would repeat all my exclamations three times!!!

The man seeing that I did not at all enjoy his noisy miracle, made a
sign to me to follow him, and he accordingly led me to what appeared
to my eyes to be nothing but a large heap of stones, held together by
brambles. At one side, however, of this confused mass, there appeared
to be a hole which looked very much as if it had been intended as an
ice-house: however, on entering it, I found it to be a long, dark,
subterranean passage, cut out of the solid rock; and here, groping my
way, I followed my guide, until, coming to a wooden partition or door,
he opened it, when, to my great astonishment and delight, I found
myself in an octagonal chamber, most deservedly called _Bezauberte
Höhle_--the enchanted cave!

It was a cavern or cavity in the rock, with three fissures or
embrasures radiating at a small angle; yet each looking down upon
the Rhine, which, pent within its narrow rocky channel, was, at a
great depth, struggling immediately beneath us. The sudden burst into
daylight, and the brightness of the gay, sunshiny scenes which through
the three rude windows had come so suddenly to view (for I really did
not know that I was on the brink of the precipice of the Rhine), was
exceedingly enchanting, and I was most fully enjoying it as well as
the reflection, that there was no one to interrupt me when I suddenly
fancied that I certainly heard, somewhere or other within the bowels
of the living rock in which I was embedded, a faint sound, like the
melody of female voices, which, in marked measure, seemed to swell
stronger, until I decidedly and plainly heard them, in full chorus,
chanting the following well-known national air of this country:--(_See
"the Schlangenbader Volkslied," National Air of Schlangenbad, at the
end of the volume._)

From time to time the earthly or unearthly sounds died away,--lost
in the intricate turns of the subterraneous passage;--at last, they
were heard as if craving permission to enter, and my guide running to
the wooden door, no sooner threw it wide open, than the music at once
rushing in like a flood, filled the vaulted chamber in which I stood,
and in a few seconds, to my very great surprise, there, marched in, two
by two, a youthful bridal party! The heads of eight or ten young girls
(following a bride and a bridegroom) were ornamented with wreaths of
bright green leaves, which formed a pleasing contrast with their brown
hair of various shades, and most particularly with the raven-black
tresses of the bride, which were plaited round her pleasing,
modest-looking face very gracefully.

The whole party (the bridegroom, the only representative of his sex,
of course included) had left Mainz that morning, to spend a happy day
in the magic cave; and, certainly, their unexpected appearance gave a
fairy enchantment to the scene.

After continuing their patriotic song for some time, suddenly letting
go each other's hands, they flew to three fissures or windows in the
rock, and I heard them, with great emphasis, point out to each other
Bingenloch, Rheinstein, and other romantic points equally celebrated
for their beauty. These youthful people then minutely scanned over the
interior of the vaulted grave in which we were all so delightfully
buried alive; at last, so like young travellers, they all felt an
irresistible desire to scrawl their names upon the wall; and, seeing
an old man reclining in one corner of the chamber, with about an inch
of pencil in his lean, withered hand, the bride, bowing with pleasing
modesty and diffidence, asked me to lend it to her.

Her name, and that of her partner, were accordingly inscribed; and
others would, with equal bursts of joy, have been added to the list,
but observing that my poor pencil, which would still have lived in
my service many a year, and which, in fact, was all I had, was, from
its violent rencontres with the hard, gritty wall, actually gasping
for life in the illiterate clutches of a great bony bridesmaid, I
very civilly managed, under pretence of cutting it, to extract it
from her grasp; and the attention of the youthful party flitting of
its own accord to some other object, the stump of my poor crayon
was miraculously spared to continue its humble notes of the day's
proceedings.

On leaving the enchanted cave, we ascended through a noble oak wood,
until reaching a most celebrated pinnacle of the Taunus mountains, we
arrived at the ROSSEL, an old ruined castle, which, standing on the
Niederwald like a weather-beaten sentinel at his post, seemed to be
faithfully guarding the entrance of that strange mysterious chasm,
through which, at an immense depth beneath, the river was triumphantly
and majestically flowing.

Although the view from the ruined top of this castle was very extensive
and magnificent, yet the dark, struggling river was so remarkable an
object, that it at first completely engrossed my attention. While the
great mass of water was flowing on its course, a sort of civil war was
raging between various particles of the element. In some places an
eddy seemed to be rebelliously trying to stem the stream; in others
the water was revolving in a circle;--here it was seen tumbling and
breaking over a sunken rock--there as smooth as glass. In the middle of
these fractious scenes, there lay, as it were, calmly at anchor, two
or three islands, covered with poplars and willows, upon one of which
stood the ruins of the _Mäusethurm_, or tower of that stingy Bishop of
Mainz, famous, or rather infamous, in the history of the Rhine, for
having been gnawed to death by rats. On the opposite side of the river
were to be seen the _Rochus Capelle_, a tower built to commemorate
the cessation of the plague, the beautiful castle of Rheinstein, the
residence of Prince Frederick of Prussia, the blue-slated town of
Bingen, with its bridge crossing the Nahe, which, running at right
angles, here delivers up its waters to the Rhine.

The difference in caste or colour between the two rivers at their point
of meeting is very remarkable, the Rhine, being clear and green, the
Nahe a deep muddy brown; however, they no sooner enter the chasm in
the Taunus hills than the distinction is annihilated in the violent
hubble-bubble commotions which ensue.

The view beyond these home objects now attracted my attention. The
Prussian hills opposite were richly clothed with wood, while on their
left lay prostrate the province of Darmstadt, a large brown flat
space, studded, as far as the eye could reach, with villages, which,
though distinctly remarkable in the foreground, were yet scarcely
perceptible in the perspective. Behind my back was the duchy of Nassau,
with several old ruined castles perched on the pinnacles of the
wood-covered hills of the Niederwald.

During the whole time that I was placidly enjoying this beautiful
picture around and beneath me, the bridal party of young people,
equally happy in their way, were singing, laughing, or waltzing; and
their cheerful accents, echoing from one old ruin to another, seemed
for the moment to restore to these deserted walls that joy to which
they had so long been a stranger.

Having at last mounted my mule, I attempted to bid my companions
farewell; however, they insisted on accompanying me and my guide
through the forest, singing their national airs in chorus as they went.
Their footsteps kept pace with their tunes, and as they advanced, their
young voices thrilled among the trees with great effect; sometimes the
wild melody, like a stop-waltz, suddenly ceased, and they proceeded
several paces in silence; then, again, it as unexpectedly burst upon
the ear,--in short, like the children of all German schools, they
had evidently been taught time and the complete management of their
voices, a natural and pleasing accomplishment, which can scarcely be
sufficiently admired.

From these young people themselves I did not attempt to extract their
little history; but I learnt from my guide in a whisper (for which
I thought there was no great occasion), that the young couple who
hand in hand before me were leading the procession through the wood,
were VERLOBT (affianced), that is to say, they were under sentence
eventually to be married.

This quiet, jog-trot, half-and-half connubial arrangement is very
common indeed all over Germany; and no sooner is it settled and
approved of, than the young people are permitted to associate together
at almost all times, notwithstanding it is often decreed to be prudent
that many years should elapse before their marriage can possibly take
place; in short, they are constantly obliged to wait until either their
income rises sufficiently, or until butter, meat, bread, coffee, and
tobacco, sufficiently fall.

As seated on my mule I followed these steady, well-behaved, and
apparently well-educated young people through the forest, listening to
their cheerful choruses, I could not, during one short interval of
silence, help reflecting how differently such unions are managed in
different countries on the globe.

A quarter of a century has nearly elapsed since I chanced to be
crossing from the island of Salamis to Athens, with a young Athenian
of rank, who was also, in his way, "affianced." We spent, I remember,
the night together in an open boat, and certainly never did I before or
since witness the aching of a lad's heart produce effects so closely
resembling the aching of his stomach. My friend lay at the bottom of
the trabacolo absolutely groaning with love; his moans were piteous
beyond description, and nothing seemed to afford his affliction any
relief but the following stanza, which over and over again he continued
most romantically singing to the moon:--

            "Quando la notte viene,
             Non ho riposo, o Nice;
             Son misero e infelice
             Esser lontan da te!"

On his arrival at Athens he earnestly entreated me to call for him
on the object of his affection, for he himself, by the custom of his
country, was not allowed to see her, precisely from the same reason
which permitted the young German couple to stroll together through the
lonely, lovely forest of the Niederwald, namely--because they were
"_verlobt_."

The bridal party now separated themselves from my guide, his mule,
and myself, they, waving their handkerchiefs to us, descending a path
on the right; we continuing the old track, which led us at last to
Rudesheim.

As soon as the horses could be put to my carriage, it being quite late,
I set out, by moonlight, to return. Vineyards, orchards, and harvest
were now veiled from my view, but the castle of Prince Metternich--the
solitary tower of Scharfenstein, and the dark range of the Taunus
mountains had assumed a strange, obscure, and supernatural appearance,
magnificently contrasted with the long bright, serpentine course of the
Rhine, which, shining from Ringen to Mainz, glided joyfully along, as
if it knew it had attracted to itself the light which the landscape had
lost.

On leaving the great chaussée, which runs along the banks of the river,
like the towing-path of a canal, we ascended the cross road, down which
we had trundled so merrily in the morning, and without meeting cows,
carts, toothless old women, or any other obstruction, I reached about
midnight the Bad-Haus of Schlangenbad. On ascending the staircase, I
found that the two little lamps in the passage had expired; however,
the key of my apartments was in my pocket, the moon was shining through
the window upon my table, and so before one short hour had elapsed,
Rudesheim--the niggardly Bishop of Mainz, with his tower and rats--the
bridal party--the enchanted cave--the lofty Rossel, and the magnificent
range of the Niederwald, were all tumbling head over heels in my mind,
while I lay as it were quietly beneath them--asleep.



WIESBADEN.


The day at last arrived for my departure from the green, happy little
valley of Schlangenbad. Whether or not its viper baths really possess
the effect ascribed to them, of tranquillizing the nerves, I will not
presume to declare; but that the loneliness and loveliness of the place
can fascinate, as well as tranquillize, the mind, I believe as firmly,
as I know that the Schlangenbad water rubs from the body the red rust
of Langen-Schwalbach.

Those who, on the tiny surface of this little world, please themselves
with playing what they call "the great game of life," would of course
abhor a spot in which they could neither be envied nor admired; but to
any grovelling-minded person, who thinks himself happy when he is quiet
and clean, I can humbly recommend this valley, as a retreat exquisitely
suited to his taste.

After casting a farewell glance round apartments to which I felt myself
most unaccountably attached, descending the long staircase of the New
Bad-Haus, I walked across the shrubbery to my carriage, around which
had assembled a few people, who, I was very much surprised to find,
were witnessing my departure with regret!

Luy, who had followed my (I mean Katherinchen's) footsteps so many a
weary hour, strange as it may sound (and so contrary to what the ass
must have felt), was evidently sorry I was going. The old "Bad" man's
countenance looked as serious and as wrinkled on the subject as the
throat of his toad--his wan, sallow-faced Jezebel of a wife stood
before the carriage steps waving her lean hand in sorrow, and the
young maid of the Bad-Haus, who had made my bed, merely because I had
troubled her for a longer period than any other visiter, actually began
to shed some tears. The whole group begged permission to kiss my hand;
and there was so much kind feeling evinced, that I felt quite relieved
when I found that the postilion and his horses had spoiled the picture,
in short, that we were trotting and trumpeting along the broad road
which leads to Wiesbaden.

As I had determined on visiting the Duke of Nassau's hunting-seat "Die
Platte" in my way to Wiesbaden, after proceeding about four miles,
I left the carriage in the high road, and walking through the woods
towards my object, I passed several very large plantations of fir-trees
which had been so unusually thick that they were completely impervious,
even to a wild boar; for, not only were the trees themselves merely
a few inches asunder, but their branches, which feathered to the
ground, interlaced one with another until they formed altogether an
impenetrable jungle. Through this mass of vegetation, narrow paths
about three feet broad were cut in various directions to enable the
deer to traverse the country.

In passing through the beech forest, I observed that the roads or cuts
were often as much as forty or fifty feet in breadth, and every here
and there the boughs and foliage were artificially entwined in a very
ingenious manner, leaving small loop-holes through which the Duke,
his visiters, or his huntsmen, might shoot at the game as they wildly
darted by. A single one of these verdant batteries might possibly be
observed and avoided by the cautious, deep-searching eye of the deer,
but they exist all over the woods in such numbers, that the animals,
accustomed to them from their birth, can fear nothing from them, until
the fatal moment arrives, when their experience, so dearly bought,
arrives too late.

After advancing for about an hour through these green streets, I came
suddenly upon the Duke's hunting-seat, the Platte, a plain white
stone, cubic building, which, as if disdaining gardens, flowerbeds,
or any artificial embellishment, stands alone, on a prominent edge
of the Taunus hills, looking down upon Wiesbaden, Mainz, Frankfort,
and over the immense flat, continental-looking country which I have
already described. Its situation is very striking, and though of course
it is dreadfully exposed to the winter's blast, yet, as a sporting
residence, during the summer or autumn months, nothing I think can
surpass the beauty and unrestrained magnificence of its view.

Before the entrance door, in attitudes of great freedom, there are
two immense bronze statues of stags, most beautifully executed, and
on entering the apartments, which are lofty and grand, every article
of furniture, as well as every ornament, is ingeniously composed of
pieces, larger or smaller, of buck-horn. Immense antlers, one above
another, are ranged in the hall, as well as on the walls of the great
staircase; and certainly when a sportsman comes to the Platte on a
visit to the Duke of Nassau, everything his eyes can rest on, not only
reminds him of his favourite pursuit, but seems also to promise him
as much of it as the keenest hunter can desire: in short, without the
slightest pretension, the Platte is nobly adapted to its purpose, and
with great liberality it is open at almost all times to the inspection
of "gentlemen sportsmen" and travellers from all quarters of the globe.
About twelve hundred feet beneath it, in a comparatively flat country,
bounded on two sides by the Rhine and the Main, lies WIESBADEN, the
capital of the duchy of Nassau, the present seat of its government, and
the spot by far the most numerously attended as a watering-place.

Looking down upon it from the Platte, this town or city is apparently
about three-quarters of an English mile square, one quarter of this
area being covered with a rubbishy old, the remainder with a staring
formal new town, composed of streets of white stone houses, running at
right angles to each other. As I first approached it, it appeared to me
to be as hot, as formal, and as uninteresting a place as I ever beheld:
however, as soon as I entered it, I very soon found out that its
inhabitants and indeed its visiters entertain a very different opinion
of the place, they pronouncing it to be one of the most fashionable,
and consequently most agreeable, watering-places in all Germany.

In searching for a lodging, I at once went to most of the principal
hotels, several of which I found to be grievously afflicted with
smells, which (though I most politely bowed to every person I met in
the passage) it did not at all suit me to encounter. At one place, as
an excuse for not taking the unsavoury suite of apartments which were
offered to me, I ventured quietly to remark, that they were very much
dearer than those I had just left. The master at once admitted the
fact, but craning himself up into the proudest attitude his large
stomach would admit of, he observed--"_Mais--Monsieur! savez-vous
que vous aurez à Wiesbaden plus d'amusement dans une heure, que vous
n'auriez à Schlangenbad dans un an?..._"

In the horrid atmosphere in which I stood, I had no inclination to
argue on happiness or any subject; so hastening into the open air, I
continued my search, until finding, the landlord at the Englischen Hof
civil, and exceedingly anxious to humour all my old-fashioned English
whims and oddities, I accepted the rooms he offered me, and thus for a
few days dropped my anchor in the capital of the duchy of Nassau.

About twelve thousand strangers are supposed annually to visit this
gay watering-place, and consequently, to pen up all this fashionable
flock within the limits of so small a town, requires no little ramming,
cramming, and good arrangement. The dinner hour, or time of the
tables-d'hôte, as at Langen Schwalbach, Schlangenbad, and indeed all
other places in Germany, was one o'clock, and the crowds of hungry
people who at that hour, following their appetites, were in different
directions seen slowly but resolutely advancing to their food, was very
remarkable. Voluntarily enlisting into one of these marching regiments,
I allowed myself to be carried along with it, I knew not where, until I
found myself, with an empty stomach and a napkin on my knees, quietly
seated at one of three immense long tables, in a room with above 250
people, all secretly as hungry as myself.

The quantity of food and attention bestowed upon me for one florin
filled me with astonishment; "and certainly," said I to myself, "a man
may travel very far indeed, before he will find provisions and civility
cheaper than in the duchy of Nassau!" The meat alone which was offered
to me, if it had been thrown at my head raw, would have been not only
a most excellent bargain, but much more than any one could possibly
have expected for the money; but when it was presented to me, cooked
up with sauces of various flavours, attended with omelettes, fruits,
tarts, puddings, preserves, fish, &c. &c., and served with a quantity
of politeness and civility which seemed to be infinite, I own I felt
that in the scene around me there existed quite as much refreshment and
food for the mind as for the body.

It is seldom or ever that I pay the slightest attention to dinner
conversation, the dishes, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, being,
in my opinion, so very much better; however, much against my will, I
overheard some people talking of a duel, which I will mention, hoping
it may tend to show by what disgusting, fiend-like sentiments this
practice can be disgraced.

A couple of Germans, having quarrelled about some beautiful lady, met
with sabres in their hands to fight a duel. The ugly one, who was of
course the most violent of the two, after many attempts to deprive his
hated adversary, of his life, at last aimed a desperate blow at his
head, which, though it missed its object, yet fell upon, and actually
cut off, the good-looking man's nose. It had scarcely reached the
ground, when its owner, feeling that his beauty was gone, instantly
threw away his sword, and with both arms extended, eagerly bent forward
with the intention to pick up his own property and replace it; but the
ugly German no sooner observed the intention, than, darting forwards
with the malice of the devil himself, he jumped upon the nose, and
before its master's face crushed it and ground it to atoms!

In strolling very slowly about the town, after dinner, the first object
which aroused my curiosity was a steam I observed rising through the
iron gratings, which at the corners of the streets, covered the main
drains or common sewers of the town. At first I thought it proceeded
from washerwomen, pig-scalders, or some such artificial cause; but I no
sooner reached the great Koch-brunnen (boiling spring), than I learnt
it was the natural temperature of the Wiesbaden waters that had thus
attracted my attention.

As I stood before this immense cauldron, with eyes staring at the
volume of steam which was arising from it, and with ears listening to
a civil person who was voluntarily explaining to me that there were
fifteen other springs in the town, their temperature being at all
times of the year about 140° of Fahrenheit, I could not help feeling a
sort of unpleasant sensation, similar to what I had experienced on the
edges of Etna and Vesuvius; in short, I had been so little accustomed
to live in a town heated by subterranean fire, that it just crossed
my mind, whether, in case the engineer below, from laziness, should
put on too many coals at once, or from carelessness should neglect
to keep open his proper valves, an explosion might not take place,
which would suddenly send me, Koch-brunnen, Wiesbaden, and Co., on a
shooting excursion to the Duke's lofty hunting-seat, the Platte. The
ground in the vicinity of these springs is so warm that in winter the
snow does not remain upon it; and formerly, when these waters used to
flow from the town into a small lake, from not freezing, it became in
hard weather the resort of birds of all descriptions: indeed, even now,
they say that that part of the Rhine into which the Wiesbaden waters
eventually flow, is observed to be always remarkably free from ice.

Wiesbaden, inhabited by people called Mattiaci, was not only known to
the Romans, but fortified by the twenty-second legion, who also built
baths, the remains of which exist to the present day. Even in such
remote ages, it was observed that these waters retained their heat
longer than common water, or salt water, of the same specific gravity,
heated to the same degree; indeed, Pliny remarked--"_Sunt et Mattiaci
in Germania fontes calidi, quorum haustus triduo fervet._"

The town of Wiesbaden is evidently one which does not appreciate the
luxury of "home, sweet home;" for it is built, not for itself, but
for strangers; and though most people loudly admire the size of the
buildings, yet, to my mind, there is something very melancholy in
seeing houses so much too fine for the style of inhabitants to whom
they belong. A city of lodging-houses, like an army of mercenaries,
may to each individual be a profitable speculation, but no brilliant
uniform, or external show, can secretly compensate for the want
of national self-pride which glows in the heart of a soldier,
standing under his country's colours, or in the mind of a man living
consistently in his own little home.

About twenty years ago, the inhabitants of Wiesbaden were pent up in
narrow, dirty streets, surrounded by swampy ditches and an old Roman
wall. A complete new town has since been erected, and accommodation
has thus been afforded for upwards of 12,000 strangers, the population
of the place, men, women, and children included, scarcely amounting to
8000 souls.

During the gay season, of course all is bustle and delight; but I can
conceive nothing less cheerful than such a place must become, when all
its motley visiters having flown away, winter begins to look it in the
face; however, certainly the inhabitants of Wiesbaden do not seem to
view the subject at all in this point of view, for they all talk with
great pride of their fine new town, and strut about their large houses
like children wearing men's shoes ten times too big for their feet.

The most striking object at Wiesbaden is a large square, bounded on one
side by a handsome theatre, on two others by a colonnade of shops, and
on a third by a very handsome building called the Cursaal, an edifice
430 feet in length, having, in front, a portico supported by six Ionic
columns, above which there is inscribed, in gold letters--

            FONTIBUS MATTIACIS, MDCCCX.

On entering the great door, I found myself at once in a saloon, or
ball-room, 130 feet in length, 60 in breadth, and 50 in height,
in which there is a gallery supported by 32 marble pillars of the
Corinthian order; lustres are suspended from the ceiling, and, in
niches in the wall, there are twelve white marble statues, which were
originally intended for Letitia Bonaparte, and which the Wiesbaden
people extol by saying that they cost about 1200_l._

Branching from this great assembly-room, there are several smaller
apartments, which in England would be called hells, or gambling-rooms.

The back of the Cursaal looks into a sort of parade, upon which, after
dinner, hundreds of visiters sit in groups, to drink cheap coffee,
listen to a band of most excellent cheap music, and admire, instead of
swans, an immense number of snail-gobbling ducks and ducklings, which,
swimming about a pond, shaded by weeping willows and acacias, come when
they are called, and, ducklike, of course eat whatever is thrown to
them.

Beyond this pond, which is within fifty yards of the Cursaal, there
is a nice shrubbery, particularly pleasing to the stranger from the
reflection, that at very great trouble, and at considerable expense, it
has been planted, furnished with benches, and tastefully adorned by the
inhabitants of Wiesbaden, for the gratification of their guests. From
it a long shady walk, running by the side of a stream of water, extends
for about two miles, to the ruins of the castle of Sonneburg.

Among the buildings of Wiesbaden, the principal ones, after the
Cursaal and theatre, are the Schlosschen, containing a public library
and museum, the hotels of the Four Seasons, the Eagle, the Rose, the
Schutzenhof, and the Englischen Hof.

The churches are small, and seem adapted in size to the old, rather
than to the new town. By far the greatest proportion of the inhabitants
are Protestants, and their place of worship is scarcely big enough to
hold them. At the southern extremity of the town there exists a huge
pile of rubbish, with several high modern walls in ruins.

It appears that, a few years ago, the Catholics at Wiesbaden determined
on building a church, which was to vie in magnificence with the
Cursaal, and other gaudy specimens of the new town.

Eighty thousand florins were accordingly raised by subscription, and
the huge edifice was actually finished, the priests were shaved, and
everything was ready for the celebration of mass, when, à propos to
nothing, "_occidit una domus!_" down it came thundering to the ground!

Whether it was blown up by subterranean heat, or burst by the action of
frost,--whether it was the foundation, or the fine arched roof which
gave way, are points which at Wiesbaden are still argued with acrimony
and eagerness; and, to this day, men's mouths are seen quite full of
jagged consonants, as they condemn or defend the architect of the
building--poor, unfortunate Mr. Schrumpf!

After having made myself acquainted with the geography of Wiesbaden,
I arose one morning at half-past five o'clock to see the visiters
drinking the waters. The scene was really an odd one. The long
parade, at one extremity of which stood smoking and fuming the great
Koch-brunnen, was seen crowded with respectably-dressed people, of both
sexes, all walking (like so many watchmen, carrying lanterns), with
glasses in their hands, filled, half filled, or quarter filled, with
the medicine, which had been delivered to them from the brunnen so
scalding hot, that they dared not even sip it, as they walked, until
they had carried it for a considerable time.

It requires no little dexterity to advance in this way, without
spilling one's medicine, to say nothing of burning or slopping it
over one's fellow patients. Every person's eye, therefore, whatever
might be the theme of his conversation, was instantly fixed upon his
glass; some few carried the thing along with elegance, but I could
not help remarking that the greater proportion of people walked with
their backs up, and were evidently very little at their ease. A band
of Wind-instruments was playing, and an author, a native of Wiesbaden,
in describing this scene, has sentimentally exclaimed--"_Thousands of
glasses are drunk by the sound of music!_"

Four or five young people, protected by a railing, are employed the
whole morning in filling, as fast as they can stoop down to the
brunnen to do so, the quantities of glasses, which, from hands in
all directions, are extending towards them; but so excessively hot
is the cauldron, that the greater proportion of these glasses were,
I observed, cracked by it, and several I saw fall to pieces when
delivered to their owners. Not wishing to appear eccentric, which, in
this amphibious picture any one is who walks about the parade without a
glass of scalding hot water in his hand, I purchased a goblet, and the
first dip it got cracked it from top to bottom.

In describing the taste of the mineral water of Wiesbaden, were I to
say, that, while drinking it, one hears in one's ears the cackling of
hens, and that one sees feathers flying before one's eyes, I should
certainly grossly exaggerate; but when I declare that it exactly
resembles very hot chicken broth, I only say what Dr. Granville
said, and what in fact everybody says, and must say, respecting it;
and certainly I do wonder why the common people should be at the
inconvenience of making bad soup, when they can get much better from
Nature's great stock-pot--the Koch-brunnen of Wiesbaden. At all periods
of the year, summer or winter, the temperature of this broth remains
the same, and when one reflects that it has been bubbling out of the
ground, and boiling over, in the very same state, certainly from the
time of the Romans, and probably from the time of the flood, it is
really astonishing to think what a most wonderful apparatus there must
exist below, what an inexhaustible stock of provisions to ensure such
an everlasting supply of broth, always formed of exactly the same eight
or ten ingredients--always salted to exactly the same degree, and
always served up at exactly the same heat.

One would think that some of the particles in the recipe would be
exhausted; in short, to speak metaphorically, that the chickens would
at last be boiled to rags, or that the fire would go out for want of
coals; but the oftener one reflects on these sorts of subjects, the
oftener is the old-fashioned observation forced upon the mind, that let
a man go where he will, Omnipotence is never from his view!

As leaning against one of the columns of the arcade under which the
band was playing, I stood with my medicine in my hand, gazing upon the
strange group of people, who with extended glasses were crowding and
huddling round the Koch-brunnen, each eagerly trying to catch the eye
of the young water-dippers, I could not help feeling, as I had felt at
Langen-Schwalbach, whether it could be possible for any prescription
to be equally beneficial to such differently made patients. To repeat
all the disorders which it is said most especially to cure, would be
very nearly to copy the sad list of ailments to which our creaky frames
are subject. The inhabitants of Wiesbaden rant, the hotel-keepers rave,
about the virtues of this medicine. Stories are most gravely related
of people crawling to Wiesbaden and running home. In most of the great
lodging-houses crutches are triumphantly displayed, as having belonged
to people who left them behind.

It is good they say for the stomach--good for the skin--good for
ladies of all possible ages--for all sorts and conditions of men. It
lulls pain--therefore it is good, they say, for people going out of
this world, yet equally good is it, they declare, for those whose
fond parents earnestly wish them to come in. For a head-ache, drink,
the inn-keepers exclaim, at the Koch-brunnen! For gout in the heels,
soak the body, the doctors say, in the chicken-broth!--in short, the
valetudinarian, reclining in his carriage, has scarcely entered the
town than, say what he will of himself, the inhabitants all seem to
agree in repeating--"_Benè, benè respondere; dignus es entrare nostro
docto corpore!_"

However, there would be no end in stating what the Wiesbaden water is
said to be good for; a much simpler course is to explain, that doctors
do agree in saying that it is _not_ good for complaints where there is
any disposition to inflammation or regular fever, and that it changes
consumption into--death.

By about seven o'clock, the vast concourse of people who had visited
the Koch-Brunnen had imbibed about as much of the medicine as they
could hold, and accordingly, like swallows, almost simultaneously
departing, the parade was deserted; the young water-dippers had also
retired to rest, and every feature in the picture vanished, except the
smoking, misty fumes of the water, which now, no longer in request,
boiled and bubbled by itself, as it flowed into the drains, by which it
eventually reached the Rhine.

The first act of the entertainment being thus over, in about a quarter
of an hour the second commenced; in short, so soon as the visiters,
retiring to their rooms, could divest or denude themselves of their
garments, I saw stalking down the long passage of my lodging-house one
heavy German gentleman after another whose skull-cap, dressing-gown,
and slippers, plainly indicated that he was proceeding to the bath.
In a short time, lady after lady, in similar dishabille, was seen
following the same course. Silence, gravity, and incognito were the
order of the day; and though I bowed as usual in meeting these
undressed people, yet the polite rule is, not, as at other moments, to
accompany the inclination with a gentle smile, but to dilute it with a
look which cannot be too solemn or too sad.

There was something to my mind so very novel in bathing in broth, that
I resolved to try the experiment, particularly as it was the only means
I had of following the crowd. Accordingly, retiring to my room, in a
minute or two I also, in my slippers and black dressing-gown, was to
be seen, staff in hand, mournfully walking down the long passage, as
slowly and as gravely as if I had been in such a procession all my
life. An infirm elderly lady was just before me--some lighter-sounding
footsteps were behind me--but without raising our eyes from the ground,
we all moved on just as if we had been corpses gliding or migrating
from one churchyard to another.

After descending a long well-staircase, I came to a door, which I no
sooner opened, than, of its own accord, it slammed after me exactly as,
five seconds before, it had closed upon the old lady who had preceded
me, and I now found myself in an immense building, half filled with
steam.

A narrow passage or aisle conducted me down the middle, on each side
of me there being a series of doors opening into the baths, which, to
my very great astonishment, I observed, were all open at top, being
separated from each other by merely a half-inch boarded partition, not
seven feet high!

Into several of these cells there was literally nothing but the steam
to prevent people in the houses of the opposite side of the street
from looking--a very tall man in one bath could hardly help peeping
into the next, and in the roof or loft above the ceiling there were
several loop-holes, through which any one might have had a bird's-eye
view of the whole unfledged scene. The arrangement, or rather want of
arrangement, was altogether most astonishing; and as I walked down
the passage, my first exclamation to myself was, "Well, thank Heaven,
this would not do in England!" To this remark the Germans would of
course say, that low, half-inch scantling is quite sufficient among
well-bred people, whatever coarser protection might be requisite among
us English; but though this argument may sound triumphant, yet delicacy
is a subject which is not fit for noisy discussion. Like the bloom
on fruit, it is a subject that does not bear touching; and if people
of their own accord do not feel that the scene I have described is
indelicate, it is quite impossible to prove it to them, and therefore
"the less said is the soonest mended."

As I was standing in the long passage, occupying myself with the above
reflections, a nice, healthy old woman, opening a door, beckoned to me
to advance, and accordingly with her I entered the little cell. Seeing
I was rather infirm, and a stranger, she gave me, with two towels,
a few necessary instructions,--such as that I was to remain in the
mixture about thirty-five minutes, and beneath the fluid to strike with
my arms and legs as strenuously as possible.

The door was now closed, and my dressing-gown being carefully hung upon
a peg (a situation I much envied it), I proceeded, considerably against
my inclination, to introduce myself to my new acquaintance, whose face,
or surface, was certainly very revolting; for a white, thick, dirty,
greasy scum, exactly resembling what would be on broth, covered the top
of the bath. But all this, they say, is exactly as it should be, and,
indeed, German bathers at Wiesbaden actually insist on its appearance,
as it proves, they argue, that the bath has not been used by any one
else. In most places, in ordering a warm bath, it is necessary to
wait till the water be heated, but at Wiesbaden the springs are so
exceedingly hot, that the baths are obliged to be filled over-night,
in order to be _cool_ enough in the morning; and the dirty scum I have
mentioned is the required proof that the water has, during that time,
been undisturbed.

Resolving not to be bullied by the ugly face of my antagonist, I
entered my bath, and in a few seconds I lay horizontally, calmly
soaking, like my neighbours. Generally speaking, a dead silence
prevailed; occasionally an old man was heard to cough,--sometimes a
young woman was gently heard to sneeze,--and two or three times there
was a sudden heavy splash in the cell adjoining mine, which proceeded
from the leg of a great awkward German Frau, kicking, by mistake,
above, instead of (as I was vigorously doing) beneath the fluid. Every
sigh that escaped was heard, and whenever a patient extricated him or
herself from the mess, one could hear puffing and rubbing as clearly as
if one had been assisting at the operation.

In the same mournful succession in which they had arrived, the
bathers, in due time, ascended, one after another, to their rooms,
where they were now permitted to eat--what they had certainly well
enough earned--their breakfast. As soon as mine was concluded, I
voted it necessary to clean my head, for from certain white particles
which float throughout the bath, as thickly as, and indeed very much
resembling, the mica in granite, I found that my hair was in a sticky
state, in which I did not feel disposed it should remain. I ought,
however, most explicitly to state, that the operation I here imposed
upon myself was an act of eccentricity, forming no part of the regular
system of the Wiesbaden bathers--indeed, I should say that the art of
cleaning the hair is not anywhere much encouraged among Germans, who,
perhaps with reason, rather pride themselves in despising any sort of
occupation or accomplishment which can at all be called--superficial.

Before I quit the subject of bathing, I may as well at once observe,
that one of my principal reasons for selecting the apartments I
occupied at the Englischen Hof was, that the window of my sitting-room
looked into the horse-bath, which was immediately beneath them. Three
or four times a-day, horses, lame or chest-foundered, were brought to
this spot. As the water was hot, the animals, on first being led into
it, seemed much frightened, splashing, and violently pawing with their
fore-feet an if to cool it, but being at last more accustomed to the
strange sensation, they very quickly seemed exceedingly to enjoy it.
Their bodies being entirely covered, the halter was then tied to a
post, and they were thus left to soak for half or three-quarters of an
hour. The heat seemed to heighten the circulation of their blood, and
nothing could look more animated than their heads, as, peeping out of
the hot fluid, they shook their dripping manes and snorted at every
carriage, and horse, which they heard passing.

The price paid for each bathing of each horse is eighteen kreuzers, and
this trifling fact always appeared to me to be the most satisfactory
proof I could meet with of the curative properties of the Wiesbaden
baths: for though it is, of course, the interest of the inhabitants to
insist on their efficacy, yet the poor peasant would never, I think,
continue for a fortnight to pay sixpence a-day, unless he knew, by
experience of some sort or other, that his animal would really derive
benefit.

One must not, however carry the moral too far; for even if it be
admitted that these baths cure in horses strains and other effects of
_over-work_, it does not follow that they are to be equally beneficial
in gout, and other human complaints, which we all know are the effects
of _under-work_, or want of exercise.

For more than half an hour I had been indolently watching this
amphibious scene, when the landlord entering my room said, that the
Russian Prince G----n wished to speak to me on some business; and the
information was scarcely communicated, when I perceived his Highness
standing at the threshold of my door. With the attention due to his
rank, I instantly begged he would do me the honour to walk in; and,
after we had sufficiently bowed to each other, and I had prevailed upon
my guest to sit down, I gravely requested him, as I stood before him,
to be so good as to state in what way I could have the good fortune to
render him any service. The Prince very briefly replied, that he had
called upon me, considering that I was the person in the hotel best
capable (he politely inclined his head) of informing him by what route
it would be most advisable for him to proceed to London, it being his
wish to visit my country.

In order at once to solve this very simple problem, I silently unfolded
and spread out upon the table my map of Europe; and each of us, as we
leant over it, placing a fore-finger on or near Wiesbaden--(our eyes
being fixed upon Dover)--we remained in this reflecting attitude for
some seconds, until the Prince's finger first solemnly began to trace
its route. In doing this I observed that his Highness's hand kept
swerving far into the Netherlands; so, gently pulling it by the thumb
towards Paris, I used as much force as I thought decorous, to induce it
to advance in a straight line; however, finding my efforts ineffectual,
I ventured, with respectful astonishment, to ask, "Why travel by so
uninteresting a route?"

The Prince at once acknowledged that the road I had recommended would,
by visiting Paris, afford him the greatest pleasure, but he frankly
told me that no Russian, not even a personage of his rank, could enter
that capital without first obtaining a written permission from the
Emperor!!!

These words were no sooner uttered than I felt my fluent civility
suddenly begin to coagulate; the attention I paid my guest became
forced and unnatural--I was no longer at my ease; and though I bowed,
strained, and endeavoured to be, if possible, more respectful, than
ever, yet I really could hardly prevent my lips from muttering aloud,
that I had sooner die a homely English peasant than live to be a
Russian Prince! In short, his Highness's words acted upon my mind
like thunder upon beer; and, moreover, I could almost have sworn that
I was an old lean wolf, contemptuously observing a bald ring rubbed by
the collar from the neck of a sleek, well-fed mastiff dog; however,
recovering myself, I managed to give as much information as it was
in my humble power to afford, and my noble guest then taking his
departure, I returned to my open window, to give vent in solitude (as I
gazed upon the horse-bath) to my own reflections upon the subject.

Although the petty rule of my life has been never to trouble myself
about what the world calls "politics"--(a fine word, by-the-by, much
easier expressed than understood)--yet, I must own, I am always happy
when I see a nation enjoying itself, and melancholy when I observe any
large body of people suffering pain or imprisonment. But of all sorts
of imprisonment, that of the mind is, to my taste, the most cruel; and,
therefore, when I consider over what immense dominions the Emperor of
Russia presides, and how he governs, I cannot help sympathizing most
sincerely with those innocent sufferers who have the misfortune to be
born his subjects; for if a Russian Prince be not freely permitted to
go to Paris, in what a melancholy state of slavery and debasement must
exist the minds of what we call the lower classes?

As a sovereign remedy for this lamentable political disorder, many
very sensible people in England prescribe, I know, that we ought to
have recourse to arms. I must confess, however, it seems to me that
one of the greatest political errors England could commit would be
to declare, or to join in declaring war against Russia; in short,
that an appeal to brute force would, at this moment, be at once most
unscientifically to stop an immense moral engine, which, if left to
its work, is quite powerful enough, without bloodshed, to gain for
humanity, at no expense at all, its object. The individual who is, I
conceive to overthrow the Emperor of Russia--who is to direct his own
legions against himself--who is to do what Napoleon at the head of his
Great Army failed to effect, is the little child, who, lighted by the
single wick of a small lamp, sits at this moment perched above the
great steam-press of our "Penny Magazine," feeding it, from morning
till night, with blank paper, which, at almost every pulsation of the
engine, comes out stamped on both sides with engravings, and with
pages of plain, useful, harmless knowledge, which, by making the lower
orders acquainted with foreign lands--foreign production's--various
states of society, &c., tend practically to inculcate "Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace--good will towards men." It has
already been stated, that what proceeds from this press is now greedily
devoured by the people of Europe; indeed, even at Berlin, we know it
can hardly be reprinted fast enough.

This child, then,--"this sweet little cherub that sits up, aloft," is
the only army that an enlightened country like ours should, I humbly
think, deign to oppose to one who reigns in darkness--who trembles at
day-light, and whose throne rests upon ignorance and despotism. Compare
this mild, peaceful, intellectual policy, with the dreadful, savage
alternative of going to war, and the difference must surely be evident
to every one. In the former case, we calmly enjoy, first of all, the
pleasing reflection, that our country is generously imparting to the
nations of Europe the blessings she is tranquilly deriving from the
purification and civilization of her own mind;--far from wishing to
exterminate, we are gradually illuminating, the Russian peasant--we
are mildly throwing a gleam of light upon the fetters of the Russian
Prince; and surely every well-disposed person must see, that, if we
will only have patience, the result of this noble, temperate conduct
must produce all that reasonable beings can desire. But, on the other
hand, if we appeal to arms--if, losing our temper and our head, we
endeavour (as the bear is taught to dance) to civilize the Emperor
of Russia by hard blows, we instantly consolidate all the tottering
elements of his dominions; we give life, energy, and loyalty to his
army; we avert the thoughts of his princes from their own dishonour;
we inflame the passions, instead of awakening the sober judgment of
his subjects, and thus throwing away both our fulcrum and our lever,
by resorting to main strength, we raise the savage not only to a level
with ourselves, but actually make ourselves decidedly his inferior;
for Napoleon's history ought surely sufficiently to instruct us, that
the weapons of this northern Prince of Darkness--(his climate and
his legions)--even if we had an army, we ought not, in prudence, to
attack; but the fact is, our pacific policy has been to try to exist
without an army,--in the opinion of all military men we have even
disarmed ourselves too much, and, in this situation, suddenly to change
our system, and without arms or armour to attack one who is almost
invulnerable, would be most irrationally to paralyze our own political
machinery.

If, by its moral assistance, we wisely intend, under the blessings
of Heaven, to govern and be governed, we surely ought not from anger
to desert, its standard; and, on the other hand, it must be equally
evident that before we determine on civilizing the Emperor of Russia,
by trying the barbarous experiment of whether his troops or ours can,
without shrinking, eat most lead, it would be prudent to create an
army, as well as funds able to maintain it; for--

                                    "Beware
        Of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in,
        Bear it, that the opposer may beware of thee!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Being desirous to observe the way in which a Sunday evening was passed
in Germany, at seven o'clock on that day I followed a crowd of people
into the theatre, and found the house so full, that I had great
difficulty in obtaining a seat. The performance was a complete surprise
to me; for though ages ago, when I was young, I had been in the habit
of regularly attending for years together an Italian theatre, yet never
having before witnessed a German opera, I did not know it was possible
so completely to adapt the sounds of music to every varying thought and
sentiment in a play; in short, the words of the play, and the notes of
the orchestra, were as nearly as possible fac-similes of each other;
demi-semi-quavers, crotchets, and minims being made most ingeniously
to mimic, not only exclamations, but marks of admiration, notes of
interrogation, colons, and full stops.

The musical emphasis which accompanied every line throughout the
piece, while it merely astonished me, seemed to be most scientifically
appreciated by the audience, whose countenances of severe attention
were very remarkable; no interruption, however, of any sort took place,
their feelings of approbation or censure being equally mute. In the
various departments of the performance, a great deal of natural talent
was displayed, and whether one attended to the music--to the style of
acting--to the scenery--or even to a dish of devils, which made their
appearance, most strangely garnished with toads, bats, serpents, and
non-descript beings, one could not help admitting that, in spite of
its torpor, there must exist a considerable quantity of latent genius,
imagination, and taste, in the audience itself; indeed, there can be
no fairer criterion of the mental character of any country, than its
own national spectacles, which are of course, and must be, made to
correspond with, and suit, the palates of those who support them. It
is true that that mimic Fashion will occasionally introduce into a
country foreign habits, not suited to its climate. For instance, of
our own fine London opera, Italians say, that without calling upon
the English audience itself to sing, their behaviour quite clearly
proves that they have no real taste for--that they are not capable of
relishing, the foreign musical luxury which by the power of money they
have purchased: in short, they accuse us of listening, when we ought to
be coughing--of talking to each other, when we ought to be breathless,
from attention--and of most barbarously throwing the light of the
theatre upon ourselves instead of on the performers--thus showing that
we prefer looking at tiers of red cheeks and rows of white teeth, to
listening to the soft, simple melody of music. But, whether these
foreign remarks respecting an Italian performance be true or not, in
our own element, in our own English theatres, the accusation of want of
taste does not hold good. The admirers of Shakspeare, Siddons, Kemble,
Kean, O'Neil, &c., cannot complain that the writings of the one, or the
acting of the others, have not reached the hearts of those to whom they
have been directed; in short, without sympathetic talent throughout the
country, those names could never have reached the respective eminences
on which they stand, and thus, though they do honour to the country,
the country can also claim honour from them.

When the pleasing performance I had been witnessing was at an end, on
coming into the open air, I found it was raining. Like myself, most
people were without umbrellas; the rain, however, seemed to have no
effect upon the tide of human bodies that flowed _en masse_ towards the
Cursaal, which, ready lighted up, was waiting for the disgorging of the
theatre. On entering the great door, each person was required to pay
a florin, and as the large room was rapidly very nearly filled, the
band struck up, and dancing most vigorously began. I could now scarcely
believe my eyes, that the performers, so awkwardly attempting to be
active before me, were the identical people whose passive good taste
and genius I had, with so much pleasure, been admiring; for with a more
awkward, clumsy, inelegant set of dancers I certainly never before had
found myself in society. Not only was the execution of their steps
violently bad, but their whole style of dancing was of a texture as
coarse as dowlas, and most especially, in their mode of waltzing, there
was a repetition of vulgar jerks which it was painfully disagreeable to
witness. Leaving, therefore, these dull, heavy, tetotums to spin out
the evening in their own way, I quitted the great room; but no sooner
did I enter the smaller dens than I found that I had fallen from the
frying-pan into the fire, for these "hells" were literally swarming
with inhabitants. In each chamber an immense solitary lamp (having a
circular reflector) hung over the green cloth table, round which, male
and female gamesters, of all ages, were bending, with horrid features
of anxiety; and as the powerful rancid oil light shone upon their
ill-favoured countenances, I could not help with abhorrence leaning
backwards, at seeing a group of fellow-creatures huddled together for
such a base, low-minded object. In passing through the chambers of this
infernal region, I found one worse, if possible, than the other. Under
each lamp, there were, here and there, contrasted with young nibblers,
individual countenances of habitual gamesters, which, as objects of
detestation, many a painter, or rather scene-painter, would have been
exceedingly anxious to sketch; but I was so completely disgusted with
the whole thing, that, as quickly as my staff and two legs could carry
me, swinging the other arm, I took my departure.

In hastily worming my way through the ball-room, I saw there no reason
for changing my opinion; and when I got into the fresh, cool, open air,
though I was fully sensible I had not spent my Sunday evening exactly
as I ought to have done, yet, in the course of my very long life, I
think I never felt more practically disposed to repeat, as in England
we are, thank Heaven, still taught to do--

                     "REMEMBER THAT THOU KEEP HOLY
                           THE SABBATH DAY."


                               THE END.



FOOTNOTES:

[1] At this age I myself left my classical school, scarcely knowing the
name of a single river in the new world--tired almost to death of the
history of the Ilissus. In after life I entered a river of America more
than five times as broad as from Dover to Calais--and with respect to
the Ilissus, which had received in my mind such distorted importance, I
will only say, that I have repeatedly walked across it in about twenty
seconds, without wetting my ankles!



                       Schlangenbader Volkslied,

                     National Air of Schlangenbad.



  [Illustration: music

  Moderato

      Bru-der ich und du, Bru-der
      ich und du, wir schlafen im-mer zu.
      Still und Still und im-mer Still weil mein mädchen
      Schla-fen will stil-le! Stil-le!
      Kein gerausch ge-macht!]



Transcriber's Note

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent
  spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been
  preserved. Sidenotes have been enclosed in brackets and moved
  to the beginning of the respective sentence.





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