POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
DOWN THE RHINE.
Coblenz is the place which many years ago gave me my first associations with the Rhine. From a neighboring town we often drove to Coblenz, and the wide, calm flow of the river, the low, massive bridge of boats and the commonplace outskirts of a busy city contributed to make up a very different picture from that of the poetic "castled" Rhine of German song and English ballad. The old town has, however, many beauties, though its military character looks out through most of them, and reminds us that the Mosel city (for it originally stood only on that river, and then crept up to the Rhine), though a point of union in Nature, has been for ages, so far as mankind was concerned, a point of defence and watching. The great fortress, a German Gibraltar, hangs over the river and sets its teeth in the face of the opposite shore: all the foreign element in the town is due to the deposits made there by troubles in other countries, revolution and war sending their exiles, emigres and prisoners. The history of the town is only a long military record, from the days of the archbishops of Treves, to whom it was subject, to those of the last war. It has, however, some pleasanter points: it has long been a favorite summer residence of the empress of Germany, who not long before I was there had by her tact and toleration reconciled sundry religious differences that threatened a political storm. Such toleration has gone out of fashion now, and the peacemaking queen would have a harder task to perform now that the two parties have come to an open collision. There is the old "German house" by the bank of the Mosel, a building little altered outwardly since the fourteenth century, now used as a food-magazine for the troops. The church of St. Castor commemorates a holy hermit who lived and preached to the heathen in the eighth century, and also covers the grave and monument of the founder of the "Mouse" at Wellmich, the warlike Kuno of Falkenstein, archbishop of Treves. The Exchange, once a court of justice, has changed less startlingly, and its proportions are much the same as of old; and besides these there are other buildings worth noticing, though not so old, and rather distinguished by the men who lived and died there, or were born there, such as Metternich, than by architectural beauties. Such houses there are in every old city. They do not invite you to go in and admire them: every tourist you meet does not ask you how you liked them or whether you saw them. They are homes, and sealed to you as such, but they are the shell of the real life of the country; and they have somehow a charm and a fascination that no public building or show-place can have. Goethe, who turned his life-experiences into poetry, has told us something of one such house not far from Coblenz, in the village of Ehrenbreitstein, beneath the fortress, and which in familiar Coblenz parlance goes by the name of "The Valley"—the house of Sophie de Laroche. The village is also Clement Brentano's birthplace.
The oldest of German cities, Treves (or in German Trier), is not too far to visit on our way up the Mosel Valley, whose Celtic inhabitants of old gave the Roman legions so much trouble. But Rome ended by conquering, by means of her civilization as well as by her arms, and Augusta Trevirorum, though claiming a far higher antiquity than Rome herself, and still bearing an inscription to that effect on the old council-house—now called the Red House and used as a hotel—became, as Ausonius condescendingly remarked, a second Rome, adorned with baths, gardens, temples, theatres and all that went to make up an imperial capital. As in Venice everything precious seems to have come from Constantinople, so in Trier most things worthy of note date from the days of the Romans; though, to tell the truth, few of the actual buildings do, no matter how classic is their look. The style of the Empire outlived its sway, and doubtless symbolized to the inhabitants their traditions of a higher standard of civilization. The Porta Nigra, for instance—called Simeon's Gate at present—dates really from the days of the first Merovingian kings, but it looks like a piece of the Coliseum, with its rows of arches in massive red sandstone, the stones held together by iron clamps, and its low, immensely strong double gateway, reminding one of the triumphal arches in the Forum at Rome. The history of the transformations of this gateway is curious. First a fortified city gate, standing in a correspondingly fortified wall, it became a dilapidated granary and storehouse in the Middle Ages, when one of the archbishops gave leave to Simeon, a wandering hermit from Syracuse in Sicily, to take up his abode there; and another turned it into a church dedicated to this saint, though of this change few traces remain. Finally, it has become a national museum of antiquities. The amphitheatre is a genuine Roman work, wonderfully well preserved; and genuine enough were the Roman games it has witnessed, for, if we are to believe tradition, a thousand Frankish prisoners of war were here given in one day to the wild beasts by the emperor Constantine. Christian emperors beautified the basilica that stood where the cathedral now is, and the latter itself has some basilica-like points about it, though, being the work of fifteen centuries, it bears the stamp of successive styles upon its face. To the neighborhood, and also to strangers, one of its great attractions lies in its treasury of relics, the gift of Constantine's mother, Saint Helena, for many hundred years objects of pilgrimage, and even to the incredulous objects of curiosity and interest, for the robe of a yellowish brown—supposed to have been once purple—which is shown as Our Lord's seamless garment, has been pronounced by learned men to be of very high antiquity. But what possesses the Rhine tourist to moralize? He is a restless creature in general, more occupied in staring than in seeing—a gregarious creature too, who enjoys the evening table d'hote, the day-old Times and the British or American gossip as a reward for his having conscientiously done whatever Murray or Baedeker bade him. Cook has only transformed the tourist's mental docility into a bodily one: the guidebook had long drilled his mind before the tour-contractor thought of drilling his body and driving willing gangs of his species all over the world.
There is a funny, not over-reverent, legend afloat in Trier to account for the queer dwarf bottles of Mosel wine used there: it refers to a trick of Saint Peter, who is supposed to have been travelling in these parts with the Saviour, and when sent to bring wine to the latter drank half of it on his way back, and then, to conceal his act, cut the cup down to the level of the wine that remained. These measures are still called Miseraebelchen, or "wretched little remainders."
The Mosel has but few tributary streams of importance: its own course is as winding, as wild and as romantic as that of the Rhine itself. The most interesting part of the very varied scenery of this river is not the castles, the antique towns, the dense woods or the teeming vineyards lining rocks where a chamois could hardly stand—all this it has in common with the Rhine—but the volcanic region of the Eifel, the lakes in ancient craters, the tossed masses of lava and tufa, the great wastes strewn with dark boulders, the rifts that are called valleys and are like the Iceland gorges, the poor, starved villages and the extraordinary rusticity, not to say coarseness, of the inhabitants. This grotesque, interesting country—unique, I believe, on the continent of Europe—lies in a small triangle between the Mosel, the Belgian frontier and the Schiefer hills of the Lower Rhine: it goes by the names of the High Eifel, with the High Acht, the Kellberg and the Nuerburg; the Upper (Vorder) Eifel, with Gerolstein, a ruined castle, and Daun, a pretty village; and the Snow-Eifel (Schnee Eifel), contracted by the speech of the country into Schneifel. The last is the most curious, the most dreary, the least visited. Walls of sharp rock rise up over eight hundred feet high round some of its sunken lakes—one is called the Powder Lake—and the level above this abyss stretches out in moors and desolate downs, peopled with herds of lean sheep, and marked here and there by sepulchral, gibbet-looking signposts, shaped like a rough [Symbol: T] and set in a heap of loose stones. It is a great contrast to turn aside from this landscape and look on the smiling villages and pretty wooded scenery of the valley of the Mosel proper; the long lines of handsome, healthy women washing their linen on the banks; the old ferryboats crossing by the help of antique chain-and-rope contrivances; the groves of old trees, with broken walls and rude shrines, reminding one of Southern Italy and her olives and ilexes; and the picturesque houses in Kochem, in Daun, in Trarbach, in Bernkastel, which, however untiring one may be as a sightseer, hardly warrant one as a writer to describe and re-describe their beauties. Kluesserath, however, we must mention, because its straggling figure has given rise to a local proverb—"As long as Kluesserath;" and Neumagen, because of the legend of Constantine, who is said to have seen the cross of victory in the heavens at this place, as well as at Sinzig on the Rhine, and, as the more famous legend tells us, at the Pons Milvium over the Tiber.
The Mosel wine-industry has much the same features as that of the Rhine, but there is a great difference between the French wines, which are mostly red, and the German, which are mostly white. Among the latter hundreds of spurious, horrible concoctions for the foreign market usurp the name of Mosel wine. It is hardly necessary even to mention the pretty names by which the real wines are known, and which may be found on any wine-card at the good, unpretending inns that make Mosel travelling a special delight. The Saar wines are included among the Mosel, and the difference is not very perceptible.
The last glance we take at the beauties of this neighborhood is from the mouth of the torrent-river Eltz as it dashes into the Eifel, washing the rock on which stands the castle of Eltz. The building and the family are an exception in the history of these lands: both exist to this day, and are prosperous and undaunted, notwithstanding all the efforts of enemies, time and circumstances to the contrary. The strongly-turreted wall runs from the castle till it loses itself in the rock, and the building has a home-like, inhabited, complete look; which, in virtue of the quaint irregularity and magnificent natural position of the castle, standing guard over the foaming Eltz, does not take from its romantic appearance, as preservation or restoration too often does.
Not far from Coblenz, and past the island of Nonnenwerth, is the old tenth-century castle of Sayn, which stood until the Thirty Years' War, and below it, quiet, comfortable, large, but unpretending, lies the new house of the family of Sayn-Wittgenstein, built in 1848, where, during a stay at Ems, we paid a visit of two days. The family were great Italian travellers, and we had met in Rome more than twenty years before, when the writer and the boys, whom I met again—the one as an officer of the Prussian army, and the other as a Bonn student—were children together. At dinner one evening at this new Sayn house, as we were tasting some Russian dish of soured milk (the mother was a Russian), we reminded each other of our ball on Twelfth Night at Rome, when the youngest of these boys happened to become king "by the grace of the bean," and spent some hours seated in state with gilt-paper crown and red-velvet mantle till he was too sleepy to oversee his subjects' revels any longer; of a day when the pope was to "create" several cardinals, and of the young "king's" unshaken belief that he would have the scarlet hat sent him if he only waited long enough at the window to look out for the messengers, and of his consequent watch all day, seeing the carriages pass and repass and the bustle of a festa go on, till the sunset flushed over St. Peter's in the distance, and the disappointment became certain at last. Of not much more manly pastimes did the Bonn student have to tell, for the slitting of noses was then in high favor, and a bit of advice was gravely recounted as having come from a doctor to an obstinate duellist, "not to get his nose cut off a fifth time, as the sewing had got so shaky by repetition that he could not answer for the nose sticking on if touched once more." The house was really beautiful, and furnished with a taste which had something Parisian, and yet also something individual, about it. The parquet floors of inlaid and polished wood used in Germany were here seen to their greatest perfection in some of the rooms; but what most struck me was a Moorish chamber lighted from above—a small, octagon room, with low divans round the walls and an ottoman in the centre, with flowers in concealed pots cunningly introduced into the middle of the cushions, while glass doors, half screened by Oriental-looking drapery, led into a small grotto conservatory with a fountain plashing softly among the tropical plants. There was also a good collection of pictures in a gallery, besides the paintings scattered through the living rooms; but the garden was perhaps as much a gem to its owner's mind as anything in the house, as an "English" garden always is to a foreigner. There, in the late afternoon of that day, came one of the Prussian royal family and paid the mistress of the house an informal friendly visit, taking "five-o'clock tea" in the English fashion, and with a retinue of two or three attendants making the tour of the close-shaven lawns, the firm gravelled walks and the broad and frequent flights of steps that led from one terraced flower-garden to another. These were courtly and educated descendants of terrible scourges of mankind in old days—of Sayns who were simply robbers and highwaymen, levying bloody toll on the Coblenz merchants' caravans, and of Brandenburgs who were famous for their ravages and raids. Times have changed no less than buildings, and the houseful of pictures and treasures is no more unlike the robber-nest destroyed in war by other robbers than the young Bonn student is unlike his rough-and-ready forefathers.
As we push our way down the Rhine we soon come to another such contrast, the little peaceful town of Neuwied, a sanctuary for persecuted Flemings and others of the Low Countries, gathered here by the local sovereign, Count Frederick III. He gave them each a plot of land, built their houses and exempted them from all dues and imposts, besides granting them full freedom of worship; but not for them alone was this boon, for as other wars made other exiles, so were all and every welcome to Neuwied, and the place even now contains Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Mennonites and Quakers, all living in peace together. The United Brethren (or Moravians) founded a colony here in 1750. The honesty of these people is proverbial, their simplicity of life is patriarchal, and the artist at least will not object to their manners, for the sake of the pleasing costume of their women, whose white caps look akin to the peaceful, rural background of their life, red and blue bands on these caps respectively distinguishing the married from the unmarried women. The little brook that gives its name to the village runs softly into the Rhine under a rustic bridge and amid murmuring rushes, while beyond it the valley gets narrower, rocks begin to rise over the Rhine-banks, and the scenery after Andernach becomes again what we so admired at Bingen and Bornhofen.
Andernach is the Rocky Gate of the Rhine, and if its scenery were not enough, its history, dating from Roman times, would make it interesting. However, of its relics we can only mention, en passant, the parish church with its four towers, all of tufa, the dungeons under the council-house, significantly called the "Jews' bath," and the old sixteenth-century contrivances for loading Rhine-boats with the millstones in which the town still drives a fair trade. At the mouth of the Brohl we meet the volcanic region again, and farther up the valley through which this stream winds come upon the retired little watering-place of Toennistein, a favorite goal of the Dutch, with its steel waters; and Wassenach, with what we may well call its dust-baths, stretching for miles inland, up hills full of old craters, and leaving us only at the entrance of the beech-woods that have grown up in these cauldron-like valleys and fringe the blue Laachersee, the lake of legends and of fairies. One of these Schlegel has versified, the "Lay of the Sunken Castle," with the piteous tale of the spirits imprisoned; and Simrock tells us in rhyme of the merman who sits waiting for a mortal bride; while Wolfgang Mueller sings of the "Castle under the Lake," where at night ghostly torches are lighted and ghostly revels held, the story of which so fascinates the fisherman's boy who has heard of these doings from his grandmother that as he watches the enchanted waters one night his fancy plays him a cruel trick, and he plunges in to join the revellers and learn the truth. Local tradition says that Count Henry II. and his wife Adelaide, walking here by night, saw the whole lake lighted up from within in uncanny fashion, and founded a monastery in order to counteract the spell. This deserted but scarcely-ruined building still exists, and contains the grave of the founder: the twelfth-century decoration, rich and detailed, is almost whole in the oldest part of the monastery. The far-famed German tale of Genovefa of Brabant is here localized, and Henry's son Siegfried assigned to the princess as a husband, while the neighboring grotto of Hochstein is shown as her place of refuge. On our way back to the Rocky Gate we pass through the singular little town of Niedermendig, an hour's distance from the lake—a place built wholly of dark gray lava, standing in a region where lava-ridges seam the earth like the bones of antediluvian monsters, but are made more profitable by being quarried into millstones. There is something here that brings part of Wales to the remembrance of the few who have seen those dreary slate-villages—dark, damp, but naked, for moss and weeds do not thrive on this dampness as they do on the decay of other stones—which dot the moorlands of Wales. The fences are slate; the gateposts are slate; the stiles are of slate; the very "sticks" up which the climbing roses are trained are of slate; churches, schools, houses, stables, are all of one dark iron-blue shade; floors and roofs are alike; hearth-stones and threshold-stones and grave-stones, all of the same material. It is curious and depressing. This volcanic region of the Rhine, however, has so many unexpected beauties strewn pell-mell in the midst of stony barrenness that it also bears some likeness to Naples and Ischia, where beauty of color, and even of vegetation, alternate surprisingly with tracts of parched and rocky wilderness pierced with holes whence gas and steam are always rising.
Sinzig, on the left bank of the last gorge of the Rhine, besides its legend of Constantine has a convent said to have been built by the empress Helena; and in this convent a mummied body of a long-dead monk, canonized by popular tradition, and remarkable for the journey to Paris which his body took and returned from unharmed in the days of Napoleon I. On the opposite shore, not much lower down, is another of the numberless pilgrimage-chapels with which the Rhine abounds, and the old city of Linz, with an authentic history dating from the ninth century, telling of an independence of any but nominal authority for some time, and at last of a transfer of the lordship of the old town from the Sayns to the archbishops of Cologne. This supremacy had to be kept up by the "strong hand," of which the ruined fortress is now the only reminder; but there is a more beautiful monument of old days and usages in the thirteenth-century church of St. Martin, not badly restored, where the stained-glass windows are genuinely mediaeval, as well as the fresco on gold ground representing the "Seven Joys of Mary," painted in 1463. Just above Remagen lies the Victoria-berg, named after the crown-princess of Prussia, the princess-royal of England, and this is the evening resort of weary Remageners—a lovely public garden, with skilfully-managed vistas, and a "Victoria temple," placed so as to command the five prettiest views up and down the stream, as well as over the woodland behind the town. Let not the classic name of "temple" deceive us, however, for this is a genuine German arbor, picturesque and comfortable, with a conical roof of stately and rustic pillars, seats and balustrade rising from the steep bank on which the "lookout" is perched. The winding Ahr, coming from the tufa-plateau of the Eifel and watering a pretty valley full of old castles and churches, rolls its waters into the Rhine in this neighborhood, and in summer no trip is so pleasant to the citizens of Bonn and Cologne, and indeed to many tourists if they have time to breathe. But in winter the scenery is worthy of the New World. The dark rocks and narrow slits of valleys piled with snow and crusted with ice, the locked waterfalls and caves with portcullises of icicles let down across their mouths, make a pendant for the splendid and little-known scenery of American mountains in January. By one of the castles, a ruin belonging to the Steins of Nassau, poetically called Landskroene, or the "Land's Crown," from its beautiful situation on a basalt hill, is a perfectly-preserved chapel perched on the top of the rock, where, says the legend, the daughter of the besieged lord of the castle once took refuge during a local war. The sacristy has an unusual shape, and is hewn out of the rock itself; and here it was that the maiden sat in safety, the rock closing over the cleft by which she had crept in, and a dove finding its way in every day with a loaf to feed her, while a spring within the cave supplied her with water. Legends have grown over every stone of this poetic land like moss and lichen and rock-fern; and at Beul, a small bathing-place with a real geyser and a very tolerable circle of society, we come across the universal story of a golden treasure sunk in a castle-well and guarded by a giant. The old, world-forgotten town has its hall of justice and all the shell of its antique civic paraphernalia, while at present it is a sleepy, contented, rural place, with country carts and country riders by families crowding it on market-days, and making every yard of the old street a picture such as delights the traveller from cities whose plan is conveniently but not picturesquely that of a chess-board. The baths, like those of Schlangenbad, are in great favor with nervous women, and like that neighborhood too, so has this its miniature Olivet and Calvary, the devout legacy of some unknown crusader, who also founded at Ahrweiler the Franciscan monastery called Calvary Hill. These "calvaries," in many shapes and degrees, are not uncommon in Catholic Germany; "stations of the cross"—sometimes groups of painted figures, life-size, sometimes only small shrines with a framed picture within—mark the distances up the hill, at the top of which is a representation of the crucifixion; and as the agony in the garden is not included in the "stations," there is generally at the foot of the hill an additional shrine in a natural cave or surrounded by artificial rock-work. The prettiest part of the Ahr valley is at and about Walporzheim, which the Duesseldorf artists have, by reason of its famous wine quite as much as of its romantic scenery, chosen for the place of their frequent feasts, half picnic, half masque, when their get-up rivals that of any carnival, not even excepting that of the "Krewe of Komus" or those other displays peculiar to Belgium and Holland of which the late celebration of the "Pacification of Ghent" was an example.
The Rhine once more! and now indeed we shall hardly leave it again, but this is the last part in which we can enjoy the peculiar beauties that make it different from any other river in the world. The Swiss Rhine is a mountain-torrent, the Dutch Rhine a sluggish mud puddle, but the German Rhine is an historic river. Quite as legendary as historic, however; and perhaps that has made its charm in the eyes of foreigners even more than its national associations, dear to the native mind; and here, between Rolandseck, Nonnenwerth and Drachenfels, poetry takes precedence of history, and we do not want the antiquary to come and shatter the legend of Roland of Roncesval's fidelity to the Lady of Drachenfels, even after her vows in Nonnenwerth convent, with his pitiless array of dates and parade of obvious impossibilities. But I pass over the legendary details that make this region so interesting. What will better bear repetition is some description of the scenery lying inland from the shores, the natural Quadrilateral, containing minor mountains, such as the Siebengebirge (or the Seven Hills) and the Bonner Alps, and encircling also the volcanic region between Honnef and Dollendorf. These hills with their step-and-terrace formation were once fortified by Valentinian against the formidable Frankish hordes, and German poetry early began to find scenery in them worthy of its national epic, and so laid the scene of the Saga of Wilkina among these mountains and valleys. Here, above the legends of Roland and Siegfried and the Christian captive, who, exposed to the dragon of the rock, vanquished him by the cross, so that he fell backward and broke his neck, is the solid remembrance of castles built on many of these Rhine-hills, defences and bulwarks of the archbishops of Cologne against the emperors of Germany. But Drachenfels keeps another token of its legend in its dark-red wine, called "dragon's blood." (Could any teetotaller have invented a more significant name?) One has often heard of the unbelieving monk who stumbled at the passage in Scripture which declares that a thousand years are but as one day to the Lord, and the consequent taste of eternity which he was miraculously allowed to enjoy while he wandered off for a quarter of an hour, as he thought, but in reality for three hundred years, following the song of a nightingale. The abbey of Heisterbach claims this as an event recorded in its books, and its beautiful ruins and wide naves with old trees for columns are, so says popular rumor, haunted by another wanderer, an abbot with snow-white beard, who walks the cloisters at night counting the graves of his brethren, and vainly seeking his own, which if he once find his penance will be over. This part of the Rhine was the favorite home of many of the poets who have best sung of the national river: a cluster of townlets recalls no less than five of them to our mind—Unkel, where Freiligrath chose his home; Menzerberg, where Simrock lived; Herresberg, Pfarrins's home; Koenigswinter, Wolfgang Mueller's birthplace; and Oberkassel, that of Gottfried Kinkel. Rhondorf shows us a monument of one of the last robber-lords of Drachenfels, and Honnef a smiling modern settlement, a very Nice of the North, where the climate draws together people of means and leisure, litterateurs, retired merchants and collectors of art-treasures, as well as health-seekers. These little colonies, of which most of the large cities on the Rhine have a copy in miniature, even if it be not a bathing-place, are the places in which to seek for that domestic taste and refinement which some hasty and prejudiced critics have thought fit to deny to the Fatherland.
The scenery of the Rhine begins to lose its distinctive features as we near Bonn: plains replace rocks, and the waters flow more sluggishly. Bonn is alive enough: its antiquities of Roman date are forgotten in its essentially modern bustle, for the heart of its prosperity is of very recent date, the university having been founded only in 1777, and after the troubles of the Revolution reorganized in 1818. It has grown with a giant growth, and has reckoned among its professors Niebuhr, Schlegel, Arndt, Dahlmann, Johann Mueller, Ritschl, Kinkel, Simrock and other less world-famous but marvellous specialists. Then there is the memory of Beethoven, the honor of the town, which is his birthplace and has put up a monument to him, and the last modern element that has effaced the old recollections—the numerous English colony—not to mention the rich foreigners whom perhaps the university, perhaps the scenery, and perhaps the heedless fashion that sets in a tide now toward this place, now toward that, have drawn to the new Bonn. Poppelsdorf Castle, now the museum of natural history, and the fine groves and gardens attached to it, now a public promenade, have the brisk, business-like look of a "live" place: the building, it is true, is modern, having been built in 1715. But if we are obstinate enough to search for signs of the days when archbishops ruled instead of dukes and kings, we shall find old remains, the cathedral of course included, and nowhere a more curious one than the Kreuzberg, a place of pilgrimage, where the church of 1627 has replaced an old wood-shrine: its rich gateway was intended to represent the front of Pontius Pilate's palace at Jerusalem, and on it are frescoes of the various scenes of the Passion. Within this thirty marble steps lead up into a vestibule in imitation of the Scala Santa in Rome, and pilgrims went up these stairs only on their knees. The vaults used until lately to contain a quantity of dried or mummied bodies of Servite monks (that order once had a convent here), reminding one of the ghastly Capuchin crypts in Rome, in Syracuse and in Malta. This neighborhood is rich in pilgrimage-shrines and legends, and Simrock has preserved a tale of the Devil which is a little out of the common run. He and the Wind, it is said, once went by a certain Jesuit church in company, and the former begged the latter to wait a moment for him, as he had some business within. The Devil never reappeared, and the Wind is still blowing perpetually round the building, waiting and calling in vain. The old myth of Barbarossa waiting in his cave, his beard grown round and round the stone table on which he leans his sleepy head, which in another form meets us in the Mosel Valley, repeats itself in Wolfsberg, not far from Siegburg, near Bonn. I wonder whether the English anglers and oarsmen, and the pretty girls ready to flirt with the students and give away the prizes at an archery-meeting or a regatta, ever think of these musty old legends looked up by scholars out of convent chronicles and peasants' fireside talk? The difference between past and present is not greater or more startling than is their likeness, the groundwork of human nature being the same for ever. Especially in these old lands, how like the life of to-day to that of hundreds of years ago in all that makes life real and intense! The same thing in a mould of other shape, the same thoughts in a speech a little varied, the same motives under a dress a little less natural and crude—even the same pleasures in a great degree, for the wine-flask played fully as great a part in old German times as it does now.
"Holy Cologne" seems at first an impersonation of the olden time, but its busy wharves, crowded shipping and tall warehouses tell us another tale. Indeed, Cologne is more rich than holy, and its commercial reputation is quite as old as its religious one. The country around is flat and uninteresting, but Cologne merchants have made Bruehl a little paradise in spite of this; and their country-houses of all styles, with balconies, verandas, porches, piazzas, English shrubbery and flower-gardens, conservatories and gay boats, lawns and statues, make even the monotonous banks of the sluggish Rhine beautiful in spite of Nature. Then comes a reminder of old times—the towers and fortifications, which are still standing, though now turned into public gardens and drives that stretch out both on the river and the land side; but the former, Am Thuermchen, forming a sort of parapeted quay, crossed by massive battlemented gateways, is the most fashionable and commands the best views. The trees almost hide the shipping, as their predecessors no doubt did eighteen hundred years ago and more, when the Ubier tribe of barbarians, a commercial as well as warlike people, undertook to ferry over the whole of Caesar's army to the right bank of the Rhine in their own boats. The quays swarm now with hotels, and these in summer swarm with strangers from all countries—pilgrims of Art and Nature, if no longer of religion—and the old town becomes in their eyes less a solid, real city with a long history than a museum opened for their special behoof. And indeed these German places seem to take kindly to this part, for they rival each other in modern amusements and gauds set out to lure the light-minded. Music-halls and beer-gardens, theatres and cafes, illuminated promenades and stalls full of tempting flagons labeled "genuine eau de Cologne," are cunningly arrayed to turn away the mind from the stately antique churches and houses of Cologne. Every one has heard of the cathedral, many have seen it, and more have seen at least photographs of great accuracy, and pictures of it which, if less strict in detail, give it a more lifelike look and include some of its surroundings. The church of St. Gereon, a martyr of the Theban Legion massacred at Cologne to a man for refusing to worship the imperial ensigns, under which no one denied that they had fought like lions, is a massive Romanesque building older than the cathedral, dating from the days of Constantine and Saint Helena. The church of the Holy Apostles is a basilica with rounded apse and four octagon towers, one at each corner of the nave. St. Peter's church, the interior terribly modernized by the Renaissance, has for an altar-piece Rubens's picture of the Crucifixion of Saint Peter. The Guerzenich House, now used for public balls and imperial receptions, is a magnificent fifteenth-century building, adorned with dwarf towers at each corner, a high, carved and stone-roofed niche with statue over the round-arched door, transom windows filled with stained glass, and carvings of shields, animal heads, colonnettes and other devices between and above these windows. The council-house or town-hall has a beautiful colonnade supporting arches, and a quaint nondescript creature whose abyss-like maw opens wide and gapes horribly at the beholder each time the clock strikes. A bas-relief in the hall represents a curious incident in the civic history of the town, the successful struggle of Burgomaster Gryn with a lion, the show and pet of some treacherous nobles who invited Gryn to dinner, and under pretence of showing him their very unusual acquisition, pushed him into the stone recess and closed the gate upon him. The burgomaster thrust his hand and arm, wrapped in his thick cloak, down the animal's throat, while he pierced him through and through with the sword in his other hand. The struggles between Cologne and her archbishops were hot and incessant, much as they were in other ecclesiastical sovereignties. Of these there is no longer a trace in the present, though the might of the burghers exists still, and the city that was once called the kernel of the Hanseatic League, and boasted of its Lorenzo de' Medici in the person of the good and enlightened Matthias Overstolz, has now almost as proud a place among merchants as Hamburg or Frankfort. Before we pass to more modern things let us not forget the shrine of the Three Kings in the cathedral, which is simply a mass of gold and jewelry, in such profusion as to remind one of nothing less than the golden screen studded with uncut gems called the Palla d'Oro at San Marco, directly behind the high altar, and the Golden Frontal of St. Ambrose at Milan—golden altar it might more fitly be named, as each side of the altar is a slab of solid gold, almost hidden by its breastplate of precious stones. The same warrior-archbishop, Conrad of Hochstaden, who, driven from Cologne, transferred his see to Bonn, was the first founder of the cathedral, though in those days of slow and solid building to found was not to finish. The cathedral is not finished even yet. The present scenes in which Cologne shines are many—for instance, its lively market on the Neumarkt, and the country costumes one sees there each week as the stalls and carts, easily drawn by dogs and donkeys, are set up in the square; the parade of the old guard, called the "Sparks of Cologne" from their scarlet uniforms; and the Carnival, a high opportunity for fun and display, and specially seized upon to reproduce historic figures and incidents, such as the half-comic Gecker-Berndchen, a typical figure in red and white, the colors of the town, with a shield in one hand and a wooden sabre in the other, shouting the traditional warning cry, "Geck los Geck elans!" the antique procession of burgher youths and maidens, the latter with large white caps and aprons, and the former in three-cornered hats, black breeches and stockings and thick low shoes. Then follows a fancy ball in the Guerzenich House, in which the lineal descendants of the burgomasters and councillors of old come out in ancient family trappings of black cloth or velvet, stiff white ruff and heavy gold chain from shoulder to shoulder, which their forefathers once wore in earnest. Among the museums and other additions of modern taste is the beautiful botanical garden and large conservatory, where flourish tropical plants in profusion—a thing we find in many even of the secondary German towns.
The Rhine itself is becoming so uninteresting that it is hardly worth while lingering on its banks, and as we get near thrifty Holland the river seems to give itself up wholly to business, for between Cologne and Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) are miles upon miles of manufactories, workshops and mills; warehouses connected with coal-mines; dirty barges blackening the water; iron-works and carpet-mills; cloth and paper-mills and glass-works—a busy region, the modern translation of the myth of gnomes making gold out of dross in the bowels of the earth.
Aachen has a double life also, like many Rhine towns: it is the old imperial coronation city, the city of Charlemagne, with a corona of legends about it; and it is also the modern spa, the basket of tempting figs with a concealed asp somewhere within, a centre of fashion, gossip and gambling. How is it that people who profess to fly from the great capitals for the sake of a "little Nature" are so unable to take Nature at her word and confess her delights to be enough for them? They want a change, they say; yet where is the change? The table is the same, high-priced, choice and varied; the society is the same, the gossip is the same, the amusements are the same, the intrigues the same; the costume equally elaborate and expensive; the restless idleness as great and as hungry for excitement: all the artificiality of life is transported bodily into another place, and the only difference lies in the frame of the picture. Exquisites from the capital bring their own world with them, and their humbler imitators scrape together their hard winter's earnings and spend them in making an attempt cavalierly to equal for a short time the tired-out "man of the world" and "woman of fashion." Some come to find matches for sons and daughters; others to put in the thin end of the wedge that is to open a way for them "into society;" others come to flirt; others to increase their business relations; others to out-dress and out-drive social rivals; others to while away the time which it is unfashionable to spend cheaply in the city; others for—shall we say higher? because—political causes: few indeed for health, fewer still for rest. You see the same old wheel go round year after year, with the same faces growing more and more tired and more and more hopeless.
Of Aachen's legendary, historical, romantic side who has not heard?—of the castle of Frankenburg on the outskirts, where Charlemagne's daughter carried her lover Eginhardt through the snow, that their love might not be betrayed by a double track of footsteps; of Charlemagne's palace, where his school, the Palatine, presided over by English Alcuin, was held; and the baths where a hundred men could swim at ease at one time; and Charlemagne's cathedral, of which the present one has preserved only the octagonal apse; of his tomb, where he sat upright after death in imperial robes and on a marble throne (the latter is still shown); of the columns brought from Rome and Ravenna; of the marvellous and colossal corona of wax-lights which hangs by a huge iron chain from the vaulted roof; of the bronze doors of the western gateway, now closed, but whose legend of the Devil is commemorated by the iron figure of a she-wolf with a hole in her breast, and that of a pineapple, supposed to represent her spirit, of which she mourns the loss with open jaws and hanging tongue? The Devil is always cheated in these legends, and one wonders how it was that he did not show more cleverness in making his bargains. The cathedral still claims to possess precious relics—of the Passion, the Holy Winding-sheet, the robe of the Blessed Virgin and the blood-stained cloth in which the body of Saint John the Baptist was wrapped. These involve a yearly pilgrimage from the nearer places, and a great feast every seventh year, when a holy fair is kept up for weeks round the cathedral. There is no better living specimen of the Middle Ages than such gatherings, and no doubt then, as now, there was some undercurrent of worldly excitement mingling with the flow of genuine devotion. Aachen's old cornhouse, the bridge gate and the many houses full of unobtrusive beauties of carving and metal-work lead us by hook and by crook—for the streets are very winding—out on the road to Burtschied, the hot-water town, whose every house has a spring of its own, besides the very gutters running mineral water, and the cooking spring in the open street boiling eggs almost faster than they can be got out again in eatable condition. This is another of the merchant villeggiaturas of Germany; and a good many foreigners also own pretty, fantastic new houses, planted among others of every age from one to eight hundred years.
It is so strange to come upon a purely modern town in this neighborhood that Exefeld strikes us as an anachronism. It is wholly a business place, created by the "dry-goods" manufactures that have grown up there, and are worth twenty million thalers a year to the enterprising owners, who rival French designs and have made a market for their wares in England and America. This is a great foil to old Roman Neuss, with its massive gates, its tower attributed to Drusus—after whom so many bridges and towers on the Rhine are named—and even to Duesseldorf, which, notwithstanding its modern part, twice as large as its old river front, has some beautiful antique pictures to show us, both in the costumes of its market-women, who wear red petticoats with white aprons and flapping caps, and stand laughing and scolding in a high key by their dog-drawn carts, and in its council-house, an early Renaissance building with square, high-roofed turrets overlooking the market-place. In that little house, in a narrow street leading to the market, Heine was born; in that wretched little architectural abortion, the theatre, a critical audience listened to Immermann's works; and in the Kurzenstrasse was born Peter von Cornelius, the restorer of German art. Schadow succeeded him at the head of the Academy, and a new school of painting was firmly established in the old city, which had energy enough left in it to mark out another successful path for itself in trade. The new town is handsome, monotonous, rich and populous, but the galleries and museums somewhat make up for the lack of taste in private architecture. One of the most beautiful of the town's possessions is the old Jacobi house and garden, rescued from sale and disturbance by the patriotic artist-guild, who bought it and gave the garden to the public, while the house where Goethe visited his friend Jacobi became a museum of pictures, panelling, tapestry, native and foreign art-relics, etc., all open to the public. The gardens, with their hidden pools and marble statues, their water-lilies and overarching trees, their glades and lawns, have an Italian look, like some parts of the Villa Borghese near Rome, whose groves of ilexes are famous; but these northern trees are less monumental and more feathery, though the marble gods and goddesses seem quite as much at home among them as among the laurel and the olive.
LADY BLANCHE MURPHY.
It was a matter of debate in our party whether we should stop at Verona. The ayes had it, and twenty-four hours afterward the noes indignantly denied that there had been any opposition, so completely had the dignity and attraction of the place driven away the very recollection of their contumacy. Yet if they had had their way when we left Milan we should have gone straight through to Venice, as the great majority of travellers do. We could not remember that any of our friends had ever told us to go thither or had gone themselves. At the hotel, the Due Torri, there were but two parties besides our own—both, like ours, composed of but two members. We had gone to this inn on Murray's emphatic recommendation. "Very comfortable, excellent in every respect," said that red liar: we found it wretched, and the charges exceeded those at the Hotel Cavour in Milan, which we had just left—one of the finest houses in Europe. There is only one other in the place, which has the forbidding name of the Tower of London; so, in view of our discomfort and the small public, we agreed that we had come to the wrong house. On the day when we went away, however, we fell in with some old acquaintance, fellow-country folk, at the railway station, who had been at the Torre di Londra, and they too thought they had gone to the wrong house. They said it was almost empty; which confirmed us in the belief that the greater proportion of the people who fill the trains and crowd the hotels within a day's journey in every direction pass by this incomparable city. Yet as we paced the broad marble slabs of its pavement, looking right and left, we asked each other, "Why does not everybody talk and write about Verona, rush to it, rave about it?"
The view from the railway, unlike that of many beautiful Italian cities, is striking enough to make any traveller change his route, jump from the train and forego all his plans. The situation is singularly fine. The town sits in state, backed by the outposts of the Alps, fronting the Apennines and looking over the plains of Lombardy spread out between: the rushing Adige curves deeply inward, forming the city's western boundary, and then, doubling on itself, flows through the heart and south-eastward to the Adriatic. The surrounding hills are seamed and crested with fortifications of every age, beginning with those of the Romans of the Later Empire, followed by those of Theodoric the Goth, of Charlemagne the Frank, of the mediaeval Scaligeri, lords of Verona, of the Venetians in the sixteenth century, and of the Austrians of our own day, when Verona was a point of the once famous Quadrilateral. Within the walls are monuments of all these dynasties. The housewives and tradesfolk pass on their daily errands along the streets spanned by two noble arches which date from the days of the emperor Galienus. Almost in the centre of the town is the grand Roman amphitheatre; the petty, prosaic, middle-class life of an Italian provincial town creeps, noisy yet sluggish, to its base; modern houses abut against all that is left of its outer wall, which was thrown down by an earthquake in 1184; small shops are kept in some of the lower cells. On that side it has none of the silent emphasis of its greater contemporary, the Coliseum. We found afterward that we might have approached from another direction across an open space, the Piazza Bra, but I think the contrast and effect would have been less. The surprise is more overwhelming to emerge from the narrow street into the arena, and see the seats which sustained the amusement of fifty thousand people rising tier above tier in perfect preservation, forty-three vast ellipses, to the very top. It is only two-thirds as large as the Coliseum, but when one has clambered to the upper-most row and looks down from a height of sixty or seventy feet upon an area of nearly a quarter of a mile, the mind takes no cognizance of anything but the actual immensity before the eyes. Looking outward, we beheld a splendid panorama: first, the irregular surface of the city, broken by steep roofs, arcaded galleries on the housetops, battlemented towers square or slim, lofty belfries, black conical skyward cypresses; then the blue hills—blue as cobalt, although so near—striped in zigzags with the ruddy bands of the serrate feudal fortifications, marked at intervals by curious three- and five-sided bastions, which the architect Sanmicheli put up for the conquering Venetian republic; farther off more peaceful slopes, on which white villas cluster and bask like pigeons on a gable; more distant still, sublimer peaks of pale azure brushed with snow; on the other side, the olive-dun plain irregularly mapped out by the windings of the two rivers, the Adige and Po, yellow as gravel-walks, sprinkled thick with towns and villages like tufts of daisies, and hedged by the purple Apennines.
It is easy enough to fix the different events and periods of the local history by the monuments they have created or destroyed, but the influence of an Italian city is wholly against a systematic study of chronology: the relics of various ages are thrown together, sandwiched and dovetailed, on every side, and it is the impression, the collective impression, of the entire place which is pleasantest to get, and worth most: the rest can be learned from books. There is a sort of epic chain which runs through the associations of Verona, and binds them together in heroic series by all sorts of strange, unexpected suggestions and hints. After the ancient epic, represented by the fragments from Roman history, itself one long epic, come the vestiges of Theodoric, one of the heroes of the Niebelungen Lied, in which he is known as Dietrich of Bern (otherwise Verona). His palace, adopted and used for centuries as the device of the municipal seal, survived the violent vicissitudes of the city's history, and remained, after repeated alterations and additions which made it a sort of architectural chronicle, until the present century. This magnificent memorial of earlier times, which had been respected in turn by the mad fury of Gian Galeazzo of Milan and the implacable rivalry of Venice, was blown up by the French in 1801: large barracks now stand upon its site, so that the stones of its warlike builder are not subverted to purposes unbefitting his memory. Then follows Charlemagne—putative founder, more probably first restorer, of the cathedral—in his most mythic and heroic aspect, fresh out of the Chanson de Roland, while Roland and Oliver keep guard on each side of the porch, the latter bearing a mace with a ball and chain, the former his famous sword Durindal, the stone counterpart of the weapon preserved for nearly a thousand years in the monastery of Roncesvalles. The great heroic satire of the twelfth century, Reineke Fuchs, is suggested by figures and groups such as are to be found in all old Gothic churches north of the Alps, but seldom south of them—a hog, dressed as a monk, standing on his hind legs and holding a breviary, on the portal of the cathedral, and in the church of San Zenone two cocks marching off with a fox dangling from a pole. All the associations of the place centre in and radiate from Dante and his unearthly poem, so much of which was written here or hereabouts. It is extraordinary how he has appropriated the memories of the place, even down to Romeo and Juliet—who by virtue of their immortalized loves belong as much to our times as to their own—by the single well-known line:
Vieni a veder Montecchi e Capelletti.
There is a colossal statue of him by a modern Veronese sculptor, not unworthy of the subject or place, standing in the quiet Piazza dei Signori amid the deserted homes of the Della Scale, looking toward the palace of Can Grande, whose generous hospitality could not sweeten the bread of charity nor ease the steps of a patron's court to the proud exile. Dante could not have been easy to live with upon any terms. "Eh, puir fellow! he looks like a verra ill-tempered mon," quoth Carlyle once after a long contemplation of the poet's portrait. He played the part of Mentor, and a very morose one, to the splendid, gallant, good-natured prince and his gay court, and Can Grande seems to have derived the same sort of diversion from his diatribes as from the quips and cranks of his jesters. At last Dante wore out his welcome, as he did everywhere until the patient earth gave him an abiding-place at Ravenna. His whole life of disappointed ambition, unrecognized patriotism, unspoken love, baffled hatred, lonely rangings in awful spheres, banishment, poverty, mortification, unrest, inspiration, conscious immortality, passes before one in this spot, which he must have crossed and recrossed innumerable times, and his presence even in the marble makes it all his own. Yet if the statue could wake to life, the man would not know the familiar place, which has been wholly transformed since his days. The principal ornament of the square is the Palazzo del Consiglio, a beautiful example of cinque-cento architecture, its exuberant decoration still subordinate to the harmony and proportion of the general design. This has been converted into a pantheon for the celebrated men of Verona, whose statues surmount the building, and among whom we recognize many old acquaintances—Cornelius Nepos, Catullus, Pliny the Younger and others of later date and less renown.
The palaces of the Scaligeri, now assigned to the drowsy courts of law, have been altered so often that an inalienable dignity of front is all that marks them for having once been princely habitations. We must look a few steps farther for the pomp of the Scaligers, where a small graveyard before the church of Santa Maria l'Antica contains the tombs of the dynasty. The whole space, as well as each separate grave, is enclosed by an iron trellis of the rarest delicacy: it is, in fact, a flexible network which shakes at a touch, but which has withstood the rough handling of five centuries, composed of open quatrefoils and the ladder (scala), the family bearing, and a few other fanciful patterns, constantly repeated: it is the lace of an iron age. Within this precinct rest ten princes of the line, who from being nobles of Verona were elected in 1261 by unanimous popular choice to succeed the atrocious Eccelin da Romano, the tyrant of Padua, who also held Verona under his execrable rule. There is every variety of tomb, from the plain, heavy sarcophagus of Mastino I. to the magnificent four-storied monument of Can Signorio surmounted by his equestrian statue, a rising succession of small columns, arches, niches, statuettes, canopies, pinnacles, embowered in leafage, bud and flower, as if the splendid art of the fourteenth century were blossoming before one's eyes. The tomb of Can Grande is fine, although much simpler: it has three stories. He lies on the lowest floor, in robes of state, composed to his last sleep, while on the summit he looks down from his horse, a full-armed warrior. Four big dogs, from whom he took his enigmatic cognomen (although the canine proclivity did not begin with him, as his ancestor was Mastino), support the tomb, each bearing a shield with the arms of the family.
Verona is rich in tombs. From our windows in the Due Torri we looked across to the monument of Guglielmo del Castelbarco, a friend of the Delle Scale, whose massive sarcophagus stands beneath a high Gothic canopy over the gateway of a building which once formed part of the convent of Sta. Anastasia. As we gazed down into the square, with its fountain and groups of old women drawing water, and sometimes setting down their ewers to go and say a short prayer in the beautiful old church of Sta. Anastasia, we used to think that if this outlook were included in the charge for our rooms, we were not paying too much. Another fine monument, by the architect Sanmicheli, to two brothers who rejoiced in the surname of Verita encrusts the front of the church of Sta. Eufemia; and in the cemetery of San Zenone are a tomb and sepulchral urn which claim that they contain the mortal remains of Pepin, king of Italy, the son of Charlemagne. Besides these, altar-tombs, pillared and canopied monuments and mortuary chapels meet the eye everywhere inside and outside of the churches. That which attracts most attention now-a-days is decidedly the least ornamental—the doubly-doubtful tomb of Juliet. It is so acknowledged a lion that the street-boys of the quarter beset you with offers to show you the way. This is no new celebrity: Murray assures us that in the last century, before readers of Shakespeare, native or foreign, were common in Italy, a sarcophagus was regularly exhibited as this sentimental relic. That no longer exists: the present one, which was formerly used as a washing-trough, looks so much like that or a horse-trough of the commonest sort that, even without knowing its claims to be apocryphal, the most credulous sentimental tourist would suspect that it had come up rather than gone down in the world. No matter: we were not dupes, but perhaps the full sweetness and sadness of the story never came home to us with such enfolding charm as on the gray autumn afternoon when we stood beside the pseudo relic in the forlorn little garden of the orphan asylum on the bank of the turbid Adige. The house which is pointed out as Juliet's is less palatial than we expected, though it is a lofty old brick edifice with rounded windows, a stone balcony and a large courtyard: on the keystone of the arched entrance, on the inner side of the court, is the cap (cappello) which gives its name to the street, and is supposed to be the heraldic badge of the family, armoiries parlantes, or punning devices, being a favorite fashion in old times all over Europe. If the balcony which remains was Juliet's, Romeo must have had a long ladder and a cooler head than he showed under other circumstances. There is a stone projection at the window of a lower story which once may have supported a small balcony. The Casa de' Cappelletti is now a livery-stable and inn, the Osteria del Cappello.
The street leads straight to the Piazza delle Erbe, the vegetable-market (literally, "grass-market"), the forum in ancient times, the most picturesque spot in all Verona, which seems to collect and concentrate in itself all the reminiscences and characteristics of the town. It communicates on one side with the Piazza dei Signori; and the imposing campanile, or bell-tower, of the latter, a shaft of brickwork nearly three hundred feet high, springing above the intervening palace-roofs, makes a companion to the tall, slender clock-tower at the farther end of the Piazza delle Erbe, one of the many munificent gifts of the Della Scala princes. In the centre of the square is a fountain, originally of great antiquity; near by it the market-cross; close to that a marble column on which once stood the lion of St. Mark, set up by the Venetians when they seized the city, and thrown down when the republic of Venice fell in 1799. Not far from these two pillars is a sort of stone dais beneath a stone canopy, which was the very focus of the historic and municipal life of the place in mediaeval days. Here, when Verona was a free city, the capitano del popolo was inaugurated; proclamations were read from it; criminals heard their sentences pronounced from it. Here people who did not pay their debts were compelled to undergo the grotesque penalty common in the Italian republics for that offence, of sitting for a stated time on the pavement—in puris naturalibus as to the sitting portion of the person: flagstones are to be seen worn to a comfortable concavity by the delinquent convexity.
The buildings which enclose the square are of the utmost diversity of style and period—rich palaces of the Late Renaissance, cumbered with ornament; modern houses of light-colored stucco, with striped awnings and Venetian shutters; solemn old bits of architecture of sterner times; frescoed facades, arcades, balconies. And what balconies! Not the poor railing to which we give that name, but projecting parapets of stone, pierced into trefoils, quatrefoils, rosaces, cusps, brackets, balustrades—sometimes running across the whole house-front, more often guarding a single window, itself lofty, arched, mullioned and rich with tracery. It is here that, for the traveller coming from the North, Venetian architecture begins—not Byzantine of course, but the purest, noblest Cisalpine Gothic. It imparts a highly patrician air to the streets with their long lines of deserted palaces, which keep their caste through every change of fortune. Verona has not the fallen look of some old Italian capitals, nor the forsaken air of others, but suggests the idea that once her aristocracy closed their houses and withdrew to some retreat where they maintain their traditions, waiting for better times to return to their former homes. Many of the vaulted carriage-ways frame a glimpse of the rushing river which washes the massive foundations of the courtyards, the blue hills and lines of forked battlement.
In Verona one first sees Venetian painting too, on canvases which are to Titian and Tintoretto as the colors of dawn are to those of sunrise, but the glory is in them. The radiant pencil of Paul Veronese was early lost by his birthplace and given to Venice, in illustration of the parable, but even without her most glorious son native art makes a fair show in the picture-gallery and churches. The picture which struck me most was a fresco by Brusasorci in San Stefano, whither I had been drawn by the report of its antiquity, which is said to be greater than that of any other church in the town, going back to the seventh century. As on many other occasions, I found that a building may be too old, the pristine venerableness having been overbuilt by subsequent ages; but I was consoled for my disappointment by this beautiful fresco—Saint Stephen surrounded by the Holy Innocents. In the church calendar Saint Stephen is the first martyr, and the Innocents are commemorated two days later: in the picture the youthful deacon looks down with an air of paternal pride and affection upon the lovely babes trooping before him with palms in their little hands as he presents them to our Saviour, above in glory. There is a tenderness in the expression of the martyr's face and attitude, as well as in the conception of the group, which appeals to the simplest human feeling. The juxtaposition of the protomartyr and the children is a perfect instance of true ecclesiastical sentiment: it was not until long afterward that I knew it to be a fine work of art.
San Stefano is on the left bank of the river, in the smaller and less-frequented part of the town, and it was in further exploring the same quarter that I wandered into a curious church which had somehow the look of a cast-off garment, owing perhaps to the frequent patching it had evidently undergone, and its appearance of being owned by nobody. It stood open, empty of worshippers, with not even a beggar on the steps in receipt of charitable custom—alone on a little island. It is the church of San Tomaso Cantuariense, otherwise Thomas a Becket, whom it was odd to meet so far from home: he was revered all over Europe for a long time after his canonization, as this church proves, since he was adopted as its patron in 1316, nearly a hundred and fifty years after his so-called martyrdom; but to judge by its desertion he must be pretty well forgotten now. It is hereabouts that, on emerging from a cat's-cradle of little narrow cross streets, a very fine view of Sta. Anastasia from the rear breaks upon one, the pentagonal apse, the chapels, transepts, nave, and towers rising one above another, a beautiful specimen of early Italian Gothic, still strongly impressed with the Lombard spirit.
This Romanesque character is what gives the particular stamp to most of the sacred buildings in Verona, making them a study as distinct in their way as the Norman churches at Caen. They belong to one period and one style, although this is a transitional one: the slender pillars of the porches resting on crouching lions, the round-headed arches, the plain, square, soaring campanili, a majestic boldness and simplicity in general effect, an unconscious quaintness in detail, the line of the prevailing red marble contrasting gratefully with the layers of many-toned gray spread by time over the walls, produce a combination of form and color delightful to the eye. The older, original edifice is seldom visible from without: what remains of it is completely built in and over, and is generally to be found in the crypt. Notwithstanding the stateliness and interest of the cathedral, San Zenone was the church to which our steps returned most persistently. It is composed of three churches of very different date, the first having been erected soon after the year 800, the second in 1138, the third three hundred years later. The main building, which is of the twelfth century, is sunk far below the level of the ground: one descends into it from the main portal by ten steps; and this unusual mode of entrance, the depth, the great height, the rigid absence of ornament, the grave colors, the long unbroken lines of the nave, give the interior a remarkable solemnity, and create an impression and emotion as different as possible from those excited by churches of a later construction, with their florid architecture, their opulence of sculpture and carving, their statues and ornate monuments, their gorgeous paintings, their stained-glass windows—temples
Where the awe of worship mingles with the throbbing of delight.
The austere grandeur of San Zenone turns the soul inward upon a range of meditations which a Puritan need not disclaim. The nave terminates in one double flight of steps leading up to the second, most modern church, which is raised above the first and terminates in a pointed tribune; and another double flight which leads down to the vast vaulted crypt, with its pillars and recesses, which is the oldest part of the structure. This place breathes of the earliest Christian antiquity, and somehow reminds one of the Catacombs. The altars are older than the foundations: on one of them are groups of pillars fastened together by a species of Runic knot, such as are to be found in the rudest carving of the Hebrides; ancient sarcophagi and bassirilievi line the walls; yet round one of the recesses of this primitive-seeming sanctuary I found a branch of the Ampelopsis quinquefolia, our Virginia creeper, which I had fondly believed a native of America, painted with the utmost fidelity five hundred years before America was heard of, its five dentated leaves and jointed sprays in colors as rich as the masses we had seen trailing over the marble banisters of the villas on Lake Como, dyeing the pellucid water with their scarlet shadows. Throughout the church everything speaks of early times: the few frescoes are of the twelfth or thirteenth century: the only noteworthy picture is by the serious Mantegna. In the upper church Saint Zeno sits in his episcopal chair with a long fishing-rod in his hand, whence the Veronese, ignorant of sacred symbolism, infer that he was fond of the sport, and have invented an appropriate legend. He was an African by birth, became bishop of Verona A. D. 362, and is said to have suffered martyrdom twenty years afterward under the emperor Julian: his swarthy wooden effigy, of archaic stiffness, reminds one of the idol of some barbarous tribe. One of the most curious bits of the past is a group among the rude sculptures of the porch called The Chase of Theodoric: the dogs have caught the stag, and a fiend is about to seize upon the rider. Orthodox tradition has given the name, because Theodoric, like all the Goths, was a heretic, an Arian, but probably it points to some very early version of the story of the Wild Huntsman, an old German legend. One sees the trace of German ideas—at any rate, of Northern thought—everywhere in the mediaeval monuments of Verona: it is the meeting of the genius of the North and South which Ruskin finds in the architecture and sculpture, and which imparts a peculiar and original physiognomy to the whole place. One of its most striking features is the Castel Vecchio ("old castle") and adjacent Ponte del Castello ("castle bridge"), for they seem but parts of one great fortification, turreted and battlemented, built by Can Grande II. in 1355. The bridge is an extraordinary structure, the arches being extremely unequal in size: the span of the largest is about a hundred and sixty feet. The mass, the irregularity, the strength of these piles, the dark river hurrying below, give the spot a grimness not often found on the sunny side of the Alps. The castle has been altered by many successive hands of course, for the history of Verona, like that of most Italian principalities, is the old story of the house out of which one devil was driven by seven worse ones: to Eccelino succeeded the Delle Scale, soon to become as bad as he, and be driven forth by the Visconti of Milan, who in their turn were expelled by the envious, despotic Venetians; and each as they came and went added and took away something of the beauty and might of the town.
But there is a gayer side to Verona than any which we have yet recalled. It was here that we first made acquaintance with many lively humors of Italian street-life which we had not met with in the more northern cities. Here we first noticed the eternal cooking in the open air, the roasting, frying, frizzling which are for ever going on, the people stopping at every few yards to eat macaroni, chestnuts, and Goodness knows what other nameless messes, until we began to wonder whether anything were cooked and eaten at home. Here too I saw the drollest and most charming bit of harlequinade between a rascal boy and an old woman carrying a heavy vessel of water. He popped out from under an archway and struck her a light tap on the shoulder with a bit of hollow cane: she turned round, but he had flown through an open window. On she trudged, and out he came as lightly as he had gone, and following her on tiptoe tickled the back of her neck with his wand: round she turned again, but he was gone too quickly for my eyes this time. She set down her ewer and stared in every direction, muttering curses: he came running swiftly down an alley, seized the ewer, and with every respectful demonstration of relieving her of the burden darted off with it in another direction. She hobbled after him, raining maledictions: back he came with a pantomime of courteous surprise—What! she did not wish to be assisted?—and set the vessel on a high ledge, whence she had much ado to lift it down. As she did so, splash! half the water was spilled: then her tormentor went through a dumb show of sympathy and sorrow until the crone seemed like to burst with fury. At last he broke into a fit of shrill laughter, the first sound he had uttered, made a macaronic gesture, and capered off with the airiest gambols and antics, like a very devil's kid. A street-urchin teasing an old woman is no new sight, but the nimbleness, spirit, grace and gentleness of this young Pickle, the impossibility of guessing what he would do or where he would be next, and the fine dramatic rage of the beldame, who looked like one of Michael Angelo's Fates, kept us standing and staring at the two until the fun was over as if we had been at a play.
In one respect we must have seen Verona under a disadvantage: there was no sunshine during our short stay. The beautiful, lordly gardens of the Palazzo Giusti on the declivity of a hillside on the left bank of the Adige were dank and dripping; there was no temptation to linger near their chilly statues and gloomy cypresses; even the view from their noble terraces, formed partly by the wall of the town, was cold and colorless under the November sky. Out-of-door life is so large a part of the pleasure of being in Italy, fine weather adds so indescribably there to the beauty of even the most glorious works of man, that to have seen them only under a dull sky is like having seen a human countenance without its smile. Perhaps at another season we should not have thought the streets so melancholy: perhaps even in our admiration we did not pay full justice to
L'eccelsa, graziosa, alma Verona.[A]
SARAH B. WISTER.
[A] The lofty, gracious, kindly Verona.
A LAW UNTO HERSELF.
Captain Swendon, with the majority of his sex, was never less a hero than when at home. Brute force, od, backbone, whatever you call the resistant power which keeps a man erect among other men, weakens under the coddling of feminine fingers and the smoke of conjugal incense. The aching tooth, the gnawing passion or the religious problem that strikes across his life like a blank wall, all of which he pooh-poohs out of sight in the street, master him indoors. A woman puts on her noblest virtues with the fireside slippers, but to a man they are a chance for remorse, for repining, for turning God's mighty judgments on himself into a small drizzling shower of miseries for his wife and the children. Give the same man his boots and the fresh air, and he will go to the stake gallantly.
The captain, pacing up and down the garden-alleys that night, thinking of the blow which would fall on his daughter in Laidley's threatened disposal of his property, was not altogether unheroic. There was nothing mean in the big gaunt figure with its uncertain strides, or in the high-featured, mild-eyed face: neither was there anything mean in his wrath. It was all directed against himself. His Swedish blood had infused a gentle laziness into his temper, and he had forgiven Laidley long ago for his lifelong swindle, as no American with English grandfathers would have done.
"It's Will's nature," he said now. "Will's a coward and desperately ill. He wants to pay his way into heaven, and I can't blame him. But I—I'm an incompetent fool! I can't even pay my girl's way on earth!" The captain's life, in fact, was a long ague of feverish conceit and chills of humility. Yesterday he was an inventor who would benefit the world: to-day he was fit for nothing but to dig clams. Going up and down the lonely walk, he summed up all the capital he had had to make his fortune in the world's market—the education, the opportunities, the great inventions that all fell just short of their aim. For himself, he did not want money. His work-bench, his iron bed, a bowl of Jane's soup, a fishing-rod and a tramp into the hills now and then with the girl,—if he had millions they could buy him nothing better. But she—Why should she not be as other women? Why could he not work for her as other fathers—?
He raised his right arm, and the empty sleeve fell back from the stump, which burned and throbbed impotently. There was will enough in it to conquer the whole world for her. There was that aching love which mothers feel in his breast for her, as though his heart were physically wrenched.
But at breakfast the next morning, while quite as ready to die for her, he nagged and scolded incessantly, and threw the blame of their ill-luck on her, his voice sounding like the clatter of a brass kettle: "Omelette? No—no omelette for me. I am quite content to breakfast on dry bread and coffee. It is time we practiced economy. I'll make out a system for you, Jane. A system, and I desire you to follow it."
Jane laughed and helped him to cherries, and then devoted herself in earnest to her own breakfast. She never argued with anybody, and had that impregnable good-humor which so often passes for lack of feeling. Little griefs, either her own or those of other people, dwindled out of notice in the atmosphere about her, like mosquitoes buzzing in a large sun-lighted room.
"We certainly must practice economy. God knows where to-morrow's meals may come from!"
"Jane's hens are in good laying condition, and there are the cherries on the tree," said Miss Fleming tartly. She did not like Jane nor any other woman, but she usually fought for her sex against men in a mannish way—for the pleasure of fighting for the weaker party.
"Hens? Yes, and but for the whim of renting this tumble-down house with its great gardens out on the suburb, we could have had snug rooms in some business street, where I could have earned our bread and butter."
"It was your whim, captain. Why, she has kept up the table out of the garden, and you know it. Don't interfere with the child. She can turn a penny to the best advantage. Her ability is of the most practical kind."
The captain did not like her tone. He glanced uneasily at Jane, who ate her cherries in calm unconsciousness.
"I might as well stick pins in the divine cow Audhumbla!" Miss Fleming said to herself every day. This child, as she called her, irritated her, just as a machine did, or an animal, or any other creature whose motive-power she could by no means comprehend. She was herself a mass of vitalized nerves, all of which centred in that secret I, Cornelia Fleming, over whose hopes, nature and chances she brooded night and day. This other woman, who simply grew in her place, concerning herself no more about her own mind, body or future than the larch yonder did about its roots or leaves, and who took praise and blame as indifferently as the tree, the sun or rain, roused in her a feeling of active dislike. She called Jane stolid to other people, but she was by no means satisfied that she was stolid. She was often sorry that she had brought herself measurably under the protection of Captain Swendon and his daughter by renting two of the rooms in their house, though she had planned and manoeuvred a long time to accomplish that end. When Miss Fleming came up to town to join the art-class at the Academy, she was exceedingly careful not to join also the emancipated lonely sisterhood, who set social laws at defiance. She might live alone, but it must be under the roof of conventionally correct people. She abjured the whole tribe of literary and artistic adventurers who haunted the studios and lecture-halls. She wrote home to her old mother that the Swendons, descended from the leaders of the first Swedish settlers, that family of Svens from whom Penn bought the land for his village of Philadelphia, had possessed culture and social rank, if no money, for centuries. Miss Fleming found for herself a lodging-place under their roof, with very much the motive of the low-born blackbird burrowing in the high, bare nest of the osprey.
She was on her way to the Academy now, and touched her hat jauntily and shook loose her flowing-sleeve as she said good-bye with a lingering look at the captain, to which he did not reply.
The cold ague of despair was on him: he combed his grizzled beard with his fingers, stared at the carpet and saw nobody. "Yes, I ought to have rented two small rooms up town, and found work that would pay. I'll do it now," he grumbled.
Jane had uncovered a long table heaped with tools, glue-pots, drawing-materials, models in wood, in paper, in clay, with others finely draughted on large sheets of Bristol board. The captain preserved his failures as sacredly as a Chinese the dead bodies of his ancestors. She took up one of these models and studied it thoughtfully: "Very well, father. I could go on with the business, I suppose."
The captain burst into a laugh: "Absurd! Though," relapsing into anxiety, "this is, as you say, really my business. But I could easily find a place as professor of Latin and Greek in some Western college which would support us."
"Now, I don't quite understand the action of this screw, A, B," meditatively. "It interferes with the force of the piston, in my judgment."
"Impossible!" hurrying over to the table. "I'll explain that in a moment, Jane. Why, that screw is the finest idea in the machine. It's the meaning, in fact. It all hinges on that."
In five minutes his smoking-cap was pushed back, his spectacles on his hooked nose, and he was lost in the depths of valves, gauges and levers.
Jane took the place of a dozen lost hands. She made the models, she draughted them, she worked with carpenter's tools, needles, pencils, clay, by turns, and was both swift and skillful. She had been at this daily work, indeed, since the time her father had lost his arm. Now and then, being really nothing but a child in years, she clasped her hands over her head and yawned when he was not looking, or, when she was sent to the fire for the glue, sat down on the floor and began a rough-and-tumble romp with the dog, or while she was at work, sang scraps of songs into which the captain threw a fine rolling bass.
The morning was warm: the fire had burned down low in the grate, and both windows were wide open. The wind which entered, though raw, had a breath of spring in it. The scraggy plum trees outside were covered with deep pink blossoms, yellow dandelions blazed up out of the grass, and even in the muddy walks: a half-frozen bee buzzed among them feebly for a while, and then lost his way into the room and fell with a thump on the table.
Jane dropped her tools, and put out her finger for him to crawl upon. "Now you are too early afoot: you're greedy, you fellow," she said. "You are in too great a hurry to be rich. Haven't you a comfortable house? And plenty of honey?" She carried him to the window and set him in the sun on the sill. "He'll fall in some puddle and be frozen to death; and serve him right! I hate your early birds and ants and bees, always at work."
"It is work you hate, Jenny. Now tack this strip in place, child, and then paste on the muslin. We must finish this before night, and there is more than a day's work on it."
Jane tacked and measured diligently a while, and then dropped her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her palms. Her face was just in front of her father's. "I was thinking—"
"I mean that I saw in the paper this morning that there was a school of black-fish on the coast, the largest for years. I suppose the Lantrims will be out for them?"
"No doubt. The old captain wrote to me that he had bought Sutphen's Tuckerton skiff."
"Aha? You did not tell me that. What else did he say?"
"Oh, nothing. 'Crabs would be scarce this season; and couldn't we come down?' The larks were beginning to rise in the marshes."
Jane nodded thoughtfully: "A Tuckerton skiff? Now, I'm surprised at that, father. I should prefer something heavier—a yawl, say—for coming in on that beach. Well—The wind must be dead sou'-west to-day. It would bring the spray right up into your face if you were lying on the sand."
She was silent for some time, looking steadily out of doors.
The captain glanced uneasily once or twice at the dark blue eyes and at a ray of sunlight glistening in the loose yellow hair. "It is sou'-west. It really does begin to feel like summer," he said, dropping his pencil and fumbling for his tobacco.
Jane brought his pipe and lighted it for him. "I am dreadfully tired!" stretching her arm out, pushing up the sleeve, and looking at it as if it had done a day's ploughing. "Now, I suppose the men are all out in their boats by this time, but a person could easily rig Lantrim's little sloop and join them; or we could camp on the marshes all day. The scent of the pines would be heavy in this damp wind."
The captain nodded gravely and puffed in silence a while: "It's no use, Jane," taking the pipe from his mouth. "I haven't a penny."
She sprang up, ran to a writing-desk and took out a glove-box. In it were a pair of well-darned kid gloves and two tiny paper packages. She laid them before him: "It's all in silver: this is for your summer hat, and that for my shoes. What do you say, father? We are in time for the eight-o'clock train. We should have nearly the whole day on the beach."
"Hat? What do I want with a hat? But your shoes are broken."
"They can be patched," with a gasp of delight. "Here! clear away the work, father, while I put up a basket of dinner." She stopped by the window, looking out: "Somebody is coming through the apple trees: I smell a cigar. Now, remember, nothing must detain you. We can't break our engagement."
The visitor came in sight from under the apple trees—a sombre, heavy man in gray, the editor Neckart, to whom Mr. Waring had criticised the Swendons with such freedom the night before. Mr. Neckart had known the captain years ago. When he was a boy, too poor to pay for schooling, he used to go to the captain at night for help in his Greek or mathematics. Swendon had always preferred the companionship of younger men than himself, and was never without a "following" of clever, unruly schoolboys, whom he was as ready to help when they were lazy, as to tip with silver half-dollars—when he had them. Some of them had brought young Neckart to the captain, knowing nothing about him, except that he was miserably poor, with a desire for knowledge which they thought insane enough. Now that Neckart was a man, living in New York, and with very different problems to work from those of Euclid, he had but little intercourse with the slow, easy-going captain. They met occasionally, when Neckart came to Philadelphia, at the club or at dinner somewhere, when there would be a few minutes' hasty gossip about the old pranks of the boys—White, who died in California, or Porter, who was now in the Senate—and then a shake of the hand and good-bye, Neckart usually wondering to himself, as they parted, how soon that fellow Laidley would cease to cumber the earth and the captain would have his own and wear a decent coat again and the bits of gaudy jewelry in which he used so to delight.
The old man hurried down the garden-walk now to meet him, and wrung his hand heartily: "Bruce! is it possible? You have not crossed my threshold since the old Epictetus days."
"No, and I interrupt you now? You are going out? I only called for a few words on business."
"Plenty of time, plenty of time! My little girl and I were going to run down to the shore to vagabondize for a day.—Jane, this is my old friend Mr. Neckart.—We have plenty of time in which to catch the train. Sit down, Bruce."
Mr. Neckart did not sit down, however. He found some difficulty now in putting his business into a few concise words. He had heard Laidley's avowal the night before that he proposed to leave the captain penniless. All his boyish regard for the old man woke in force. His boyish feelings were apt to waken and clog Mr. Neckart's strait-lined path to success. He did not sentimentalize about his old teacher, but he set aside half an hour in which to look in on him and see what could be done for him. Anything could be done in half an hour by a man who chose to work hard enough.
He expected to find the captain totally disheartened by this blow, but here he was making ready for a day's fooling on the beach; for the captain, finding that his visitor did not promptly broach the subject of his errand, went on with his preparations.
So it happened that they fell into a brief silence. The old man by the fire screwed his rod as though rods were the business of life: the young girl sat by the window, a white-covered lunch-basket on the floor beside her, sewing strings on a wide-rimmed hat which she meant to wear. Her yellow hair was bound loosely about her head, fastened by a band of black velvet: it made a faint shadow about the calm, delicate face. The dog sat at her feet, his head on her knee, watching her intently. She took her stitches slowly and with care, stopping now and then to put her hand on Bruno's muzzle and nod at him significantly about the fun they were going to have presently. It was a quiet, pretty picture.
Now, silence or leisurely calm of any kind was rare in Mr. Neckart's daily life. He was the controller of a great journal: he was a leading politician. He had been making his own way, and dragging and goading slower men along, since he had left his cradle. Even his own party found the indomitable energy of this dwarfish giant intolerable sometimes. But his own action did not satisfy him. He had held his finger so long on the world's pulse that affairs in New York or Washington seemed but small matters. He liked to feel that they and he were linked by a thousand sympathies to the chances and changes of every country on the globe. A famine in India or an insurrection in Turkey were not mere newspaper items to him, but significant movements of the outer levers and pulleys of the great machine, part of which he was.
It is the straining horse that is always loaded, and there was no man in the party from whom such work was exacted as from Neckart. The night before he had received a deputation of French Communists proposing emigration: this morning he was to meet in secret caucus the leaders who would decide on the next candidate for the Presidency. So it went on day after day. To fall suddenly into this little room, among people to whom a day's fishing or sauntering with a dog through salt marshes was the object of life, startled him.
For years, too, people who talked to Neckart, though in but a street greeting, invariably recognized his power to help or harm them. If they had no favors to ask, they bore themselves deferentially, as to a power that could grant favors. To the captain he was still the boy Bruce, a good fellow, though dull in Greek: to the girl, intent on her holiday, he saw that he was an unwelcome guest, who would interfere with her journey. The jar of falling to the common level was sudden, yet oddly pleasant.
The captain, to fill up the time, began to discuss the different makes of fishing-rods. Mr. Neckart was used to give ten minutes each to men seeking interviews: their words had to be sharp as arrows, and driven straight home to the bull's eye of the matter to command his attention. Yet he listened to this lazy talk. The damp wind drove the perfume of the apple-blossoms in at the open window: the sunlight touched the glistening rings of hair on Jane's throat. How slow-moving and calm the girl was! He was quite sure that the blood had flowed leisurely in the veins under that pearly skin ever since she was born. None of that true American vim, sparkle, pushing energy here which he admired in his countrywomen.
"I really don't understand the new kinds of tackle," he said to Captain Swendon: "I have not had a rod in my hand for fifteen years."
"No. Of course not. You have other work to do. But Jane and I run down to the shore whenever we have money—I mean whenever we can manage to leave home. She knows every fisherman's hut from Henlopen to Barnegat. No better place to go for a breath of salt air than Sutphen's Point. You can troll with him all day, or dig for roots in the pine woods, or sleep on the beach in the sun."
Neckart smiled and glanced at his watch. At nine the committee would meet. Sun? Sleeping on the beach? He was a stout, strongly-built man, with muscles like steel, but, like most Americans who have urged their way relentlessly up, his brain before middle age gave signs of disease. As any other creature would, when overdriven for years it revolted, and failed in its work now and then. Night after night he lay sleepless, conscious only of a dull vacuity at the base of the brain; and by day, when some crisis demanded his most vigilant, keenest thought, thought suddenly blurred into momentary stupor. Any man who overworks his brain will understand how it was with him, and why, for physical reasons, this glimpse of absolute quiet and rest should touch his nerves as the taste of cordial would a fainting man. A sudden vision opened before him of yellow, silent sands, and dusky stretches of solemn pines, and the monotonous dash of the green sea all day, all night long. No doubt there were "old Sutphens" there, whole generations of people, outside of the living world, sleeping and sunning themselves. It was like a glimpse into some newly-discovered, silent, sunlit Hades.
Mr. Neckart put back his watch in his pocket, and looked irresolutely at the captain. The foolish, kindly old face belonged to his boyhood—to the time when his shoes were patched and his feet chilblained, but all the world was waiting for him to be a man to do him honor. If he could sit for an hour with the old man on the beach, would it bring the boyish feeling back again? He was conscious of a purposeless temptation—unreasonable as that which he had felt at the edge of a precipice to throw himself over. Nonsense! The committee would be waiting; there were appointments for every hour of his stay in Philadelphia; there was the leading article on the situation which nobody but he could write, that must go to his paper by the next mail.
He took up his hat: "It is time for you to catch the train, captain. Will you take me with you?"
Captain Swendon looked at him hastily: "The very best thing you can do, Bruce! Just what I should advise.—Jane, go on before with Bruno. Mr. Neckart and I will follow."
Mr. Neckart was annoyed. He had forgotten that the girl was to go, and had thought of the captain as his only companion. But she walked far in front of them, through the apple trees, and down the quiet street, engrossed with the dog. She probably would not be in his way.
Down on the coast the world suddenly broadened and lifted into larger spaces. In lieu of eight-feet strips of pavement to walk on, there were the gray sweeps of sand, and great marshes stained with patches of color in emerald and brown, rolling off into the hazy background: instead of the brick and wooden boxes wherein we shut ourselves up with bad air in town, there were the vast uncovered plain of the sea, shapeless ramparts of fog incessantly rising and fading, an horizon which retreated as you searched for it into opening sunlit space, refusing to shut you in. The very boats and ships in which these people lived were winged, ready for flight into some yet farther region.
"Are you glad to come out of doors, Bruno? I am," said Miss Swendon to her dog as she stood looking at the sea; and then they sauntered away together.
Her father and Mr. Neckart went down to the mouth of the Inlet, where some fishermen were patching a boat which they had drawn up on a heap of mussel-shells. One or two crabbers, standing on the bow of their little skiffs and poling them along the edge of the water by the handles of their nets, had stopped to watch the job, which was being done with rusty nails and a bit of barnacle-moulded iron from a wreck instead of a hammer. When the iron and nails broke they all sat down and talked the matter over, with any other subject which happened to be lying loosely about on the fallow fields of their minds. When Captain Swendon came up they shook hands gravely with him, and made room for him on the bottom of an up-turned, worm-eaten scow. They were all captains as well as he, and he was hail, fellow! well met! with them as with everybody.
Mr. Neckart, who was formally introduced, nodded curtly, but did not sit down.
"A good day for the perch, Sutphen," said the captain, handing round a bundle of cigars.
"But you ought to have been on the banks by daylight." Mr. Neckart's sharp, irritable voice jarred somehow on the quiet sunshine.
"Yaas. But I lent my boat last week, and this here one's out of repair.—Give me more of them nails, David."
"The boat could have been mended at night, and ready for use," in the tone which a teacher might use to idle boys.—"It is singular, Captain Swendon," turning his back on the men as on so many mud-turtles, "that the sea-air begets improvident habits in all coast-people. You cannot account for it rationally, but it is a fact. Along the whole immediate shore-line of Europe you find the same traits. Unreadiness, torpor of mind and body.—Ah! Captain Swendon and I wish to hire a boat for the day," turning to the fishermen again. "Can any of you men furnish us with one?"
Sutphen lighted his cigar leisurely: "We always manage to provide Captain Swendon with a boat when he wants it. We kin obleege him," with a slight stress on the pronoun.
"At what rates?" sharply.
"Waal, we kin talk of rates when the day's over. The captain and us won't disagree, I reckon."
"I never do business in that way. Bring out your boat and put a price on it."
"Come, Neckart," said the captain, rising hastily, "we will walk up the beach a bit.—I'll see you about the boat presently, Sutphen.—You don't know these fellows, Bruce," when they had passed out of hearing and found a seat in the thin salt grass. "They are not used to being dealt with in such a prompt, drill-major fashion."
"I deal with all men alike. Order and promptness have been necessary to me in every step of my way. I must have them from others. I pay to a penny, and I exact to a penny. It is not the money I want: it is discipline in the people about me. They must move as if they were drilled if they move to further my ends."