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Art. II.— I. Scklangenbad und seine Heiltugcnden, von Dr. H. Fenner von Fenneberg. Darmstadt. 1331.
2. Wiesbaden und seine Heilquellen dargesfellt. Gneisnau. 1832.
3. Bubbles from the Brunnens of Nassau. By an Old Man. 8vo. London. 1833.
•'TIE who prints,' said Mr. Canning, 'publishes;' but cer-
Unholy cits we're doom'd to meet;
Are sacred from Threadneedle-street
And if this rage for travelling lasts—
Nor fear of Mamelukes forbids
To glide among the Pyramids,—
Among the Blacks of Carolina?
And toast upon the wall of China?' This is hardly exaggeration. Nevertheless the district treated of in these 'Bubbles' has, as yet, attracted few English visiters. This year, however, the rage of emigration seems more violent than ever; and as the causes which have undoubtedly given a new impulse to the centrifugal passion are by no means likely to suspend their operation, we may safely conclude that a country full of everything that can make life pleasant, lying within a few
hows hours journey of the great thoroughfare of the Rhine, will, ere long, be as familiar to English readers as a cart-load of ' tours,' 'diaries,' and 'sketches,' has already rendered every rock and ruin between Dusseldorf and Heidelberg.
The author describes his voyage from the Tower to the Brille, and afterwards in the steam-boat from Cologne to Coblentz, in a short preliminary chapter — from the latter part of which we select a single specimen.
'Our compagnons de voyage were tri-coloured, Dutch, German, and French, and, excepting always ourselves, there was nothing English— nothing, at least, but a board, which sufficiently explained the hungry insatiable inquisitiveness of our travellers. The black thing hung near the tiller, and upon it there was painted in white letters the following sentence, which I copied literatim—
"Enfering any conversation with the Steersner
'As the vessel proceeded towards Coblentz, it continually paused in its fairy course, apparently to barter and traffic in the prisoners it contained—sometimes, stopping off one little village, it exchanged an infirm old man for two country girls, and then, as if laughing at its bargain, gaily proceeding, it paused before another picturesque hamlet, to give three Prussian soldiers of the 3Gth regiment for a husband, a mother, and a child—once it delivered an old woman and got nothing, then luckily it received two carriages for a horse, and next it stopt a second to take up a tall thin man, who turned out to be an itinerant poet, and who, as soon as he had collected from every passenger a small contribution for having recited two or three little pieces, was dropt at the next village, ready to board the steam-vessel coming down from Mayence.
'In one of these cartels, or exchanges of prisoners, we received on
board Sir and Lady , a young fashionable English
couple, who, having had occasion a fortnight ago to go together to St. George's church, bad (like dogs suffering from hydrophobia, or tin canisters) been running straight forwards almost ever since. As hard as they could drive, they had posted to Dover, hurried across to Calais, thence to Brussels, snapt a glance at the ripe corn waving on the field of Waterloo, stared at the relics of that great saint, old Charlemagne, on the high altar of Aix-la-Chapelle, and at last sought for rest and connubial refuge at Cologne; but the celebrated water of that town having in its manufacture evidently abstracted all perfume from the atmosphere, they could not endure the dirt and stnell of the place, and therefore had proceeded by land towards Coblentz; but as they were changing horses at a small village, seeing our steam-boat cantering through the glassy waves, they ordered a party of peasants to draw their carriage to the banks of the river, and as soon as the vessel came smoking alongside, they, their rosy, fresh-coloured French maid, their chocolate-coloured chariot, and their brown ill-looking Italian courier, were all on board.
'As soon as this young London couple lightly stept on deck, we saw at one glance that, without at all priding themselves on their abilities, they fancied, and indeed justly fancied, that they belonged to that class of society which in England exclusively, and so modestly calls itsslf —good. That it was not healthy society, that its victims were exposed to late hours, crowded rooms, and impure air, was evident enough from the contrast which existed between their complexions and that of their healthy country attendant; however, they seemed not only to be perfectly satisfied with themselves and the clique which they had left behind them, but to have a distaste for everything else which they saw. Towards some German ladies, who had slightly bowed to them, they looked with a vacant haughty stare, as if they conceived there must be some mistake, and as if it at all events would be necessary to keep such people off.
'Yet, after all, there was no great harm in these two young people. Their heads were lanterns illuminated with no more brains than barely sufficient to light them on their way, and so, like the babes in the wood, they sat together hand in hand, regardless of everything in creation but themselves.'—Bubbles, &c. p. 25.
Surely a young couple in the honeymoon might have been criticised less severely for merely sitting, as in duty bound, ' hand in hand;' but we proceed:—
'For running their carriage down to the shore, the brown confidential courier, whose maxim was of course to pay little and charge much, offered the gang of peasants some kreutzers, which amounted in English currency to about sixpence. This they refused, and the captain of the party, while arguing with the flint-skinning courier, was actually carried off by our steam-boat, which, like time and tide, waited for no man. The poor fellow, finding that the Italian was immoveable, came aft to the English couple who were still leaning towards each other like the Siamese twins. He pleaded his case, and in a manly tone of voice prayed for redress. The dandy listened, looked at his boots which were evidently pinching him,—passed four white fingers through the long curls of his jet-black hair—showed the point of a tongue gently playing with a front tooth—and when the whole story was completely at an end, without moving a muscle in his countenance, in a sickly tone of voice, he pronounced his verdict as follows—" Alley!"
'The creditor tried again, but the debtor sat inanimate as a corpse. However, all this time the steam-boat dragging the poor peasant out of his way, he protested in a few angry exclamations against the injustice with which he had been treated, (a sentiment we were very sorry to hear more than once mildly whispered by many a quiet-looking German;) and, descending the vessel's side into a small boat which had just brought us a new captive, he landed at a village from which he had about eight miles to walk to join his comrades.
'It is with no satirical feeling that I have related this little occurrence. To hurt the feelings of " gay beings born to flutter but a day" —to break such a pair of young, flimsy butterflies upon the wheel— affords me neither amusement nor delight; but the every-day occurrence of English travellers committing our well-earned national character for justice and liberality to the base, slave-driving hand of a courier, as well as the bad taste of acting the part of London dandy on the great theatre of Europe, ought to be checked.'—Bubbles, pp. 26, 27.
We think it likely that the young English dandy here crucified did not understand either the coinage of Prussia or the language of his dun; but we have nothing to say in defence of the usual employment by English travellers of foreign couriers—most absurdly so called, by the way, when they do not precede the party— except that the best English servant is generally much more of a hindrance than a help on the Continent. He understands and performs to admiration the small and rigidly-defined circle of duties within which his walk at home is limited; but abroad he is confused, puzzled, bewildered, at every turn; no fish in the world more completely out of the water than he. He is, moreover, perpetually discomposed about creature comforts, and sighs deeper than Don Juan whenever ' he thinks upon a pot of beer.' But who is to blame for the narrow and artificial habits, the jog-trot mind, and the gross foul-feeding of the English lackey'! Not himself, we humbly submit, but those whose pampered luxury has made him what he is.
Our note-maker, when the steam-boat dropped him at Coblentz, passed the night in a hdtel on the opposite bank of the river, close under the gigantic battlements of Ehrenbreitstein—which fortress has once more, at the cost of millions, been rendered the most complete in that part of the world. From this he posted to Ems, which* unlike the other towns in the interior of Nassau, has already become fashionable—so that we need not quote any of his remarks on it, which are not conceived in his usual spirit, and appear to us by no means just. Ems is, certainly, to a rapid inspection, one of the most charming little towns in the world ; and what could have put him out of humour with its one bright airy street, backed by its screen of vine-covered rock, and over that waving forests of oak and birch—its clear, bright stream—and, above all, its gay myriads of damsels and donkeys—we are at a loss to guess. The journey from Ems to Schwalbach is given in a more pleasing vein :—
'On leaving Ems, the road, passing through the old, mouldering town of Nassau, and under the beautiful ruins of the ducal stammscftloss in its neighbourhood, by a very steep acclivity, continues to ascend, until it mounts at last into a sort of upper country, from various points of which are to be seen extensive views of the duchy of Nassau.
'No one, I think, can breathe this dry, fresh air for a single moment, or gaze for an instant on the peculiar colour of the sky, without both smelling and seeing that he is very considerably above the level of the sea; yet this upper story, when it is once attained, is by no means what can be termed a mountainous country. On the contrary, the province is composed of flat table-land, abruptly intersected by valleys, or rather of an undulation of hills and dales on an immense scale. In the great tract thus displayed to view, scarcely a habitation is to be seen; and for a considerable time we could not help wondering what had become of the people who had sown the crops, (as far as we could see they were in solitude waving around us,) and who, of course, were somewhere or other lurking in ambush for the harvest. However, their humble abodes are almost all concealed in steep ravines or water-courses, which in every direction intersect the whole of the lofty region I have described.
'A bird's-eye view would, of course, detect these little villages, but from any one point, as the eye roams over the surface, they are not to be seen. The duchy, which is completely uninclosed, for there is not even a fence to the orchards, appears like a royal park on a gigantic scale: about one-half being in corn-fields or moor, and the remainder in patches of woods and forests, which in shape and position resemble artificial plantations. The province, as far as one can see, thus seems to declare that it has but one lord and master ; and the various views which it presents are really very grand and imposing. A considerable portion of the wood grows among craggy rocks; and among the open land there is a great deal of what is evidently a mining country, with much indicating the existence of both iron and silver. The crops of wheat, oats, and barley, are rather light, yet they are very much better than one would expect from the ground on which they grow; but this is the effect of the extraordinarily heavy dews which, during the whole summer, may be said once in twenty-four hours to irrigate the land.'—pp. 40—1.
He afterwards thus describes the romantic lavines here alluded to :—
'The rugged sides of the hills which contain them are generally clothed with oak or beech trees, feathering to the very bottom, where a strip of green, rich, flat, grassy land, full of springs, scarcely broader than, and very much resembling, the moat of an old castle, is all that divides the one wooded eminence from the other; and it is into these secluded gardens—these smiling, happy valleys—that the inhabitants of Nassau have humbly crept for shelter. These valleys are often scarcely broad enough to contain the single street which forms the village; and from such little abodes, looking upwards, one would fancy that one were living in a mountainous country,— but climb the hill—break the little, petty barrier that imprisons you
In short, in the two prospects one reads the old story
Beneath, lies the little contracted nook in which we were born,