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studded with triflmg objects, each of which we once fancied to be highly important—every tiny rock has its name, and every inch of ground belongs to one man, and therefore does not belong to another; but, lying prostrate before us, is a great picture of the world, and until he has seen it, no one born and bred below could fancy how vast are its dimensions, or how truly insignificant are the billows of that puddle in a storm from which he has somehow or other managed to escape.'— p. 43.
With respect to the climate of this region, he thus sets down some 'hieroglyphics' which he thinks will sufficiently explain it.
'At this moment everything, see, is smiling: the trees are in full leaf, the crops in full bearing. In no part of Devonshire or Herefordshire have we ever seen such rich crops of apples—the trees being here surrounded with a scaffolding of poles which, after all, seem scarcely sufficient to save the boughs from breaking under their load. But, in the immediate neighbourhood of all the flourishing family of the hocks, how comes the vine to be absent from this gay scene?
'Again, at all the bendings of the valleys, why are the trees so stunted in their growth, and why are so many of them stag-headed? They must surely have some sad reason for wearing this appearance; any one may guess what it is that, in the winter, rushes by them with such violence that they seem more anxious to grow beneath the soil than above it.
'Again, under the oppressingly hot sun, which is now hurrying every crop to maturity, why do not the inhabitants look like Neapolitans, and other indolent, lazzaroni-living people? how comes it that their features are so hard? can the sun have beaten them into that shape?
* Why are the houses they live in huddled together in the valleys, instead of enjoying the magnificent prospect before us? Why do the wealthiest habitations look to the south? and why are the roofs even of the hovels built or pitched so perpendicularly, that it seems as if nothing could rest upon their surface? Why are the windows so small, and the walls so thick ?'—Bubbles, pp. 45—7.
Whatever may be the winter climate of the upper country of Nassau, the duchy, taken altogether, may fairly be said to contribute more than an average share towards the luxuries and comforts of mankind. Besides noble forests of oak, beech, birch, and fir, there are good crops of corn of every sort, and potatoes which would not be despised in England. Several of the wines (for instance those on the estates of Hockheim and Metternich) are the finest on the Rhine—while there are fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries (the two latter growing wild), &c. &c., in the greatest abundance. Not only are there mines of the precious metals and of iron, but there is also coal, which we all know will, when the gigantic powers of steam are developed, become the nucleus of every nation's wealth. In 'addition addition to all this—from its hills burst mineral streams of various descriptions, and besides the Seltzer water, which is drunk as a luxury in every quarter of the globe, there are bright sparkling remedies prescribed for almost every disorder under the sun. For instance, should our reader be consumptive, or, what is much more probable, dyspeptic, let him hurry to Ems. If he wishes to instil iron into his system, and to brace up his muscles, let him go to Langenschwalbach; if his brain should require calming, his nerves soothing, and his skin softening, let him glide onwards to Schlangenbad—the serpent's bath; but if he should be rheumatic in his limbs, or if mercury should be running riot in his system, let him hasten, ' body and bones,' to Wiesbaden, where they say, by being parboiled in the koch-brunnen (boiling spring) all his troubles will evaporate. To these different waters of Nassau flock annually thousands and thousands of votaries from all parts of Germany, and so celebrated are they for the cures which they have effected, that not only do people also come from Russia, Poland, Denmark, &c., but a vast quantity of the waters, in stone bottles, is annually sent to these remote countries. Yet although Spa and some other German watering places have been much deserted by foreigners, on account of the multitudes of English who have thronged thither, the number of our countrymen resorting to the mineral springs of Nassau bears no proportion to that of any other nation of Europe; but somehow or other our wandering John Bulls are like locusts,— either they are found absolutely eating up a foreign country, or not one of them is to be seen there. We believe we may assert, that not twenty English families have taken up their attode at Langenschwalbach orSchlangenbad, in the course of the last twenty years; and yet there is no country on earth that could turn out annually more consumptive, rheumatic, and dyspeptic patients than old England.
The ' Bubbles' say—
'The duke of Nassau is the cacique, king, emperor, or commander in chief of the province, and people here are everlastingly talking of The duke, as in England they talk of the sun, the moon, or any other bauble of which there exists only one in creation. He is certainly the sovereign lord of this lofty country, and travelling along we have observed a certain little bough sticking out of every tenth sheaf of corn, the meaning of which is no doubt perfectly well understood both by him and the peasant. He is also very strict about his game—our worsted-tasselled horn-blowing cicerone has informed us, that the bunches of straw which we observed mysteriously tied to bushes in the woods, are sentinels which forbid any person to enter them.'—Bubbles, pp. 58, 53.
We must here observe that the duke of Nassau is in fact one
of of the most amiable of princes, and we believe at this moment the most popular of all the minor potentates of Germany. His patrimonial estate is understood to be so great as to enable him, after maintaining a well-appointed little army of 12,000 men, and the other public establishments of his country, to reserve for his own personal expenditure a clear income of about 150,000/.—in that region an enormous sum. The taxes are so trivial as really not to be worth mentioning. The corn sheaves, to which our author alludes, were merely portions of rent; and the peasantry of Nassau are about the easiest in the world. What follows is particularly lively—and true:— 'In approaching Langenschwalbach, being of course anxious as early as possible to get a glimpse of a town which I had already determined to inhabit for a few days, I did all in my power to explain this feeling to the dull gaudy fellow who drove me; but whenever I inquired for Langenschwalbach, so often did the mute creature point with a long German whip to the open country, as if it existed directly before him—but no! not a human habitation could I discover. However, as I proceeded onwards, the whip, in reply to my repeated interrogations of its dumb owner, began to show a sort of magnetic dip, until at last it pointed almost perpendicularly into a ravine, which was now immediately beneath us; but though we could see, as I thought, almost to the bottom of it, not a vestige of a town was to be seen. However, the whip was quite right, for in a very few seconds, peeping up from the very bottom of the valley, we perceived, like poplar-trees a couple of church steeples—then suddenly came in sight a long narrow village of slated roofs, and in a very few seconds I found my carriage rattling and trumpeting along a street, until it stopped at the Goldene Kette, or, as we should call it, ,the Golden Chain. The master of this hotel appeared to be a most civil, obliging person, and though his house was nearly full, yet he suddenly felt so much respect for the contents of my wallet, which on descending from the carriage, I had placed for a moment in his hauds, that he used many arguments to persuade us both to become noble appendages to his fine golden chain ; yet there were certain noises, uncertain smells, and a degree of bustle in his house, which did not at all suit me, and therefore, at once mercifully annihilating his hopes, by a grave bow which could not be misinterpreted, I slowly walked into the street to select for myself a private lodging, and for a considerable time very great difficulty did 1 experience. With hands clasped behind me, in vain did I slowly stroll about looking out for any thing at all like a paper or a board in a window, and I was beginning to fear that there were no lodging-houses in the town, when I at last found out that there were very few which were not.'—Bubbles, pp. 63-65.
Our author succeeds at last in securing for himself a den; and the next morning, full of breakfast and curiosity, he sallies forth to see the lions :—
'My first duty, however, was to understand the geography of the town, or rather village of Langenschwalbach, which I found to be in the shape of the letter Y (or throwing, as I wish to do, literature aside), of a long-handled two-pronged fork. The village is fifteen hundred paces in length, that is to say, the prongs are each about five hundred yards, and the handle of the fork is about one thousand yards.
'The buildings themselves are constructed even more irregularly than their roofs. The village is composed of houses of all sizes, shapes and colours: some, having been lately plastered, and painted yellow, white, or pale green, have a modern appearance, while others wear a dress about as old as the hills which surround them:—of these latter, some are standing with their sides towards the streets—others look at you with their gables; some overhang the passenger as if they intended to crush him; some shrink backwards, as if, like misanthropes, they loathed him, or, like maidens, they feared him; some lean sideways, as if they were suffering from a painful disorder in their hips: many, apparently from curiosity, have advanced; while a few, in disgust, have retired a step or two.'—Bubbles, pp. 70, 71.
The appearance of these houses is certainly very remarkable. Of late years, several of the largest have been plastered on the outside, but the appearance of the rest is highly picturesque; and the immense quantity of timber which has been consumed would clearly indicate the vicinity of a large forest, even if one could not see the dark foliage towering on every side above the town ; indeed, it has been crammed into the houses, as if the builder's object had been to hide away as much as possible. The whole fabric is a network of timber of all lengths, shapes, and sizes, and these limbs, often rudely sculptured, being bent into every possible contortion, form a confused picture of rustic architecture, which, amid such mountain scenery, one cannot refuse to admire. The interstices between all this wood-work are filled up with brown unburnt bricks, so soft and porous, that, in our moist climate, they would in one winter be decomposed, and a very few winters would also rot the timbers which they connect;—however, such is evidently the dryness of mountain air, that buildings can exist here in this rude state, and indeed have existed for several hundred years, not only without the use of Mr. Kyan's mercurial lotion, but even without a touch of paint.
'The staid brunnen (steel spring) is at the head of the town, at the upper extremity of the right prong. Close to the point of the other prong is the toein brunnen, (wine spring,) and about six hundred yards up the same valley is situated the fashionable brunnen of Pauline. Between these three points, brunnens, or wells, backwards and forwards, "down the middle and up again"—people are seen walking, or rather crawling, with a constancy that is really quite astonish
ing. Among the number, there may be here and there a Cœlehs in search of a wife, and a very few pairs of much smaller feet may be occasionally seen, " impari passu," pursuing nothing but their mammas; but, generally speaking, the whole troop are chasing one and the same game; they are all searching for the same treasure; in short, the object is health.'—Bubbles, p. 72.
In the time of the Romans, Schwalbach (the name means literally the Ssvallow's Stream*) was a place of some resort—one immense sulphureous fountain there being already famed for its medicinal effects. In proportion as this rose into repute, hovels, huts, and houses were erected, and a small street or village was thus gradually established on the north and south of the well. There was little to offer to the stranger but its waters, yet health being a commodity which people have always been willing enough to purchase, the little hamlet continued to grow, until it justly claimed for itself the appellation of Langen (Long) Schwalbach.
About sixty years ago, according to the German book named first on our list, the stahl and wein brunnens were discovered. These springs were found to be quite different from the old Roman one: it is sulphureous—they are both strongly impregnated with iron and carbonic acid gas. Instead, therefore, of merely purifying the blood, they undertook to strengthen the human frame, and in proportion as they attracted notice, so the old original brunnen became neglected. About three years ago, a fourth spring was discovered in the valley above the wein brunnen. It does not contain quite so much iron as the stahl or wein brunnens, but possessing other supersalutary ingredients, (among them that of novelty,) it fixed on itself the potent patronage of Dr. Fenner. It was called Pauline after the present duchess of Nassau, and is now the fashionable brunnen or well of Langenschwalbach. The village doctors, however, disagree on the subject, and Dr. Stritter, a very mild, sensible man, recommends his patients to the strong stahl brunnen, almost as positively as Dr. Fenner sentences his victims to the Pauline. 'Which is right, and which is wrong,' says our indefatigable note-maker, ' is one of the mysteries of this world; but as the cunning Jews all go to the stahl brunnen, I strongly suspect that they have some good reason for this departure from the fashion.'
Our English journalist was much puzzled to decide among these rival brunnens, and, after having read a formidable chapter in Fenner's work on the effects of rash and unadvised water-bibbing, he concluded that it might be as well to consult a doctor before beginning.
'Having learnt that Dr. Fenner himself had the greatest number
* We still have beek for stream in the dialect of Westmoreland and Cumberland.