them a numerous litter; others are great, tall, monastic, melancholylooking creatures, which seem to have no other object left in this wretched world than to become bacon; while others are thin, tiny, light-headed, small, brisk, petulant piglings, with the world and all its loves and sorrows before them. Of their own accord these creatures proceed down the street to join the herdsman, who occasionally continues to repeat the sorrowful blast from his horn. Gregarious, or naturally fond of society, with one curl in their tails, and with their noses almost touching the ground, the pigs trot on, grunting to themselves and to their comrades—halting only whenever they come to anything they can manage to swallow. I have observed that the old ones pass all the carcasses which, trailing to the ground, are hanging before the butchers' shops, as if they were on a sort of parole d'honneur not to touch them. The middle aged ones wistfully eye this meat, yet jog on also: while the piglings, who (so like mankind) have more appetite than judgment, can rarely resist taking a nibble ; yet no sooner does the dead calf begin to move, than, from the window immediately above, out pops the head of a butcher, who, drinking his coffee whip in hand, inflicts a prompt punishment sounding quite equal to the offence.

As I have stated, the pigs, generally speaking, proceed of their own accord; but shortly after they have passed, there comes down our street a little, bare-headed, bare-footed, stunted dab of a child, about eleven years old—a Flibbertigibbet sort of creature, which in a drawing one would express by a couple of blots, the small one for her head, the other for her body, while, streaming from the latter, there would be a long line, ending in a flourish, to denote the immense whip which the child carried in its hand. This little goblin page, the whipper-in, or aide-de-camp of the old pig-driver, facetiously called at Langenschwalbach the “Schwein-General," is a being no one looks at, and who looks at nobody ;-but such a pair of eyes for a pig! The urchin knows every house from which a pig ought to have proceeded: she can tell by the door being open or shut, and even by footmarks, whether the creature has joined the herd, or is still snoring in its sty: a single glance determines whether she should pass a yard or enter it; and if a pig, from indolence or greediness, be loitering on the road, the sting of the wasp could not be sharper or more spiteful than the cut she gives it.

• When I joined the herd this morning, they really appeared to have no hams at all: their bodies were as flat as if they had been squeezed in a vice; and when they turned sideways, their long, sharp noses and tucked-up bellies gave to their profile the appearance of starved greyhounds. As I gravely followed this grunting, unearthly-looking herd of unclean spirits through that low part of Langenschwalbach which is solely inhabited by Jews, I could not help fancying that I observed them holding their very breaths, as if a loathsome pestilence were passing ; for, though fat pork be a wicked luxury—a forbidden pleasure, which your Jew has been supposed occasionally in secret to indulge in, yet a charitable Christian may easily imagine that


such very lean, ugly pigs have not charms enough to lead Moses astray.

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

If any little savoury morsel caused a contention, stoppage, or constipation on the march, the old fellow slowly unwound his dreadful whip, and by merely whirling it round his head, like reading the riot act, he generally succeeded in dispersing the crowd ; but if they neg. lected this solemn warning—if their stomachs proved stronger than their judgments, and if the group of greedy pigs still continued to stagnate—“Arriff!" the old fellow exclaimed, and rushing forwards, the lash whirling round his head, he inflicted, with strength which no one could have fancied he possessed, a smack that seemed absolutely to electrify the ringleader ; but no wonder, poor fellow! for it would almost have cut a piece out of a door.”

The author goes on to descant upon the cruelty of this procedure ; but we are afraid every one who has had any experience in such affairs will agree that so long as there shall exist upon the surface of this earth either pigs or authors, neither pig-whipping nor reviewing can ever completely be abolished. We proceed with the narrative :

* As soon as the herd began gradually to ascend the rocky, barren mountain, which appeared towering above them, the labours of the Swine-General and his staff became çreater than ever. However, in due time the drove reached the ground which was devoted for that day's exercise ; the whole mountain being thus taken in regular

z 2

succession. succession. No wonder, poor reflecting creatures, that they had come unwillingly to such a spot! for there appeared, literally, to be nothing for them to eat, but hot stones and dust; however, they dexterously began to lift up with their snouts the largest of the loose stones. Their tough wet snouts seemed to be sensible of the quality of every thing they touched, and thus out of the apparently barren ground they managed to get fibres of roots, to say nothing of worms, beetles, or any other travelling insects they met with. As they slowly advanced working up the hill, their ears most philosophically shading their eyes from the hot sun, I could not help feeling how little we appreciate the delicacy of several of their senses, and the extreme acuteness of their instinct. There exists, perhaps, in creation, no animal which has less justice and more injustice done to him by man than the pig. Gifted with every faculty of supplying himself, and of providing even against the approaching storm, which no animal is better capable of foretelling, we begin by putting an iron ring through the cartilage of his nose, and having thus barbarously deprived him of the power of searching for and analysing his food, we generally cundemn hiin for the rest of his life to solitary confinement in a sty.-While his faculties are still his own, only observe how with a bark or snort he starts if you approach him, and mark what shrewd intelligence there is in his bright twinkling little eye; but with pigs, as with mankind, idleness is the root of all evil. The poor animal, finding that he has absolutely nothing to do-having no enjoyment-nothing to look forward to but the pail which feeds him, naturally, most eagerly, or, as we accuse him, most greedily greets its arrival. Having no natural business or diversion within reach—nothing to occupy his brain-the whole powers of his system are directed to the digestion of a superabundance of food : to encourage this, Nature assists him with sleep, which, lulling his better faculties, leads his stomach to become the ruling power of his system-a tyrant, that can bear.no one's presence but his own. The poor pig, thus treated, gorges himself-sleeps-eats again-sleeps-awakens in a frightscreams-struggles against a blue apron-screams fainter and fainter -turns up the whites of his little eyes . . and . . dies !'-p. 255.

But to return to the General, whom, with his horn, his whip, and our author, we have left on the steep side of a barren mountain. In this situation do his troops remain every morning for four hours, enjoying little else than air and exercise : at about nine or ten o'clock they begin their march homewards, and nothing can form a greater contrast than their entry into their native town does to their exit from it:

• They no sooner reached the first houses of the town, than a sort of "sauve qui peut” motion took place-away each started towards his dulce domum, and it was really curious to stand still and watch how very quickly they cantered by, greedily grunting and snufiling,


as if they could smell with their stomachs as well as their noses the savoury food which was awaiting them.

At half-past four the same four notes of the same horn were heard again-the pigs once more assembled-once more tumbled over the hot stones on the mountain-once more remained there for four hours, and in the evening once again returned to their styes. Every day of their existence, summer and winter, is spent in the way I have described. The squad consists of about one hundred and fifty, and the poor old General receives about thirteen pence for six months' drilling of each recruit. His income, therefore, is about twenty pounds a-year, out of which he has to pay the board, lodging, and clothing, of his two aide-de-camps; and when one considers how unremittingly this poor fellow-creature has to contend with the gross appetites, sulky tempers, and obstinate dispositions of the swinish multitude, surely not even the Member for Middlesex would wish to reform his emoluments.'

We have stayed so long at Schwalbach that we cannot afford to dwell much upon our author's equally detailed picture of the sayings and doings of another of his favourite watering-placesSchlangen-bad, i.c. the Serpent’s-bath. In some book we had read years ago that this name was only given in allusion to the wonderful effects of the water in purifying the skin of all unseemli. nesses and corruptions, so that ladies resorting to this bath might be likened to those wise charmers which annually rub off the old coat and present themselves in a new one. It appears, however, that not only is the neighbourhood remarkable for the number of real snakes in the grass, but that serpents were the first, and are still frequent, visiters of the wells of Schlangen-bad. There is no town-but the company are all pent up, in the sequestered little valley, among groves and forests, in a couple of enormous lodging houses :

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

• The old " bad-haus" is situated on the side of the hill, close to the Macadamized road; and to give some idea of the scale on which these sort of German houses are constructed, in this rambling bath-house I counted four hundred and forty-three windows, and, without ever twice going over the same ground, the passages measured four hundred and nine paces, which is, as nearly as possible, a quarter of a mile! Below this immense barrack, and on the opposite side of the road, is the new " bad-haus,” pleasantly situated in a shrubbery. This building contains one hundred and seventy-two windows. After having passed, in the two establishments, an immense


number of rooms, each furnished by the duke with white window curtains, a walnut-tree bed with bedding, a chestnut-tree table, an elastic spring sofa, and three or four walnut-tree chairs, the price of each room (on an average from ten-pence to two shillings a-day) being painted on the door, our author complimented the goodor, to give her her proper title, the ' bad'-lady who attended him, on the plain but useful order in which they appeared, in return for which she very obligingly proceeded to give him the legend of the discovery of this famous spring. This same legend forms a chapter of some moment in the history of the little duchy of Nassau.

· Once upon a time, it seems, there was a heifer, with which everything in nature seemed to disagree. The more she ate the thinner she grew—the more her mother licked her hide, the rougher and the more staring was her coat—not a fly in the forest would bite her-never was she seen to chew the cud-but, hide-bound and melancholy, her hips seemed actually to be protruding from her skin. What was the matter with her no one knew—what could cure her no one could divine-in short, deserted by her master and her species, she was, as the faculty would term it, given up.

In a few weeks, however, she suddenly reappeared among the herd, with ribs covered with flesh-eyes like a deer-skin sleek as a mole's-breath sweetly smelling of milk--saliva hanging in ringlets from her jaw! Every day seemed to confirm her health ; and the phenomenon was so striking, that the herdsman, having watched her, discovered that regularly every evening she wormed her way in secret into the forest, until she reached and refreshed herself at a spring of water-haunted by harmless serpents, when full grown about four feet in length.

• The circumstance, it seems, had been almost forgotten by the peasant, when a young Nassau lady began to show exactly the symptoms of the heifer. Mother, sisters, friends, father, all tried to cure her, but in vain ; and the physician actually

“ Had ta'en his leave with sighs and sorrow,

Despairing of his fee to-morrow,” when the herdsman happening to hear of her case, prevailed upon her at last to try the heifer's secret remedy; she did so, and, in a very short time, to the utter astonishment of her friends, she became one of the stoutest young women in the duchy. What had suddenly cured one sick lady was soon deemed a proper prescription for others, and all cases meeting with success, the spring gradually rose into notice and repute. I may observe, by-the-by, that even to this day horses are brought by the peasants to be bathed; and I have good authority for believing, that, in cases of slight cos:sumption of the lungs (a disorder common enough among horses), the animal recovers his flesh with surprising rapidity. Nay, I have seen even pigs bathed, though I must own that they appeared to have no other disorder except hunger.'


« ElőzőTovább »