|European Letters, by T.W. Patton to
The Asheville Citizen:
Description of the Tour of the North Carolina Teachers, During the Summer of 1889
ON THE CONTINENT. [pages 33-44]
|*Note: Copy has been re-formatted. Original two column format has been abandoned and special fonts have been standardized.|
ON THE CONTINENT.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, August 2,1889.
dear citizen:—On last evening your correspondent left tiresome London, where a week of continual sightseeing had quite exhausted his powers, mental and physical, and taking train for Harwich, there boarded a small steamer which landed us at Antwerp at 10 o'clock this morning.
There are doubtless many things in Europe which are better done than in America, notably the science of fleecing travelers by means of fees and extra charges, which is certainly worked up to a degree of perfection that entitles it to be classed among the fine arts. It is rather annoying when you sit down to a table d'hote dinner, which professes to be served for five shillings, to find yourself charged a sixpence extra for attendance, nine-pence for a cup of coffee and threepence for ice, which two last items you may have unwittingly asked for.
While we feel obliged to acknowledge the superior skill of our hosts in the department referred to above, we must say that in everything that composes true comfort in traveling, America can teach them more than they have learned in all the centuries of their national existence. They really do not know the meaning of the word "comfort." Their railroad carriages one soon gets accustomed to, and they are not so really objectionable, when occupied by a party of friends, but when crowded with people unacquainted with each other and all inclined to consider anyone who ventures to begin a conversation as a burglar or garroter in disguise, it is by no means agreeable.
Then, too, the want of ice water is terribly felt by those who have always been accustomed to having it in the greatest abundance. In the railroad carriages there is no provision whatever for supplying water, iced or otherwise, and we can conceive of nothing more distressing than to be obliged to travel all night in one of them.
Nor are the discomforts by any means confined to the railroads, but the steamboat accommodations are quite as unsatisfactory. We have given you some idea of the discomforts attending a trans-Atlantic voyage by a steamer of the State line, and last evening when we found the boat—which was to carry a tremendous crowd across the North Sea —both small and illy [sic ?] provided with what we are accustomed to consider the necessities of traveler's life, (for instance, not a single chair nor sofa provided on deck) we could not resist the comparison with our American Fall River line, or Chesapeake Bay boats or many others where every convenience and delight is provided in abundance.
Before leaving mention of London we must not fail to chronicle that which most charmed us there, towit, a sermon by Canon Farrar. St. Margaret's church was packed full to overflowing last Sunday, but it was our good luck to secure a place where every word was audible, and the expressive face and gesture of the earnest speaker visible. It was strange to hear the comments of all of our party as the service ended. With universal consent the sermon was declared excellent, and "exactly like that we heard last Sunday at St. Giles', in Edinburgh." Yes, we never remember on two successive Sundays, in different places and by ministers of different creeds, to have heard discourses so remarkably similar in tone, idea and in manner of delivery. All that we had heard and read of Canon Farrar was fully realized, and without attempting an epitome of his sermon, we will only say the same spirit of universal love and urging to good works in the most practical and common sense man-...
... -ner pervaded it, as do all of his writings that we have read.
Now for the Continent! Arriving in Antwerp we spend a few hours in visiting several places of interest. The home and the tomb of the great painter Rubens, and several of his most noted pictures. His "Crucifixion" we thought most painfully realistic, and yet the fascination was such as kept our eyes fixed upon it. The difference in expression of the two thieves was especially strong, but we ' must confess none of his paintings leave with us any sense of enjoyment. All are renditions of such terrible ideas, and in a manner to bring them to your very face. Then today we saw one of the martyrdom of a saint, whose tongue had been cut out and was being fed to a dog, while the poor victim writhed in anguish, inexpressible by anyone save Rubens. Indeed it was enough to keep one awake for a week with the memory.
The specimens of wood carvings all of the churches, in beauty far surpassed anything we ever dreamed possible, and again and again we longed for you to see it, for in no other way can you enjoy it as we did. It was not only a surprise to us that this art could be brought to such perfection, but all the subjects were selected so as to give pleasure and rest to the eye and brain.
In one of the galleries we saw numerous amateur artists copying the paintings, and among them one man who had no arms, having been born so maimed, and yet with his toes he was making a very creditable copy of one of the best pictures. It was very curious to see with what ease he could handle, or rather toe, his brushes, and with what delicacy he could apply his colors.
Leaving Antwerp at 5 p. m., an hour's ride over a beautiful agricultural country brought us to Brussels. What most pleased us was to see the wind mills in all directions performing their part, by pumping the water for irrigating the lands. This was a picture we noticed as soon as we could see the land this morning, and struck us very oddly, as also the fact that we could look across the hamlets and see the sails of vessels going in all directions, looking very much as though sailing on dry land.
Brussels, we pronounce after a day's inspection, one of the most beautiful cities we have ever seen, and in its cleanliness a wonderful relief after London. The hotel and restaurants are good, and would not be at all expensive were it not for the abominable extras, one of which is lights; and as they charge us two francs— forty cents—each for candles, we only use one, and this accounts for the incoherent manner in which this is written, because the room is so dark as to render us uncertain whether we are talking in English or still jabbering away at our new idiomed [sic] French, as we have been doing all day, very much to the amusement of our party. However they may be amused, it matters not to us, and we find a few words, even of bad French, a great help, relieving vis of the necessity of a guide or interpreter. We find little trouble in making ourselves understood ; but the difficulty is to catch the reply, showing conclusively how much better our French is than that of the residents here. Perhaps we may be able to come down to the level of our auditors soon. We hope so.
One of the handsomest buildings we ever saw is the temple of Justice, finished some fifteen years ago, and in some respects surpassing our national capitol; especially are its perfections shown in the interior arrangements and finish of the several courts, which seem to correspond with, as to arrangements for general transaction of legal business and in manner of appeals from the lower to the higher tribunals.
A day has been very pleasantly, and we hope profitably, spent, in viewing many places of interest and beauty; and long will the enjoyable impression made upon us endure, and refresh us with its memory. To-morrow morning early we start for Cologne, where we hope to arrive in time to attend service at 11 in its celebrated cathedral. As our only stamp is one for this nation, which will not answer after we pass its borders at Aix-La-Chapelle, we must close, hoping you can read it, which we greatly doubt.
dear citizen :—We have given you our opinion of the sermons which we were so ...
fortunate as to hear on the past two Sundays, first from Dr. Lees at Edinburgh, and next from the renowned Canon Farrar in London. To-day we have enjoyed another, widely different, to be sure, but preaching to us the glory of God as manifest in the marvelous works of his creatures.
We mean that to-day we have looked upon and entered the grandest specimen of Gothic building that the world contains. Differing from every thing we have seen elsewhere, and far surpassing all others in sublimity of beauty, the Cathedral of Cologne will rest in our mind and heart as the most refreshing, restful spot we ever beheld, or dreamed of.
The perfection of its arches and of the general proportion is such as to deceive one as to its immense size and to bring every point apparently near to the beholder, while the exquisitely fluted pillars, each adorned with statuary, (not in the wearisome style of Westminster, but one or two figures to each column), are lighted to their very tops by the brilliant and yet soft light which streams through the most lovely of glass.
A very faint idea of the exterior maybe had from a photograph, which we will send you, but none could we find to adequately represent the magical effects of the nave and transept and chancel. And yet, notwithstanding the immensity, the acoustic properties are such that at vespers every tone could be heard even in the most distant corners, and the soft roll of the organ seemed to fill each spot and to ascend to Heaven even as the sweet incense which went up before the altar, until it, too, caught the bright glow of the sun, itself made more glorious by the medium through which it entered.
Yes, we repeat, it was a sermon indeed to reflect upon the Creator who made the man's brain by which this cathedral was designed more than 600 years ago, because be it remembered that the work was begun early in the thirteenth century and although not completed until 1876, it is manifest that the whole ground plan must not only have been conceived, but specified in most minute detail by the original architect; otherwise it could not possibly have attained its present perfection.
Of course we were pained by hearing of relics, and pieces of the original cross, and all such bosh as that, with which, strange to say, the Catholic church, amid its multitude of good works, still allows its silly votaries to be deluded, and others to use as a means of fleecing traveling innocents. But not belonging to the most advanced of this class, we declined to invest in the relic business, and successfully kept our thoughts upon those things with which this same church has done so much to proclaim the glory of God, and to educate mankind to a conception, even afar off, of His infinite beauty and mercy.
We left Brussels at a very early hour this morning and had scarcely finished adding up our French hotel bill, gazing in petrified horror at its tout ensemble of francs and centimes, when a gruff official entered our carriage and said something which we can neither pronounce nor write, but which sounded somewhat like "Ouchenwrachenchroutzenginz," which a kind fellow traveler interpreted to mean a demand for our keys and a warning that no more French would be allowed under penalty of decapitation for high treason. We readily surrendered our keys and assisted the officer to smell all of our soiled socks, which he seemed to appreciate highly. But how can we surrender our lovely French, over which we have labored so earnestly, and of which we were justly so proud? Oh, it is too bad. We could shed tears over our loss, especially as it is a most grievous one to this whole nation. If uninterrupted, we would have had them educated up very soon to an idiom entirely new and of most charming patois. But such is life—
"I never loved a fair gazelle," etc., etc.
The burly officer seemed so much impressed with the perfumery we tendered him that he passed by the other members of our party with an expressive grunt of approval, and thus were the custom house duties protected from an infringement. What a farce the whole business is! Why not have free trade for all, and save this disgusting nonsense ?
In our letter from Brussels we forgot to mention that which most delighted us, its wonderful store of flowers. Since we landed at Antwerp our eyes have been gladdened with their rich and glorious
hues at every step, but more especially so in Brussels and at this city. Here their cultivation has been most careful, and no more agreeable, nor to our mind more profitable, way can be suggested to spend a Sunday afternoon than to wander, as we have today, over the smooth walks and velvety grass of the Jardin Botan-nique (we don't know the German for it) feasting upon its beauties and meeting crowds of happy, contented labor ing people, in this way taking their holiday, drinking beer and listening to the sweetest of music. It was very delightful and we enjoyed it, you may be sure.
The country through which we passed this morning was all excellently cultivated and thus agreeable to look upon, but a good part of it, especially that from Liege to Aix-la-Chapelle, was far more picturesque than we expected to find it. From the lowland flats it changed to undulating, then to hilly, and finally the hills became steep and rugged, reminding us somewhat of the Trossachs of Scotland, saving their lakes, which lack was in part amended by numerous clear, bright rivers and creeds, which we spun over as we dashed out of the numerous tunnels.
Cologne has not very much to cause one to prolong his visit after an inspection of the cathedral. Most of the streets are narrow and antiquated, but a part of the most ancient have been torn away since the war "with France and replaced by boulevard^ such as would do credit to any city. We tried to find the statues of the three kings, but as our French tongue was tied, and these people can talk English no better than we can German, we meet with but slight success. We did, however, gather on to the legend that the three kings were the magi, who, after their adoration of the infant Jesus, came hither, and here they lived, died and were buried, their tomb still being recognized. Possibly this may explain why this apparently insignificant city was chosen as the site of the grand cathedral, which is a question that has puzzled us and will continue to do so, unless the above is the true solution of it.
P. S.—Just as we are stepping into bed, we find that we are expected to sleep under a feather bed. It does seem very nice and fluffy, and would be greatly enjoyed if the mercury were at zero, but with it at 80° in the shade we are inclined to postpone our experience of this funny Dutch hospitality until our next visit. Perhaps if the Swiss at Mount Blanc adopt the same habit we .may then be able to'tell you what we think of it.
maYnce, [MAINZ] Germany, August 6.
dear cittzen :—A sail up the Rhine, which we fully enjoyed on yesterday, is a thing long to be remembered. In some respects the features of the country resemble those of our own, as seen upon ascending the French Broad, from Morristown to Transylvania. First a broad, comparatively level country, but here grim with frowning fortifications, which disfigure with thoughts of blood and violence the otherwise peaceful and lovely scene.
This character prevailed from Cologne to Bonn, probably a distance of fifty miles, but there the county suddenly changed and a precipitous mountain juts out into the current crowned with a massive ruinous castle called "Dracenfels" (Dragons Crag we suppose), which fills us with wonder how the ancient builders could have raised the tremendous amount of stone to its dizzy height, their quarry said to have been at Cologne; but in respect to beauty, it is far eclipsed by the numerous towers and castles which greet us after passing Coblentz.
At every turn the tortuous river has become narrow and in places so swift as to make our steamer puff painfully.
Our neck is sore with craning from side to side, and eyes. strained with looking upward, at those marvelous works6f the Robber Kings, erected hundreds of years ago, and still standing as durable as the mighty rocks eternal upon which they are perched.
At one place we have pointed out the remains of the buttresses of Caesar's famous bridge, over which many school boys have labored .and accomplished the crossing with more pain and tears than it cost the great General himself.
After passing a defile where the river has broken through the mountains (very similar to that from Asheville to Paint Rock), extending from Coblentz, at the mouth of the river Moselle, to Bingen, a ...
... distance of probably fifty miles, we reach again a broad, open, comparatively level country, similar again to the upper French Broad.
Naturally the most interesting is the intermediate section, and never have we experienced anything so charming, entirely differing from any of our American rivers in the marks of a dynasty long since passed away. Our boat crowded with pleasant English tourists, and on either bank a railroad, whose crowded trains excite our sympathy that they are hurried through scenes so delightful.
Every point of rocks, however precipitous, is crowned with some old fortification, of which the guidebooks give us the hard German names, and some legend, which makes us wish that they had been made delightful by some Sir Walter Scott. Possibly they have had writers of their own equal to Scotland's wizard, and it is our ignorance which keep us so in the dark.
Many of the ruins are of vast dimensions, and their rugged walls covered with most exquisite ivy, which at a distance seemed to resemble the famous Kenilworth. Some had been partly restored and occupied, which filled us with envy for their fortunate owners.
To our unpoetical turn of mind, not by any means the least interesting feature, was the vine-clad mountains; literally vine-clad from the lofty summit to the very water's edge, and for the most part so steep that the beds, or spaces, had to be prepared by blasting out the solid rock and building up stone walls to support a small bed oflevel ground, in which the grapes were bedded. At places these walls zigzagged back and forth across the face of the cliff, affording an easy grade for the laborers to ascend.
We noticed that the numerous little beds seemed covered with vines of various ages, and a friend explained this by saying that instead of plucking only the bunches of grapes, the pickers pull up the whole vines, carry them to their houses, separate and stone the grapes, which are turned into the wine vats, and return the seed to the soil fertilized by the ashes of the vines. We can hardly think that this can be the common custom, but only give the information as told to us.
The manufacture of wine is certainly the leading industry, and it is more difficult to procure drinkable water than good wine, although the price of the latter is higher than we expected; perhaps it may be cheaper for the residents, and only the ordinary fleecing of a traveler, providing him no decent water, and forcing the purchase of wine at an exorbitant price.
The nuisance of no soap, no lights, except dim candles, is very great, more especially the former. We must either put up our soap immediately after washing, while wet and soft, or buy a new piece at each hotel. We have caught on to the candles, by quietly carrying away those that we have paid for, and supplying our own light afterwards, and having our bills docked accordingly.
The bills will always allow inspection, which generally discloses one or more errors, always on the side of the landlord, either in computation, addition or items. And the rascals do not seem at all mortified when their attention is drawn to it, but promptly make the correction with an impudent shrug of the shoulders.
Another scheme is that they cannot be induced to render your bill over night, but withhold it until the omnibus is at the door, and you are hurried to catch the train or boat, thinking you will not have time to inspect it. In this way we came near being left behind by our party at Cologne, but we had nerve enough for the occasion, and gained the receding boat, after accomplishing a considerable reduction.
As regards the politics of this section, we of course can gather very little, but are impressed with an apparent disposition towards war, and a settled hatred for the French. Soldiers and fortifications on all sides are a blur on what would otherwise be a charmingly beautiful country.
While we can scarcely think that in this enlightened age the world will again be disgraced by a war between two nations calling themselves Christians, we would gladly see an atmosphere of "peace, good will," pervading the people, which would be the best safeguard against the horrors of the dark ages being repeated.
We are now dashing along on a German railway, very similar to the English, except that the ears are larger and
locomotives heavier, towards Heidelberg;, where we will soon stop to inspect its famous University and other points of interest, and probably proceed later in the day towards Switzerland, where -we hope to have a continuance of this balmy weather, to enjoy its mighty mountains and sweet calm lakes, of which we will write you in our next.
heidelberg, Germany, Aug. 7,1889.
dear citizen:—Our enjoyment increases, as it were, by geometric progression. Each place we visit seems to eclipse all back of it, and this delightful spot is no exception to the rule. Moreover, it is somewhat of a surprise to us, unprepared as we were for its beauties, expecting only an inspection of its renowned university, even somewhat of a dry task to tis.
But we had no sooner reached its borders than we saw our mistake and fairly trembled to think how nearly we had passed it by without a stop.
First of all, we are received politely at a most excellent hotel, at which our Cook's coupons entitle us to rooms and meals. The Grand is as comfortable as any we remember. Coo!, light, cheerful and in all respects well appointed—by long odds the best we have known since leaving Edinburgh.
Refreshed by a good table d'hote dinner, unwearied by the nuisance of ordering food a la carte, we start out for an afternoon's drive in a brette which reminded us of friend Reynolds, a good strong pair of horses, and a driver who could understand our German, because, as we found out afterwards, he could speak English himself, and consequently had an car for our pure idiom.
First, we ascended a high eminence on the side of which is perched the ruins of the old Heidelberg castle, which is indeed a most interesting object. In respect to size it corresponds with Windsor castle, but its old walls are far more massive. At one point, where a huge tower had been blown clown by the French some hundreds of years ago, we were enabled to estimate the thickness of the wails, and found them to be fully twenty-one feet of solid rock masonry. The outside walls enclose an area of over forty acres, while the castle proper, we think, must cover some five or six acres. Again we wonder how this immense mass of material could have been transported from the lowland quarries up this precipitous mountain side, and then raised to the dizzy height of these grand old battlements.
The moat which extends around the castle we judge to be 100 feet wide and near fifty feet in depth, and with its banks thoroughly protected by the heaviest of masonry. Nor was there wanting a sample of the fine arts of those days, for on all sides we see marvelous examples of statuary of kings and men of renown, of whom we are ashamed to say we know but little.
A gateway still stands flanked by columns of the finest carving, an evidence of the love of King Frederick V for his wife Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England, and still recognized as Princess Elizabeth's Gate.
From various points around and above the old castle can be had a magnificently extended view of the valley of the Neckar, on which Heidelberg is located, and of its junction with the river Rhine, a good many miles away, and at the same time a birds-eye view of this old city, with its curiously tiled houses nestled so closely together that two vehicles can scarcely pass in some of the streets. Here we also see the university buildings, which are by no means imposing, and several club houses of the students, each designated by its own peculiar flag.
Our pleasant drive was extended, after our inspection of the castle had ended, across the Neckar by an old stone bridge built some 150 years ago, and standing as firm (aye, probably much firmer) than if the contractors were of the present year. Ascending the mountain on the opposite side we obtained a splendid sight of distant mountains and plains, while at our very hands the vineyards were loaded down with grapes, getting ready for the vintage. Altogether we do not remember spending a more thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
After a, light tea we go out again and are attracted by strains of sweetest music to a beautiful garden, which was brilliantly lighted and filled with happy, merry people.
Of course we sought admittance, which ...
cost us thirty pfennings (which means seven and a half cents of our money) and for this small consideration we were enabled to listen to a concert such as anyone in Asheville would gladly give seventy-five cents to hear, while the sweet flowers, the green grass, the bright, hazy fountains, the bright lights and the happy boys and girls, made it a thousand fold more agreeable. We could not but wish that our good people at Asheville could enjoy, during these summer nights, exactly such recreation as this, and drink just as much of this pure lager or wine as they were able to get outside of. We must believe that the effect would be most happy, taking their minds off from their business embarrassments and from the everlasting quarrels over politics and elections, and promoting kindly feeling and good fellowship among them all. Suppose, dear friends, we try to do something of this kind. It •will surely be a step forward in the cause of true philanthropy and progress.
Speaking of beer, we could not but be amused to see a party who sat near us at the table this evening, composed of a large family, evidently wealthy, and of high social position. The junior members consisted of a half dozen boys, varying in age from six to fifteen years, and the mother without the slightest hesitation, supplied them each with a foaming glass of beer just as naturally as we would give our little ones milk or water. They seem to think it the only thing to do. Beer is absolutely the national and natural drink for young and old, rich and poor, man and woman. High born or low born, all seem to meet on this common ground of devotion of the divinity, lager.
While surprised at the universality of the custom, we do not believe it to be otherwise than beneficial. Whether or not it may be attributable to this habit, the fact is manifest that the Germans are the strongest and we believe the happiest people in Europe, if not in the world, and it is certainly a relief to be free from the-terrible scenes which we described in our letter from London as being openly, slanderously enacted upon the streets of that city. Good-bye.
baden-baden, August 7, 1889.
dear citizen:—The fact that this renowned place has lost its character as a gambling spa matters very little to your correspondent, as his purse is not so plethoric as to require depletion, and all that is needed to make it perfectly beautiful, still remains.
Providence has smiled on us by giving a bright sunshiny day, which is the only thing that could possibly add to the enjoyment of this lovely spot.
Leaving Heidelberg this morning at an early hour, we soon recognized the dark hues of the Black Forest, which brought to inind our boyhood's recollection of Baron Munchausen, although we are not altogether sure that this is the scene of his wonderful exploits. Nevertheless, as we took a most charming drive this afternoon through the sombre balsams which give the name to the lorest, as they do to our Black mountain, we fancied we could see the very spotwherethedeerhad the cherry tree to grow out of his forehead, and where the frozen music was thawed out, and the wild boar killed in a manner so terribly tragic. It suited very well, whether our memory of the location of the old story is correct or not.
From Heidelberg our train skirted a range of mountains until it reached Oos, where an opening seemed suddenly to break through them, disclosing a sweet, quiet valle3r, into -which a connecting road quickly carried us, and landed us on the banks of one of the most sparkling-streams we have ever seen—and there we were at the famous Baden-Baden.
We are certainly glad that the government has put an end to the gambling which has given it so unsavory a reputation, because surely in no spot could human wickedness seem more out of place. It appears designed by the great Creator to be exactly what it now is—a pleasant resting spot for men and women wearied with the labors of life and seeking recuperation of strength to fit them for their future struggles. This is exactly what Baden-Baden is suited to be, and what we conceive that it is. Probably it is by some considered and used as a fashionable retreat, but we have been troubled not at all by this characteristic, and have only had time to sip its great pleasures.
Even a spot of such marvelotis attractions would fail to please unless the wearied traveler can be comfortably lodged and fed, and this we find once more at hand, thanks to our Cook's coupons, which secure us rooms, notwithstanding the crowd, at the Hotel de Holla-id, in all respects a most desirable hostelry, with polite and courteous landlord and subordinates. What a relief after our London experience.
We advise all persons coming to Europe to go first to Cook's office, and with his help to map out their proposed tour, buy their tickets and provide themselves with hotel coupons for every day they expect to be absent from the United States. We heard many opinions expressed on this subject, and hesitated as to the wisdom of investing in these coupons, but our experience with them has been most satisfactory. The hotels to which they have admitted us have been uniformly good, and a most important point is that they dispense with extras, which so annoyed us otherwise. Whether the cost of traveling with them is greater we cannot tell certainly, but think it is the cheapest way, considering the character of the accommodations provided, and it certainly saves a vast amount of trouble in buying tickets at each station and deciding on a hotel in a strange place.
We started to say, before this digression, that, leaving4 Heidelberg at an early hour, we skirted the Black Forest, passing through a well cultivated section of country which was devoted to crops with which we are familiar, such as tobacco, corn (maize), beets, oats, etc., all looking in good order, especially the tobacco, which reminds us to advise our smoking friends to send here for their cigars, if they can get them home free of the odious custom house duties, as today we bought an excellent one, such as at Asheville would sell for three-for-a-quarter, for the small sum of six pfen nings, or one and a half cents. At most of the tobacco stands we are reminded of our State by seeing the familiar brands of Duke's cigarettes, of which the price seems very high, so that we must abjure them and adopt Dutch cigars instead.
It is not only the crops of this country winch resemble ours, but many of the shade and forest trees arc almost 'denti-
cal. We do not know by what name they may be called here, but recognize readily our old friends, the locust, the mountain birch, the Lombardy poplar, the dark black balsam, tall firs orspruce, the catalpa and the hideous alianthus, all of which, while reminding us pleasantly of our dear home, surprise us to find them in this comparatively low section.
Immediately after being ensconced safely in our rooms, we sally forth to see sights, and until our table d'hote, at the old fashioned hour of one p. m., we enjoy a charming walk over the greenest of grass (no signs to "keep off"), by the brightest of flowers in endless profusion, and around the most admirably designed fountains, which, from piles of huge stone, shoot aloft a most delicate and graceful spray of mist, rather than water, which falls not into an orthodox circular basin, but keeps moist the surrounding lillies, and then flows secretly away by some hidden aqueduct.
Our walk discloses also some most elegant buildings, admirably adapted to their various purposes. Among them one that is called a "conversation house" to which we are admitted for the small fee of one mark, which entitles us to attend both an afternoon and evening concert of the most heavenly music.
The interior of this "conversation" is most elaboratery fitted up as reading and concert halls, but chiefly were we attracted by its ball rooms, of which we cannot resist the effort to give you a very faint description.
Four in number, they are named in honor of four French Kings, Louis XIII, XIV, XV and XVI, and each vies with each in absolute splendor.
First in order, that of Louis XIII, measuring 65x65 feet, its walls and ceiling frescoed in most subdued tints; its rich dark floor of highly polished oak, inviting our old stiff shanks to try a polka or mazurka; lighted by five large chandeliers, each bearing seventy candles, which are multiplied a thousand fold by the bright gilt, and flashing crystal of which their holders are composed, while around the walls one hundred and fifty gas jets are modified by shades of ground glass, lighting up the hazy fountains, which, four in number, add to the fairness of the picture.
The hangings are of heavy damask, yellow and pink, while the golden framed chairs and sofas are upholstei'ed in old pink and blue of most delicate shade.
Opening from this is the boudoir of Louis XV, small in size (probably 30x50 feet), hung with the very heaviest of pompadour silk and gold, while the magnificent furniture is upholstered to correspond in some costly material. We were told that each of the many chairs had cost twenty-five hundred francs, but this we must think is exaggeration.
On the opposite side of the boudoir we enter the room of Louis XIV, measuring 60x80 feet, corresponding in finish with the others, except that its curtains and upholstering are of the very richest red, lighting up brilliantly at night, and yet, strange to say, free froin all approach to gaudiness in day, the sunlight only seeming to render it more softly rich and magnificent.
The largest and finest ball room is that named in honor of Louis XVI, and finished as a winter garden ; its walls of gold and silver, covered with the most rare exotics in full growth and bloom, while in the center a mound of the same is kept fresh and healthy by a spray which shoots up on high, which is repeated on each of the four corners.
With this weak effort at describing the charms of this marvelous building, we must pass on to a far different scene, illustrative of the grandeur of the olden times as this is of the present.
A good brett, at most accommodating terms, receives us as the afternoon concert is finished, and gives us a drive over an excellent but steep road, ascending an overhanging mountain, whose sides are in part covered by the richest of grass, and immediately adjoining it by the most dense of balsam and fir forest. After crossing which for a distance of three miles, we emerge near the top upon what must have once been a kingly palace, now in ruins, but retaining enough of its ancient form to show how grand it had been in design and execution. Its massive walls of solid stone surmount the mountain's crest to a perfectly dizzy height, and enclosing what must once have been princely banquet halls, now occupied by immense growing forest
trees, which seem striving to overlook their lofty enclosures.
At other points, too, we see evidence of horrible dungeons of those dark and cruel clays, and a well, curbed around with hewn stones, ten feet in interior diameter, and we wonder to what depth it must have gone, but cannot tell, as it is nearly filled with the debris of many ages.
A climb up the steep stone stairs, over which so many happy and sad people must have passed, takes us to the very topmost pinnacle of the walls and tower, which here are about eight feet thick, and thus afford a safe and comfortable walk, from which a view is obtained of most wonderful brightness and beauty, first over the mountain sides, of balsam as thick as any on our Roane or Mitch-ell, and then over the sweet valley in which nestles Baden-Baden, and yet beyond, on the level country, threaded as far as the eye can reach by the silvery waters of the Rhine. This sight alone, we all agree, pa^-s us for all of the discomforts of an ocean voyage, even in a State Line steamer.
The weirdness of this "Altschloss," "old castle," is much increased as we climb its crooked stairs, by the doleful sound of an /Bolian harp, which by some one, has been placed in the depth of one of its ancient embrasures, and by its sad notes, seems to sound the dirge of the old people, who perhaps are buried beneath.
Returning by another route, affording more and varied beauties at every curve, we reach the town just in time to hasten back to the "conversation" and take a seat in its garden, now brilliant with gas, in all kinds of fantastic and patriotic designs, to have our tea served while our ears are again regaled by such music as one seldom enjoys in America, and to watch the crowds of young and old, children of six and men and women of sixty, who drink it in with the same avidity and the same stolid sense of pleasure with which they imbibe their foaming lager, and thus ends our happy day in Baden-Baden, August 8.
Not content with what we had done on yesterday, 6 o'clock finds us winding our way to the bath house, where the dust of ages is quickly removed by a plunge into this glowing water in basins of purest
marble, of all sizes and shapes, and of various degrees of temperature. Our only trouble is the want of an interpreter. All of the gentlemen seemed anxious to explain the ins and outs, but, unfortunately, we found not one to speak English or French; so that we were somewhat mystified, but, plunging from one to another, we tested the degrees of heat or cold in a manner thoroughly practical, if not scientific, and emerged with the impression that this bath was the most charming of our lives.
After a good break "a ;t we go to the Trinkhalle and imbibe a glass of warm mineral water for our stomach's sake, and this duty being pc -f armed, a walk up a steady hillside takes u: to see a Greek church, the first we have entered, quite small, but richly ornate, and containing two fine specimens of marble work commemorating the virtues of a young prince and princess of whom the church seems to be a memorial erected by their parents. The tablet to the young man impressed us with its quaint pathos, saying in French that on such day "Our dear son gave back his sweet soul to God."
This ends our visit to Baden-Baden, and one of the most charming days of our life. We are now flying southward to Lucerne, which we hope to reach this afternoon, at 5 o'clock.
We regret having to pass Strasburg and its wonderful clock, but the hour would not suit for us to be there at noon, which is the time that the twelve apostles appear and many other wonderful things are done. Not having time enough to devote a day to this, we must postpone its examination until our next visit, when we hope many Asheville friends may be with us, and enjoy, in person, the things which so delight us. Good-bye.
GLASGOW, July 19, 1889.
dear citizen:—Landing yesterday at Greenock, the tide not permitting- our steamer to farther ascend the lovely Clyde, a fast train brought us in an hour to this city, and enabled us to take a hasty glimpse of a most exquisite country. '
The features of Scotland, with which we are most impressed at once, are the character of the buildings, and the thorough cultivation of the soil. A very large majority of the houses are constructed of stone, presenting less artistic effect in their architecture than a sense of durability. The stone, for the most part, is of a. dull, dark grey color, but occasionally varied by red sandstone, similar in hue to our best brick. No effort, as a rule, seems to have been made to lay the walls in courses at all regular, but the roughness adds greatly to the sense of strength.
The farming lands, for the most part, seem devoted to the cultivation of hay, and every one exclaims at the large number of stacks, produced upon such small patches of land : It does indeed appear incredible that so much can be had from soil apparently rough and sterile. The color of the hay, too, is remarked by us, it being of a light olive green, blended with slight yellow, and giving proof of having been cut in its most juicy and succulent condition, instead of remaining to grow hard and worthless, as our farmers too often allow it to do. The horses, too, give evidence of the excellent quality of food. They are bred in Ireland. We have never seen anything to compare with the big size of those used for heavy draft, and their huge feet are a marvel indeed. The magnificent animal which brought our baggage from the steamer to the train has an understanding of which an elephant might be justly proud. With apparent ease he drags up a steep incline, a tremendous pile of trunks, and they being discharged into the funny little cars, he is led by his driver at least one .hundred yards to find sufficient space for him to turn about and return for another load.
This slow and dignified procedure strikes us as very funny, showing that our Scotch friends place low estimate upon time The detention to us Americans seems most exasperating. First the intolerable nuisance of custom officers inspecting each article, as though her majesty’s dominion depended upon their guarding her from the impositions of a few North Carolina teachers, and, when this is accomplished, we are with equal deliberation taken upon a tug boat and carried ashore. So that at least two hours of our scant time is wasted in the landing.
The funny little railway carriages are subject of universal remark. However ...
often we have read a description of them, we never before realized their drollness. While acknowledging their comfort and speed, we would not at all change systems with them. Ours is to us far more convenient and desirable in all respects; and we cannot but wonder that some enterprising Yank has so long refrained from establishing our plan of checking baggage, or luggage as they call it universally here.
If our cars are the best, their station facilities more than make amends. The passenger accommodation in the depots, so far as we have seen, is simply superb. Nothing flimsy or showy, but absolute solid comfort constructed like everything else, of iron and stone, as though intended for the use of generations centuries hence.
Each station is supplied with a most excellent hotel Thus we are now at the St. Enoch's station hotel, and it is one \ve have rarely seen equaled for solid comfort. We are almost lost in its large and airy rooms after our ten days' confinement in a crowded stateroom.
A good supper and night's refreshing rest enables us to take a morning stroll around the city, while most of our party have gone to visit Ayr, the poet Burns' home. We hope they may have an enjoyable time, but would not at this moment have missed what we have seen under any consideration. The rows and streets of immense grey stone houses, "whether residence, shop, or hotel, give to the 'whole city an air of calm dignity, such as we have nowhere experienced.
The few public buildings that our limited time allows us to see are of corresponding gravity. The city hall is really most impressive, of a Corinthian style of architecture, and of the eternal grey stone, with walls and battlements adorned plentifully with statuary that, to our eyes, seem most excellent in design and accomplishment. It faces upon St. George's square, which, while lacking the shady verdure of our LaFayette square, is adorned with most admirable statues in bronze of distinguished people.
First, of course, as in duty bound, we doff our hat before an equestrian statue of her majesty, in which she is represented as sitting upon a ,superb horse with a degree of ease which she could only have obtained in the prime of her womanhood. Opposite, the prince consort bestrides a steed, but in no manner does his his appearance keep pace with that of his worthy frati.
Of the many other statues, which stand guard as it were over their royal highnesses, we are most pleased with Sir Walter Scott, who stands erect on a lofty shaft in the center of the square, and with the strong hard features of Field Marshal Lord Clyde, Colin Campbell, the great general who succeeded in taking relief to the garrison of Lucknow,
A connoisseur will probably be most pleased with the figures of James Watt, and Sir John Moore, both by eminently distinguished artists, the former by Chantrey and the latter by Flaxman, but making no such profession ourselves, we are delighted alike by one and all, and gaze in rapture upon Sir Robert Peel, Robert Burns, Dr. Livingstone, Campbell, the poet, who with many others renowned in the world's works, seem to look into our very soul with their lifelike eyes.
But unless we curtail our notes of delight we will not find enough paper for our need, and the grandest of all remains to be mentioned — the cathedral — and however strange it seems to us to call a Presbyterian church by this name, the building itself deserves the title. The exterior, while impressive, fails to give one any idea of the delight that awaits him upon entering. The lofty stone pillars, supporting: arches of the same material, and of endless variety of size and dimensions, while the glazing of the windows in colors most exquisite lend a soft, balmy brilliance to what would otherwise be the cold gray of the stone.
This being the established church of Scotland, is, of course, Presbyterian, and is under charge of Rev. Dr. Burns, who is said to be an eloquent and earnest divine. We hope on Sunday we may have an opportunity to judge of his eloquence.
Space again forbids us to attempt a description of this magnificent building, even should our pen be so bold as to essay it. We must content ourselves with a few notes of the part most interesting to us, the crypt, in which innumerable pillars of the everlasting stone supports the floor of the nave and My Lady's Chapel. In the center is a catafalque, used as a ...
place for lying in state of distinguished dead, and under which is the tomb of Saint Mingo, the patron saint of Glasgow, who died Anno Domini 601, and whose well in a corner ot the same crypt used to bestow healing tipon the credulous multitudes. Near by we are shown Rob Roy's Pillar, where the gallant Mc-Gregor concealed himself during the service. But perhaps the length of the sermon may have overcome his discretion, and being discovered ho beat a retreat towards his native heath, which his foot so delighted to press, and this door by which we stand gave him exit.
How vividly this beautiful story, read in our boyhood, is brought back to mind as we lean against the very pillar and conceal ourselves in its shade as did brave Rob Roy.
This visit to this magnificent pile is not devoid of features of amusement. It is indeed strange that even the solemn monuments of the dead often carry with them points irresistibly ludicrous. On an ancient bronze appears a legend which reads in English as follows:
"Here are buried Sir Walter, Sir Thomas, Sir John, Sir Robert, Sir John and Sir Matthew, by lineal descent to others Barons and Knights of the House of Mynto, with their wifys, bairnes and brethren."
Which shows that the great house of Minto were frugal Scotch and practiced economy even in the matter of tombstones, one being considered enough for the whole generation, their '' wifys, bairnes and brethren."
The following epitaph to Dr. Low we commend to his professional brethren, that when their "phisick's force oft failed" their pleasant purpose may prevail, and enable them through divine grace "to live in mirth and die in peace."
At the cathedral door one's eyes are feasted by a view of the beautiful Necropolis, the home of the dead of later days than those whose dust lies nearer the sacred walls, which position they have held, some of them, since early in the fifth century.
At a distance we see there a handsome monument to John Knox, the restorer of the Bible to Scotland, who with all of his hard, austere nature was a good man and a great reformer, well deserving this shaft of stone, which is not needed to keep his memory green.
As we leave the cathedral place our eye rests upon a figure of one -whose name we have bestowed upon our little son, an honor of which we hope he may prove deserving—Norman McLeod, the great writer in good words and the earnest preacher of Glasgow, famous as much for his purity of heart as for the boldness with which he presented views so liberal as to be considered heterodox. We could not resist the thought that the monument of the stern upholder of doctrine, the most absolutely orthodox, looked down with pity, perhaps contempt upon his liberal fellow laborer of the nineteenth century, but to us each seems to have been called to and faithfully filled his appropriate place in his generation, and the ideas of Farrar and McLeod are those which will prevail, and exercise influence over the men of this day.
* This letter is inserted in the order in which it appeared in the asheville citizen, and not in continuity of date, owing to delay in transmission and reception.