Part 2 out of 10
To my untutored ear that was music--almost divine music.
While my seared soul was steeped in the healing balm
of those gracious sounds, it seemed to me that I could
almost resuffer the torments which had gone before,
in order to be so healed again. There is where the deep
ingenuity of the operatic idea is betrayed. It deals so
largely in pain that its scattered delights are prodigiously
augmented by the contrasts. A pretty air in an opera is
prettier there than it could be anywhere else, I suppose,
just as an honest man in politics shines more than he
I have since found out that there is nothing the Germans
like so much as an opera. They like it, not in a mild
and moderate way, but with their whole hearts.
This is a legitimate result of habit and education.
Our nation will like the opera, too, by and by, no doubt.
One in fifty of those who attend our operas likes
it already, perhaps, but I think a good many of the other
forty-nine go in order to learn to like it, and the
rest in order to be able to talk knowingly about it.
The latter usually hum the airs while they are being sung,
so that their neighbors may perceive that they have been
to operas before. The funerals of these do not occur
A gentle, old-maidish person and a sweet young girl
of seventeen sat right in front of us that night at the
Mannheim opera. These people talked, between the acts,
and I understood them, though I understood nothing
that was uttered on the distant stage. At first they
were guarded in their talk, but after they had heard
my agent and me conversing in English they dropped their
reserve and I picked up many of their little confidences;
no, I mean many of HER little confidences--meaning
the elder party--for the young girl only listened,
and gave assenting nods, but never said a word. How pretty
she was, and how sweet she was! I wished she would speak.
But evidently she was absorbed in her own thoughts,
her own young-girl dreams, and found a dearer pleasure
in silence. But she was not dreaming sleepy dreams--no,
she was awake, alive, alert, she could not sit still
a moment. She was an enchanting study. Her gown was
of a soft white silky stuff that clung to her round
young figure like a fish's skin, and it was rippled
over with the gracefulest little fringy films of lace;
she had deep, tender eyes, with long, curved lashes;
and she had peachy cheeks, and a dimpled chin, and such
a dear little rosebud of a mouth; and she was so dovelike,
so pure, and so gracious, so sweet and so bewitching.
For long hours I did mightily wish she would speak.
And at last she did; the red lips parted, and out leaps her
thought--and with such a guileless and pretty enthusiasm,
too: "Auntie, I just KNOW I've got five hundred fleas
That was probably over the average. Yes, it must have been
very much over the average. The average at that time
in the Grand Duchy of Baden was forty-five to a young
person (when alone), according to the official estimate
of the home secretary for that year; the average for older
people was shifty and indeterminable, for whenever a
wholesome young girl came into the presence of her elders
she immediately lowered their average and raised her own.
She became a sort of contribution-box. This dear young
thing in the theater had been sitting there unconsciously
taking up a collection. Many a skinny old being in our
neighborhood was the happier and the restfuler for her coming.
In that large audience, that night, there were eight very
conspicuous people. These were ladies who had their hats
or bonnets on. What a blessed thing it would be if a lady
could make herself conspicuous in our theaters by wearing
her hat. It is not usual in Europe to allow ladies
and gentlemen to take bonnets, hats, overcoats, canes,
or umbrellas into the auditorium, but in Mannheim this
rule was not enforced because the audiences were largely
made up of people from a distance, and among these were
always a few timid ladies who were afraid that if they had
to go into an anteroom to get their things when the play
was over, they would miss their train. But the great mass
of those who came from a distance always ran the risk
and took the chances, preferring the loss of a train
to a breach of good manners and the discomfort of being
unpleasantly conspicuous during a stretch of three or four hours.
[How Wagner Operas Bang Along]
Three or four hours. That is a long time to sit in one place,
whether one be conspicuous or not, yet some of Wagner's
operas bang along for six whole hours on a stretch!
But the people sit there and enjoy it all, and wish it
would last longer. A German lady in Munich told me
that a person could not like Wagner's music at first,
but must go through the deliberate process of learning
to like it--then he would have his sure reward;
for when he had learned to like it he would hunger
for it and never be able to get enough of it. She said
that six hours of Wagner was by no means too much.
She said that this composer had made a complete revolution
in music and was burying the old masters one by one.
And she said that Wagner's operas differed from all others
in one notable respect, and that was that they were not
merely spotted with music here and there, but were ALL music,
from the first strain to the last. This surprised me.
I said I had attended one of his insurrections, and found
hardly ANY music in it except the Wedding Chorus.
She said "Lohengrin" was noisier than Wagner's other operas,
but that if I would keep on going to see it I would find
by and by that it was all music, and therefore would
then enjoy it. I COULD have said, "But would you advise
a person to deliberately practice having a toothache
in the pit of his stomach for a couple of years in order
that he might then come to enjoy it?" But I reserved
This lady was full of the praises of the head-tenor
who had performed in a Wagner opera the night before,
and went on to enlarge upon his old and prodigious fame,
and how many honors had been lavished upon him by the
princely houses of Germany. Here was another surprise.
I had attended that very opera, in the person of my agent,
and had made close and accurate observations. So I
"Why, madam, MY experience warrants me in stating
that that tenor's voice is not a voice at all,
but only a shriek--the shriek of a hyena."
"That is very true," she said; "he cannot sing now;
it is already many years that he has lost his voice,
but in other times he sang, yes, divinely! So whenever
he comes now, you shall see, yes, that the theater
will not hold the people. JAWOHL BEI GOTT! his voice
is WUNDERSCHOEN in that past time."
I said she was discovering to me a kindly trait in the
Germans which was worth emulating. I said that over
the water we were not quite so generous; that with us,
when a singer had lost his voice and a jumper had lost
his legs, these parties ceased to draw. I said I had been
to the opera in Hanover, once, and in Mannheim once,
and in Munich (through my authorized agent) once, and this
large experience had nearly persuaded me that the Germans
PREFERRED singers who couldn't sing. This was not such
a very extravagant speech, either, for that burly Mannheim
tenor's praises had been the talk of all Heidelberg for
a week before his performance took place--yet his voice
was like the distressing noise which a nail makes when you
screech it across a window-pane. I said so to Heidelberg
friends the next day, and they said, in the calmest and
simplest way, that that was very true, but that in earlier
times his voice HAD been wonderfully fine. And the tenor
in Hanover was just another example of this sort.
The English-speaking German gentleman who went with me
to the opera there was brimming with enthusiasm over that tenor.
"ACH GOTT! a great man! You shall see him. He is so celebrate
in all Germany--and he has a pension, yes, from the government.
He not obliged to sing now, only twice every year;
but if he not sing twice each year they take him his pension
Very well, we went. When the renowned old tenor appeared,
I got a nudge and an excited whisper:
"Now you see him!"
But the "celebrate" was an astonishing disappointment to me.
If he had been behind a screen I should have supposed
they were performing a surgical operation on him.
I looked at my friend--to my great surprise he seemed
intoxicated with pleasure, his eyes were dancing
with eager delight. When the curtain at last fell,
he burst into the stormiest applause, and kept it up--as
did the whole house--until the afflictive tenor had
come three times before the curtain to make his bow.
While the glowing enthusiast was swabbing the perspiration
from his face, I said:
"I don't mean the least harm, but really, now, do you
think he can sing?"
"Him? NO! GOTT IM HIMMEL, ABER, how he has been able to
sing twenty-five years ago?" [Then pensively.] "ACH, no,
NOW he not sing any more, he only cry. When he think
he sing, now, he not sing at all, no, he only make
like a cat which is unwell."
Where and how did we get the idea that the Germans
are a stolid, phlegmatic race? In truth, they are
widely removed from that. They are warm-hearted,
emotional, impulsive, enthusiastic, their tears come
at the mildest touch, and it is not hard to move them
to laughter. They are the very children of impulse.
We are cold and self-contained, compared to the Germans.
They hug and kiss and cry and shout and dance and sing;
and where we use one loving, petting expressions they pour
out a score. Their language is full of endearing diminutives;
nothing that they love escapes the application of a petting
diminutive--neither the house, nor the dog, nor the horse,
nor the grandmother, nor any other creature, animate or
In the theaters at Hanover, Hamburg, and Mannheim,
they had a wise custom. The moment the curtain went up,
the light in the body of the house went down.
The audience sat in the cool gloom of a deep twilight,
which greatly enhanced the glowing splendors of the stage.
It saved gas, too, and people were not sweated to death.
When I saw "King Lear" played, nobody was allowed to see
a scene shifted; if there was nothing to be done but slide
a forest out of the way and expose a temple beyond, one did
not see that forest split itself in the middle and go
shrieking away, with the accompanying disenchanting spectacle
of the hands and heels of the impelling impulse--no,
the curtain was always dropped for an instant--one heard
not the least movement behind it--but when it went up,
the next instant, the forest was gone. Even when the
stage was being entirely reset, one heard no noise.
During the whole time that "King Lear" was playing
the curtain was never down two minutes at any one time.
The orchestra played until the curtain was ready to go up
for the first time, then they departed for the evening.
Where the stage waits never each two minutes there is no
occasion for music. I had never seen this two-minute
business between acts but once before, and that was when
the "Shaughraun" was played at Wallack's.
I was at a concert in Munich one night, the people
were streaming in, the clock-hand pointed to seven,
the music struck up, and instantly all movement in
the body of the house ceased--nobody was standing,
or walking up the aisles, or fumbling with a seat,
the stream of incomers had suddenly dried up at its source.
I listened undisturbed to a piece of music that was fifteen
minutes long--always expecting some tardy ticket-holders
to come crowding past my knees, and being continuously and
pleasantly disappointed--but when the last note was struck,
here came the stream again. You see, they had made
those late comers wait in the comfortable waiting-parlor
from the time the music had begin until it was ended.
It was the first time I had ever seen this sort of
criminals denied the privilege of destroying the comfort
of a house full of their betters. Some of these were
pretty fine birds, but no matter, they had to tarry
outside in the long parlor under the inspection of
a double rank of liveried footmen and waiting-maids
who supported the two walls with their backs and held
the wraps and traps of their masters and mistresses on their
We had no footmen to hold our things, and it was not
permissible to take them into the concert-room; but there
were some men and women to take charge of them for us.
They gave us checks for them and charged a fixed price,
payable in advance--five cents.
In Germany they always hear one thing at an opera
which has never yet been heard in America, perhaps--I
mean the closing strain of a fine solo or duet.
We always smash into it with an earthquake of applause.
The result is that we rob ourselves of the sweetest
part of the treat; we get the whiskey, but we don't get
the sugar in the bottom of the glass.
Our way of scattering applause along through an act seems
to me to be better than the Mannheim way of saving it
all up till the act is ended. I do not see how an actor
can forget himself and portray hot passion before a cold
still audience. I should think he would feel foolish.
It is a pain to me to this day, to remember how that old
German Lear raged and wept and howled around the stage,
with never a response from that hushed house, never a
single outburst till the act was ended. To me there was
something unspeakably uncomfortable in the solemn dead
silences that always followed this old person's tremendous
outpourings of his feelings. I could not help putting
myself in his place--I thought I knew how sick and flat
he felt during those silences, because I remembered a case
which came under my observation once, and which--but I
will tell the incident:
One evening on board a Mississippi steamboat, a boy of ten
years lay asleep in a berth--a long, slim-legged boy,
he was, encased in quite a short shirt; it was the first
time he had ever made a trip on a steamboat, and so he
was troubled, and scared, and had gone to bed with his
head filled with impending snaggings, and explosions,
and conflagrations, and sudden death. About ten o'clock
some twenty ladies were sitting around about the ladies'
saloon, quietly reading, sewing, embroidering, and so on,
and among them sat a sweet, benignant old dame with round
spectacles on her nose and her busy knitting-needles
in her hands. Now all of a sudden, into the midst of this
peaceful scene burst that slim-shanked boy in the brief shirt,
wild-eyed, erect-haired, and shouting, "Fire, fire!
JUMP AND RUN, THE BOAT'S AFIRE AND THERE AIN'T A MINUTE
TO LOSE!" All those ladies looked sweetly up and smiled,
nobody stirred, the old lady pulled her spectacles down,
looked over them, and said, gently:
"But you mustn't catch cold, child. Run and put on
your breastpin, and then come and tell us all about it."
It was a cruel chill to give to a poor little devil's
gushing vehemence. He was expecting to be a sort of
hero--the creator of a wild panic--and here everybody
sat and smiled a mocking smile, and an old woman made
fun of his bugbear. I turned and crept away--for I
was that boy--and never even cared to discover whether
I had dreamed the fire or actually seen it.
I am told that in a German concert or opera, they hardly
ever encore a song; that though they may be dying to hear
it again, their good breeding usually preserves them
against requiring the repetition.
Kings may encore; that is quite another matter;
it delights everybody to see that the King is pleased;
and as to the actor encored, his pride and gratification
are simply boundless. Still, there are circumstances
in which even a royal encore--
But it is better to illustrate. The King of Bavaria is
a poet, and has a poet's eccentricities--with the advantage
over all other poets of being able to gratify them,
no matter what form they may take. He is fond of opera,
but not fond of sitting in the presence of an audience;
therefore, it has sometimes occurred, in Munich,
that when an opera has been concluded and the players
were getting off their paint and finery, a command has
come to them to get their paint and finery on again.
Presently the King would arrive, solitary and alone,
and the players would begin at the beginning and do the
entire opera over again with only that one individual
in the vast solemn theater for audience. Once he took
an odd freak into his head. High up and out of sight,
over the prodigious stage of the court theater is a maze
of interlacing water-pipes, so pierced that in case
of fire, innumerable little thread-like streams of
water can be caused to descend; and in case of need,
this discharge can be augmented to a pouring flood.
American managers might want to make a note of that.
The King was sole audience. The opera proceeded,
it was a piece with a storm in it; the mimic thunder
began to mutter, the mimic wind began to wail and sough,
and the mimic rain to patter. The King's interest rose
higher and higher; it developed into enthusiasm. He cried
"It is very, very good, indeed! But I will have real
rain! Turn on the water!"
The manager pleaded for a reversal of the command; said it
would ruin the costly scenery and the splendid costumes,
but the King cried:
"No matter, no matter, I will have real rain! Turn
on the water!"
So the real rain was turned on and began to descend in
gossamer lances to the mimic flower-beds and gravel walks
of the stage. The richly dressed actresses and actors
tripped about singing bravely and pretending not to mind it.
The King was delighted--his enthusiasm grew higher.
He cried out:
"Bravo, bravo! More thunder! more lightning! turn
on more rain!"
The thunder boomed, the lightning glared, the storm-winds raged,
the deluge poured down. The mimic royalty on the stage,
with their soaked satins clinging to their bodies,
slopped about ankle-deep in water, warbling their sweetest
and best, the fiddlers under the eaves of the state sawed
away for dear life, with the cold overflow spouting down
the backs of their necks, and the dry and happy King sat
in his lofty box and wore his gloves to ribbons applauding.
"More yet!" cried the King; "more yet--let loose all
the thunder, turn on all the water! I will hang the man
that raises an umbrella!"
When this most tremendous and effective storm that had
ever been produced in any theater was at last over,
the King's approbation was measureless. He cried:
"Magnificent, magnificent! ENCORE! Do it again!"
But the manager succeeded in persuading him to recall
the encore, and said the company would feel sufficiently
rewarded and complimented in the mere fact that the
encore was desired by his Majesty, without fatiguing
him with a repetition to gratify their own vanity.
During the remainder of the act the lucky performers
were those whose parts required changes of dress;
the others were a soaked, bedraggled, and uncomfortable lot,
but in the last degree picturesque. The stage scenery
was ruined, trap-doors were so swollen that they wouldn't
work for a week afterward, the fine costumes were spoiled,
and no end of minor damages were done by that remarkable storm.
It was royal idea--that storm--and royally carried out.
But observe the moderation of the King; he did not
insist upon his encore. If he had been a gladsome,
unreflecting American opera-audience, he probably would
have had his storm repeated and repeated until he drowned
all those people.
[I Paint a "Turner"]
The summer days passed pleasantly in Heidelberg.
We had a skilled trainer, and under his instructions we
were getting our legs in the right condition for the
contemplated pedestrian tours; we were well satisfied
with the progress which we had made in the German language,
[1. See Appendix D for information concerning this
fearful tongue.] and more than satisfied with what we had
accomplished in art. We had had the best instructors in
drawing and painting in Germany--Haemmerling, Vogel, Mueller,
Dietz, and Schumann. Haemmerling taught us landscape-painting.
Vogel taught us figure-drawing, Mueller taught us to do
still-life, and Dietz and Schumann gave us a finishing
course in two specialties--battle-pieces and shipwrecks.
Whatever I am in Art I owe to these men. I have something
of the manner of each and all of them; but they all said that I
had also a manner of my own, and that it was conspicuous.
They said there was a marked individuality about my
style--insomuch that if I ever painted the commonest
type of a dog, I should be sure to throw a something
into the aspect of that dog which would keep him from
being mistaken for the creation of any other artist.
Secretly I wanted to believe all these kind sayings,
but I could not; I was afraid that my masters'
partiality for me, and pride in me, biased their judgment.
So I resolved to make a test. Privately, and unknown
to any one, I painted my great picture, "Heidelberg Castle
Illuminated"--my first really important work in oils--and
had it hung up in the midst of a wilderness of oil-pictures
in the Art Exhibition, with no name attached to it. To my
great gratification it was instantly recognized as mine.
All the town flocked to see it, and people even came from
neighboring localities to visit it. It made more stir than
any other work in the Exhibition. But the most gratifying
thing of all was, that chance strangers, passing through,
who had not heard of my picture, were not only drawn to it,
as by a lodestone, the moment they entered the gallery,
but always took it for a "Turner."
Apparently nobody had ever done that. There were ruined
castles on the overhanging cliffs and crags all the way;
these were said to have their legends, like those on the Rhine,
and what was better still, they had never been in print.
There was nothing in the books about that lovely region;
it had been neglected by the tourist, it was virgin soil for
the literary pioneer.
Meantime the knapsacks, the rough walking-suits and the stout
walking-shoes which we had ordered, were finished and brought
to us. A Mr. X and a young Mr. Z had agreed to go with us.
We went around one evening and bade good-by to our friends,
and afterward had a little farewell banquet at the hotel.
We got to bed early, for we wanted to make an early start,
so as to take advantage of the cool of the morning.
We were out of bed at break of day, feeling fresh
and vigorous, and took a hearty breakfast, then plunged
down through the leafy arcades of the Castle grounds,
toward the town. What a glorious summer morning it was,
and how the flowers did pour out their fragrance,
and how the birds did sing! It was just the time for a
tramp through the woods and mountains.
We were all dressed alike: broad slouch hats, to keep the
sun off; gray knapsacks; blue army shirts; blue overalls;
leathern gaiters buttoned tight from knee down to ankle;
high-quarter coarse shoes snugly laced. Each man had
an opera-glass, a canteen, and a guide-book case slung
over his shoulder, and carried an alpenstock in one hand
and a sun-umbrella in the other. Around our hats were
wound many folds of soft white muslin, with the ends
hanging and flapping down our backs--an idea brought
from the Orient and used by tourists all over Europe.
Harris carried the little watch-like machine called
a "pedometer," whose office is to keep count of a man's
steps and tell how far he has walked. Everybody stopped
to admire our costumes and give us a hearty "Pleasant march
When we got downtown I found that we could go by rail to
within five miles of Heilbronn. The train was just starting,
so we jumped aboard and went tearing away in splendid spirits.
It was agreed all around that we had done wisely,
because it would be just as enjoyable to walk DOWN the Neckar
as up it, and it could not be needful to walk both ways.
There were some nice German people in our compartment.
I got to talking some pretty private matters presently,
and Harris became nervous; so he nudged me and said:
"Speak in German--these Germans may understand English."
I did so, it was well I did; for it turned out that there
was not a German in that party who did not understand
English perfectly. It is curious how widespread our language
is in Germany. After a while some of those folks got out
and a German gentleman and his two young daughters got in.
I spoke in German of one of the latter several times,
but without result. Finally she said:
"ICH VERSTEHE NUR DEUTCH UND ENGLISHE,"--or words to
that effect. That is, "I don't understand any language
but German and English."
And sure enough, not only she but her father and sister
spoke English. So after that we had all the talk we wanted;
and we wanted a good deal, for they were agreeable people.
They were greatly interested in our customs; especially
the alpenstocks, for they had not seen any before.
They said that the Neckar road was perfectly level, so we
must be going to Switzerland or some other rugged country;
and asked us if we did not find the walking pretty fatiguing
in such warm weather. But we said no.
We reached Wimpfen--I think it was Wimpfen--in about
three hours, and got out, not the least tired; found a
good hotel and ordered beer and dinner--then took
a stroll through the venerable old village. It was very
picturesque and tumble-down, and dirty and interesting.
It had queer houses five hundred years old in it,
and a military tower 115 feet high, which had stood there
more than ten centuries. I made a little sketch of it.
I kept a copy, but gave the original to the Burgomaster.
I think the original was better than the copy, because it
had more windows in it and the grass stood up better and had
a brisker look. There was none around the tower, though;
I composed the grass myself, from studies I made in a field
by Heidelberg in Haemmerling's time. The man on top,
looking at the view, is apparently too large, but I found
he could not be made smaller, conveniently. I wanted
him there, and I wanted him visible, so I thought out a
way to manage it; I composed the picture from two points
of view; the spectator is to observe the man from bout
where that flag is, and he must observe the tower itself
from the ground. This harmonizes the seeming discrepancy.
Near an old cathedral, under a shed, were three crosses
of stone--moldy and damaged things, bearing life-size
stone figures. The two thieves were dressed in the fanciful
court costumes of the middle of the sixteenth century,
while the Saviour was nude, with the exception of a cloth
around the loins.
We had dinner under the green trees in a garden belonging
to the hotel and overlooking the Neckar; then, after a smoke,
we went to bed. We had a refreshing nap, then got up
about three in the afternoon and put on our panoply.
As we tramped gaily out at the gate of the town,
we overtook a peasant's cart, partly laden with odds and
ends of cabbages and similar vegetable rubbish, and drawn
by a small cow and a smaller donkey yoked together.
It was a pretty slow concern, but it got us into Heilbronn
before dark--five miles, or possibly it was seven.
We stopped at the very same inn which the famous old
robber-knight and rough fighter Goetz von Berlichingen,
abode in after he got out of captivity in the Square Tower
of Heilbronn between three hundred and fifty and four hundred
years ago. Harris and I occupied the same room which he
had occupied and the same paper had not quite peeled off
the walls yet. The furniture was quaint old carved stuff,
full four hundred years old, and some of the smells
were over a thousand. There was a hook in the wall,
which the landlord said the terrific old Goetz used to
hang his iron hand on when he took it off to go to bed.
This room was very large--it might be called immense--
and it was on the first floor; which means it was in
the second story, for in Europe the houses are so high
that they do not count the first story, else they
would get tired climbing before they got to the top.
The wallpaper was a fiery red, with huge gold figures in it,
well smirched by time, and it covered all the doors.
These doors fitted so snugly and continued the figures
of the paper so unbrokenly, that when they were closed
one had to go feeling and searching along the wall
to find them. There was a stove in the corner--one
of those tall, square, stately white porcelain things
that looks like a monument and keeps you thinking
of death when you ought to be enjoying your travels.
The windows looked out on a little alley, and over that
into a stable and some poultry and pig yards in the rear
of some tenement-houses. There were the customary two beds
in the room, one in one end, the other in the other,
about an old-fashioned brass-mounted, single-barreled
pistol-shot apart. They were fully as narrow as the usual
German bed, too, and had the German bed's ineradicable
habit of spilling the blankets on the floor every time
you forgot yourself and went to sleep.
A round table as large as King Arthur's stood in the
center of the room; while the waiters were getting
ready to serve our dinner on it we all went out to see
the renowned clock on the front of the municipal buildings.
[What the Wives Saved]
The RATHHAUS, or municipal building, is of the quaintest
and most picturesque Middle-Age architecture. It has a
massive portico and steps, before it, heavily balustraded,
and adorned with life-sized rusty iron knights in
complete armor. The clock-face on the front of the building
is very large and of curious pattern. Ordinarily, a gilded
angel strikes the hour on a big bell with a hammer;
as the striking ceases, a life-sized figure of Time raises
its hour-glass and turns it; two golden rams advance
and butt each other; a gilded cock lifts its wings;
but the main features are two great angels, who stand
on each side of the dial with long horns at their lips;
it was said that they blew melodious blasts on these
horns every hour--but they did not do it for us.
We were told, later, than they blew only at night,
when the town was still.
Within the RATHHAUS were a number of huge wild boars'
heads, preserved, and mounted on brackets along the wall;
they bore inscriptions telling who killed them and how many
hundred years ago it was done. One room in the building
was devoted to the preservation of ancient archives.
There they showed us no end of aged documents; some were
signed by Popes, some by Tilly and other great generals,
and one was a letter written and subscribed by Goetz von
Berlichingen in Heilbronn in 1519 just after his release
from the Square Tower.
This fine old robber-knight was a devoutly and sincerely
religious man, hospitable, charitable to the poor,
fearless in fight, active, enterprising, and possessed
of a large and generous nature. He had in him a
quality of being able to overlook moderate injuries,
and being able to forgive and forget mortal ones as
soon as he had soundly trounced the authors of them.
He was prompt to take up any poor devil's quarrel and risk
his neck to right him. The common folk held him dear,
and his memory is still green in ballad and tradition.
He used to go on the highway and rob rich wayfarers;
and other times he would swoop down from his high castle
on the hills of the Neckar and capture passing cargoes
of merchandise. In his memoirs he piously thanks the
Giver of all Good for remembering him in his needs and
delivering sundry such cargoes into his hands at times
when only special providences could have relieved him.
He was a doughty warrior and found a deep joy in battle.
In an assault upon a stronghold in Bavaria when he was
only twenty-three years old, his right hand was shot away,
but he was so interested in the fight that he did not
observe it for a while. He said that the iron hand
which was made for him afterward, and which he wore for
more than half a century, was nearly as clever a member
as the fleshy one had been. I was glad to get a facsimile
of the letter written by this fine old German Robin Hood,
though I was not able to read it. He was a better artist
with his sword than with his pen.
We went down by the river and saw the Square Tower.
It was a very venerable structure, very strong,
and very ornamental. There was no opening near the ground.
They had to use a ladder to get into it, no doubt.
We visited the principal church, also--a curious
old structure, with a towerlike spire adorned with all
sorts of grotesque images. The inner walls of the church
were placarded with large mural tablets of copper,
bearing engraved inscriptions celebrating the merits
of old Heilbronn worthies of two or three centuries ago,
and also bearing rudely painted effigies of themselves
and their families tricked out in the queer costumes of
those days. The head of the family sat in the foreground,
and beyond him extended a sharply receding and diminishing
row of sons; facing him sat his wife, and beyond
her extended a low row of diminishing daughters.
The family was usually large, but the perspective bad.
Then we hired the hack and the horse which Goetz von
Berlichingen used to use, and drove several miles into
the country to visit the place called WEIBERTREU--Wife's
Fidelity I suppose it means. It was a feudal castle
of the Middle Ages. When we reached its neighborhood we
found it was beautifully situated, but on top of a mound,
or hill, round and tolerably steep, and about two hundred
feet high. Therefore, as the sun was blazing hot,
we did not climb up there, but took the place on trust,
and observed it from a distance while the horse leaned up
against a fence and rested. The place has no interest
except that which is lent it by its legend, which is
a very pretty one--to this effect:
In the Middle Ages, a couple of young dukes, brothers,
took opposite sides in one of the wars, the one fighting
for the Emperor, the other against him. One of them
owned the castle and village on top of the mound which I
have been speaking of, and in his absence his brother
came with his knights and soldiers and began a siege.
It was a long and tedious business, for the people
made a stubborn and faithful defense. But at last
their supplies ran out and starvation began its work;
more fell by hunger than by the missiles of the enemy.
They by and by surrendered, and begged for charitable terms.
But the beleaguering prince was so incensed against them
for their long resistance that he said he would spare none
but the women and children--all men should be put to the
sword without exception, and all their goods destroyed.
Then the women came and fell on their knees and begged for
the lives of their husbands.
"No," said the prince, "not a man of them shall escape alive;
you yourselves shall go with your children into houseless
and friendless banishment; but that you may not starve
I grant you this one grace, that each woman may bear
with her from this place as much of her most valuable
property as she is able to carry."
Very well, presently the gates swung open and out filed
those women carrying their HUSBANDS on their shoulders.
The besiegers, furious at the trick, rushed forward
to slaughter the men, but the Duke stepped between and
"No, put up your swords--a prince's word is inviolable."
When we got back to the hotel, King Arthur's Round Table
was ready for us in its white drapery, and the head waiter
and his first assistant, in swallow-tails and white cravats,
brought in the soup and the hot plates at once.
Mr. X had ordered the dinner, and when the wine came on,
he picked up a bottle, glanced at the label, and then turned
to the grave, the melancholy, the sepulchral head waiter
and said it was not the sort of wine he had asked for.
The head waiter picked up the bottle, cast his undertaker-eye
on it and said:
"It is true; I beg pardon." Then he turned on his
subordinate and calmly said, "Bring another label."
At the same time he slid the present label off with his hand
and laid it aside; it had been newly put on, its paste
was still wet. When the new label came, he put it on;
our French wine being now turned into German wine,
according to desire, the head waiter went blandly about his
other duties, as if the working of this sort of miracle
was a common and easy thing to him.
Mr. X said he had not known, before, that there were
people honest enough to do this miracle in public,
but he was aware that thousands upon thousands of labels
were imported into America from Europe every year,
to enable dealers to furnish to their customers in a quiet
and inexpensive way all the different kinds of foreign
wines they might require.
We took a turn around the town, after dinner, and found
it fully as interesting in the moonlight as it had been
in the daytime. The streets were narrow and roughly paved,
and there was not a sidewalk or a street-lamp anywhere.
The dwellings were centuries old, and vast enough for hotels.
They widened all the way up; the stories projected
further and further forward and aside as they ascended,
and the long rows of lighted windows, filled with little bits
of panes, curtained with figured white muslin and adorned
outside with boxes of flowers, made a pretty effect.
The moon was bright, and the light and shadow very strong;
and nothing could be more picturesque than those curving
streets, with their rows of huge high gables leaning
far over toward each other in a friendly gossiping way,
and the crowds below drifting through the alternating blots
of gloom and mellow bars of moonlight. Nearly everybody
was abroad, chatting, singing, romping, or massed in lazy
comfortable attitudes in the doorways.
In one place there was a public building which was
fenced about with a thick, rusty chain, which sagged
from post to post in a succession of low swings.
The pavement, here, was made of heavy blocks of stone.
In the glare of the moon a party of barefooted children
were swinging on those chains and having a noisy good time.
They were not the first ones who have done that;
even their great-great-grandfathers had not been the first
to do it when they were children. The strokes of the bare
feet had worn grooves inches deep in the stone flags;
it had taken many generations of swinging children to
accomplish that. Everywhere in the town were the mold
and decay that go with antiquity, and evidence of it;
but I do not know that anything else gave us so vivid
a sense of the old age of Heilbronn as those footworn
grooves in the paving-stones.
[My Long Crawl in the Dark]
When we got back to the hotel I wound and set the
pedometer and put it in my pocket, for I was to carry
it next day and keep record of the miles we made.
The work which we had given the instrument to do during
the day which had just closed had not fatigued it perceptibly.
We were in bed by ten, for we wanted to be up and away on
our tramp homeward with the dawn. I hung fire, but Harris
went to sleep at once. I hate a man who goes to sleep
at once; there is a sort of indefinable something about it
which is not exactly an insult, and yet is an insolence;
and one which is hard to bear, too. I lay there fretting
over this injury, and trying to go to sleep; but the harder
I tried, the wider awake I grew. I got to feeling very lonely
in the dark, with no company but an undigested dinner.
My mind got a start by and by, and began to consider the
beginning of every subject which has ever been thought of;
but it never went further than the beginning; it was touch
and go; it fled from topic to topic with a frantic speed.
At the end of an hour my head was in a perfect whirl and I
was dead tired, fagged out.
The fatigue was so great that it presently began to make some
head against the nervous excitement; while imagining myself
wide awake, I would really doze into momentary unconsciousness,
and come suddenly out of it with a physical jerk which nearly
wrenched my joints apart--the delusion of the instant
being that I was tumbling backward over a precipice.
After I had fallen over eight or nine precipices and thus
found out that one half of my brain had been asleep eight
or nine times without the wide-awake, hard-working other
half suspecting it, the periodical unconsciousnesses
began to extend their spell gradually over more of my
brain-territory, and at last I sank into a drowse which
grew deeper and deeper and was doubtless just on the very
point of being a solid, blessed dreamless stupor, when--what was
My dulled faculties dragged themselves partly back to life
and took a receptive attitude. Now out of an immense,
a limitless distance, came a something which grew and grew,
and approached, and presently was recognizable as a sound--
it had rather seemed to be a feeling, before. This sound
was a mile away, now--perhaps it was the murmur of a storm;
and now it was nearer--not a quarter of a mile away;
was it the muffled rasping and grinding of distant
machinery? No, it came still nearer; was it the measured
tramp of a marching troop? But it came nearer still,
and still nearer--and at last it was right in the room: it
was merely a mouse gnawing the woodwork. So I had held my
breath all that time for such a trifle.
Well, what was done could not be helped; I would go
to sleep at once and make up the lost time. That was
a thoughtless thought. Without intending it--hardly
knowing it--I fell to listening intently to that sound,
and even unconsciously counting the strokes of the mouse's
nutmeg-grater. Presently I was deriving exquisite suffering
from this employment, yet maybe I could have endured
it if the mouse had attended steadily to his work;
but he did not do that; he stopped every now and then,
and I suffered more while waiting and listening for
him to begin again than I did while he was gnawing.
Along at first I was mentally offering a reward
of five--six--seven--ten--dollars for that mouse;
but toward the last I was offering rewards which were
entirely beyond my means. I close-reefed my ears--
that is to say, I bent the flaps of them down and furled
them into five or six folds, and pressed them against
the hearing-orifice--but it did no good: the faculty
was so sharpened by nervous excitement that it was become
a microphone and could hear through the overlays without trouble.
My anger grew to a frenzy. I finally did what all persons
before me have done, clear back to Adam,--resolved to
throw something. I reached down and got my walking-shoes,
then sat up in bed and listened, in order to exactly locate
the noise. But I couldn't do it; it was as unlocatable
as a cricket's noise; and where one thinks that that is,
is always the very place where it isn't. So I presently
hurled a shoe at random, and with a vicious vigor.
It struck the wall over Harris's head and fell down on him;
I had not imagined I could throw so far. It woke Harris,
and I was glad of it until I found he was not angry;
then I was sorry. He soon went to sleep again,
which pleased me; but straightway the mouse began again,
which roused my temper once more. I did not want to wake
Harris a second time, but the gnawing continued until I
was compelled to throw the other shoe. This time I broke
a mirror--there were two in the room--I got the largest one,
of course. Harris woke again, but did not complain,
and I was sorrier than ever. I resolved that I would
suffer all possible torture before I would disturb him a
The mouse eventually retired, and by and by I was sinking
to sleep, when a clock began to strike; I counted till
it was done, and was about to drowse again when another
clock began; I counted; then the two great RATHHAUS clock
angels began to send forth soft, rich, melodious blasts
from their long trumpets. I had never heard anything
that was so lovely, or weird, or mysterious--but when they
got to blowing the quarter-hours, they seemed to me to be
overdoing the thing. Every time I dropped off for the moment,
a new noise woke me. Each time I woke I missed my coverlet,
and had to reach down to the floor and get it again.
At last all sleepiness forsook me. I recognized the fact
that I was hopelessly and permanently wide awake.
Wide awake, and feverish and thirsty. When I had lain
tossing there as long as I could endure it, it occurred
to me that it would be a good idea to dress and go out in
the great square and take a refreshing wash in the fountain,
and smoke and reflect there until the remnant of the night
I believed I could dress in the dark without waking Harris.
I had banished my shoes after the mouse, but my slippers
would do for a summer night. So I rose softly, and gradually
got on everything--down to one sock. I couldn't seem
to get on the track of that sock, any way I could fix it.
But I had to have it; so I went down on my hands and knees,
with one slipper on and the other in my hand, and began to
paw gently around and rake the floor, but with no success.
I enlarged my circle, and went on pawing and raking.
With every pressure of my knee, how the floor creaked!
and every time I chanced to rake against any article,
it seemed to give out thirty-five or thirty-six times
more noise than it would have done in the daytime.
In those cases I always stopped and held my breath till I
was sure Harris had not awakened--then I crept along again.
I moved on and on, but I could not find the sock;
I could not seem to find anything but furniture.
I could not remember that there was much furniture
in the room when I went to bed, but the place was alive
with it now --especially chairs--chairs everywhere--
had a couple of families moved in, in the mean time? And
I never could seem to GLANCE on one of those chairs,
but always struck it full and square with my head.
My temper rose, by steady and sure degrees, and as I
pawed on and on, I fell to making vicious comments under
Finally, with a venomous access of irritation, I said I
would leave without the sock; so I rose up and made straight
for the door--as I supposed--and suddenly confronted my
dim spectral image in the unbroken mirror. It startled
the breath out of me, for an instant; it also showed me
that I was lost, and had no sort of idea where I was.
When I realized this, I was so angry that I had to sit
down on the floor and take hold of something to keep
from lifting the roof off with an explosion of opinion.
If there had been only one mirror, it might possibly have
helped to locate me; but there were two, and two were as
bad as a thousand; besides, these were on opposite sides
of the room. I could see the dim blur of the windows,
but in my turned-around condition they were exactly
where they ought not to be, and so they only confused me
instead of helping me.
I started to get up, and knocked down an umbrella;
it made a noise like a pistol-shot when it struck
that hard, slick, carpetless floor; I grated my teeth
and held my breath--Harris did not stir. I set the
umbrella slowly and carefully on end against the wall,
but as soon as I took my hand away, its heel slipped
from under it, and down it came again with another bang.
I shrunk together and listened a moment in silent fury--
no harm done, everything quiet. With the most painstaking
care and nicety, I stood the umbrella up once more,
took my hand away, and down it came again.
I have been strictly reared, but if it had not been
so dark and solemn and awful there in that lonely,
vast room, I do believe I should have said something
then which could not be put into a Sunday-school book
without injuring the sale of it. If my reasoning powers
had not been already sapped dry by my harassments,
I would have known better than to try to set an umbrella
on end on one of those glassy German floors in the dark;
it can't be done in the daytime without four failures
to one success. I had one comfort, though--Harris was
yet still and silent--he had not stirred.
The umbrella could not locate me--there were four
standing around the room, and all alike. I thought I
would feel along the wall and find the door in that way.
I rose up and began this operation, but raked down
a picture. It was not a large one, but it made noise
enough for a panorama. Harris gave out no sound, but I
felt that if I experimented any further with the pictures
I should be sure to wake him. Better give up trying to
get out. Yes, I would find King Arthur's Round Table once
more--I had already found it several times--and use it
for a base of departure on an exploring tour for my bed;
if I could find my bed I could then find my water pitcher;
I would quench my raging thirst and turn in. So I started
on my hands and knees, because I could go faster that way,
and with more confidence, too, and not knock down things.
By and by I found the table--with my head--rubbed the
bruise a little, then rose up and started, with hands
abroad and fingers spread, to balance myself. I found
a chair; then a wall; then another chair; then a sofa;
then an alpenstock, then another sofa; this confounded me,
for I had thought there was only one sofa. I hunted
up the table again and took a fresh start; found some
It occurred to me, now, as it ought to have done before,
that as the table was round, it was therefore of no
value as a base to aim from; so I moved off once more,
and at random among the wilderness of chairs and sofas--
wandering off into unfamiliar regions, and presently knocked
a candlestick and knocked off a lamp, grabbed at the lamp
and knocked off a water pitcher with a rattling crash,
and thought to myself, "I've found you at last--I
judged I was close upon you." Harris shouted "murder,"
and "thieves," and finished with "I'm absolutely drowned."
The crash had roused the house. Mr. X pranced in,
in his long night-garment, with a candle, young Z after him
with another candle; a procession swept in at another door,
with candles and lanterns--landlord and two German guests
in their nightgowns and a chambermaid in hers.
I looked around; I was at Harris's bed, a Sabbath-day's
journey from my own. There was only one sofa; it was against
the wall; there was only one chair where a body could get
at it--I had been revolving around it like a planet,
and colliding with it like a comet half the night.
I explained how I had been employing myself, and why.
Then the landlord's party left, and the rest of us set
about our preparations for breakfast, for the dawn was
ready to break. I glanced furtively at my pedometer,
and found I had made 47 miles. But I did not care, for I
had come out for a pedestrian tour anyway.
[Rafting Down the Neckar]
When the landlord learned that I and my agents were artists,
our party rose perceptibly in his esteem; we rose still
higher when he learned that we were making a pedestrian
tour of Europe.
He told us all about the Heidelberg road, and which
were the best places to avoid and which the best ones
to tarry at; he charged me less than cost for the things
I broke in the night; he put up a fine luncheon for us
and added to it a quantity of great light-green plums,
the pleasantest fruit in Germany; he was so anxious to do us
honor that he would not allow us to walk out of Heilbronn,
but called up Goetz von Berlichingen's horse and cab
and made us ride.
I made a sketch of the turnout. It is not a Work, it is only
what artists call a "study"--a thing to make a finished
picture from. This sketch has several blemishes in it;
for instance, the wagon is not traveling as fast as the
horse is. This is wrong. Again, the person trying to get
out of the way is too small; he is out of perspective,
as we say. The two upper lines are not the horse's back,
they are the reigns; there seems to be a wheel missing--
this would be corrected in a finished Work, of course.
This thing flying out behind is not a flag, it is a curtain.
That other thing up there is the sun, but I didn't get
enough distance on it. I do not remember, now, what that
thing is that is in front of the man who is running,
but I think it is a haystack or a woman. This study
was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1879, but did not
take any medal; they do not give medals for studies.
We discharged the carriage at the bridge. The river was
full of logs--long, slender, barkless pine logs--and we
leaned on the rails of the bridge, and watched the men put
them together into rafts. These rafts were of a shape
and construction to suit the crookedness and extreme
narrowness of the Neckar. They were from fifty to one
hundred yards long, and they gradually tapered from a
nine-log breadth at their sterns, to a three-log breadth
at their bow-ends. The main part of the steering is done
at the bow, with a pole; the three-log breadth there
furnishes room for only the steersman, for these little logs
are not larger around than an average young lady's waist.
The connections of the several sections of the raft are
slack and pliant, so that the raft may be readily bent
into any sort of curve required by the shape of the river.
The Neckar is in many places so narrow that a person
can throw a dog across it, if he has one; when it is
also sharply curved in such places, the raftsman has
to do some pretty nice snug piloting to make the turns.
The river is not always allowed to spread over its whole
bed--which is as much as thirty, and sometimes forty yards
wide--but is split into three equal bodies of water,
by stone dikes which throw the main volume, depth, and current
into the central one. In low water these neat narrow-edged
dikes project four or five inches above the surface,
like the comb of a submerged roof, but in high water
they are overflowed. A hatful of rain makes high water
in the Neckar, and a basketful produces an overflow.
There are dikes abreast the Schloss Hotel, and the current
is violently swift at that point. I used to sit for hours
in my glass cage, watching the long, narrow rafts slip
along through the central channel, grazing the right-bank
dike and aiming carefully for the middle arch of the stone
bridge below; I watched them in this way, and lost all this
time hoping to see one of them hit the bridge-pier and wreck
itself sometime or other, but was always disappointed.
One was smashed there one morning, but I had just stepped
into my room a moment to light a pipe, so I lost it.
While I was looking down upon the rafts that morning
in Heilbronn, the daredevil spirit of adventure came
suddenly upon me, and I said to my comrades:
"_I_ am going to Heidelberg on a raft. Will you venture
Their faces paled a little, but they assented with as
good a grace as they could. Harris wanted to cable his
mother--thought it his duty to do that, as he was all
she had in this world--so, while he attended to this,
I went down to the longest and finest raft and hailed
the captain with a hearty "Ahoy, shipmate!" which put us
upon pleasant terms at once, and we entered upon business.
I said we were on a pedestrian tour to Heidelberg,
and would like to take passage with him. I said this
partly through young Z, who spoke German very well,
and partly through Mr. X, who spoke it peculiarly. I can
UNDERSTAND German as well as the maniac that invented it,
but I TALK it best through an interpreter.
The captain hitched up his trousers, then shifted
his quid thoughtfully. Presently he said just what I
was expecting he would say--that he had no license
to carry passengers, and therefore was afraid the law
would be after him in case the matter got noised about
or any accident happened. So I CHARTERED the raft
and the crew and took all the responsibilities on myself.
With a rattling song the starboard watch bent to their
work and hove the cable short, then got the anchor home,
and our bark moved off with a stately stride, and soon
was bowling along at about two knots an hour.
Our party were grouped amidships. At first the talk was
a little gloomy, and ran mainly upon the shortness of life,
the uncertainty of it, the perils which beset it, and the
need and wisdom of being always prepared for the worst;
this shaded off into low-voiced references to the dangers
of the deep, and kindred matters; but as the gray east
began to redden and the mysterious solemnity and silence
of the dawn to give place to the joy-songs of the birds,
the talk took a cheerier tone, and our spirits began to
Germany, in the summer, is the perfection of the beautiful,
but nobody has understood, and realized, and enjoyed
the utmost possibilities of this soft and peaceful
beauty unless he has voyaged down the Neckar on a raft.
The motion of a raft is the needful motion; it is gentle,
and gliding, and smooth, and noiseless; it calms down
all feverish activities, it soothes to sleep all nervous
hurry and impatience; under its restful influence all the
troubles and vexations and sorrows that harass the mind
vanish away, and existence becomes a dream, a charm,
a deep and tranquil ecstasy. How it contrasts with hot
and perspiring pedestrianism, and dusty and deafening
railroad rush, and tedious jolting behind tired horses
over blinding white roads!
We went slipping silently along, between the green and
fragrant banks, with a sense of pleasure and contentment
that grew, and grew, all the time. Sometimes the banks
were overhung with thick masses of willows that wholly
hid the ground behind; sometimes we had noble hills on
one hand, clothed densely with foliage to their tops,
and on the other hand open levels blazing with poppies,
or clothed in the rich blue of the corn-flower;
sometimes we drifted in the shadow of forests, and sometimes
along the margin of long stretches of velvety grass,
fresh and green and bright, a tireless charm to the eye.
And the birds!--they were everywhere; they swept back
and forth across the river constantly, and their jubilant
music was never stilled.
It was a deep and satisfying pleasure to see the sun
create the new morning, and gradually, patiently,
lovingly, clothe it on with splendor after splendor,
and glory after glory, till the miracle was complete.
How different is this marvel observed from a raft,
from what it is when one observes it through the dingy
windows of a railway-station in some wretched village
while he munches a petrified sandwich and waits for the train.
Down the River
[Charming Waterside Pictures]
Men and women and cattle were at work in the dewy fields
by this time. The people often stepped aboard the raft,
as we glided along the grassy shores, and gossiped with us
and with the crew for a hundred yards or so, then stepped
ashore again, refreshed by the ride.
Only the men did this; the women were too busy.
The women do all kinds of work on the continent. They dig,
they hoe, they reap, they sow, they bear monstrous burdens
on their backs, they shove similar ones long distances
on wheelbarrows, they drag the cart when there is no dog
or lean cow to drag it--and when there is, they assist
the dog or cow. Age is no matter--the older the woman
the stronger she is, apparently. On the farm a woman's
duties are not defined--she does a little of everything;
but in the towns it is different, there she only does
certain things, the men do the rest. For instance,
a hotel chambermaid has nothing to do but make beds and
fires in fifty or sixty rooms, bring towels and candles,
and fetch several tons of water up several flights of stairs,
a hundred pounds at a time, in prodigious metal pitchers.
She does not have to work more than eighteen or twenty hours
a day, and she can always get down on her knees and scrub
the floors of halls and closets when she is tired and needs
As the morning advanced and the weather grew hot, we took
off our outside clothing and sat in a row along the edge
of the raft and enjoyed the scenery, with our sun-umbrellas
over our heads and our legs dangling in the water.
Every now and then we plunged in and had a swim.
Every projecting grassy cape had its joyous group
of naked children, the boys to themselves and the girls
to themselves, the latter usually in care of some motherly
dame who sat in the shade of a tree with her knitting.
The little boys swam out to us, sometimes, but the little
maids stood knee-deep in the water and stopped their splashing
and frolicking to inspect the raft with their innocent
eyes as it drifted by. Once we turned a corner suddenly
and surprised a slender girl of twelve years or upward,
just stepping into the water. She had not time to run,
but she did what answered just as well; she promptly
drew a lithe young willow bough athwart her white body
with one hand, and then contemplated us with a simple and
untroubled interest. Thus she stood while we glided by.
She was a pretty creature, and she and her willow bough
made a very pretty picture, and one which could not
offend the modesty of the most fastidious spectator.
Her white skin had a low bank of fresh green willows for
background and effective contrast--for she stood against
them--and above and out of them projected the eager faces
and white shoulders of two smaller girls.
Toward noon we heard the inspiring cry:
"Where away?" shouted the captain.
"Three points off the weather bow!"
We ran forward to see the vessel. It proved to be
a steamboat--for they had begun to run a steamer up
the Neckar, for the first time in May. She was a tug,
and one of a very peculiar build and aspect. I had
often watched her from the hotel, and wondered how she
propelled herself, for apparently she had no propeller
or paddles. She came churning along, now, making a deal
of noise of one kind or another, and aggravating it every
now and then by blowing a hoarse whistle. She had nine
keel-boats hitched on behind and following after her
in a long, slender rank. We met her in a narrow place,
between dikes, and there was hardly room for us both in the
cramped passage. As she went grinding and groaning by,
we perceived the secret of her moving impulse. She did
not drive herself up the river with paddles or propeller,
she pulled herself by hauling on a great chain.
This chain is laid in the bed of the river and is only
fastened at the two ends. It is seventy miles long.
It comes in over the boat's bow, passes around a drum,
and is payed out astern. She pulls on that chain,
and so drags herself up the river or down it. She has
neither bow or stern, strictly speaking, for she has a
long-bladed rudder on each end and she never turns around.
She uses both rudders all the time, and they are powerful
enough to enable her to turn to the right or the left
and steer around curves, in spite of the strong resistance
of the chain. I would not have believed that that impossible
thing could be done; but I saw it done, and therefore I
know that there is one impossible thing which CAN be done.
What miracle will man attempt next?
We met many big keel-boats on their way up, using sails,
mule power, and profanity--a tedious and laborious business.
A wire rope led from the foretopmast to the file of mules
on the tow-path a hundred yards ahead, and by dint
of much banging and swearing and urging, the detachment
of drivers managed to get a speed of two or three miles
an hour out of the mules against the stiff current.
The Neckar has always been used as a canal, and thus
has given employment to a great many men and animals;
but now that this steamboat is able, with a small crew
and a bushel or so of coal, to take nine keel-boats farther
up the river in one hour than thirty men and thirty mules
can do it in two, it is believed that the old-fashioned
towing industry is on its death-bed. A second steamboat
began work in the Neckar three months after the first one
was put in service. [Figure 4]
At noon we stepped ashore and bought some bottled beer
and got some chickens cooked, while the raft waited;
then we immediately put to sea again, and had our
dinner while the beer was cold and the chickens hot.
There is no pleasanter place for such a meal than a raft
that is gliding down the winding Neckar past green meadows
and wooded hills, and slumbering villages, and craggy
heights graced with crumbling towers and battlements.
In one place we saw a nicely dressed German gentleman
without any spectacles. Before I could come to anchor
he had got underway. It was a great pity. I so wanted
to make a sketch of him. The captain comforted me
for my loss, however, by saying that the man was without
any doubt a fraud who had spectacles, but kept them
in his pocket in order to make himself conspicuous.
Below Hassmersheim we passed Hornberg, Goetz von Berlichingen's
old castle. It stands on a bold elevation two hundred feet
above the surface of the river; it has high vine-clad walls
enclosing trees, and a peaked tower about seventy-five
feet high. The steep hillside, from the castle clear
down to the water's edge, is terraced, and clothed thick
with grape vines. This is like farming a mansard roof.
All the steeps along that part of the river which furnish
the proper exposure, are given up to the grape. That region
is a great producer of Rhine wines. The Germans are
exceedingly fond of Rhine wines; they are put up in tall,
slender bottles, and are considered a pleasant beverage.
One tells them from vinegar by the label.
The Hornberg hill is to be tunneled, and the new railway
will pass under the castle.
THE CAVE OF THE SPECTER
Two miles below Hornberg castle is a cave in a low cliff,
which the captain of the raft said had once been occupied
by a beautiful heiress of Hornberg--the Lady Gertrude--
in the old times. It was seven hundred years ago.
She had a number of rich and noble lovers and one poor
and obscure one, Sir Wendel Lobenfeld. With the native
chuckleheadedness of the heroine of romance, she preferred
the poor and obscure lover. With the native sound judgment
of the father of a heroine of romance, the von Berlichingen
of that day shut his daughter up in his donjon keep,
or his oubliette, or his culverin, or some such place,
and resolved that she should stay there until she selected
a husband from among her rich and noble lovers. The latter
visited her and persecuted her with their supplications,
but without effect, for her heart was true to her poor
despised Crusader, who was fighting in the Holy Land.
Finally, she resolved that she would endure the attentions
of the rich lovers no longer; so one stormy night she escaped
and went down the river and hid herself in the cave on
the other side. Her father ransacked the country for her,
but found not a trace of her. As the days went by,
and still no tidings of her came, his conscience began
to torture him, and he caused proclamation to be made
that if she were yet living and would return, he would
oppose her no longer, she might marry whom she would.
The months dragged on, all hope forsook the old man,
he ceased from his customary pursuits and pleasures,
he devoted himself to pious works, and longed for the
deliverance of death.
Now just at midnight, every night, the lost heiress stood
in the mouth of her cave, arrayed in white robes, and sang
a little love ballad which her Crusader had made for her.
She judged that if he came home alive the superstitious
peasants would tell him about the ghost that sang in the cave,
and that as soon as they described the ballad he would know
that none but he and she knew that song, therefore he would
suspect that she was alive, and would come and find her.
As time went on, the people of the region became sorely
distressed about the Specter of the Haunted Cave.
It was said that ill luck of one kind or another always
overtook any one who had the misfortune to hear that song.
Eventually, every calamity that happened thereabouts was
laid at the door of that music. Consequently, no boatmen
would consent to pass the cave at night; the peasants
shunned the place, even in the daytime.
But the faithful girl sang on, night after night,
month after month, and patiently waited; her reward
must come at last. Five years dragged by, and still,
every night at midnight, the plaintive tones floated out
over the silent land, while the distant boatmen and peasants
thrust their fingers into their ears and shuddered out a prayer.
And now came the Crusader home, bronzed and battle-scarred,
but bringing a great and splendid fame to lay at the feet
of his bride. The old lord of Hornberg received him as
his son, and wanted him to stay by him and be the comfort
and blessing of his age; but the tale of that young
girl's devotion to him and its pathetic consequences
made a changed man of the knight. He could not enjoy
his well-earned rest. He said his heart was broken,
he would give the remnant of his life to high deeds
in the cause of humanity, and so find a worthy death
and a blessed reunion with the brave true heart whose
love had more honored him than all his victories in war.
When the people heard this resolve of his, they came and told
him there was a pitiless dragon in human disguise in the
Haunted Cave, a dread creature which no knight had yet been
bold enough to face, and begged him to rid the land of its
desolating presence. He said he would do it. They told
him about the song, and when he asked what song it was,
they said the memory of it was gone, for nobody had been
hardy enough to listen to it for the past four years and more.
Toward midnight the Crusader came floating down the river
in a boat, with his trusty cross-bow in his hands.
He drifted silently through the dim reflections of the
crags and trees, with his intent eyes fixed upon the low
cliff which he was approaching. As he drew nearer,
he discerned the black mouth of the cave. Now--is that
a white figure? Yes. The plaintive song begins to well
forth and float away over meadow and river--the cross-bow
is slowly raised to position, a steady aim is taken,
the bolt flies straight to the mark--the figure sinks down,
still singing, the knight takes the wool out of his ears,
and recognizes the old ballad--too late! Ah, if he had
only not put the wool in his ears!
The Crusader went away to the wars again, and presently
fell in battle, fighting for the Cross. Tradition says
that during several centuries the spirit of the unfortunate
girl sang nightly from the cave at midnight, but the music
carried no curse with it; and although many listened
for the mysterious sounds, few were favored, since only
those could hear them who had never failed in a trust.
It is believed that the singing still continues, but it is
known that nobody has heard it during the present century.
An Ancient Legend of the Rhine
The last legend reminds one of the "Lorelei"--a legend
of the Rhine. There is a song called "The Lorelei."
Germany is rich in folk-songs, and the words and airs of
several of them are peculiarly beautiful--but "The Lorelei"
is the people's favorite. I could not endure it at first,
but by and by it began to take hold of me, and now there
is no tune which I like so well.
It is not possible that it is much known in America, else I
should have heard it there. The fact that I never heard
it there, is evidence that there are others in my country
who have fared likewise; therefore, for the sake of these,
I mean to print the words and music in this chapter.
And I will refresh the reader's memory by printing the legend
of the Lorelei, too. I have it by me in the LEGENDS OF
THE RHINE, done into English by the wildly gifted Garnham,
Bachelor of Arts. I print the legend partly to refresh
my own memory, too, for I have never read it before.
Lore (two syllables) was a water nymph who used to sit
on a high rock called the Ley or Lei (pronounced like our
word LIE) in the Rhine, and lure boatmen to destruction
in a furious rapid which marred the channel at that spot.
She so bewitched them with her plaintive songs and her
wonderful beauty that they forgot everything else to gaze
up at her, and so they presently drifted among the broken
reefs and were lost.
In those old, old times, the Count Bruno lived in a great
castle near there with his son, the Count Hermann, a youth
of twenty. Hermann had heard a great deal about the
beautiful Lore, and had finally fallen very deeply in love
with her without having seen her. So he used to wander
to the neighborhood of the Lei, evenings, with his Zither
and "Express his Longing in low Singing," as Garnham says.
On one of these occasions, "suddenly there hovered around
the top of the rock a brightness of unequaled clearness
and color, which, in increasingly smaller circles thickened,
was the enchanting figure of the beautiful Lore.
"An unintentional cry of Joy escaped the Youth, he let
his Zither fall, and with extended arms he called out
the name of the enigmatical Being, who seemed to stoop
lovingly to him and beckon to him in a friendly manner;
indeed, if his ear did not deceive him, she called his
name with unutterable sweet Whispers, proper to love.
Beside himself with delight the youth lost his Senses
and sank senseless to the earth."
After that he was a changed person. He went dreaming about,
thinking only of his fairy and caring for naught else
in the world. "The old count saw with affliction this
changement in his son," whose cause he could not divine,
and tried to divert his mind into cheerful channels,
but to no purpose. Then the old count used authority.
He commanded the youth to betake himself to the camp.
Obedience was promised. Garnham says:
"It was on the evening before his departure, as he
wished still once to visit the Lei and offer to the
Nymph of the Rhine his Sighs, the tones of his Zither,
and his Songs. He went, in his boat, this time accompanied
by a faithful squire, down the stream. The moon shed
her silvery light over the whole country; the steep
bank mountains appeared in the most fantastical shapes,
and the high oaks on either side bowed their Branches
on Hermann's passing. As soon as he approached the Lei,
and was aware of the surf-waves, his attendant was seized
with an inexpressible Anxiety and he begged permission
to land; but the Knight swept the strings of his Guitar
"Once I saw thee in dark night, In supernatural Beauty bright;
Of Light-rays, was the Figure wove, To share its light,
"Thy Garment color wave-dove By thy hand the sign of love,
Thy eyes sweet enchantment, Raying to me, oh! enchantment.
"O, wert thou but my sweetheart, How willingly thy love
to part! With delight I should be bound To thy rocky
house in deep ground."
That Hermann should have gone to that place at all,
was not wise; that he should have gone with such a song
as that in his mouth was a most serious mistake. The Lorelei
did not "call his name in unutterable sweet Whispers"
this time. No, that song naturally worked an instant
and thorough "changement" in her; and not only that,
but it stirred the bowels of the whole afflicted region
around about there--for--
"Scarcely had these tones sounded, everywhere there
began tumult and sound, as if voices above and below
the water. On the Lei rose flames, the Fairy stood above,
at that time, and beckoned with her right hand clearly
and urgently to the infatuated Knight, while with a staff
in her left hand she called the waves to her service.
They began to mount heavenward; the boat was upset,
mocking every exertion; the waves rose to the gunwale,
and splitting on the hard stones, the Boat broke into Pieces.
The youth sank into the depths, but the squire was thrown on
shore by a powerful wave."
The bitterest things have been said about the Lorelei
during many centuries, but surely her conduct upon this
occasion entitles her to our respect. One feels drawn
tenderly toward her and is moved to forget her many crimes
and remember only the good deed that crowned and closed
"The Fairy was never more seen; but her enchanting tones have
often been heard. In the beautiful, refreshing, still nights
of spring, when the moon pours her silver light over the Country,
the listening shipper hears from the rushing of the waves,
the echoing Clang of a wonderfully charming voice,
which sings a song from the crystal castle, and with sorrow
and fear he thinks on the young Count Hermann, seduced by the
Here is the music, and the German words by Heinrich Heine.
This song has been a favorite in Germany for forty years,
and will remain a favorite always, maybe. [Figure 5]
I have a prejudice against people who print things
in a foreign language and add no translation.
When I am the reader, and the author considers me
able to do the translating myself, he pays me quite
a nice compliment--but if he would do the translating
for me I would try to get along without the compliment.
If I were at home, no doubt I could get a translation of
this poem, but I am abroad and can't; therefore I will make
a translation myself. It may not be a good one, for poetry
is out of my line, but it will serve my purpose--which is,
to give the unGerman young girl a jingle of words to hang
the tune on until she can get hold of a good version,
made by some one who is a poet and knows how to convey
a poetical thought from one language to another.
I cannot divine what it meaneth, This haunting nameless
pain: A tale of the bygone ages Keeps brooding through
The faint air cools in the glooming, And peaceful flows
the Rhine, The thirsty summits are drinking The sunset's
The loveliest maiden is sitting High-throned in yon blue air,
Her golden jewels are shining, She combs her golden hair;
She combs with a comb that is golden, And sings a weird
refrain That steeps in a deadly enchantment The list'ner's
The doomed in his drifting shallop, Is tranced with
the sad sweet tone, He sees not the yawning breakers,
He sees but the maid alone:
The pitiless billows engulf him!--So perish sailor and bark;
And this, with her baleful singing, Is the Lorelei's
I have a translation by Garnham, Bachelor of Arts,
in the LEGENDS OF THE RHINE, but it would not answer
the purpose I mentioned above, because the measure is too
nobly irregular; it don't fit the tune snugly enough;
in places it hangs over at the ends too far, and in other
places one runs out of words before he gets to the end
of a bar. Still, Garnham's translation has high merits,
and I am not dreaming of leaving it out of my book.
I believe this poet is wholly unknown in America and England;
I take peculiar pleasure in bringing him forward because I
consider that I discovered him:
Translated by L. W. Garnham, B.A.
I do not know what it signifies. That I am so sorrowful?
A fable of old Times so terrifies, Leaves my heart
The air is cool and it darkens, And calmly flows the Rhine;
The summit of the mountain hearkens In evening sunshine line.
The most beautiful Maiden entrances Above wonderfully there,
Her beautiful golden attire glances, She combs her
With golden comb so lustrous, And thereby a song sings,
It has a tone so wondrous, That powerful melody rings.
The shipper in the little ship It effects with woe sad might;
He does not see the rocky slip, He only regards dreaded height.
I believe the turbulent waves Swallow the last shipper
and boat; She with her singing craves All to visit her
No translation could be closer. He has got in all
the facts; and in their regular order, too. There is not
a statistic wanting. It is as succinct as an invoice.
That is what a translation ought to be; it should exactly
reflect the thought of the original. You can't SING "Above
wonderfully there," because it simply won't go to the tune,
without damaging the singer; but it is a most clingingly exact
translation of DORT OBEN WUNDERBAR--fits it like a blister.
Mr. Garnham's reproduction has other merits--a hundred
of them--but it is not necessary to point them out.
They will be detected.
No one with a specialty can hope to have a monopoly of it.
Even Garnham has a rival. Mr. X had a small pamphlet
with him which he had bought while on a visit to Munich.
It was entitled A CATALOGUE OF PICTURES IN THE OLD PINACOTEK,
and was written in a peculiar kind of English. Here are
a few extracts:
"It is not permitted to make use of the work
in question to a publication of the same contents
as well as to the pirated edition of it."
"An evening landscape. In the foreground near a pond
and a group of white beeches is leading a footpath
animated by travelers."
"A learned man in a cynical and torn dress holding an open
book in his hand."
"St. Bartholomew and the Executioner with the knife
to fulfil the martyr."
"Portrait of a young man. A long while this picture
was thought to be Bindi Altoviti's portrait; now somebody
will again have it to be the self-portrait of Raphael."
"Susan bathing, surprised by the two old man.
In the background the lapidation of the condemned."
("Lapidation" is good; it is much more elegant than
"St. Rochus sitting in a landscape with an angel who looks
at his plague-sore, whilst the dog the bread in his mouth
"Spring. The Goddess Flora, sitting. Behind her a fertile
valley perfused by a river."
"A beautiful bouquet animated by May-bugs, etc."
"A warrior in armor with a gypseous pipe in his hand leans
against a table and blows the smoke far away of himself."
"A Dutch landscape along a navigable river which perfuses
it till to the background."
"Some peasants singing in a cottage. A woman lets drink
a child out of a cup."
"St. John's head as a boy--painted in fresco on a brick."
(Meaning a tile.)
"A young man of the Riccio family, his hair cut off
right at the end, dressed in black with the same cap.
Attributed to Raphael, but the signation is false."
"The Virgin holding the Infant. It is very painted
in the manner of Sassoferrato."
"A Larder with greens and dead game animated by a cook-maid
and two kitchen-boys."
However, the English of this catalogue is at least
as happy as that which distinguishes an inscription
upon a certain picture in Rome--to wit:
"Revelations-View. St. John in Patterson's Island."
But meanwhile the raft is moving on.
[Why Germans Wear Spectacles]
A mile or two above Eberbach we saw a peculiar ruin projecting
above the foliage which clothed the peak of a high and
very steep hill. This ruin consisted of merely a couple
of crumbling masses of masonry which bore a rude resemblance
to human faces; they leaned forward and touched foreheads,
and had the look of being absorbed in conversation. This ruin
had nothing very imposing or picturesque about it, and there
was no great deal of it, yet it was called the "Spectacular
LEGEND OF THE "SPECTACULAR RUIN"
The captain of the raft, who was as full of history as he
could stick, said that in the Middle Ages a most prodigious
fire-breathing dragon used to live in that region,
and made more trouble than a tax-collector. He was as long
as a railway-train, and had the customary impenetrable
green scales all over him. His breath bred pestilence
and conflagration, and his appetite bred famine. He ate
men and cattle impartially, and was exceedingly unpopular.
The German emperor of that day made the usual offer:
he would grant to the destroyer of the dragon, any one
solitary thing he might ask for; for he had a surplusage
of daughters, and it was customary for dragon-killers
to take a daughter for pay.
So the most renowned knights came from the four corners
of the earth and retired down the dragon's throat one after
the other. A panic arose and spread. Heroes grew cautious.
The procession ceased. The dragon became more destructive
than ever. The people lost all hope of succor, and fled
to the mountains for refuge.
At last Sir Wissenschaft, a poor and obscure knight,
out of a far country, arrived to do battle with the monster.
A pitiable object he was, with his armor hanging in rags
about him, and his strange-shaped knapsack strapped
upon his back. Everybody turned up their noses at him,
and some openly jeered him. But he was calm. He simply
inquired if the emperor's offer was still in force.
The emperor said it was--but charitably advised him to go
and hunt hares and not endanger so precious a life as his
in an attempt which had brought death to so many of the
world's most illustrious heroes.
But this tramp only asked--"Were any of these heroes
men of science?" This raised a laugh, of course,
for science was despised in those days. But the tramp
was not in the least ruffled. He said he might be a
little in advance of his age, but no matter--science
would come to be honored, some time or other. He said
he would march against the dragon in the morning.
Out of compassion, then, a decent spear was offered him,
but he declined, and said, "spears were useless to men
of science." They allowed him to sup in the servants'
hall, and gave him a bed in the stables.
When he started forth in the morning, thousands were
gathered to see. The emperor said:
"Do not be rash, take a spear, and leave off your knapsack."
But the tramp said:
"It is not a knapsack," and moved straight on.
The dragon was waiting and ready. He was breathing forth
vast volumes of sulphurous smoke and lurid blasts of flame.
The ragged knight stole warily to a good position,
then he unslung his cylindrical knapsack--which was simply
the common fire-extinguisher known to modern times--
and the first chance he got he turned on his hose and shot
the dragon square in the center of his cavernous mouth.
Out went the fires in an instant, and the dragon curled up
This man had brought brains to his aid. He had reared
dragons from the egg, in his laboratory, he had watched
over them like a mother, and patiently studied them
and experimented upon them while they grew. Thus he had
found out that fire was the life principle of a dragon;
put out the dragon's fires and it could make steam
no longer, and must die. He could not put out a fire
with a spear, therefore he invented the extinguisher.
The dragon being dead, the emperor fell on the hero's neck
"Deliverer, name your request," at the same time beckoning
out behind with his heel for a detachment of his daughters
to form and advance. But the tramp gave them no observance.
He simply said:
"My request is, that upon me be conferred the monopoly
of the manufacture and sale of spectacles in Germany."
The emperor sprang aside and exclaimed:
"This transcends all the impudence I ever heard! A
modest demand, by my halidome! Why didn't you ask
for the imperial revenues at once, and be done with it?"
But the monarch had given his word, and he kept it.
To everybody's surprise, the unselfish monopolist immediately
reduced the price of spectacles to such a degree that a
great and crushing burden was removed from the nation.
The emperor, to commemorate this generous act, and to
testify his appreciation of it, issued a decree commanding
everybody to buy this benefactor's spectacles and wear them,
whether they needed them or not.
So originated the wide-spread custom of wearing
spectacles in Germany; and as a custom once established
in these old lands is imperishable, this one remains
universal in the empire to this day. Such is the legend
of the monopolist's once stately and sumptuous castle,
now called the "Spectacular Ruin."
On the right bank, two or three miles below the Spectacular
Ruin, we passed by a noble pile of castellated buildings
overlooking the water from the crest of a lofty elevation.
A stretch of two hundred yards of the high front wall
was heavily draped with ivy, and out of the mass of
buildings within rose three picturesque old towers.
The place was in fine order, and was inhabited by a
family of princely rank. This castle had its legend,
too, but I should not feel justified in repeating
it because I doubted the truth of some of its minor details.
Along in this region a multitude of Italian laborers
were blasting away the frontage of the hills to make
room for the new railway. They were fifty or a hundred
feet above the river. As we turned a sharp corner they
began to wave signals and shout warnings to us to look
out for the explosions. It was all very well to warn us,
but what could WE do? You can't back a raft upstream,
you can't hurry it downstream, you can't scatter out
to one side when you haven't any room to speak of,
you won't take to the perpendicular cliffs on the other
shore when they appear to be blasting there, too.
Your resources are limited, you see. There is simply
nothing for it but to watch and pray.
For some hours we had been making three and a half or four
miles an hour and we were still making that. We had been
dancing right along until those men began to shout;
then for the next ten minutes it seemed to me that I had
never seen a raft go so slowly. When the first blast went
off we raised our sun-umbrellas and waited for the result.
No harm done; none of the stones fell in the water.
Another blast followed, and another and another.
Some of the rubbish fell in the water just astern
We ran that whole battery of nine blasts in a row, and it
was certainly one of the most exciting and uncomfortable
weeks I ever spent, either aship or ashore. Of course
we frequently manned the poles and shoved earnestly
for a second or so, but every time one of those spurts
of dust and debris shot aloft every man dropped his pole
and looked up to get the bearings of his share of it.
It was very busy times along there for a while.
It appeared certain that we must perish, but even that was
not the bitterest thought; no, the abjectly unheroic nature
of the death--that was the sting--that and the bizarre
wording of the resulting obituary: "SHOT WITH A ROCK,
ON A RAFT." There would be no poetry written about it.
None COULD be written about it. Example:
NOT by war's shock, or war's shaft,--SHOT, with a rock,
on a raft.
No poet who valued his reputation would touch such a
theme as that. I should be distinguished as the only
"distinguished dead" who went down to the grave unsonneted,
But we escaped, and I have never regretted it.
The last blast was peculiarly strong one, and after
the small rubbish was done raining around us and we
were just going to shake hands over our deliverance,
a later and larger stone came down amongst our little
group of pedestrians and wrecked an umbrella. It did
no other harm, but we took to the water just the same.
It seems that the heavy work in the quarries and the
new railway gradings is done mainly by Italians.
That was a revelation. We have the notion in our country
that Italians never do heavy work at all, but confine
themselves to the lighter arts, like organ-grinding,
operatic singing, and assassination. We have blundered,
that is plain.
All along the river, near every village, we saw little
station-houses for the future railway. They were
finished and waiting for the rails and business.
They were as trim and snug and pretty as they could be.
They were always of brick or stone; they were of graceful
shape, they had vines and flowers about them already,
and around them the grass was bright and green,
and showed that it was carefully looked after. They were
a decoration to the beautiful landscape, not an offense.
Wherever one saw a pile of gravel or a pile of broken stone,
it was always heaped as trimly and exactly as a new grave
or a stack of cannon-balls; nothing about those stations
or along the railroad or the wagon-road was allowed
to look shabby or be unornamental. The keeping a country
in such beautiful order as Germany exhibits, has a wise
practical side to it, too, for it keeps thousands of people
in work and bread who would otherwise be idle and mischievous.
As the night shut down, the captain wanted to tie up,
but I thought maybe we might make Hirschhorn, so we went on.
Presently the sky became overcast, and the captain came
aft looking uneasy. He cast his eye aloft, then shook
his head, and said it was coming on to blow. My party
wanted to land at once--therefore I wanted to go on.
The captain said we ought to shorten sail anyway,
out of common prudence. Consequently, the larboard watch
was ordered to lay in his pole. It grew quite dark,
now, and the wind began to rise. It wailed through
the swaying branches of the trees, and swept our decks
in fitful gusts. Things were taking on an ugly look.
The captain shouted to the steersman on the forward
"How's she landing?"
The answer came faint and hoarse from far forward:
"Nor'-east-and-by-nor'--east-by-east, half-east, sir."