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Nunnenworth, which yet exists as the vignette represents it, and takes the irrevocable veil. Roland returns home, flushed with glory and hope, to find that the very fidelity of his betrothed had placed an eternal barrier between them. He built the castle that bears his name, and which overlooks the monastery, and dwelt there till his death; happy in the power, at least to gaze, even to the last, upon the walls which held the treasure he had lost.
There is a mournful tenderness about the legend, which the scene seems to reflect. Indeed, the whole margin of the Rhine is instinct with a mournful influence, which the spirit in vain strives to repel.
The romance of the Rhine ends before you reach Cologne; and when you reach that city-Oh! spirit of Coleridge-what a mire! what a hole! We reached there in a drizzle, and left in a drizzle, not very favorable circumstances under which to view a town, celebrated in the finest transcendental muse for its filth. The city looked well from the river, but when once in the streets, there was nothing but sloppiness, dirtiness, and muddiness, intolerable; splashed by boys, drays and horses, draggled by women's dresses, and odorous with every imaginable scent, prime and distinguishable among which is the-eau de Cologne! Oh! ye nymphs of Mud, and muses of Dirt! I distinctly call upon you to blot out from my mind the memory of Cologne. If a man wishes to insult me, let him revive that memory by putting a bottle of the eau under my nose-if he dares !
The city has a heritage of Roman renown. Many old monuments remain of the former rulers, and, until within a recent period, the 'better sort' were in the habit of calling themselves patricians, as descended from the Roman families. Napoleon disturbed these little fooleries, among a good many others. The unfinished Cathedral looms up from a great distance, as we dash away towards Aix-la-Chapelle-brilliant contrast of Colognewhich we reach by cars over a dead-level land, covered with Nature's richest gold-dust, viz., the golden wheat. Neat as wax
work, elegant and white, are the streets of this city. It is one of the magnificent bathing establishments of which Germany boasts. In some respects it should not boast. Curiosity led us to see its famous gambling-hell known as the Redoute. It was lit up in royal style. When we went in, a brilliant assemblage were in the conversation-room, listening to a concert of Italian music. In other rooms, the tinkling of the Napoleous and thalers resounded, while the deep silence was broken by the singsong tone of the bankers at the rouge-et-noir and roulette tables of the other rooms. We enter. There are loungers on elegant sofas. Lamps, shaded with green, light up an elegant table, at which a respectable gray head presides, and around which the assistants and betters are ranged. As the une, trois, cinque, turn up successfully or otherwise, the little rakes busily push around the gold, silver, and notes. Occasional betters stand up; the regulars are seated, with knit brows and trem+ bling hands pricking their memoranda, in vain attempting to head the bank, which, however Fortune may smile, must ultimately, by a surety as demonstrable as Euclid, increase its revenues so much per cent. Ladies, finely dressed, were there, playing with more sang-froid than the men. One Yankee might be discerned, with a flush of good luck upon his cheek, and the marks of verdancy in his actions, the observed of all observers. He had begun with a thaler; was lucky, doubled each time he won; and thus regaining all he lost, he continued to add to his store, until it became so cumbrous that he was obliged to, and did, in the flurry of excitement, occasionally use his hat as a reservoir. Some one observed, in a whisper, that he must soon stake his hat; but, shrewd to the last, he quit with a hat-fullenough to pay his way to a land where such gigantic splendors of Satan are not licensed by government nor patronized by the rich.
One cannot leave such a place without the reflection that here is a deeper sin than that which tinkles upon the ear and glitters upon the retina. To see so much money pass from hand
to hand, grasped by the trembling fingers of age and the eager sweep of youth, or gathered into the coffers of the bankers, to know that this is the representative of labor, wrung out of the soil and the husbandmen of Rhenish Prussia,must give us pause.' Comes it from the great estates of the German nobles, who flock here to the baths? Is it bled by the patient vinedresser from the terraced hills of the Rhine? It matters not; whoever thus squanders, does man-suffering man-and avenging God, disservice and great wrong.
What a condemnation of this frivolity frowns from the old Cathedral and the town-house of Aix, where Charlemagne and the emperors once trod, with no soft and downy step, seeking pleasure.
We visited the Cathedral. Although heartily tired of seeing so many churches, we could not leave Aix without a sight of the bones of Charlemagne, which are kept here in great state, with many other relics-such as the sponge which held the vinegar at the crucifixion, the cord that bound our Saviour's hands, and portions of the Cross. In the Hotel de Ville, where Charlemagne resided, we saw the portraits of Napoleon and Josephine. They stand beside that of the great founder of the early empire.
In leaving Aix, you pass through a country once the abode of the Flemings, and even yet full of an enterprising manufacturing people, who worthily fill the places of those early pioneers to whom England owes her great manufacturing prosperity. Tall chimneys and glowing forges announce the appearance of the towns; wheat-fields divided off by roads shaded with trees like those of Lombardy, in long vistas-and pastures filled with cattle not confined by fences-attest a splendid agricultural country.
Was it Liege, or some other Belgium city, where the outraged people pitched seventeen of their magistrates out of the town-hall windows; for which they were banished the realm? They found refuge in England, and formed no unimportant
Liege was once a
link in the chain of her material progress. free city, and acted a daring part in the earlier eras. Оссаsionally, an old castle would leap up from the level, as we wound along the valley toward Brussels. The villages looked oddly enough in their dresses of pure white, with red roofs. We soon enter upon the fighting ground of Europe, where Marlborough, Wellington, and Napoleon led their armies, and where many a brave soldier fell under the iron sleet.
Busy Brussels-neat Brussels-beautiful Brussels,-why is it that I cannot dissociate your fine promenades and elegant residences from that field of blood? Land of laces,-Paris in miniature—place of palaces,-splendid Brussels, did ye not tremble at the roar of battle, when Europe hung in the balance, and Destiny for ever deserted her child?
No one can visit Brussels without seeing Waterloo; no one can see Waterloo without returning with the impression of awe and wonder at the almost superhuman ability and strategy of the -vanquished. True, we read on our way the English accounts of the battle, the despatches of Wellington, and of that bloody miscreant, Blucher; true, we know that Wellington, at least when the Prussian appeared through the woods on the left, pressed on to victory; true, that the English infantry, like dogged brutes that fear not death, stood solid at Hougoumont and La Haute Sainte, although Jerome Bonaparte stormed the former tremendously with twelve thousand men; and although attack after attack was made in quick succession, of which the broken walls and burned château yet give evidence; true, that the fiercest charge of the old guard, even when victorious, was rendered innoxious by the cool audacity of Wellington; yet, notwithstanding all, the impression remains, that the genius of man and the brunt of the fighting was with the French. The field of the dead-one-third of the allied army thereon lying, proclaimed the dreadful thunderbolt which Napoleon hurled upon that 18th of June. We visited each point, and saw the whole from the monument of the Belgian lion. There is nothing
346 DOWN THE RHINE, AND ACROSS TO WATERLOO.
striking in the field itself. A crescent valley, with two hills, each occupied by the foe, within cannon range; the English having all the natural advantages, the French doing all the marching and manoeuvring-these are the features of the bloody field. The traveller treads curiously over spots where Victory waved her ensign, and Death reaped his sanguine harvest; where the hope of conquest glowed in the heart while life's last ebbing sands were running. The wheat grows finely now where thousands fell and mouldered; the flax, whose elegant warp and woof wrought into Brussels lace will adorn the lady in her parlor, springs out of the ground fructified by the blood of the brave. After the battle, the richest crops were taken from the fields; and nature even yet struggles on silently to redeem herself from the stains of a mighty murder by the kindest processes of vegetable growth. Man may struggle with his brother, and lie down upon his gory bed, and he may call it glorious; but God wipes away the evidences of such glory by the waving of beautiful plains. "Les hommes agitent, but Dieu les mene," says Bossuet. "Men agitate, but God rules." Never was there a bolder instrument of Providence than Napoleon. His history is written all over Europe. All the pages of English vituperation, from the most puerile penny-a-liner to the rankest old tory or gravest historian, cannot eradicate or tarnish the proud evidences of Napoleon's greatness. At Naples, in the roads and buildings; at Venice, in the improvements he there made; at Milan, where we were shown what Napoleon did; at Lisbon, where he turned out some eleven hundred lazy priests to clean the filthy city; along the Rhine, where he broke up nunneries by the hundred; in Paris, where I now write almost under the shadow of his splendid monuments, are the ineffaceable proofs of his utilitarian and exhaustless mind, as it projected works for the good of the people, and it must be confessed, for the glory of himself. His shadow, not himself, now rules here; yet his shadow is more powerful this day in France, than the sunlight of her brightest spirits.