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a collection of pictures and curiosities, and we were sumptuously regaled with fruit. The walks are cut along the steep sides of the rock; sometimes they wind up a glen; and, after passing a brook, you are brought round on the other side to points of view which far surpass all I have ever
The ruined fortress of Ehrenbreitstein is a principal feature, but the city of Coblentz, the electoral palace, the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle, which wind away under the steep bank on one side, with populous villages and rich farms on the other, form a landscape which contains all that a painter or a lover of nature can desire.
Before we left Coblentz, we heard of an affair which has probably appeared in the English papers. Last Sunday, it was said, a battle took place between the Austrians and Prussians quartered at Mayence, and that about two hundred men were killed and wounded. On our arrival here we found the main fact to be true. A fray arose between some soldiers of these two nations, in consequence of a quarrel between two persons. It soon became national, the soldiers fetched their
shots were fired. It was near three hours before order could be restored; seven are dead and near thirty wounded. What seems strange is, that only two are in confinement to be tried for this offence. The Austrians and Prussians have, for half a century, hated one another, and do so now more than ever. There are two regiments of each service in the town. We have seen them reviewed. The Prussians have the credit of being the best soldiers, but they are extravagantly elated with their late success against France.
Schaffhausen, August 25, 1816. My dear Brother,
In Flanders, everything wears the appearance of strict attachment to the Roman Catholic worship. The
churches are open in summer from five in the morning till noon, during which time a succession of priests are officiating, the people coming and going, seldom less than thirty in the church at any one time, with great appearance of devotion. In the streets are often seen religious processions, figures of Christ and of the Virgin carried, and long lines of people, well marshalled, women and children classed respectively, all singing, with books in their hands, and wearing an appearance of sincere and serious piety. This proceeding took me by surprise. I was not aware that the people took so warm a part in the performance of religious offices, it being one of the commonest objections to popery, that it leaves all to the priests, while the people are merely passive. At Mayence I certainly saw a parochial procession, consisting of nearly all the congregation of a parish, singing lustily, and with as much pertinacity as a Methodist meeting. As you advance towards the Rhine, however, there is a greater mixture of Protestants, who are of two classes, the Lutherans by far the most numerous, and the Reformed, as they are called, natietoxdir, or Calvinists.
These last, originating in Geneva and France, are not numerous on the side of Germany. Formerly there existed strong jealousies and opposition between the two classes, which have now generally subsided; the Calvinists, being the less numerous, are inclined to yield, and at Mayence they have even formed a coalition very recently, so that they use the same church, have the same minister, and partake of the communion together. The minister using the gospel-words, “This is my body,' and each communicant understanding them in
his own way.
In all the places of worship I have attended (except one, which I will speak of presently), I must say that there was greater appearance of devotion than the English church ordinarily presents. The people seemed to make it more
their own business. They come before the service begins. Many sit there an hour with their books, and seem to be engaged in private prayer. I confess I cannot understand the ground upon which the English boast themselves to be a peculiarly religious people. To be sure, on the Continent Sunday is regarded as a festival, and all sorts of innocent amusements go on in the evening, after divine service is over. This is the case as much in Protestant as in Catholic countries, and I believe Heylin, in his Treatise on the Sabbath, is right in saying that the day was never, in the history of the church, considered as profaned by the practice, till about the latter end of our Elizabeth's reign, when the Puritan notions began to prevail. The place of worship I meant to speak of is the Jews' synagogue at Amsterdam. Such mockery of religious service I never beheld. There are two synagogues, one for Portuguese, the other for German Jews, being the two classes into which they are divided; they are 23,000 and upwards in all. The Portuguese are reckoned much superior in respectability to the others. We went to that first on Friday evening, when their sabbath begins. It was nearly full of a dirty rabble, all either bawling aloud, or gabbling over books, or talking and laughing with each other—a perfect image of Babel. The priest, who had something of a dress, led the way occasionally, but did not seem to wear the slightest appearance of reverence or seriousness, and, after shutting the book, slapped one of his acquaintance on the shoulder as they were going out of the place. An exchange, or a crowded market for old clothes, might as well pass for a religious assembly. And yet there is not a Jew in Amsterdam who would not, I dare say, rather suffer severely, or even lose his money, than miss his synagogue, or work on a Saturday. The preaching, Protestant as well as 'Catholic,' is accompanied with much more action than ours, such as we should call
theatrical. In towns they are studied compositions, delivered memoritèr, and of considerable length. The English clergy have certainly lighter work than any others within the church. And how many are there who have nothing of the profession out of it?
Zurich, August 26. Just arrived here-a most enchanting scene.
Berne, September 11, 1816. My dear Father,
Notwithstanding all that has been said of Swiss simplicity and happiness, I never passed through a country in which there was more begging. All the village children beg as a matter of course, and follow
you with great importunity, except in the canton of Berne, which is excellently regulated, and has a vigilant and severe police. The image of country life is, however, manifestly different from that of other countries. Property is minutely subdivided: every peasant has a freehold farm, some, perhaps, only two or three acres, and great numbers of these are mortgaged at seven or eight per cent. In the parish of Grindelwald alone, I was assured by a very intelligent man that there are five hundred proprietors, the population being only 2200. This, I believe, is always found to be the poorest condition of society. No gentlemen reside in the country; the poor, therefore, are supported by a rate raised among these poor proprietors—and you may easily conceive this is the lowest possible allowance. Few of them can afford bread in the mountainous cantons; curds and a coarse cheese, with potatoes, are their chief diet. They are, however, decently clad, and are always fine in their own way on Sundays, which gives a very cheerful aspect to a country village.
. . Having reached the summit of the Furca, we dis
missed our horses, and descended to the glacier from which the Rhone takes its rise, after which we had to climb for an hour and more up the steep path of the mountain called the Grimsel. The rain, which poured down in torrents, had rendered the ground so slippery, that every step was an object of solicitude, and the snow which filled the path was often treacherous. We sent on our guide to prepare for us at the little inn built on the other side, and spent a very agreeable evening in one of the rudest huts that ever bore the name of an inn. We got our clothes dried, and sat down to supper-eight gentlemen, four guides, and seven or eight of the people of the house, all in one room. We went to bed in a room over the cows and goats. This spot is wilder and colder than any of the passes into Italy, and is occupied during the summer months only.
Geneva, September 22, 1816. My dear Brother,
At length I am arrived at a place which I visited in my former tour, every step of the way having been over new ground from the time I left Calais till I reached Coppet, the residence of Madame de Stäel, near Geneva. I am very glad to hear so high a character given of her by the most respectable families of the place. In England there seems to be so strong a propensity towards detraction, that if once a person (a lady especially) has attained to eminence, there are a thousand ill-natured stories circulated, in revenge for having carried off the prize of fame. Mrs. H. More has not been able to escape this persecution. For my own part, I think it fairer to trust the opinion of those who know the habits and manners of life of a person by long experience and frequent intercourse, instead of listening to some tale of single indiscretion, which is no evidence of general character ; and as for writings, every one may judge for himself. Very different is the judgment of people here respecting Lord Byron,