A Tramp Abroad — Volume 03 eBook: Page1

Mark Twain (1994)




  Produced by Anonymous Volunteers, John Greenman and David Widger

  A TRAMP ABROAD, Part 3.

  By Mark Twain

  (Samuel L. Clemens)

  First published in 1880

  Illustrations taken from an 1880 First Edition

  * * * * * *

  ILLUSTRATIONS:

  1. PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR 2. TITIAN'S MOSES 3. THE AUTHOR'S MEMORIES 73. A DEEP AND TRANQUIL ECSTACY 74. "WHICH ANSWERED JUST AS WELL" 75. LIFE ON A RAFT 76. LADY GERTRUDE 77. MOUTH OF THE CAVERN 78. A FATAL MISTAKE 79. TAIL PIECE 80. RAFTING ON THE NECKAR 81. THE LORELEI 82. THE LOVER's FATE 84. THE UNKNOWN KNIGHT 85. THE EMBRACE 86. PERILOUS POSTTION 87. THE RAFT IN A STORM 88. ALL SAFE ON SHORE 89. "IT WAS THE CAT" 90. TAILPIECE 91. BREAKFAST IN THE GARDEN 162 92. EASILY UNDERSTOOD 93. EXPERIMENTING THROUGH HARRIS 94. AT THE BALL ROOM DOOR 95. THE TOWN OF DILSBERG 96. OUR ADVANCE ON DILSBERG 97. INSIDE THE TOWN 95. THE OLD WELL 99. SEND HITHER THE LORD ULRICH 100. LEAD ME TO HER GRAVE 102. AN EXCELLENT PILOT, ONCE 103. SCATTERATION 104. THE RIVER BATH 101. ETRUSCAN TEAR JUG 106. HENRI II. PLATE l07. OLD BLUE CHINA 108. A REAL ANTIQUE 109. BRIC-A-BRAC SHOP 110. "PUT IT THERE" 111. THE PARSON CAPTURED 112. TAIL PIECE 113. A COMPREHENSIVE YAWN 114. TESTING THE COIN 115. BEAUTY AT THE BATH 116. IN THE BATH 117. JERSEY INDIANS 118. NOT PARTICULARLY SOCIABLE

  CONTENTS:

  CHAPTER XV Down the River--German Women's Duties--Bathing as We Went--AHandsome Picture: Girls in the Willows--We Sight a Tug--Steamers on theNeckar--Dinner on Board--Legend "Cave of the Spectre "--Lady Gertrudethe Heiress--The Crusader--The Lady in the Cave--A Tragedy

  CHAPTER XVI An Ancient Legend of the Rhine--"The Lorelei"--CountHermann--Falling in Love--A Sight of the Enchantress--Sad Effecton Count Hermann--An Evening visit--A Sad Mistake--Count HermannDrowned--The Song and Music--Different Trans lations--Curiosities inTitles

  CHAPTER XVII Another Legend--The Unconquered Monster--The Unknown Knight--His Queer Shaped Knapsack--The Knight Pitied and Advised--He Attacksthe Monster--Victory for the Fire Extinguisher--The Knight rewarded--HisStrange Request----Spectacles Made Popular--Danger to the Raft--BlastingRocks--An Inglorious Death in View--Escaped--A Storm Overtakesus--GreatDanger--Man Overboard--Breakers Ahead--Springing a Leak--AshoreSafe--A General Embracing--A Tramp in the Dark--The Naturalist Tavern--ANight's Troubles--"It is the Cat"

  CHAPTER XVIII Breakfast in a Garden--The Old Raven--Castle ofHirschhorn--Attempt to Hire a Boat--High Dutch--What You Can Find outby Enquiring--What I Found out about the Students--A good GermanCustom--Harris Practices It--AnEmbarrassing Position--A Nice Party--At aBall--Stopped at the Door--Assistance at Hand and Rendered--Worthy to bean Empress

  CHAPTER XIX Arrive at Neckarsteinach--Castle of Dilsberg--A WalledTown--On a Hill--Exclusiveness of the People--A Queer Old Place--AnAncient Well--An Outlet Proved--Legend of Dilsberg Castle--TheHaunted Chamber--The Betrothed's request--The Knight's Slumbersand Awakening--Horror of the Lover--The Wicked Jest--The Lover aManiac--Under the Linden--Turning Pilot--Accident to the Raft--FearfulDisaster

  CHAPTER XX Good News--"Slow Freight"--Keramics--My Collection of Bric-a-brac--My Tear Jug--Henri II. Plate--Specimen of Blue China--Indifferenceto the Laugh of the World--I Discover an Antique En-route toBaden--Baden--Meeting an Old Acquaintance--A young American--EmbryoHorse Doctor--An American, Sure--A Minister Captured

  CHAPTER XXI Baden--Baden--Energetic Girls--A Comprehensive Yawn--ABeggar's Trick--Cool Impudence--The Bath Woman--Insolence of ShopKeepers--Taking a Bath--Early and Late Hours--Popular Belief RegardingIndians--An Old Cemetery--A Pious Hag--Curious Table Companions

  CHAPTER XV

  [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 grassyshores, and gossiped with us and with the crew for a hundred yards orso, then stepped ashore again, refreshed by the ride.

  Only the men did this; the women were too busy. The women do all kindsof work on the continent. They dig, they hoe, they reap, they sow, theybear monstrous burdens on their backs, they shove similar ones longdistances on wheelbarrows, they drag the cart when there is no dog orlean cow to drag it--and when there is, they assist the dog or cow. Ageis 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 ofeverything; but in the towns it is different, there she only doescertain things, the men do the rest. For instance, a hotel chambermaidhas nothing to do but make beds and fires in fifty or sixty rooms, bringtowels and candles, and fetch several tons of water up several flightsof stairs, a hundred pounds at a time, in prodigious metal pitchers. Shedoes not have to work more than eighteen or twenty hours a day, andshe can always get down on her knees and scrub the floors of halls andclosets when she is tired and needs a rest.

  As the morning advanced and the weather grew hot, we took off ouroutside clothing and sat in a row along the edge of the raft and enjoyedthe scenery, with our sun-umbrellas over our heads and our legs danglingin the water.

  Every now and then we plunged in and had a swim. Every projecting grassycape had its joyous group of naked children, the boys to themselves andthe girls to themselves, the latter usually in care of some motherlydame who sat in the shade of a tree with her knitting. The little boysswam out to us, sometimes, but the little maids stood knee-deep in thewater and stopped their splashing and frolicking to inspect the raftwith their innocent eyes as it drifted by. Once we turned a cornersuddenly and surprised a slender girl of twelve years or upward, juststepping into the water. She had not time to run, but she did whatanswered just as well; she promptly drew a lithe young willow boughathwart her white body with one hand, and then contemplated us with asimple and untroubled interest. Thus she stood while we glided by. Shewas a pretty creature, and she and her willow bough made a verypretty picture, and one which could not offend the modesty of the mostfastidious spectator. Her white skin had a low bank of fresh greenwillows for background and effective contrast--for she stood againstthem--and above and out of them projected the eager faces and whiteshoulders of two smaller girls.

  Toward noon we heard the inspiriting cry,--

  "Sail ho!"

  "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 theyhad 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 oftenwatched her from the hotel, and wondered how she propelled herself, forapparently she had no propeller or paddles. She came churning along,now, making a deal of noise of one kind or another, and aggravating itevery now and then by blowing a hoarse whistle. She had nine keel-boatshitched on behind and following after her in a long, slender rank. Wemet her in a narrow place, between dikes, and there was hardly room forus both in the cramped passage. As she went grinding and groaning by, weperceived the secret of her moving impulse. She did not drive herself upthe river with paddles or propeller, she pulled herself by hauling ona great chain. This chain is laid in the bed of the river and is onlyfastened at the two ends. It is seventy miles long. It comes in over theboat's bow, passes around a drum, and is payed out astern. She pullson that chain, and so drags herself up the river or down it. She hasneither bow or stern, strictly speaking, for she has a long-bladedrudder on each end and she never turns around. She uses both ruddersall the time, and they are powerful enough to enable her to turn tothe right or the left and steer a
round curves, in spite of the strongresistance of the chain. I would not have believed that that impossiblething could be done; but I saw it done, and therefore I know that thereis one impossible thing which CAN be done. What miracle will man attemptnext?

  We met many big keel-boats on their way up, using sails, mule power, andprofanity--a tedious and laborious business. A wire rope led from theforetopmast 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 ofdrivers managed to get a speed of two or three miles an hour out of themules against the stiff current. The Neckar has always been used as acanal, 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 orso of coal, to take nine keel-boats farther up the river in one hourthan thirty men and thirty mules can do it in two, it is believedthat the old-fashioned towing industry is on its death-bed. A secondsteamboat began work in the Neckar three months after the first one wasput in service. [Figure 4]

  At noon we stepped ashore and bought some bottled beer and got somechickens cooked, while the raft waited; then we immediately put to seaagain, 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 isgliding down the winding Neckar past green meadows and wooded hills, andslumbering villages, and craggy heights graced with crumbling towers andbattlements.

  In one place we saw a nicely dressed German gentleman without anyspectacles. Before I could come to anchor he had got underway. It was agreat pity. I so wanted to make a sketch of him. The captain comfortedme for my loss, however, by saying that the man was without any doubt afraud who had spectacles, but kept them in his pocket in order to makehimself conspicuous.

  Below Hassmersheim we passed Hornberg, Goetz von Berlichingen's oldcastle. It stands on a bold elevation two hundred feet above the surfaceof the river; it has high vine-clad walls enclosing trees, and a peakedtower about seventy-five feet high. The steep hillside, from the castleclear down to the water's edge, is terraced, and clothed thick withgrape vines. This is like farming a mansard roof. All the steeps alongthat part of the river which furnish the proper exposure, are givenup to the grape. That region is a great producer of Rhine wines. TheGermans are exceedingly fond of Rhine wines; they are put up in tall,slender bottles, and are considered a pleasant beverage. One tells themfrom vinegar by the label.

  The Hornberg hill is to be tunneled, and the new railway will pass underthe castle. THE CAVE OF THE SPECTER Two miles below Hornberg castle isa cave in a low cliff, which the captain of the raft said had once beenoccupied by a beautiful heiress of Hornberg--the Lady Gertrude--in theold times. It was seven hundred years ago. She had a number of rich andnoble lovers and one poor and obscure one, Sir Wendel Lobenfeld. Withthe native chuckleheadedness of the heroine of romance, she preferredthe 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 donjonkeep, or his oubliette, or his culverin, or some such place, andresolved that she should stay there until she selected a husband fromamong her rich and noble lovers. The latter visited her and persecutedher with their supplications, but without effect, for her heart wastrue to her poor despised Crusader, who was fighting in the Holy Land.Finally, she resolved that she would endure the attentions of the richlovers no longer; so one stormy night she escaped and went downthe river and hid herself in the cave on the other side. Her fatherransacked the country for her, but found not a trace of her. As thedays went by, and still no tidings of her came, his conscience began totorture him, and he caused proclamation to be made that if she were yetliving and would return, he would oppose her no longer, she might marrywhom she would. The months dragged on, all hope forsook the old man, heceased from his customary pursuits and pleasures, he devoted himself topious works, and longed for the deliverance of death.

  Now just at midnight, every night, the lost heiress stood in the mouthof her cave, arrayed in white robes, and sang a little love ballad whichher Crusader had made for her. She judged that if he came home alive thesuperstitious peasants would tell him about the ghost that sang in thecave, and that as soon as they described the ballad he would know thatnone but he and she knew that song, therefore he would suspect that shewas alive, and would come and find her. As time went on, the people ofthe region became sorely distressed about the Specter of the HauntedCave. It was said that ill luck of one kind or another always overtookany one who had the misfortune to hear that song. Eventually, everycalamity that happened thereabouts was laid at the door of that music.Consequently, no boatmen would consent to pass the cave at night; thepeasants shunned the place, even in the daytime.

  But the faithful girl sang on, night after night, month after month, andpatiently waited; her reward must come at last. Five years dragged by,and still, every night at midnight, the plaintive tones floated out overthe silent land, while the distant boatmen and peasants thrust theirfingers into their ears and shuddered out a prayer.

  And now came the Crusader home, bronzed and battle-scarred, but bringinga great and splendid fame to lay at the feet of his bride. The old lordof Hornberg received him as his son, and wanted him to stay by himand be the comfort and blessing of his age; but the tale of that younggirl's devotion to him and its pathetic consequences made a changedman of the knight. He could not enjoy his well-earned rest. He said hisheart was broken, he would give the remnant of his life to high deeds inthe cause of humanity, and so find a worthy death and a blessed reunionwith the brave true heart whose love had more honored him than all hisvictories in war.

  When the people heard this resolve of his, they came and told him therewas a pitiless dragon in human disguise in the Haunted Cave, a dreadcreature which no knight had yet been bold enough to face, and beggedhim 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, theysaid the memory of it was gone, for nobody had been hardy enough tolisten 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 thedim reflections of the crags and trees, with his intent eyes fixed uponthe low cliff which he was approaching. As he drew nearer, he discernedthe black mouth of the cave. Now--is that a white figure? Yes. Theplaintive song begins to well forth and float away over meadow andriver--the cross-bow is slowly raised to position, a steady aim istaken, the bolt flies straight to the mark--the figure sinks down, stillsinging, the knight takes the wool out of his ears, and recognizes theold 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 thespirit of the unfortunate girl sang nightly from the cave at midnight,but the music carried no curse with it; and although many listened forthe mysterious sounds, few were favored, since only those could hearthem who had never failed in a trust. It is believed that the singingstill continues, but it is known that nobody has heard it during thepresent century.

  CHAPTER XVI

  An Ancient Legend of the Rhine [The Lorelei]

  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 themare peculiarly beautiful--but "The Lorelei" is the people's favorite. Icould 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 haveheard it there. The fact that I never heard it there, is evidence thatthere are others in my country who have fared likewise; therefore, forthe 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 theLorelei, too. I have it by me in the LEGENDS OF THE RHINE, done int
oEnglish by the wildly gifted Garnham, Bachelor of Arts. I print thelegend partly to refresh my own memory, too, for I have never read itbefore. THE LEGEND Lore (two syllables) was a water nymph who used tosit 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 rapidwhich marred the channel at that spot. She so bewitched them with herplaintive songs and her wonderful beauty that they forgot everythingelse to gaze up at her, and so they presently drifted among the brokenreefs and were lost.

  In those old, old times, the Count Bruno lived in a great castle nearthere with his son, the Count Hermann, a youth of twenty. Hermann hadheard a great deal about the beautiful Lore, and had finally fallen verydeeply in love with her without having seen her. So he used to wander tothe neighborhood of the Lei, evenings, with his Zither and "Express hisLonging in low Singing," as Garnham says. On one of these occasions,"suddenly there hovered around the top of the rock a brightness ofunequaled clearness and color, which, in increasingly smaller circlesthickened, 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 friendlymanner; indeed, if his ear did not deceive him, she called his name withunutterable sweet Whispers, proper to love. Beside himself with delightthe youth lost his Senses and sank senseless to the earth."

  After that he was a changed person. He went dreaming about, thinkingonly of his fairy and caring for naught else in the world. "The oldcount saw with affliction this changement in his son," whose cause hecould not divine, and tried to divert his mind into cheerful channels,but to no purpose. Then the old count used authority. He commanded theyouth to betake himself to the camp. Obedience was promised. Garnhamsays: