Chapter XII. Cologne.

Koeln, (or Cologne), the principal town in the Rhenish Province of Prussia, the seat of the supreme court of justice for the west bank of the Rhine, one of the chief commercial cities in Germany, and a military stronghold of the first class, is an old Catholic city dating its foundation from the 1st century of the Christian era. In the beginning of the present century, it had 200 churches and chapels; it has at present 25 only, two of which are prodestant.

The Cathedral.

The first place that the traveler naturally goes to visit is the Cathedral, (Ger. Dom), which "is perhaps" says Baedeker, "the most magnificent Gothic edifice in the world." This superb edifice is over an acre and a half in extent! It is 448 feet long and 249 feet through the transepts; the choir is 149 feet high. The magnificent south portal cost more than $500,000.

The central portal in the west end is 93 feet high, and 31 feet wide. The central window is 48 feet in height and 20 feet wide. The projected height of the twin towers is 511 feet. These are intended to consist of four stories, the third of which is approaching completion. A model representing in miniature what this structure is intended to be in the height of its glory when its towers are completed and crowned with spires, may be seen in a store adjacent to the Dom-platz, where the "only veritable" Cologne water (eau de Cologne) may also be obtained.

The foundation of this vast edifice was laid in 1248. Little work was done at it between 1322 and the beginning of the 16th century, and none from the latter date until 1816, when its restoration was begun under the auspices of the King of Prussia. Since that time $2,000,000 have been expended upon it. Those lower portions of the walls which were built 600 years ago, are old and gray and washed thinner by the rains of those half a dozen centuries. Such as appreciate the poetry of architecture, see in its multitude of spires and finials (large and small) a thousand vegetable forms, uniting to produce a bewildering effect upon the imagination; but no word-picture can do justice to the almost matchless beauty of this fine blossom of Gothic architecture. The tourist will love to go round about it and inspect and contemplate its every part, to take near views and distant views of it, and to revisit it time and again; and when he has bid adieu to Cologne and returned to his far distant home, he will dream dreams, by day and by night, in which he revisits and beholds again the beauties and glories of this magnificent temple.

St. Ursula, a church that is said to have been been built in the 11th century, contains a monument erected (1658) to St. Ursula, a princess of England, who, according to the legend, when on her return from a pilgrimage to Rome, was barbarously murdered by the Huns at Cologne with her 11,000 virgin attendants. The skulls and bones of these martyrs are preserved in cases placed round the church. Large sections of the walls in the church are shelved and divided into pigeon holes, each containing a skull! I saw no less than 600 or 700 of these skulls (by actual count). The bones "are worked into the walls in a species of sepulchral mosaic." These bones, it is said, had been in their graves about 400 years. The old pictures of the apostles are painted upon slates, one of them bearing the date 1224.

In the Golden Chamber are preserved the most sacred relics; here is a bone which is claimed to have been in the right arm of St. Ursula, while a gilded shrine contains the rest of her bones. Do these identifications not prove conclusively that anatomy was better understood when these bones were classified than it is even now? The name of the anatomist who selected St. Ursula's bones from among 11,000 and identified them is not given, but he certainly deserves much credit for it. Here are thorns from the crown and a piece of the rod with which Christ was scorged, one of the six jars of alabaster used at the marriage in Galilee, and a piece, about as thick as a hair and an inch or two long, of the "true cross." So they say. These things were brought hither from Syria by the crusaders in 1378.

The Museum.

The Museum in Cologne is one of the most interesting that I have yet seen. Its curious old paintings carry one back to the wretched times of the middle ages, when nothing but superstition and the night-mare of hell could influence predatory man to humanity on civil order. A picture of the Last Judgement is characteristic of the religious notions of those early times. In this, Christ is represented as sitting on one rainbow and resting his feet upon another. To his right stands a beautiful castle, into which numbers of beautiful persons are going. But on the left, how horrible! A massive time-worn citadel from whose large chimney tower issue flames and smoke, into which winged devils are descending, while others, carrying wretched-looking men in their clutches, fly about near it, or are approaching it with their struggling victims, and hideous monsters of quaint, fantastic forms accompany them in their excursions! One of these hideous beasts is represented with an extra head upon one shoulder and one under its breast; it has also faces upon its knees!

Among the other relics of antiquity, is Cheopetra with a little snake creeping over her bosom, Christ on the Cross surrounded by Mary and the Apostles, Madonna in an arbor of roses, Lions Fighting, Mourning Jews, Summer Night on the Rhine, and Galileo in Prison, deserve special notice among the hundreds of other admirable paintings.

A fine iron bridge 1,359 feet long, and wide enough for a double line of rails and a separate roadway, crosses the Rhine directly east of the Cathedral.

In traveling through foreign lands, one sees so much that is indecent, obscene, and shockingly profane, according to his our way of thinking, that he scarcely knows what to include and what to suppress in his accounts of foreign manners, customs and institutions. Some writers incline to the policy of rendering a true account of what they touch, but will restrain their pens from giving any notice of about one fourth of all they see, because they do not wish to pain the feelings of their readers by reciting to them narrations of horrible tragedies that occurred in the past, or of groveling superstitions that prevailed; such as we all wish had never disgraced the history of infant humanity or constituted the day-dreams of our ancestors. They carefully select that which flatters and pleases the vanity of their fellows, and pass by unnoticed, everything else. This course may tickle vain people, but it cannot meet with favor among those who love the truth, and the whole truth. There are sins of omission as well as of commission, and writers betray and deceive the world as much by the former class as by the latter. Some fastidious writers are afraid to call things by their proper names, considering it more appropriate to paint an African with a brownish color than to shock the beholder with a picture of a man with a black face! I can not take the reader through Europe in that way. To paint a negro we need black paint, and to describe scenes which are unfamiliar we need words and language that is not used in the drawing room or parlor every time we meet. So much for the introduction to an episode that is characteristic of the profanity of some of the descendents of the old Teutonic stock, when they become exasperated. The second day that I spent in Cologne, I went to a German barber to be put into trim for making my descend into the lower latitudes and consequently warmer countries. Another customer was ahead of me. While the barber was at work upon him, all the time in a rage and swearing barber_ously at some proceedings, a thunder storm came up very suddenly, and so obscured the light of the sun (though it was midday) that he could not see to go on with his work. Hereupon he began first to swear at the clouds, then at the Lord himself, using all the epithets of abuse that he could find in his entire vocabulary of profanity, there were heavy peals of thunder and vivid flashes of lightning, but, the darker it became and the more tremendous the crashes of the thunderbolts, the more the senseless and exasperated barber cursed and swore. After the shower and hail, I walked out into the pure fresh air and under the blue vault of heaven smiling down upon the refreshed vegetation, and tried to draw a picture of that profane man's mental panorama, but I never succeeded even to this day. Such behavior is not of rare occurrence, else I should not have related it; but even sacred history refers to similar incidents. The wicked, it is recorded, danced and were merry even until the waters of the flood swept them away.

A certain divine related to me a similar story concerning the behavior of a large body of the passengers with him on the "Great Eastern," when she was foundered at sea and obliged to return, after they had advanced 500 miles. When the storm was assailing the great ship, breaking down its masts and tearing away its rigging, so that most of the passengers were in despair and expected to sink any hour, they kept prayer-meetings almost continually. Another faction found fault with these, declared that praying was an intolerable nuisance and asked the Captain to prohibit it. The Captain decided that he would not interfere, whereupon the party offended took to dancing, cursing and swearing, and tried their utmost in this way to break up the prayer-meetings,

I heard similar profanity on my return trip across the Atlantic. One night when a storm assailed our ship, so that the waves rolled over the deck and the fierce rocking of the vessel threw many almost out of their beds, I heard many of them swear, even during the very time that the thunder rolled with tremendous roarings and crashes across the heavens. It seems almost impossible that conscious intelligent beings could behave thus, but the fact that they do, helps us to believe other strange truths recorded in history, without which, no correct conception of man's former depraved condition can be formed at this advanced day. For example, few seem to appreciate the part played by the Catholic Church with her images, shrines, sacred relics, paid magnificent temples, in taming and civilizing man, because they do not know who and what he was when the light of intelligence first began to direct his footsteps, and he had not yet learned to control his selfish nature which had hitherto been guided by an instinct worth a hundred times more than intelligence without morality or religion. We make a sad mistake yet in the nineteenth century, in cultivating the intellect and leaving morality so much out of the question. We see some of the fruits already in the corruption which prevails alike in all circles without regard to party or sect. I will recur to this again in speaking of the influence of the church, when I come to describe the magnificent churches of Italy.

On the second afternoon that I spent at Cologne there had been a shower, and from sunset till dusk I beheld one of the grandest atmospheric phenomena that I had ever witnessed. From a window of Mlueler's Hotel (facing the Dom-Platz) I was looking over the Cathedral at the western sky, as the sun throw its colored light through the small drops of rain still descending, and thus colored both the green foliage of the trees and the grand edifice before me, presenting a scene of such enchanting beauty as would afford almost a sufficient excuse for one to go into raptures, or sink down in a fit of ecstatic delight.

I may add that before leaving Cologne, I saw among the many dog-teams used in distributing produce over the city, a span whose disproportion I shall never forget; there was a dog hitched to one side of the shaft and a woman took hold of the other side and assisted him in pulling the load!


On Friday morning, August 13th, I left Cologne and went by rail to Bonn, 21 miles further up the Rhine. It is the seat of the Freidrich Wilhelm University, and contains about 26,000 inhabitants. The Poppelsdorfer Allee, an excellent quadruple avenue of fine horse-chestnuts, three quarters of a mile long, is the principal promenade of the town. At the end of it stands the Schloss containing the University, with a library (200,000 volumes) and a museum rich in Roman antiquities. The Muenster (or Cathedral) dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. In the Muensterplatz stands a fine bronze statue of Beethoven, a celebrated German musician, who was born in the Bonngasse, No. 515. This statue faces south, (as do most of the statues that I have seen in Europe, except when the surroundings are unfavorable). One side of the pedestal contains the following inscription:


The other three sides contain base reliefs representing muses playing upon musical instruments.

Half a mile above the Poppelsdorfer Schloss rises the Kreuzberg (400 feet high) crowned with a white church. This contains the "Holy Steps" 28 in number, which must only be ascended on the knees, and are in imitation of the Scala Sancta at the Lateran in Rome, piously believed to be the identical steps of the Praetorium ascended by the Savior when he appeared before Pilate.

The view from the tower of this church is one of the most beautiful on the Rhine. After enjoying the scenery a while, with a party of ladies and gentlemen whose society I had joined in the church below, we came down, and I took a rustic seat on an eminence and surveyed the beauties of the landscape more at leisure. The most beautiful part of the Rhine is from Bonn to Mayence, and this view from the Kreuzberg constituted for me a fine initiation into the charming scenery that fell to my portion to enjoy the coming three days. Large sections of the country here are entirely without fences, there being no hedge-fences even, and the landscape checkered by the different fresh colors of the various crops, spreads out like a beautiful carpet of green, red, yellow, gray, and a dozen other tints and shakes, all mixed up, or like a pavement rich in mosaics. We had also gone into the cellar of the church to see the skeletons and bodies of 26 Servitten lying about in boxes or coffins set in rows upon the ground. These, it is said, built the church in 1627. The bodies of several of them seem to have petrified more or less perfectly, but the rest of them are mere skeletons, and present an anatomical display that reminded me of what I had seen in St. Ursula, in Cologne, as above described. This cellar is perfectly dark and is entered by a trap-door in the form of a heavy stone, which an attendant removes by means of a crow-bar. The steps leading down are narrow and the passage very low, so that several of the ladies at first declined to enter, but we persuaded them, however, to accompany us. A tallow candle afforded us some little light, and after brushing away the cobwebs which the spiders had spun since the last party had made their entry, we came upon the sickening sight of the dozen or more skeletons still preserved. The ladies in the party were intelligent and dressed tastefully, and I shall never forget how the gaudy colors of their dresses contrasted with the gloom of that nasty cellar.

The frequent odd adventures into such places as many would not like to enter in their own homes in the presence of their friends and companions, constitutes a prolific source of amusement. After we had crept out of that dirty cobwebbed passage, our clothes were slightly soiled and cobwebby. With the remark, "If we were all with our fashionable circles at home, I suppose we should not go on this way," or some such allusion, that reminds the company of how differently they are wont to go on at home,-one can, under such circumstances generally provoke a fit of merriment. To the traveler, every day is a day of adventures - frequently of rather funny adventures!

At 2:30 p.m., I left Bonn by rail for Mehlen, (5 miles further up), where I crossed the Rhine on a ferry and came to Koenigswinter on its right bank. Southeast of this village lie "The Seven Mountains" (Siebengebirge). From the Drachenfels (1,066 feet high) the view is the most picturesque, and this one, about a mile from the village, I ascended. Donkeys and donkey boys are found here in aboundance, but I would have nothing to do with the donkey, and immediately set out to make the ascent on foot. I did not come far before a girl crowned me, with a wreath made of leaves, and asked me to buy it. The scenery is so romantic, here, that many will yield to the importunities of these poor girls and give them a groschen (21/2 cents) and make the rest of their journeys with wreaths of leaves upon their hats! The ruins of the castle of Drachenfels (or dragon's rock) erected in the beginning of the 12th century, is near the summit of the peak. The cavern of the dragon may be seen from the Rhine half way up the hill. "This dragon was slain by Sigfried, the hero from the Low Countries, who, having bathed himself in its blood, became invulnerable."

The summit of Drachenfels commands one of the noblest prospects of the Rhine. Here sat Byron when he wrote the following beautiful lines:

  "The castled crag of Drachenfels 
    Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine, 
  Whose breast of waters broadly swells 
    Between the banks which hear the vine; 
  And hills all rich with blossomed trees, 
    And fields which promise corn and wine 
  And scattered cities crowning these, 
    Whose far white walls along them shine, 
  Have strew'd a scene which I should see 
    With double joy went thou with me."

While luxuriating here amidst these grand and beautiful scenes of the Rhine, we were visited, by a shower, after which I enjoyed the sublime sight of looking down upon a rainbow which stood in the valley below me!

That evening I rode by rail to Ehrenbreitstein which is opposite to Coblentz.