Chapter XIV. Die Pfalz (Palatinate).

From Worms I went to Frankenthal, where I spent the night (of August 18th) at the Pfalzhof. It was now nearly two months since I had left America, and since that time, in all my wanderings, I had met no people that resembled the Americans. Even in Germany had I not yet seen any one whose physiognomy spoke of near kinship to any that I knew on the other side of the Atlantic. But at


I was introduced to a new class of experiences which were as unexpected as they were pleasant. If I had not here experienced it, I could never have anticipated the feelings of a lonely wanderer who, when thousands of miles away from home, was addressed in tones so like unto the voices of those he loved to hear at home, that he felt as if he was all the time hearing familiar voices in every direction.

At Worms my attention had already been arrested by social phases that reminded me of America, but at Frankenthal I met an officer at the station, who, upon being asked where the peculiar Palatinate dialect was spoken, not only mentioned to me the places, but also gave me a list of Pfaelzish words that are peculiar to them, most of which are purely Pennsylvania German both in their pronunciation and their meanings. A young girl at the hotel and her brother not only used language similar to ours, but betrayed their kinship in various other ways. I spent about a week in Mannheim, Neustadt, Speyer and the surrounding country, during which time I devoted all my attention to the question of our common ancestry. That those people are cousins to many of our Pennsylvania Germans can easily be proved in a variety of ways, even when we throw aside the traditional and historic evidences which we have that many Pennsylvanians have emigrated from the Pfalz in times past. The most convincing proof to those who can not go there and see the people themselves, likely consists in the fact that many of the family names of the Pfaelzer and of our Pennsylvania Germans are the same. I attended the large annual Saengerfest at Neustadt, in which 973 singers from all parts of the Pfalz participated. I procured a catalogue of their names and found that a very large proportion are the same as those of the majority of our people. When we contrast with this the fact that the proportion of names common between our people and that of any other section, is much smaller, we see the force of the argument. But this is by no means the first thing that strikes the visitor. Consanguinity or relationship by blood betrays itself in a hundred ways. Particular words and expressions, peculiar pitches of the voice, styles of address, forms of salutations, and special ways of performing certain kinds of work, tell their tale with an emphasis that makes itself understood even to the unscientific observer. The expression of the face and the very ring of the laugh often impressed me with the truth that it was that of a cousin's brother or sister. I often expressed my surprise at these things to those around me, and by a free indulgence in the peculiarities of their idiom enlisted the attention and gained the friendship of those people with magical effect. From Frankenthal I went to


which is the most regularly built town in Germany. It is divided into 100 squares like a chess-board, and has about 40,000 inhabitants. It consists of 20 sections lettered from A to U (the J being excluded from the nomenclature) and the squares of each sections numbered from 1 to 5. As the city enlarges in territory the numbers of the squares run from 5 upwards. The streets are named as in other cities, but the houses are numbered around the squares. Thus the Mannheimer Familienblatter (a newspaper published in the Pfaelzisch dialect, which is like the Pennsylvania German) is printed at E 1. 8. - Section E, Square 1, No. 8.


At Neustadt I made my home for half a week whence I took excursions into the country. One day I went to Drachenfels, walking about 16 miles in the woods, where I had nothing but paths and guide-boards to lead me; but the latter are found wherever two paths meet, so that I could easily find my way back again. In order to meet these people in every sphere of life, I used to go out to see the poor men and women work in the fields. One Saturday afternoon I struck out from Landau toward the Haardt Mountains with a view to put up for the night in a certain town that I saw on a distant hill. When I had come a short distance, I overtook a little maiden whom I asked the name of that town, so that I might ask the way thither if I should come into a valley where I could not have pointed it out any longer. I pleased the young girl very much by presenting her with my card, and induced her to use her glib tongue volubly in telling me about their schools - what they studied, how long the terms last, &c. She would get along very well in our Pennsylvania German dialect. When we parted, she skipped away and proudly showed the card which she had received from an "American," to one of her schoolmates (?). Here one may see women hauling hay and grain with cows, though I also saw some men use horses. Toward evening I met a peasant of Boechingen, who had finished his work and was about to return home. On learning that I was an American, he asked me to accompany him to his village, saying that Kirmes had come, the great jubilee season of the year when all the churches were being re-dedicated, after which ceremony the people would go to the public houses and keep up dancing and drinking wine and beer from Sunday noon till Monday night, and that I could therefore see a great many Palatinates together in his town I asked him what hotel accommodations their town had; to which he replied that there were several hotels and he would conduct me to a good one. On reaching the place I accompanied him first to his home and was introduced to his family. I had here one of those opportunities, so rare to the traveler, of seeing the kitchen arrangements of the middle and lower classes. When we came to the hotel he asked the landlord for a room for me, who immediately came to me and explained that on account of the great "Fest" (anniversary) he had turned all the spare rooms of the house into coffee-rooms, "but," said he, "though I know that Americans are used to good accommodations, I can only offer you the Fruchtkammer (granery) to-night, where I have a good nice bed for you, however, if that will suit you." The homelike cheerful tone and conversation of the landlord at once captivated me, and when I looked at the large house and saw all his rooms already filled with guests enjoying their wine and beer together, after the German fashion, I soon decided to stay with them. The room which he gave me was a very large one in the second story of the house, and, though there were large heaps of grain and different kinds of farming implements there, the end where the bed stood was clean and inviting, considering the circumstances. There was no lock at the door, but the landlord's honest face and assurances soon put me at ease about that matter. He told me that I might place some barrels against it, however, if I felt so inclined, which of course I did. There was a lady in that town who had been spending her time in Philadelphia for several years, but who had on this occasion come home to Boechingen on a visit. An invitation was sent to her in the evening already, asking her to come to the hotel where an American was waiting to meet her, and early on Sunday morning she met me in the coffee-room where we spent the morning. One's partiality to the English language seldom displeased me in Europe, but as this lady was a native of that part of the Pfalz whose people spoke a dialect more like the Pennsylvania German than I heard anywhere else, I insisted upon conversing with her in "the dialect." The landlord who did not understand any English was with us most of the time, so that out of respect for him she also felt constrained to speak German when he was present, but whenever he left us she would speak English, the language of her new American home. She had visited Allentown, Pa., and was well acquainted with the resemblance of the Pfaelzish and the Pennsylvania German dialects. I went home to Neustadt that forenoon and attended the great Pfaelzer Saengerfest (the annual Concert of the Palatinate Choirs). The city was splendidly decorated with flags, and the "Fest" was a grand success in every respect. From Neustadt I went to Speyer, and a day later to


Heidelberg was the only place where I found lady ticket agents at the railway station. The station is a very large and important one, and the positions held by those ladies are of great responsibility. In Continental Europe, it is the ladies that transact most of the business in almost every city. Hotels, stores, shops, cafes, drinking stands, &c., are generally managed by ladies.

Heidelberg was the last city in which I felt that I was hourly seeing the cousins of the Pennsylvania Germans. Here still, I did occasionally see one who not only favored some of our people in form and features, but whose voice and accent also spoke of kinship. I had heard persons speak in some parts of the Pfalz and particularly around Boechingen (about 10 miles S.S.W. from Neustadt and 25 miles W.S.W. from Speyer) from 50 to 70 per cent of whose words corresponded to the Pennsylvania German. Duerkheim, Landau, (and some say, Kaiserslautern too), are good examples.

The old renowned university of Heidelberg has 800 students, and a library of 200,000 volumes and 1,800 MSS.

The castle is the most magnificent ruin in Germany. The towers, turrets, buttresses, balconies, and fine statues still stand there, proud and bold, even in its ruins. And the portcullis of iron in one of its lofty gateways gave me the first idea how the balance of the enemy could be shut off, after a portion had been admitted into the yard of the fortifications with a view of slaughtering them. The iron bars of this portcullis or sliding gate are very thick and heavy, and have sharp points below. A tower stands over the gate, into which the portcullis is drawn up. The defenders of castles would sometimes conceal themselves and keep perfectly silent on the approach of an enemy, as if the castle had been abandoned, but as soon as as large a portion of them as they thought they could dispose of, had entered, the portcullis was dropped, which, on account of its immense weight, of course made its way to the ground even, if it had to pierce the bodies of a dozen that stood under it! Hereupon the alarm was sounded and all that were inside were barbarously slaughtered. In some castles there were large pit-falls full of pointed spears standing upwards. As soon as a large part of the enemy were upon this pit, they would be precipitated into the spears below! At other places there were immense rollers, and only one approach to the castle, which lead directly up the hill. When the assaulting enemy made its approach by this, the hillside was filled with the enemy's soldiers, these rollers would be loosened upon them, and thus the bodies of many thousands would be mangled in a minute! Such was the barbarity of the ancients.

I will not forget the long walk I had all alone through one of the underground passages of the Heidelberg Castle. I saw a pale light at the other end, when I entered; but it was dark in the middle, and turned out to be much longer than I had anticipated. These passages are about 7 feet high and 10 feet wide, and are arched by a brick vault. The illumination of this ruined castle on the evening of August 23rd, constituted one of my grandest sights in all Europe. It seemed to be enveloped with flames of such an intense heat, that its walls, towers, &c., appeared to be about to melt down! As the colors of the illuminating light changed suddenly from yellowish white to blue, green and red, the scene was so indescribably beautiful, that numbers of the ten thousand spectators actually went into raptures.

The Tun,

in the castle of Heidelberg, the largest of all the tuns in the world, is 32 feet long, 22 feet in diameter at both ends and 23 feet in the center. Its eighteen wooden hoops are 8 inches thick and 15 inches broad, and its 127 staves are 91 inches thick. The bung-hole is 3 to 4 inches in diameter. To built it cost the enormous sum of $32,000, and its capacity is equal to about 2,200 common barrels! On top of it is a dancing-floor having the bung-hole in the center! What a joy it must be for the dancers to reflect that there is such a flood of wine still beneath them! This giant tun erected as an altar to the jovial God "Bacchus," has been filled completely three times, (1753, 1760, 1766).

  "In Heidelberg beim grossen Fass 
    Da liess sich's froehlich sein, 
  Bei einem vollgefuelten Glas 
    Von edlem Pfaelzer Wein; 
  Den als dies Fass kam einst zum stand 
    Do war ein Jubel in dem Land, 
  Da freut' sich Alles, Gross und Klein, 
    Denn voll war es mit Pfaelzer Wein."

  "In Heidelberg, the 'Grosse Fass,' 
    Caused merry days to shine, 
  When all enjoyed the well filled glass 
    Of noble Pfaelzer wine; 
  For when this Tun first came to light, 
    All did in joy combine, 
  To see the 'Fass,' oh wondrous sight! 
    Fill'd up with Pfaelzer wine."

The Philosophenweg, (Philosopher's way), two miles in length, commands some of the finest prospect on the Rhine. It winds through charming vineyards, and from it may be enjoyed splendid views of the town, castle, valley, and of the beautiful outlines of the Haardt Mountains and the cathedral of Speyer in the distance.

From Heidelberg I went to Stuttgart, remarkable for the vast collection of books (300,000 vols.) in the Royal Library. Among these are about 9,000 Bibles, in some 80 languages!

The Railway Station in Stuttgart is remarkable both for magnificence and the beauty of its interior. Its wide and lofty passages and splendid waiting-rooms, are among the grandest in the world.

From Stuttgart I went to Carlsruhe, famous for the manner in which the streets meet at the Castle, from every point of the compass. Some thirty streets meet here like so many sticks of a circular fan. Near the Botanic Garden, is a large Hall of Art rich in paintings and relics.


Strassburg, the capital of Alsace and Lorraine, is situated on the River Ill, 2 miles from the Rhine, and comprises a population of 80,000 inhabitants. Its Cathedral, covering more than an acre of ground and 216 feet in height, is deservedly famous. Its elegant spire, the highest in Europe, is 465 feet in height. To procure a permit from the city authorities to ascend to the "lantern," which is immediately below the extreme summit, I walked about the city nearly an hour to find the proper official. The view from the platform or roof of the building (216 feet high) affords a fine view of the beautiful plains of Alsace, but many ascend to the "lantern" simply for the satisfaction of saying that they have done it. No one is allowed to go higher than the platform, except by special permission from the city authorities, and accompanied by a guide and protector, for which an extra ticket is required. The ascent is quite easy for some distance, but by and by the spire becomes too narrow to have stairs on the inside, so that we had to climb up on the outside along ladder-like steps. If one would become giddy in this place, he might fall from a hight of over four hundred feet into the street below! I cannot stop to speak of the world-renowned astronomical clock which is contained in this cathedral.

The railroad through the Black Forest is one of the great victories of civil engineering which characterize this age of great undertakings. We passed in exactly one hour through 38 tunnels, during which time, in our ascent of the mountains, we passed through one valley three times! When we had reached the highest point, we saw the two other tracks at different elevations on the mountain side below us! Here we passed for many hours through pine forests, all the trees of which were raised from seed, (some sown, and others planted). Many square miles of this mountainous section is covered with pines planted as regularly as our orchards; and the scenery of these mountain-sides green with dense forests in which the comical tree-tops stand with mathematical exactness in the square or quincunx order, is among the most beautiful imaginable.