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434

DISGUSTING SEVERITY.

every blow resound. My blood boiled in my veins, to see a little deformed bantam officer, covered with, almost extinguished by, a huge cocked hat, inflicting these disgraceful strokes, that, savagely as they were administered, cut deeper into the spirit than the flesh, upon a portly respectable soldier for some trivial mistake. I saw no such severity in Russia, where some of the finest troops in the world may be seen. I observed, not only here but in other parts of Prussia, that every soldier is provided with a sword. The river which runs up to the town from the Baltic, was crowded with vessels; the market-boats were filled with butter, pumkins, red onions, and Baltic fish in wells.

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CHAP. XXI.

DESOLATE SCENE-ENGLISH

SAILOR WRECKED-KONINGBERG

BEAUTY IN BOOTS-PRUSSIAN ROADS-THE CELEBRATED RUINS

OF MARIENBOURG-DANTZIG-COQUETRY IN A BOX-INHOSPITA

LITY-A GERMAN JEW-THE LITTLE GROCER-DUTCH VICAR OF

BRAY-VERSES TO A PRETTY DANTZICKER.

As the wind shewed no disposition to change in our favour, we embarked, with our horses and carriages, in the ferryboats, and proceed on the Curiche Haff: by keeping the right wheels as much as we could in the Baltic, which frequently surrounded us, we arrived at the first post-house,' which lay in the centre of mountains of sand. Here we learned that some preceding travellers had carried away all the horses, and accordingly our hostess recommended us to embark with our vehicles in a boat which is kept for such emergences, and proceed by the lake to the next stage; which advice we accepted, and were indebted to a ponderous fat young lady belonging to the post-house, who waded into the water, and, turning her back towards us, shoved us off from the beach. We set sail with a favourable light breeze, which died away after we had proceeded about seven English miles, when we

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put into a creek before a few little wretched fishing huts, under the roof of which, with cocks, hens, ducks, pigs, and dogs, we passed an uncomfortable night: just as we were lying down an English sailor entered the room, with a face a little grave, but not dejected, to see, as he said, some of his countrymen,“ hoping no offence:” the poor fellow, we found, had been wrecked a few nights before, on the Baltic side of this inhospitable region. After hearing his tale, and making a little collection for him, we resigned ourselves to as much sleep as is allotted to those who are destined to be attacked by battalions of fleas. In the morning we could obtain no posthorses, the wind was against us, and at least eight English miles lay between us and the post-house. Hoping for some fortunate change, I resolved to look about me, and after considerable fatigue, ascended one of those vast sandy summits which characterize this cheerless part of the globe: from the top, on one side, lay the Baltic, and on its beach the cordless masts and hull of a wreck, high and dry; on the other, the lake which had borne us thus far, and before and behind a line of mountains of sand, many of them I should suppose to be a hundred feet high, over whose sparkling surface the eye cannot wander for two minutes together without experiencing the same sensations of pain as are felt upon contemplating snow: below, in a bladeless valley, stood two wretched horses, almost skeletons, scarcely making any shadow in the sun : the natives of this sandy desert, we were afterwards informed by a respect

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able authority, eat live eels dipped in salt, which they devour as they writhe with anguish round their hands. The whole of this hideous waste looked like the region of famine.

A shift of wind springing up, we ventured once more upon the lake; and after a little fair sailing, we were driven, in our little

open boat, where there was scarcely room for the helmsman to steer, nearly out of sight of land; the wind freshened to a gale, and the rain fell heavily : at last, when we had renounced all sanguine expectations of ever touching land again, a favourable breeze sprung up, and about ten o'clock at night we reached the quay of the post-house called Nidden, and after supping, were shewn into a large gloomy room to our cribs, where we were surrounded by at least fourteen sleeping damsels, lying with their clothes on, in filth and coarseness, fit to be the inamoratas of the coal-heavers of London.

he next morning, as we were preparing to start, we were presented with an enormous bill, which made us feel like the Clown in As You Like It, when he exclaims,

• It strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.” This imposition, after much altercation, we successfully resisted.

As we approached Koningberg the country assumed a more agreeable aspect; at the inns we found better accommodations, and met with what to us was a great treat, excellent

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potatoes, a vegetable which has only been introduced into the north within these twenty years. It is scarcely possible to conceive the dreadful state of the roads during the last stage from Mulsen: it was a succession of pits. On the tenth of October we saw the spires of Koningberg, and after passing the place of execution, where three posts were standing, surmounted with wheels, upon which malefactors are exposed, we entered the ancient capital of Prussia Proper: as we were proceeding to the Ditchen Hause, a noble hotel, we passed a vast antique and gloomy pile of red brick; one of my companions pronounced it to be either the gaol or the palace; it proved to be the latter, and to be inhabited by the governor: in the church adjoining, Frederick the Great was crowned. The city was first founded in 1255; is extensive, having fourteen parishes : the streets are narrow, terribly paved, and have no footpath; almost every woman I saw was handsome, and wore great thick boots, and a black ribbon tied in a bow in the front of their

caps. We were obliged to stay here two days, on account of the wheels of the little Swede having presented a strong disposition to renounce a circle for a

The

parade exhibited three fine regiments : previous to their forming the line we were again shocked with several instances of the severity of Prussian drilling. The King of Prussia scarcely ever visits this city. The trade is very considerable : one thousand vessels sailed last year into its ports. The river Pregel, which is here rather shallow, was crowded with market

square.

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