图书图片
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

Through the medium of this gentleman, I hired a man to go with me all the way to Berlin (who, on such occasions, is called a fuhrman), instead of going post, to avoid as much as possible the galling pressure of Prussian imposition. To the friendly Dutchman I sold the little Swede for ten ducats, which he vowed he would brush up and paint, and drive with into the country. On the day preceding my departure, my Dutch friend related the following story. Being at church one Sunday, at Alkmaar, when that town was in the possession of the English forces, previous to the sermon the preacher prayed very fervently for the long life of his Majesty George III., and the prosperity of England. Scarcely had he finished this pious compliment, before an inhabitant entered, and announced that the English forces were retiring, and that the French were about to resume the protection of the place: upon hearing which, this Dutch Vicar of Bray explained to his audience, that the supplication which they had just heard was coerced; but that now, being able to follow the spontaneous emotions of his own heart, he begged them to unite with him in offering up a prayer to the throne of grace, to bless and preserve General Brune and the French armies !

Before I met with the courteous Dutchman, the only consolation which I found, was in sitting in the same room with the young Maitresse d'hotel de Lion Blanc, where, without

[blocks in formation]

knowing each other's language, we contrived to pass away the hours not unpleasantly. The beauty and sprightliness of this young woman produced the following jeu d'esprit :

The sign of the house should be chang'd, I'll be sworn,

Where enchanted we find so much beauty and grace ; . Then quick from the door let the lion be torn,

And an angel expand her white wings in his place.

The young Dutchman translated it into German, and presented it to the fair one.

CHAP. XXII.

REFLECTIONS UPON A STUHLWAGGON

PRUSSIAN VILLAGES-MILI

TARY MANEUVRES-IRISH REBEL-BERLIN-LINDEN WALK-TO

LERATION-PRUSSIAN DINNER-CHEAP LIVING-THE PALACE

CADET CORPS.

THE traveller going to Germany will be under the necessity of changing his money as under :

Twenty-four good, or ninety Prussian groschen, are equal to

one dollar, or three Prussian guilders. N. B. Six Prussian dollars are equal to one pound English.

When the stuhlwaggon, that was to carry ine to Berlin, a distance of upwards of three hundred English miles, in the stipulated time of eight days, drove up to the door, I observed that it had no springs, consequently I could not be detained on the road by their breaking; that I should be nearly jolted to death, but that would be an admirable substitute for want of exercise; that I should not be able to sleep by day, consequently I should sleep the better by night; that my driver

[blocks in formation]

could not speak English, nor I three words of German, ergo, we should associate like a couple of dumb waiters, and my reflections, if chance any should arise, would not be shaken. Having settled all these points in my mind, with infinite pleasure I passed the draw-bridge of this seat of extortion and inhospitality, and as soon as we had cleared the suburbs and dropped into a deep sandy road, my heavy unimpassioned driver took from his waistcoat pocket a piece of dry fungus, and holding it under a flint, with a small steel struck a light, kindled his pipe, and was soon lost in smoke, and a happy vacuity of thought. Although the red leaves of retiring autumn were falling in showers from the trees, the country appeared very picturesque and rich. After we passed the town and abbey of Oliva, the latter celebrated for containing in one of its chambers the table on which the treaty of peace was signed between the crowned heads of Germany, Poland, and Sweden, called the Treaty of Oliva, my driver turned into a bye road, the inequalities of which I can compare to nothing but those of a church-yard, thronged with graves; we were several times obliged to alight, in order to support the carriage on one side whilst it crawled along the edge of a miry bank. The uncertainty of a German mile never fails to puzzle a traveller: there is a long and a short one; the former is as indefinite as a Yorkshire mile, which I believe is from steeple to steeple, sometimes it means five, six, and seven English miles, the latter I have already explained.

THE AGREEABLE SURPRISE.

453

On the road every Prussian was at once equipped for his bed and for a ball, by having his head adorned with a prodigióus cocked hat, and a night-cap under it. The Prussian farm-houses were either tiled or very neatly thatched : some of them were built of brick, and others of a light brown clay, but the favourite colour is that of vivid flesh, were remarkably neat; the ground exhibited the marks of high cultivation, and the farmers looked rich and respectable, and perfectly English. Although the soil is sandy, yet from its fineness it is capable of bearing all sorts of vegetables for the kitchen : out of four grains of rye sown, the tillers calculate that one will rise. By the time I reached Stolpe, I had formed a little budget of current Gertnan expressions, which, at the inn in that town, enabled me to understand a man who said to me, Pray sir, are you a Frenchman?”

No, I am an Englishman.” “ Ah, sir, so much the better for

you,

and much the more agreeable to me,” said he. I wondered to hear such language from Prussian lips : but I afterwards found the man who addressed me was a Dutchman.

66

SO

The road to Berlin has, in one respect, a great advantage, there is a constant and rapid succession of towns and villages, but no scattered cottages : upon every acclivity the traveller commands six or seven spires rising from little clumps of trees, and clusters of houses; the road to each of these small communities for about a quarter of a mile is paved with large

« 上一页继续 »