The Steamer Was Small, Narrow, And Poor, Though Swift.
Thus we began
to see the Rhine under pressure of circumstances.
The French and Germans chatted merrily. The English tourists looked
conscientiously careworn. Papa with three daughters peered alternately
into the guide book, and out of the loophole in the awning, in evident
terror lest something they ought to see should slip by them. Escaping
from the jam, we made our way to the bow, carrying stools, umbrellas,
and books, and there, on the very beak of all things, we had a fine
view. Duly and dutifully we admired Bingen, Cob-lentz, Ehrenbreitstein,
Bonn, Drachenfels, and all the other celebrities, and read Childe Harold
on the Rhine. Reached Cologne at nine.
Thursday, August 4. We drove to the cathedral. I shall not
recapitulate Murray, nor give architectural details. I was satisfied
with what I saw and heard, and wished that so magnificent a
conception, so sublime a blossom of stone sculpture, might come to
ripe maturity, not as a church, indeed, but rather as a beautiful
petrifaction, a growth of prolific, exuberant nature. Why should not
the yeasty brain of man, fermenting, froth over in such crestwork of
Gothic pinnacle, spire, and column?
The only service I appreciated was the organ and chant: hidden in the
midst of forest arches of stone, pouring forth its volumes of harmony
as by unseen minstrelsy, it seemed to create an atmosphere of sound,
in which the massive columns seemed transfused, - not standing, as it
were, but floating, - not resting, as with weight of granite mountains,
but growing as by a spirit and law of development.
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