[Ragatz—Wednesday, 18 August 1869]

Wednesday 18th Glad to come away in sunshine. Came to Augsburg. The day was Grave and Gay by turns; not yet settled sunshine by any means. Nothing but German spoken; this throws poor J. into a condition not easily described. It will be a happy day for him when he returns to England.

But we are thoroughly enchanted with Augsburg. “Zum drei Mohren.” Memory had told us that it was formerly a palace belonging to the Fugger family & that Charles the Fifth lived here for one year but even that could not prepare us for all the quaintness of the place. The old man who is the proprietor is very fond of and proud of the place which was purchased by his father in order to transfer thither the famous hotel of the Three Moors which has existed since 1300. Every morning the old man goes down into his wine cellar which is one of the best in Europe. It does give one a queer feeling to sleep in the same room occupied by Eugenie & Napoleon only last year and to find Tom’s room adjoining to be the very one in which Napoleon first assembled the grandees of Augsburg to tell them their city was now the property of Bavaria. It is all so German & quaint too that at every turn we find something worth observing. The grand Platz where Charles the Fifth listened to the Confession of Augsburg is silent enough now and is becoming grass-grown. It is not less picturesque perhaps, but certainly so quiet that the feeling of a place gone or fast going to sleep creeps over one. It is a clean and at present a cool city. Lissie was most disappointed because the sun would shut in and prevent her from getting a sketch she much wished.

From Augsburg was but a 5 hours ride by express at night to the old city of Nuremberg where we awoke the next day after a rather uncomfortable night in a room much resembling an Almshouse where 3 beds of the narrowest dimensions and the shortest possible, stood head to foot the whole length of one side of the room except for a porcelain stove as high as the ceiling which stood in the corner. Each bed was composed (after a sagging substratum), of two square soft pillows of prodigious size and a feather bed to match which was laid across the feet. These beds were so high we concluded the Swiss Yoddle must have been invented for the purpose of being heard across. Awaked the next day feeling but half baked what with fatigue and fleas and poor beds. The place looked more like an alms house than ever by daylight but we came bravely out to breakfast and try [sic] our bad German on the polite waitress. We sat at a quaint little window with a row of white glazed flower pots outside and beyond the queer tiled roofs of the great old city. We were on our rambles early for the weather was cool and clouded, better for moving about & sight-seeing than sketching which Lissie discovered to her sorrow. We went ardently to work and traced Durer, Krafft, Hans Sachs and the beloved and famous of Nuremberg as nearly and lovingly as we could. Even the graveyard was not left unvisited nor were the Pinkheimers forgotten.

In the fine old Rathhaus we sat down at noon and listened to a band playing in the square opposite, really exquisite music which made us long to dance; indeed we caught a vision of a young soldier in the guard house opposite for whom it had proved altogether to[o] much and we could see him dancing by himself behind the blinds. We found a modern painter of glass here, a poor but excellent artist. His poor house touched us all and if we could have found anything appropriate we should surely have carried away some of his work.

Irrevocable decay here as elsewhere has settled upon the town. The tooth of time is eating away the foundations of Durer’s house which begins to lean in spite of the artists who have purchased it and made it their care. Krafft’s work in the Cathedral the lovely carven ciborium, a marvel of human skill and love, is crumbling to dust. The church of St. Lawrence is a poem indeed—one of the most exquisite monuments to Heaven Europe holds, but it is a momument of the far far past now. The Volkamer window to be sure shines with as perfect brilliancy as ever, a marvel of colored glass, the world can show nothing finer; but even here I saw its lead gone occasionally which one would say were never likely to be fitly replaced.


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