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List Of Contents | Contents of Saunterings, by Charles Dudley Warner
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Stratford-on-Avon.  As we walked down from the Red Horse Inn to the
church, a full-grown boy came bearing down upon us in the most
wonderful fashion.  Early rickets, I think, had been succeeded by the
St. Vitus' dance.  He came down upon us sideways, his legs all in a
tangle, and his right arm, bent and twisted, going round and round,
as if in vain efforts to get into his pocket, his fingers spread out
in impotent desire to clutch something.  There was great danger that
he would run into us, as he was like a steamer with only one
side-wheel and no rudder.  He came up puffing and blowing, and
offered to show us Shakespeare's tomb.  Shade of the past, to be
accompanied to thy resting-place by such an object!  But he fastened
himself on us, and jerked and hitched along in his side-wheel
fashion.  We declined his help.  He paddled on, twisting himself into
knots, and grinning in the most friendly manner.  We told him to
begone.  "I am," said he, wrenching himself into a new contortion, "I
am what showed Artemus Ward round Stratford." This information he
repeated again and again, as if we could not resist him after we had
comprehended that.  We shook him off; but when we returned at sundown
across the fields, from a visit to Anne Hathaway's cottage, we met
the sidewheeler cheerfully towing along a large party, upon whom he
had fastened.

The people of Amsterdam are only less queer than their houses.  The
men dress in a solid, old-fashioned way.  Every one wears the
straight, high-crowned silk hat that went out with us years ago, and
the cut of clothing of even the most buckish young fellows is behind
the times.  I stepped into the Exchange, an immense interior, that
will hold five thousand people, where the stock-gamblers meet twice a
day.  It was very different from the terrible excitement and noise of
the Paris Bourse.  There were three or four thousand brokers there,
yet there was very little noise and no confusion.  No stocks were
called, and there was no central ring for bidding, as at the Bourse
and the New York Gold Room; but they quietly bought and sold.  Some
of the leading firms had desks or tables at the side, and there
awaited orders.  Everything was phlegmatically and decorously done.

In the streets one still sees peasant women in native costume.  There
was a group to-day that I saw by the river, evidently just crossed
over from North Holland.  They wore short dresses, with the upper
skirt looped up, and had broad hips and big waists.  On the head was
a cap with a fall of lace behind; across the back of the head a broad
band of silver (or tin) three inches broad, which terminated in front
and just above the ears in bright pieces of metal about two inches
square, like a horse's blinders, Only flaring more from the head;
across the forehead and just above the eyes a gilt band, embossed; on
the temples two plaits of hair in circular coils; and on top of all a
straw hat, like an old-fashioned bonnet) stuck on hindside before.
Spiral coils of brass wire, coming to a point in front, are also worn
on each side of the head by many.  Whether they are for ornament or
defense, I could not determine.

Water is brought into the city now from Haarlem, and introduced into
the best houses; but it is still sold in the streets by old men and
women, who sit at the faucets.  I saw one dried-up old grandmother,
who sat in her little caboose, fighting away the crowd of dirty
children who tried to steal a drink when her back was turned, keeping
count of the pails of water carried away with a piece of chalk on the
iron pipe, and trying to darn her stocking at the same time.  Odd
things strike you at every turn.  There is a sledge drawn by one poor
horse, and on the front of it is a cask of water pierced with holes,
so that the water squirts out and wets the stones, making it easier
sliding for the runners.  It is an ingenious people!

After all, we drove out five miles to Broek, the clean village;
across the Y, up the canal, over flatness flattened.  Broek is a
humbug, as almost all show places are.  A wooden little village on a
stagnant canal, into which carriages do not drive, and where the
front doors of the houses are never open; a dead, uninteresting
place, neat but not specially pretty, where you are shown into one
house got up for the purpose, which looks inside like a crockery
shop, and has a stiff little garden with box trained in shapes of
animals and furniture.  A roomy-breeched young Dutchman, whose
trousers went up to his neck, and his hat to a peak, walked before us
in slow and cow-like fashion, and showed us the place; especially
some horrid pleasure-grounds, with an image of an old man reading in
a summer-house, and an old couple in a cottage who sat at a table and
worked, or ate, I forget which, by clock-work; while a dog barked by
the same means.  In a pond was a wooden swan sitting on a stick, the
water having receded, and left it high and dry.  Yet the trip is
worth while for the view of the country and the people on the way:
men and women towing boats on the canals; the red-tiled houses
painted green, and in the distance the villages, with their spires
and pleasing mixture of brown, green, and red tints, are very
picturesque.  The best thing that I saw, however, was a traditional
Dutchman walking on the high bank of a canal, with soft hat, short
pipe, and breeches that came to the armpits above, and a little below
the knees, and were broad enough about the seat and thighs to carry
his no doubt numerous family.  He made a fine figure against the sky.




COLOGNE AND ST. URSULA

It is a relief to get out of Holland and into a country nearer to
hills.  The people also seem more obliging.  In Cologne, a
brown-cheeked girl pointed us out the way without waiting for a
kreuzer.  Perhaps the women have more to busy themselves about in the
cities, and are not so curious about passers-by.  We rarely see a
reflector to exhibit us to the occupants of the second-story windows.
In all the cities of Belgium and Holland the ladies have small
mirrors, with reflectors, fastened to their windows; so that they can
see everybody who passes, without putting their heads out.  I trust
we are not inverted or thrown out of shape when we are thus caught up
and cast into my lady's chamber.  Cologne has a cheerful look, for
the Rhine here is wide and promising; and as for the "smells," they
are certainly not so many nor so vile as those at Mainz.

Our windows at the hotel looked out on the finest front of the
cathedral.  If the Devil really built it, he is to be credited with
one good thing, and it is now likely to be finished, in spite of him.
Large as it is, it is on the exterior not so impressive as that at
Amiens; but within it has a magnificence born of a vast design and
the most harmonious proportions, and the grand effect is not broken
by any subdivision but that of the choir.  Behind the altar and in
front of the chapel, where lie the remains of the Wise Men of the
East who came to worship the Child, or, as thev are called, the Three
Kings of Cologne, we walked over a stone in the pavement under which
is the heart of Mary de Medicis: the remainder of her body is in St.
Denis near Paris.  The beadle in red clothes, who stalks about the
cathedral like a converted flamingo, offered to open for us the
chapel; but we declined a sight of the very bones of the Wise Men.
It was difficult enough to believe they were there, without seeing
them.  One ought not to subject his faith to too great a strain at
first in Europe.  The bones of the Three Kings, by the way, made the
fortune of the cathedral.  They were the greatest religious card of
the Middle Ages, and their fortunate possession brought a flood of
wealth to this old Domkirche.  The old feudal lords would swear by
the Almighty Father, or the Son, or Holy Ghost, or by everything
sacred on earth, and break their oaths as they would break a wisp of
straw: but if you could get one of them to swear by the Three Kings
of Cologne, he was fast; for that oath he dare not disregard.

The prosperity of the cathedral on these valuable bones set all the
other churches in the neighborhood on the same track; and one can
study right here in this city the growth of relic worship.  But the
most successful achievement was the collection of the bones of St.
Ursula and the eleven thousand virgins, and their preservation in the
church on the very spot where they suffered martyrdom.  There is
probably not so large a collection of the bones of virgins elsewhere
in the world; and I am sorry to read that Professor Owen has thought
proper to see and say that many of them are the bones of lower orders
of animals.  They are built into the walls of the church, arranged
about the choir, interred in stone coffins, laid under the pavements;
and their skulls grin at you everywhere.  In the chapel the bones are
tastefully built into the wall and overhead, like rustic wood-work;
and the skulls stand in rows, some with silver masks, like the jars
on the shelves of an apothecary's shop.  It is a cheerful place.  On
the little altar is the very skull of the saint herself, and that of
Conan, her ]over, who made the holy pilgrimage to Rome with her and
her virgins, and also was slain by the Huns at Cologne.  There is a
picture of the eleven thousand disembarking from one boat on the
Rhine, which is as wonderful as the trooping of hundreds of spirits
out of a conjurer's bottle.  The right arm of St. Ursula is preserved
here: the left is at Bruges.  I am gradually getting the hang of this
excellent but somewhat scattered woman, and bringing her together in
my mind.  Her body, I believe, lies behind the altar in this same
church.  She must have been a lovely character, if Hans Memling's
portrait of her is a faithful one.  I was glad to see here one of the
jars from the marriage-supper in Cana.  We can identify it by a piece
which is broken out; and the piece is in Notre Dame in Paris.  It has
been in this church five hundred years.  The sacristan, a very
intelligent person, with a shaven crown and his hair cut straight

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