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BIBERICH-CHARLEMAGNE'S PALACE-BRIDGE OF BOATS-MAYENCE. HORRORS OF WAR-THE ART OF PRINTING-THE HOCKHEIM HILLS
REMARKS ON OLD HOCK-THE TOOTH-BRUSH-FRANKFORTSPLENDID TABLE D'HOTE-INAUGURATION OF THE PRINCE PRIMATE
ANECDOTES OF THE FRENCH-THE FAIR.
OUR entrance into an avenue of nearly a mile and a half in length, thickly lined with walnut, apple, pear, and plumb trees, loaded with fruit, announced our approach to Biberich, the superb palace of the Prince of Nassau Usingen. As I made a drawing of this palace and the adjacent town when I descended the Rhine, and the boat was in a central part of the river, it will be unnecessary to describe it. I had no time to view the apartments, but my laquais informed me, that they were grand, and furnished in a princely manner : the town is modern, small, and very handsome. As we skirted Ingelheim, we were informed that the illustrious Charlemagne, the great prototype of Bonaparte, selected this place for his javorite residence, where he built a magni442
CHARLEMAGNE'S PALACE. ficent palace, which was supported by a hundred columns of Italian marble, and had an immense number of apartments, in which synods and the most important councils of state were held : that his son Louis le Debonnaire died broken-hearted here, in consequence of the rebellions of his sons Lotharius and Louis.
Not a vestige remains of this celebrated pile to prove that it once existed : but in the life of Louis le Debonnaire, Nigellus thus consecrates this building :
No doubt is entertained that that august pile once embellished this spot. Charlemagne could not have chosen a place more advantageous with regard to his political relations, or more beautiful in richness and variety of scenery, where Nature every where saluted him with wine, with fruit, and every desirable production of a genial soil, fit to make glad the soul of an emperor.
In less than an hour after quitting Ingelheim we reached
Cassel, immediately opposite Mayence, to which it communicates by an amazing long bridge, forined of a moveable platform, placed upon fifty-six lighters, two or three of which draw out at pleasure by means of ropes and pullies, to open a passage for vessels ascending or descending the Rhine, and is three thousand eight hundred and thirty feet long; one very similar to this was built by order of Charlemagne at the same place: here our voyage terminated. On account of the search of the custom-house officers being very severe on the French side, the passengers prefer being landed at Cassel : where all the bustle of a populous city, and a great military station, presented itself. The bridge was crowded with beautiful and elegantly dressed women, French officers, soldiers, and various other persons, in carriages and on foot, going to or returning from Mayence, which, with its venerable cathedral and splendid buildings, extending themselves along the river, had a very grand effect. Our luggage was searched by a German customhouse officer, who behaved very politely; and I proceeded to a good hotel in Cassel, and sat down with several French officers to some excellent refreshments.
In my description of the Rhine as I ascended it, I have, from the desire of not fatiguing my reader, only noticed the principal towns and objects, some of which I visited then, and others on my return. I felt myself abundantly
rewarded by the unparalleled beauty and grandeur of those scenes, which so often excited my admiration and amazement, for any little inconvenience, and perhaps some little hazard, to which I was occasionally exposed, and I regret that I can only convey a very imperfect impression of them to those who have never had the good fortune to form their personal opinion of them.
Having been previously warned not to attempt to enter Mayence, which, as it is now incorporated with France, I shall call by that name, on account of the unusual rigour exercised by the police towards strangers, in consequence of the city being the great military depôt of the French on the Rhine, and the greatest skill of their engineers having been lavished on its fortifications, I was content to view it from Cassel, and to receive some little account of it from a very intelligent German, who had resided there some years, as we looked upon the city from our hotel window. The electoral palace, of red brick, by the side of which the Rhine flows, where Bonaparte resided during his stay in Mayence, in 1804, presented a very noble appearance. The dome or cathedral, which rose with awful dignity before us, is a vast gothic pile, having four unequal towers : it had once a lofty spire, but a thunder-storm, many years since, beat it down with lightning, and burnt a considerable part of the edifice. Few