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GERMANY. The middle of Europe is called Germany. This is a pleasant country, neither very hot nor very cold. Some parts of it are beautiful. There are high hills, and lovely rivers, and big forests, and quantities of fruit-trees. Altogether, I think that you would like Germany. The people are very good-natured and very clever ; they are fond of reading, and extremely industrious. Little German children, like the Dutch ones, make toys, to be sold in other countries. The Germans are very thoughtful, and write very interesting books. They are clever with their voices, for they sing very beautifully; and clever with their hands, for they can use them well. In short, whatever they do is well done ; even the horses in Germany are better broken and trained than those in other parts of Europe. The Germans are always doing something; you seldom see a German woman without her knitting in her hand. The men are too fond of smoking.
I do not think you would like the food of the poor people: they seldom have any meat, excepting pork, and live chiefly on potatoes, and a mess of sour milk and pickled cabbage boiled together, which is called sauer-kraut. They also like meat which has been smoked, but not cooked. Rich and poor drink a great deal of coffee.
The Germans think a great deal of Christmas, and invented the Christmas-trees, now so common in England. Little children in Germany fancy that an angel brings them presents on Christmas Eve. In
some parts of the country, each child in the family chooses a coloured candle, which is burned at Christmas. The same child chooses the same coloured candle yearly. These candles are stuck into oranges, and then placed round the Christmastree, on which is a pretty present for each member of the family.
One very large kingdom in Germany is Prussia. English children ought to be interested in Prussia, because our Queen's eidest daughter, the Princess Royal, married the eldest son of the king of that country. So, some day, an English princess will be Queen of Prussia. The Prussians are well educated; for, as in Belgium, all the children are obliged to go to school. In most large Prussian towns the shopkeepers understand two or three languages.
There is a good deal of iron in Prussia, which is sent to different countries. A great quantity of timber is also burned there. Flax grows, as in Ireland, so linen is made.
The capital of Prussia is Berlin, which, although not a large place, contains many fine buildings. Amongst others, the handsomest synagogue, it is said, in the world. You know that a synagogue is a Jews' church. There are a good many Jews in Berlin.
To the west of Prussia flows the beautiful river Rhine. Steamboats go up and down it all day, crowded with people admiring the lovely scenery on the banks. Beautiful hills with old ruined castles on them are to be seen. A bright blue sky overhead, and the deep blue river below. You would like to be
on a Rhine boat. Cologne is one of the most famous towns on the Rhine, and travellers stop there to admire the beautiful cathedral, which was begun more than 700 years ago, and is not yet finished. From Cologne comes the sweet-smelling water called Cologne water, which can be bought in English chemists' and perfumers' shops.
Rivers of Germany.—The Rhine, Oder, Elbe.
Religion.—Chiefly Protestant, some Roman Catholics. All religions allowed.
All men in Prussia are obliged to serve in the army for some years, so the Prussians are a nation of soldiers. They have lately beaten the Danes, Austrians, and French, and have made themselves one of the most powerful nations of Europe.
SWITZERLAND is the most beautiful country in Europe : it is nearly all mountains and lakes. It is impossible for any book to give you the least idea of the beauty of those mountains and those lakes. They are like looking-glasses set in frames of green grass. One mountain, Mont Blanc, is so · called because blanc means white, and never has it been seen excepting covered with snow, even on the hottest day in summer. It looks like the white top to cakes in pastrycooks' shops, only high up in
the air. There are some lines written about Mort Blanc which will make you remember it :
“Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains,
They crowned him long ago.
With a diadem of snow.” All the bottom of the mountain is rock. Then comes clouds; but Mont Blanc's head, with his crown of snow, is above the clouds, higher than the bal. loons you have sometimes seen ; and at sunset the light of the setting sun makes the white snow look a lovely rose colour.
For many years no one ever tried to climb to the top; but lately people have succeeded in getting there, by sleeping half-way up amongst the rocks. Travellers tie themselves together with ropes, so if one falls another pulls him up. They take guides with them, who cut steps in the ice with a hatchet; but many dreadful accidents have happened. Sometimes the rope has broken, and once the whole party slipped down a precipice, that is, a steep place, fifty times higher than any wall you ever saw; and sometimes snow slips down the mountain, and covers a village, and everybody is shut up in it until they can be dug out, and that is not always while they are alive.
Did you ever see a great handsome dog called, a St. Bernard ? If you did, he was named after one of the Swiss mountains. On that mountain a number of good monks live, on parpose to rescue travellers who get lost in the snow. Large dogs live there, too, and are sent by the priests to dig out travellers, who, but for the dogs' help, must die. It is so fearfully cold that no one can live for very long together on this mountain, and the same priests are rarely able to remain more than four years; but during that four years they and their dogs save a great many lives.
The lakes of Switzerland are of a beautiful bright deep blue; sometimes so calm that they are like looking-glasses; but sometimes the wind rushes down the mountains, and makes the water very rough, like the sea.
The Swiss are very industrious good people. They make many of the watches sold in London, aud numbers of wooden toys. They are specially clever in wood-carving. They work hard in other ways also; they make capital roads, and are fond of gardening. Indeed, they cultivate every bit of ground they can get at..
Chief Towns. — Berne, a very handsome oldfashioned town, with beautiful views of the Alps ; Geneva, a handsome town on the Lake of Geneva, but not as interesting as Berne. Many travellers go there on their way to the mountains, and it is full of hotels. Many watches are made there.
Religion.—In some cantons, as the counties of Switzerland are called, the people are Roman Catholics, in others Protestants.