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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 434 pages of information about Views a-foot.

CHAPTER XXIII.

UP THE DANUBE.

We passed out of Vienna in the face of one of the strongest winds it was ever my lot to encounter.  It swept across the plain with such force that it was almost impossible to advance till we got under the lee of a range of hills.  About two miles from the barrier we passed Schoenbrunn, the Austrian Versailles.  It was built by the Empress Maria Theresa, and was the residence of Napoleon in 1809, when Vienna was in the hands of the French.  Later, in 1832, the Duke of Reichstadt died in the same room which his father once occupied.  Behind the palace is a magnificent garden, at the foot of a hill covered with rich forests and crowned with an open pillared hall, 300 feet long, called the Gloriette.  The colossal eagle which surmounts it, can be seen a great distance.

The lovely valley in which Schoenbrunn lies, follows the course of the little river Vienna into the heart of that mountain region lying between the Styrian Alps and the Danube, and called the Vienna Forest.  Into this our road led, between hills covered with wood, with here and there a lovely green meadow, where herds of cattle were grazing.  The third day we came to the Danube again at Melk, a little city built under the edge of a steep hill, on whose summit stands the palace-like abbey of the Benedictine Monks.  The old friars must have had a merry life of it, for the wine-cellar of the abbey furnished the French army 50,000 measures for several days in succession.  The shores of the Danube here are extremely beautiful.  The valley where it spreads out, is filled with groves, but where the hills approach the stream, its banks are rocky and precipitous, like the Rhine.  Although not so picturesque as the latter river, the scenery of the Danube is on a grander scale.  On the south side the mountains bend down to it with a majestic sweep, and there must be delightful glances into the valleys that lie between, in passing down the current.

But we soon left the river, and journeyed on through the enchanting inland vales.  To give an idea of the glorious enjoyment of traveling through such scenes, let me copy a leaf out of my journal, written as we rested at noon on the top of a lofty hill:—­“Here, while the delightful mountain breeze that comes fresh from the Alps cools my forehead, and the pines around are sighing their eternal anthem, I seize a few moments to tell what a paradise is around me.  I have felt an elevation of mind and spirit, a perfect rapture from morning till night, since we left Vienna.  It is the brightest and balmiest June weather; an ever fresh breeze sings through the trees and waves the ripening grain on the verdant meadows and hill-slopes.  The air is filled with bird-music.  The larks sing above us out of sight, the bullfinch wakes his notes in the grove, and at eve the nightingale pours forth her thrilling strain.  The meadows are literally

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