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

With the passengers in the omnibus I could hold little conversation.  One, who knew about as much French as I did, asked me where I came from, and I shall not soon forget his expression of incredulity, as I mentioned America.  “Why,” said he, “you are white—­the Americans are all black!”

We passed the ruined castles of Auerback and Starkenburg, and Burg Windeck, on the summit of a mountain near Weinheim, formerly one of the royal residences of Charlemagne, and finally came to the Heiligenberg or Holy Mountain, guarding the entrance into the Odenwald by the valley of the Neckar.  As we wound around its base to the river, the Kaiserstuhl rose before us, with the mighty castle hanging upon its side and Heidelberg at its feet.  It was a most strikingly beautiful scene, and for a moment I felt inclined to assent to the remark of my bad-French acquaintance—­“America is not beautiful—­Heidelberg is beautiful!” The sun had just set as we turned the corner of the Holy Mountain and drove up the bank of the Neckar; all the chimes of Heidelberg began suddenly to ring and a cannon by the riverside was fired off every minute—­the sound echoing five times distinctly from mountain back to mountain, and finally crashing far off, along the distant hills of the Odenwald.  It was the birthday of the Grand Duke of Baden, and these rejoicings were for the closing fete.

CHAPTER IX.

SCENES IN AND AROUND HEIDELBERG.

Sept. 30.—­There is so much to be seen around this beautiful place, that I scarcely know where to begin a description of it.  I have been wandering among the wild paths that lead up and down the mountain side, or away into the forests and lonely meadows in the lap of the Odenwald.  My mind is filled with images of the romantic German scenery, whose real beauty is beginning to displace the imaginary picture which I had painted with the enthusiastic words of Howitt.  I seem to stand now upon the Kaiser-stuhl, which rises above Heidelberg, with that magnificent landscape around me, from the Black Forest and Strasburg to Mainz, and from the Vosges in France to the hills of Spessart in Bavaria.  What a glorious panorama! and not less rich in associations than in its natural beauty.  Below me had moved the barbarian hordes of old, the triumphant followers of Arminius, and the Cohorts of Rome; and later, full many a warlike host bearing the banners of the red cross to the Holy Land,—­many a knight returning with his vassals from the field, to lay at the feet of his lady-love the scarf he had worn in a hundred battles and claim the reward of his constancy and devotion.  But brighter spirits had also toiled below.  That plain had witnessed the presence of Luther, and a host who strove with him to free the world from the chains of a corrupt and oppressive religion.  There had also trodden the master spirits of German song—­the giant twain, with their scarcely

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