A WALK THROUGH THE ODENWALD.
B—— and I are now comfortably settled in Frankfort, having, with Mr. Willis’s kind assistance, obtained lodgings with the amiable family, with whom he has resided for more than two years. My cousin remains in Heidelberg to attend the winter course of lectures at the University.
Having forwarded our baggage by the omnibus, we came hither on foot, through the heart of the Odenwald, a region full of interest, yet little visited by travellers. Dr. S—— and his family walked with us three or four miles of the way, and on a hill above Ziegelhausen, with a splendid view behind us, through the mountain-door, out of which the Neckar enters on the Rhine-plain, we parted. This was a first, and I must confess, a somewhat embarrassing experience in German leave-taking. After bidding adieu three or four times, we started to go up the mountain and they down it, but at every second step we had to turn around to acknowledge the waving of hands and handkerchiefs, which continued so long that I was glad when we were out of sight of each other. We descended on the other side into a wild and romantic valley, whose meadows were of the brightest green; a little brook which wound through them, put now and then its “silvery shoulder” to the wheel of a rustic mill. By the road-side two or three wild-looking gipsies sat around a fire, with some goats feeding near them.
Passing through this valley and the little village of Schonau, we commenced ascending one of the loftiest ranges of the Odenwald. The side of the mountain was covered with a thick pine forest. There was no wind to wake its solemn anthem; all was calm and majestic, and even awful. The trees rose all around like the pillars of a vast Cathedral, whose long arched aisles vanished far below in the deepening gloom.
“Nature with folded
hands seemed there,
Kneeling at her evening prayer,”
for twilight had already begun to gather. We went on and up and ever higher, like the youth in “Excelsior;” the beech and dwarf oak took the place of the pine, and at last we arrived at a cleared summit whose long brown grass waved desolately in the dim light of evening. A faint glow still lingered over the forest-hills, but down in the valley the dusky shades hid every vestige of life, though its sounds came up softened through the long space. When we reached the top a bright planet stood like a diamond over the brow of the eastern hill, and the sound of a twilight bell came up clearly and sonorously on the cool damp air. The white veil of mist slowly descended down the mountain side, but the peaks rose above it like the wrecks of a world, floating in space. We made our way in the dusk down the long path, to the rude little dorf of Elsbach. I asked at the first inn for lodging, where we were ushered into a great room, in which a number of girls