With the Burgomaster’s little son for a guide, we went back a mile or two of our route to Snellert, which we had passed the night before, and after losing ourselves two or three times in the woods, arrived at last at the top of the mountain, where the ruins of the castle stand. The walls are nearly level with the ground. The interest of a visit rests entirely on the romantic legend, and the wild view over the hills around, particularly that in front, where on the opposite mountain are the ruins of Rodenstein, to which the wild Huntsman was wont to ride at midnight—where he now rides no more. The echoes of Rodenstein are no longer awakened by the sound of his bugle, and the hoofs of his demon steed clanging on the battlements. But the hills around are wild enough, and the roar of the pine forests deep enough to have inspired the simple peasants with the romantic tradition.
Stopping for dinner at the town of Rheinheim, we met an old man, who, on learning we were Americans, walked with us as far as the next village. He had a daughter in America and was highly gratified to meet any one from the country of her adoption. He made me promise to visit her, if I ever should go to St. Louis, and say that I had walked with her father from Rheinheim to Zwangenburg. To satisfy his fears that I might forget it, I took down his name and that of his daughter. He shook me warmly by the hand at parting, and was evidently made happier for that day.
We reached Darmstadt just in time to take a seat in the omnibus for Frankfort. Among the passengers were a Bavarian family, on their way to Bremen, to ship from thence to Texas. I endeavored to discourage the man from choosing such a country as his home, by telling him of its heats and pestilences, but he was too full of hope to be shaken in his purpose. I would have added that it was a slave-land, but I thought on our own country’s curse, and was silent. The wife was not so sanguine; she seemed to mourn in secret at leaving her beautiful fatherland. It was saddening to think how lonely they would feel in that far home, and how they would long, with true German devotion, to look again on the green vintage-hills of their forsaken country. As night drew on, the little girl crept over to her father for his accustomed evening kiss, and then sank back to sleep in a corner of the wagon. The boy, in the artless confidence of childhood, laid his head on my breast, weary with the day’s travel, and soon slept also. Thus we drove on in the dark, till at length the lights of Frankfort glimmered on the breast of the rapid Main, as we passed over the bridge, and when we stopped near the Cathedral, I delivered up my little charge and sent my sympathy with the wanderers on their lonely way.
SCENES IN FRANKFORT—AN AMERICAN COMPOSER—THE POET FREILIGRATH.