The tavern where Georg von Dornburg lodged stood on the “broad street,” and was a fine building with a large court-yard, in which were numerous vehicles. On the left of the entrance was a large open room entered through a lofty archway. Here the drivers and other folk sat over their beer and wine, suffering the innkeeper’s hens to fly on the benches and even sometimes on the table, here vegetables were cleaned, boiled and fried, here the stout landlady was frequently obliged to call her sturdy maid and men servants to her aid, when her guests came to actual fighting, or some one drank more than was good for him. Here the new custom of tobacco-smoking was practised, though only by a few sailors who had served on Spanish ships—but Frau Van Aken could not endure the acrid smoke and opened the windows, which were filled with blooming pinks, slender stalks of balsam, and cages containing bright-plumaged goldfinches. On the side opposite to the entrance were two closed rooms. Above the door of one, neatly carved in wood, were the lines from Horace:
terrarum mihi praeter omnes.
all the corners of the world,
There is none that so charms me.]
Only a few chosen guests found admittance into this long, narrow apartment. It was completely wainscoted with wood, and from the centre of the richly-carved ceiling a strange picture gleamed in brilliant hues. This represented the landlord. The worthy man with the smooth face, firmly-closed lips, and long nose, which offered an excellent straight line to its owner’s burin, sat on a throne in the costume of a Roman general, while Vulcan and Bacchus, Minerva and Poinona, offered him gifts. Klaus Van Aken, or as he preferred to be called, Nicolaus Aquanus, was a singular man, who had received good gifts from more than one of the Olympians; for besides his business he zealously devoted himself to science and several of the arts. He was an excellent silver-smith, a die-cutter and engraver of great skill, had a remarkable knowledge of coins, was an industrious student and collector of antiquities. His little tap-room was also a museum; for on the shelves, that surrounded it, stood rare objects of every description, in rich abundance and regular order; old jugs and tankards, large and small coins, gems in carefully-sealed glass-cases, antique lamps of clay and bronze, stones with ancient Roman inscriptions, Roman and Greek terra-cotta, polished fragments of marble which he had found in Italy among the ruins, the head of a faun, an arm, a foot and other bits of Pagan works of art, a beautifully-enamelled casket of Byzantine work, and another with enamelled ornamentation from Limoges. Even half a Roman coat of mail and a bit of mosaic from a Roman bath were to be seen here. Amid these antiquities, stood beautiful Venetian glasses, pine-cones and ostrich-eggs. Such another tap-room could scarcely be found in Holland, and even the liquor, which a neatly-dressed maid poured for the guests from oddly-shaped tankards into exquisitely-wrought goblets, was exceptionally fine. In this room Herr Aquanus himself was in the habit of appearing among his guests; in the other, opposite to the entrance, his wife held sway.