[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]


“Sayings, Wise and Otherwise,” (also in the “The Sayings of Dr. Bushwhacker and Other Wise Men”) by Frederic S. Cozzens; American Book Exchange, New York; 1880; pp. 109-113.



Up the Rhine.



“T HE clouds now began to break away — once more we see the distant peaks of the Siebengebirge and the castled crag of Drachenfels — a flush of warm sunlight illuminates the wet deck of the Schnelfahrt; the passengers peep out of the companion-way, and finally emerge boldly, to inhale the fresh air and inspect the beauties of the Rhine. As for the Miller of Zurich, he had taken the shower as kindly as a duck, shaking the drops from his grey woolly coat, as they fell, and tossing off green glass after green glass of Liebfrauenmilch, or Assmanshauser, from either bottle. Betimes his pretty wife joined us, and walked on tip-toe over the wet spots; the sun came out, hotter and hotter; the deck, the little tables, the wooden seats, began to smoke; overcoats came off, shawls were laid aside; plates piled up with 110 sweet grapes and monstrous pears, green glasses, and tall flasks of Rhine wine, were handed around to the ladies, and distributed on the tables; and the red-cheeked German boy whose imitations of English had so amused us, shouted the captain’s orders to the engineer below, in a more cheery voice — ‘Slore! backor! forror!’”

I had had an indistinct vision of a pair of whiskers at the far end of the breakfast table, brushed out à l’ Anglaise in parallel lines, as thin as a gilder’s camel’s hair brush. These whiskers now came up on deck, attached to a very insignificant countenance, a check cap, and a woollen suit of purplish cloth, such as travellers from Angleterre enjoy scenery in. Across the right breast of this person, a narrow black strap of patent leather wound its way until it found a green leather satchel, just across his left hip; while over his left breast, a similar strap again wound around him, and finally attached itself to a gigantic opera glass in a black leather case. All these implements of travel, with little else to note, paced solemnly up and down the now dry deck of the Schnelfahrt.

In the meantime, my glass, map, guide book, were all in action, castle following castle, Rolandseck, Rheineck, Andernach, and all the glorious panorama, rolling in view with every turn of the steamer. And chiefly I enjoyed the conversation of my Miller of Zurich, whose plump forefinger anticipated the distant towers and battlements which he had seen so often, for so many times, in yearly 111 trips upon the river. Nor was I alone, for from every stand-point of the deck were fingers pointed, and glasses raised, at the glories of the castellated Rhine.

But in the midst of this excitement and enthusiasm, that purple traveller, with whiskers and straps, satchel and opera glass, walked up and down, unobservant of the scenery, miserable and melancholic, without a glance at the vineyards, or the mountains, or the castles. Then I knew that he was an Englishman, doing the Rhine.

He walked up to our table, where old Zurich and his pretty wife were seated before the grapes and wine, where my shawl and satchel were flung — map spread, and guide-book open — and said, in that peculiar English voice which always suggest catarrh —

“Going up the Rhine, sir?”

Rather,” said I, drily (for I hate bores).”

“Aw!” — now the reader must translate for himself — “Forst time ye’ beene h’yar?”

“Yes,” I answered, “is it your first visit also?”

“Aw — no! ’beene hea-r pu-foh; sev-wal taimes. How fawr ’goin, sawr?” (Don’t talk of Yankee inquisitiveness).

“To Mayence, and no further this evening.” (Opera glass leveled directly at Ehrenbreitstein).

“Gaw’ng to Hydl’bug?”

“I think so.”

“”Hydl’bug’s ’good bisness; do it up in ’couple of awhrs.”


Here old Zurich makes a remark, and says: —

“Military engineers build, that other military engineers may destroy.”

MYSELF. — “Are those yellow lines against the hill masonry? — parapets?”

OLD ZURICH. — “Fortified from top to bottom.”

“Gaw’ng to Italy?” chimes in the camel’s hair whiskers.

“No” (decidedly no).

“Gaw’ng to Sowth ’f Fwance?”


“Wal, if ’r not gaw’n t’ Italy, and you’r gaw’n to Sowth ’f Fwance — gaw’n to Nim?”

To Nismes? what for?”

“’F yawr not gaw’n to Rhawm, it’s good bisness to go to Nim — they’ve got a ring thar.”

“A ring?”

“Yas, ’ont ye knaw?”

“A ring?”

“Yas — saim’s they got at Rhaome; good bisness that — do it up in tow hawrs; early Christians, y’ knaw, and wild beasts!”

“Oh, you mean the Roman amphitheatre at Nismes — a sort of miniature Coliseum.”

“Yaas, Col’s’m.”

“No, sir, I am not going to Nismes” — another look at Ehrenbreitstein and its shattered wall.

“Never be’n up th’ Rhine before,” quoth whiskers.


“No,” — we are approaching the banks of the “Blue Moselle.”

“Eh’nbreitstine’s good bisness, and that sort o’ thing — do’t in about two hawrs!”

“I do not intend to stop at Ehrenbreitstein, and, therefore, intend to make the best use of my time to see the general features of the fortress from the river.”

“Aw — then y’d better stop at Coblanz, and go t’ Wisbad’n, by th’ rail.”

“What for?”

“Why, the Rhine, you know, ’s a tiresome bisness, and by going’ to Wisbawd’n from Coblanz, by land, you escape all that sort aw-thing.”

“But I do not wish to escape all this sort of thing — I want to see the Rhine.”

“Aw!” — with some expression of surprise. “Going to Switz’land?”


“Y’ got Moy for Switz’land?”

“Moy? I beg your pardon.”

“Yes, Moy — Moy; got Moy for Switz’land?”

“Moy — do you mean money? I hope so.”

“Ged Gad, sir, no! I say Moy.”

“Upon my word, I do not comprehend you.”

“Moy, sir, Moy!” rapping vehemently on the red cover of my guide book that lay upon the table. “I say Moy for Switz’land.”

“Oh, you mean Murray.”

“Certainly, sir, didn’t I say Moy?”



[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]

Valid CSS!