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I FIND myself at one of the great European watering places. Baden in the Grand Duchy of Baden, is a little village, situated near the feet of several surrounding hills. At this time these hills are clothed in green, the air is deliciously mild, the company is numerous and brilliant, and since to me all is novel enjoyment here, the thought of soon departing occasions me a little regret. As I would not forget what has afforded me so much pleasure, I here record the course of life within an experience of a single day.
I am at the Badische Hof, a spacious hotel, once a cloister of Capuchins, but sold in 1807, and since converted to its present purposes. Thirty-two bathing-tubs and a vapour bath are attached to it. I may here mention, that in the village are seven other Hofs, or hotels, each having as a necessary part of its establishment from thirty to forty bathing-tubs. These tubs are supplied with water from thirteen springs, of different degrees of temperature, varying in their component parts, and issuing principally from a spot near the snail's.garden, very appropriately called “ Hell.” The hottest has a temperature of about fifty-four degrees of Reaumur.
Though not an invalid, I resolved for the sake of curiosity to try the waters in the manner recommended. Springing from my bed therefore at five o'clock in the morning, I walked down into the bathing establishment. The hall is long and cool, and on each side are little rooms containing tubs. A portly German female attendant whispered guten morgen to me on my entrance. The surrounding silence was unbroken, except here and there by a tinckle of falling water, and an occasional tremendous splash, announcing that bathing visitors had arrived before me. The door of one of the rooms happened to be open, and out tottered a little pinched-up body, in morning. gown and curiously wrought black cap, who muttering something in German to the attendant walked away. The maid then showed me half a dozen rooms, with tubs filled with water, quite ready for the bather, into each of which tubs she must thrust a brawny arm to try the temperature, each time saying, as she looked up in my face with a smile, das ist gut. I however chose an empty one. Into this reposing my denuded limbs, I turned a sort of screw, and a warm spray was slowly showered over me, in lightness more feathery and delicious than anything I had before experienced. This is a mode of bathing designed for luxury alone, and when after enjoying it for half an hour, you draw yourself upright by a cord suspended from the ring above, you pro. nounce it a delicate invention, to which the luxurious fastidiousness of Heliogabalus himself could not for a moment object. After the bath, it is usual to take a walk. You may stroll into what is called the English garden, or up through the adjacent hills, and be assured that you will ever find threading these agreeable pathways many fair Ger. man, French, and English forms, attracted thus early to enjoy the scenery and the air, the sweetness and purity of which you unhesitatingly pronounce unrivalled. You now feel soothed and harmonized in all your nerves; the bath-water has wrought mysteriously upon you. If
you have cutaneous affections, or rheumatic pains, or stiff limbs, or groan daily under gout, you now enjoy the flattering idea of having just brought to bear upon the disorder one of the most efficient remedies possible.
Having taken five or six turns in the promenades, go at once to the Ursprung. As its name implies, it is the original spring. It was highly esteemed in the time of the Romans. Its vault is still covered with remains of the beautiful Carrara marble, of which it was constructed in that remote period. It gushes forth with great violence, and yields with ease in any twenty-four hours more than seven million cubic inches of water. This is the much-frequented spring. It is situated in the midst of the before.named Hell, a region which in the severest winters can never be covered with snow. Near this is a covered colonnade, called the pump-room
Invalids here congregate every morning between six and nine; ang lere you meet men and women, old and
poor. Here we lame legs, inflamed eyes, and tainted skins, and now and then shall you see one whose trembling nerves and bloated visage denote the ci-devant debauchee, now alas ! quite chopfallen, and resolved at length to return like a prodigal son to nature for restoration. I have on several mornings been much interested while regarding the various company, and endea. vouring to guess the particular affliction of each individual. One little old German gentleman has perplexed me much. He is accustomed to walk
up briskly to the spring, take a little bottle of whey from his pocket, pour a quantity into a tumbler, which the attendant soon filling, he drinks off very slowly, and in measured draughts. Replacing his bottle in his pocket, and crossing his hands behind him, he walks forth again, saying nothing, noticing no one, and commencing a regular promenade up and down the pump-room. At length he stops, pulls out and looks at his watch, puts it back hurriedly into his fob, and rushes off again in haste to the spring. There he administers once more to his stomach a dose precisely like the former. He now returns, resumes, and continues his walk, with his eyes fixed on the floor, apparently in deepest cogitation, until the moment comes round again when he "to sulphureous water must render up himself.” He seems eternally thinking only of his stomach, his watch, and the Ur. sprung. My interest in him is not at all diminished, when at length informed that he is a celebrated German professor. The value of whey-diet in several diseases is very generally acknowledged. Many of the invalids make use of it, and each morning the sellers of it may here be seen in the shape of rows of immoveable old women sitting on the ground, with hands embracing their knees, while before them are standing their brown whey-pots, like cosnecrated vessels before so many Egyptian idols.
But here is a young lady. She has just come from the spring; and now opening a book, she promenades as she peruses it up and down the public walk. What can be the complaint under which she suffers ? She moves with elasticity ; her form is rounded; there is no external token to indicate that her constitut on is impaired. On passing her more closely, however, a single glance detects a slight affection, alas ! of the skin. Now the rattling of the wheels draws your attention. A carriage has arrived, and out of it is gently tumbled the debilitated Marquis of D--. He is completely shrouded, like one of certain Spanish friars, in a huge white vestment, that incloses feet, arms, and head in its multitudinous folds. “ Bon jour, monsieur," says a sprightly German Baroness. “Ah, madame," squeaks out a trembling voice ;
and while he is proceeding to thank her, half a dozen men hurry him away into the adjacent vapour-bath. New parties are continually ar, riving, and there is no end to the variety of aspects which they assume. To me, I confess there is much that is impressive as well as amusing in this novel and stirring spectacle. The solemn regularity of the movements of the visitors, the imperturbable gravity of their visages with lengthened hypochondriacal expression often excites a smile, which is itself soon put to flight by the reflection of so many sinking frames anxiously come hither to derive from one of nature's fountains the means of adding a few more fitful moments to life's dream.
Not having any medical prescription to regulate the quantity to be drunk, I am accustomed to button my coat comfortably about me, and indulge until it begins to sit somewhat uneasily. The beverage is to me very pleasant, and of about the warmth with which coffee is
gene. rally taken. I was once proceeding to enjoy myself in this manner, when an individual, whom I verily believe to be in the interest of the doc. tors, declared in my hearing that the most dangerous consequences had resulted from drinking these waters, without so doing according to very accurate medical prescription, and that they generally did injury to all who used them, save the veritably diseased.
At eight o'clock you may walk down to the Assembly Rooms, to en. joy the music of a fine German band, who perform there each morning from seven until nine, and also to take chocolate with a light French roll. The chocolate is usually served in the open air, upon a little round stand, just large enough to hold your cup and a newspaper. Parties of ladies and gentlemen are here and there engaged in the same worthy occupation. Breakfast being concluded, you had better take a ramble among the environs; these are full of the antique and the enchanting. Walk up to the Lichtenthal ; it is a beautiful vale, and contains a venerable cloister of Cistercian nuns. If
you ascend the dark fir mount of St. Cecilia, your toil is repaid by a distant view of Baden and the Delbach stream; and if you are disposed to moralize, at a little distance only are the graves of many Cistercians, long since departed.
My favourite ramble, however, is up to yonder ancient cast!o, the Alles Schloss, as it is called. Seven centuries ago, it was the residence of a princely family; and from 1250 to 1550, twenty sovereigns of Baden, distinguished for chivalrous sentiments and martial deeds, resided there. It is a fine ruin of the middle ages, and you may either spend your time in rebuilding and repeopling it, or in enjoying from one of its half-crumbled windows a prospect of wide and varied beauty, which no language can describe. Walk now onward under the cool shade of the fir tree to the ruined castle of Ebersteinburg. It seems not so much founded on a rock as carved out from it.
You imagine that it must always have been impregnable; and yet exactly five hundred years ago, in a feud between its possessor and a German count, the latter with his followers marched against it, and reduced it to its present ruin. The walks on every side are so enchanting that you are doubtful which to choose. One of these very agreable walks leads your steps to the Teufelskanzel, or Devil's pulpit. It is a lofty rock overlooking a little valley : and if the fiend's audience, now alas! scat. tered all over the world, did ever as it is fabled assemble here, it would be in a spot which a Christian congregation might well be pleased to occupy. How finely the hills rise into a convenient amphitheatre,
shaded by the fir, the oak, and the hornbeam! Here you may repose yourself, and spend an hour in conversation with the German gentle. man who has rambled thither for the same objects as yourself.
When your pedestrian desires are perfectly gratified, return to the Assembly Rooms. Of these, the central is a large hall, some hundred and fifty feet long, and fifty broad. Around this room in niches are several statues, and the furniture is in a style of superior elegance. At each end is a roulette table ; and one for rouge et noir stands in an adjacent saloon. Eight Corinthian columns give a somewhat grand appearance to its portico. In its right wing are a library and one of the finest public dining-rooms in Germany. Its left is occupied as a library and reading-room, and there likewise stands the theatre. In front of this beautiful mass of buildings spreads out a green lawn of some three or four acres, bordered by flowers in full bloom. On two sides of this lawn, at right angles with the Assembly Rooms, extend rows of open shops, or boutiques, shaded by wild chestnut trees and filled with all sorts of fancy articles. The stand for musicians is in front of the right wing, and in its vicinity are hundreds of chairs, settees, and tables, for loungers in the open air.
Gambling is one of the terrible amusements of this watering-place. The tables are open from nine until one, and from two o'clock until midnighı. Old men and young, old women and fair maidens, all join in the hazards of the game. The exhibitions I have here witnessed in the course of this past day have fixed deeper than ever, and far more strongly, my feeling with regard to this vice. Frascati's in Paris has about it much of the secret and the forbidding. All its features continually remind you that something wrong is going on. Before you enter a liveried servant mysteriously takes your cloak, hat, and cane, and regards you keenly for a moment, to ascertain if your age may warrant an admission. Within all is stillness ; and if perchance an exclamation at ill-luck be accidentally raised, hisses from different quarters instantly silence it. There is a professional air about Frascati's too, which to me is quite appalling At Baden this mystery does not exist. All is done openly, and much in broad daylight. In the gambling hall you do not feel as if within some dangerous circle. Many of the noblest ladies and wealthiest gentlemen of Europe may every day be seen there, if not to play, at least to look on; and perhaps to laugh or sneer at those who lose. Play seems to be one necessary part of life at Baden. A gentleman, after sipping coffee, and talking French politics, walks a few paces to the rouge et noir tables, loses a thousand francs, and then walks back to sip coffee and talk French po. litics again. A lady is promenading through the hall, arm-in-arm with a gentleman, and discoursing on the pleasures of her morning's walk. A sudden whim sends her to roulette ; and after parting with a good round sum, she rejoins her solitary gentleman in the promenade, and discourses again with much feeling about the majesty of Altes Schloss. Gambling seems thus to be intermingled with the usual every-hour thoughts of the place. Hence it is divested of the awe and startling solemnity which surround it at many places, and its insidious power to beguile, and vortex-like to swallow up heart and soul, is thus in. creased tenfold.
I am not fond of producing images of those passions which are gene. rated around the gaming-table, still I desire to note down a little ocular experience I had this day. When I entered the hall the roulette.
table was numerously surrounded. Several were playing high, but none with agitation, except a strange man, perhaps of the age of thir. ty-six, whose face was fushed as if by fever. He did not indulge himself with a seat; but taking a lot of napoleons from his pocket, he hurriedly and tremblingly tossed them down upon any number, it mattered not what. Then quickly walking off several paces from the table he awaited in most anxious agitation the pause of the ball, and the voice of the marker announcing his winnings or his loss. If the former, he returned complacently, took up all his winnings, save a single napoleon, which in superstitious gratitude he left to the number which had been so generous towards him. The next turn, he flung down four or five hundred francs. The luck was now against him; and also in the next trial, and in the next. Had a galvanic battery been brought to play upon
it could not have produced more hideous spasms, than those which at each announcement wrenched his visage and entire frame. Still he ventured,--and still he lost. Then again, a single success inspired him with hope ; and then again he lost. His excite. ment had now become so great as to attract the attention of the com. pany. They regarded him with sober eyes ; in perfect good breeding. Of their presence he seemed to be totally unconscious. Once I thought he seemed to make an effort to break away ; but in vain. The eye of the serpent was on him. He continued to play. Napoleon followed napoleon into the all-swallowing maw of the table ; till at length, the gambler's pockets being probably quite emptied, he seized his hat, crushed it fiercely between his hand, uttered a deep curse in the Spanish language, and rushed out of the hall. Several eyes followed him ; one curious man even went to the door. A shrewd-looking individual ran his tongue into his cheek, another shrugged his shoulders, and a third exchanged winks with the marker. The wheel however continued to revolve without the slightest interruption.
I was attracted again to-day by a strange countenance, which I have very frequently seen at these tables. Its freshness bespeaks the man of thirty. The grey hairs tell you of sixty winters, while enormous whiskers, and moustaches, and imperial, all intensely gray, even as the locks of that scalp, proclaim the gentleman of style, the mirror of fashion, the gallant cavaliero. He is rather a short man. He dresses with admirable taste ; has one suit for the morning, another for the afternoon, and still another for the evening. As he plays you observe that his fingers are covered with costly rings. He enters the hall with a consequential air. The servant hurries to relieve him of his hat and cane; and while he takes his seat, the markers look knowingly at each other. This is the Elector of Hesse Cassel. He takes several little rolls of gold from his pocket, breaks open one of them, and claps down two hundred francs on No. 10. He plays high. His risk is never less than forty francs. But with what grace and self-possession does he lose! He has now been playing but five minutes, and two thousand francs have passed from his pocket into the coffers of the af. fectionate marker. He is not however, in the least disconcerted. He frowns not, neither does he smile ; moreover, he is never betrayed into that infernal grin which your green pretender often puts on to hide from surrounding spectators his chagrin at ill-luck. The elector is immensely rich, and can afford to lose with grace.
But here is a lady gamester. She is quite absorbed in the passion,