Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/119

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CHAPTER XII.

THE Rathhaus, or municipal building, is of the quaintest and most picturesque Middle-Age architecture. It has a massive portico and steps, before it, heavily balustraded, and adorned with life-size rusty iron knights in complete armor. The clock-face on the front of the building is very large and of curious pattern. Ordinarily a gilded angel strikes the hour on a big bell with a hammer; as the striking ceases, a life-size figure of Time raises its hour-glass and turns it; two golden rams advance and butt each other; a gilded cock lifts its wings; but the main features are two great angels, who stand on each side of the dial with long horns at their lips; it was said that they blew melodious blasts on these horns every hour,—but they did not do it for us. We were told, later, that they blew only at night, when the town was still.

Within the Rathhaus were a number of huge wild boar's heads, preserved, and mounted on brackets along the wall; they bore inscriptions telling who killed them and how many hundred years ago it was done. One room in the building was devoted to the preservation of ancient archives. There they showed us no end of aged documents; some were signed by Popes, some by Tilly and other great Generals, and one was a letter written and subscribed by Götz von Berlichingen in Heilbronn in 1519 just after his release from the Square Tower.

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