Page:Letters from Abroad to Kindred at Home (Volume 1).djvu/145

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142
AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.

held up one thing after another, the Virgin's chemise, the swaddling-clothes, &c., against a black surface, and at each holy thing down sunk the mass upon their knees. There were exceptions to this devout action; travellers who, like us, were staring, and talking, and making discord with the deep responses, and there were a few persons pushing their way through the crowd, hawking little books in German and French describing the relics; and selling beads that had been blessed by the priest. If not holy, the relics have an historical interest that makes them well worth seeing. They were presented to Charlemagne by a patriarch of Jerusalem, and by a Persian king.[1]

The baths of Aix were enjoyed by the Romans. We went to one in the centre of the town, where a brazen lion spouts out the mineral water, and where there is a very handsome building with a colonnade and refreshment-rooms. We would have gladly lingered here for a few days instead of these very few hours; but, like all our country people, we seem always urged by some demon on—on—on.




Cologne.—Still, my dear C., the same story to tell you of yesterday's journey. The peasants have just began their mowing and harvesting, and the hay and corn are all as thick as the choicest bits in our choice meadows. There were immense plantations

  1. "Formerly 150,000 pilgrims resorted to this fête, and so late as 1832 there were 43,000."