June 1: Once more we are in this old town which gave us more than six weeks of happiness last year. In Heidelberg yesterday morning L. had difficulty in finding a man to carry our trunks and other baggage to the station, but 10:05 found us taking our last look at Heidelberg and about three we were approaching Kissingen, which made a pretty picture as we looked at it in the near distance from our. train. We are at Hotel Wittelbach for a day or two. More than three thousand visitors are already here. L. has been drinking from the Rakoczy spring twice a day. He weighs only one hundred and twenty-four and a half pounds.
Although it was rainy yesterday we seemed to see nearly everything, as there was no distant mountain scenery. From the cars we noticed a great deal of red sandstone, the soil even being red. L. said he “could understand now why so many of the churches in Germany were built of red sand-stone.” We passed many German villages on our way with very tall church spires towering above modest, rather humble looking dwellings. Usually there was one church in a small village. There were pretty, winding rivers and numerous wild flowers of various hues, hawthorn trees with double blossoms, weigelias, lilacs and laburnum trees. I felt interested in the rafts on the rivers. Each of us took a glass of the Rakoczy spring water this morning.
After we had been to the Springs and after we had eaten breakfast, we walked to Villa Liebeskind, where we were last year, and received a warm welcome from Mrs. Liebeskind and the Fraulein. The latter came running out to meet us as we were standing in the doorway of the lower house waiting for the rain to cease. We went with the Fraulein to the upper house to look at rooms and found a sunny one which contained a stove. It is cold here in Hotel Wittlebach because of the damp rainy weather. We have decided to return to Villa Liebeskind, although we should be glad to be nearer the springs. It seems home-like and the Fraulein and Mrs. L. are anxious to have us with them again. We met our old physician, Dr. Diruf, at the springs and after-wards Mrs. Dalchow returning from her bath. She is again at Villa Liebeskind and is glad to have us back. She and Miss von Staff are two German friends with whom I became pleasantly acquainted in this Villa last summer.
L. has this moment returned. We must go down to dinner.
June 3.-We moved to Villa Liebeskind yesterday after-noon and are enjoying a fire in our new room this morning. Last evening L. and I attended a symphony concert in the Conversationssaal by the same band that played so delight-fully for us last year. We eat our breakfasts in our room and take our dinners and suppers wherever we please. I see interesting and amusing things here. This morning we saw from our room six women and two men pushing a wagon while two men were drawing it. A few slabs of stone were in the wagon.
I saw two cows yoked together drawing a loaded wagon while several men and women were pushing.
L. is resting in bed this afternoon.
June 4.-This morning I spent an hour in the large grove back of the house. Summer houses with seats and tables are there; a running brook, which is quite a little cascade; a a pool containing four very large goldfish; a large pond and a boat on it; fine, smooth, nicely kept places for playing croquet and lawn tennis, wild flowers, a variety of trees, some of which are large, shrubbery, pansies, a laburnum, and hawthorn tree, and lilacs in bloom. The birds sang beautifully there. I stood and listened to them awhile and after-wards sat in a summer house where I could still hear them. The best and dearest of the birds here is the black bird. They differ from ours in America in having white bills. It is the same bird which sang for us in Switzerland, in Nice and San Remo, and in other parts of Germany.
The sun has really shown himself today and, for a won-der, it has not rained. It was warm this afternoon so that we were able to sit by the music stand and listen to the music. A lady played the harp. After a solo a large, hand-some bouquet was given her. L. was resting this afternoon when suddenly he started up and said “I am not going to lose all this sunshine.” He went with me to the springs, but without drinking the water. He sat by me and listened to the music. However, he was not with me when the lady played the harp solo. I was standing close by her. He was sitting off at a little distance and lost it, thinking she was only tuning her harp and preparing to play. He remarked after-wards that “it was quite a joke on him.” One must be quite near a harp to appreciate it. An old grey-haired man is at the springs who plays the trombone. A beautiful rose was handed to him today at the conclusion of a piece. He seemed much pleased.
June 5.-At the Springs this morning people were going back and forth as they always do, some one way and some another; others were standing by the three heating arrangements warming the spring water in their glasses before drinking. Such a crowdsome old, some young; some fat, some thin; some sick-looking, but the majority looking pretty well!
The leader of the band has a new coat. We felt like congratulating him, as the old coat was too short.
The black birds here bring back the happy days in Lucerne. They were fed regularly at our pension and were very happy and sociable, hopping and flying about very near the house!
L. has been alone today into the “Grosser Park” and to an English church.
June 6.-This is the first day L. has walked out without an overcoat. It is a warm, delightful day with no rain. A little dog made a sensation at the Springs this morning. He did not bark, but made a peculiar noise which seemed like an effort to assist the musicians. L. really thought it was a musical instrument making the discord and walked around the music stand to see what it was. As the dog was close by me I knew. His mistress tried to hide him, but soon led him away. It was amusing to see the consternation and indignation of the musicians, especially the frowns and stern looks of the leader.
Our front room with its four windows (two north and two west) looks not only on the street and the lower house belonging to the Villa, but upon a garden which has large bushes full of pink roses, columbines of various colors, a fleur de lis with yellow blossoms, and other flowers. Crimson-tipped daisies grow wild in the grass. Blue myrtle, ferns and other plants are about the pool in the garden. Two very pretty purple beech trees are below two of our windows. The sun pours into all four of the windows at this momentfive o’clock in the afternoon.
I think the poor people here are very poor. The peasants wear short dresses and heavy shoes. When nicely dressed they wear small, gay shawls bordered with flowers around their shoulders, with nothing on their heads, but when working in everyday dress a shawl is pinned about the head. Very few oxen are seen. Cows not only furnish milk, but take the place of oxen. Very little English is spoken in the Villa.
Later.We have taken our dinner and supper at Hotel d’Angleterre today. Hereafter we shall change places more.
June 7.Today we took dinner in the Fruhlings Garten a lovely shady place where the restaurant is almost shut in by trees.
June 8.L. remained in our room yesterday afternoon while I went alone to the Springs. The rain and hail came down in a sheet while I was there. The musicians stopped playing and shut themselves up in the music stand. Extensive preparations had been made for the illumination last evening. The afternoon rain somewhat interfered. The two fountains, changed in form, were illuminated in different colorswhite, yellow, red, green, blue, lavender, and other colors. The electric lights in different colors in the trees in front of the Royal Kurhaus were beautiful.
June 9.It is Corpus Christi day, which is much observed by Catholics. Stores are closed. Cannon have been fired at different times during the morning. The streets are strewn with grass and green plants and flowerspeonies, daisies, buttercups and other blossomsand are decorated with tall birch boughs as large as small trees, set up along the fronts of the buildings. There was a procession which we did not see. Church bells have been ringing.
June 12.-I have taken a short walk alone into the country this morning to see the wild flowers. Last August and September we found very pretty little flowers there, but there were not many this morning. I saw buttercups, ox-eye daisies and a tall yellow flower which resembles the dandelion blossom. I was delighted with a pink centaurea cyanus, (ragged sailor, or corn flower), and with the wild pink roses. I brought back a bouquet which we both enjoy.
Although this is a bright, beautiful day it rained while I was gone. My umbrella had been raised for protection from the sun. I was glad to be shielded from the rain. I sought shelter in a doorway. Afterwards I went into the Catholic cemetery where I admired and enjoyed the flowers.
L. is not as strong as usual. I ant anxious all the while.
June 13.Kathrina, our femme de chambre, has copied a long poem in my souvenir book.
Mrs. Dalchow leaves tomorrow. She is the only one in the Villa, except the Fraulein, with whom I can talk in English.
June 14.This morning L. and I played croquet in the beautiful grove which belongs to the Villa. It was only one little game but I was tired when it was over. The birds sang sweetly while we played. The dear black bird (in German, “amsel”) sings until nearly nine in the evening. Among the Italian lakes he was really a rival of the nightingale.
When we retired last night (at ten o’clock) it was still twilight. L. says this “is a strange statement but it is true.” We are having warm, lovely weather now and can sit by the music stand and listen to fine strains of orchestral music. One piece yesterday we particularly enjoyed. L. sat perfectly motionless and took it all in.
We have now been here two weeks. L. much regrets that our time is nearly half gone. I also feel sorry on his account as he has been unable to drink the spring water of late and that is what we came here for.
June 15.I went to the Springs this morning before breakfast. How beautiful the flowers were! The flower stands stretch along the walks in two directions. Last evening there was a splendid illumination of the whole Kurgarten. Chinese lanterns of all shapes, colors and combinations of colors filled the garden. There were colored electric lights, purple, red, yellow, green and blue. The Conversationssaal was brilliantly illuminated. The cornice, Bavarian coat of arms and windows were beautifully lighted with gas jets. The monument of King Ludwig in front of the building was a brilliant red in the reflection from the red fire, and on each side the fountains were a most beautiful blue. One splendid feature of the illumination was the display of colored lights around the Maxbrunnen spring and on many of the trees and around some of the doorways of the colonnades which were in green, red and other colors. We thought it a fine sight, the most beautiful illumination we ever saw. The band played during the evening.
When we returned to Kissingen two weeks ago the flowers were beautiful. There were beds of the finest daisies all very double. Some were wholly red, others were pure white and not only double, but very large. There were beds of forget-me-nots,blue and pure white. In one place I saw pink forget-me-nots. These have all been removed except some beds of red pinks, and lovely foliage beds are there instead.
The large garden we look down upon from our front windows is full of beautiful roses. The early roses are nearly gone but other lovely ones of various colors have taken their places.
June 16.This morning before breakfast, while I was preparing to go to the Springs, the bells of the Catholic church near by kept ringing and ringing until I began to wonder what was going on. L. had gone to buy Bismarck rolls. He returned just as I was ready to go out. I reached the church in time to see a procession passing in. Young girls dressed in white with green leaves and artificial flowers resembling orange blossoms in their hair carried a bier on which stood an image of the Virgin Mary. The procession filled the church, and the service (a high mass) began. The priest was richly robed. Eight or ten boys dressed in red and white were around the altar, sometimes kneeling and at other times standing and assisting the priest. L. joined me in the church and we went to the Springs together.
I talked with two English ladies about the Princess Beatrice or Princess Henry of Battenburg, who is here at the Kurhaus and visits the Springs twice a day to drink and walk about as the others do. The ladies said she had been there this morning walking about and “buying flowers of the old women.”
Royalty seems to be well represented in Kissingen this season. The Emperor and Empress of Austria have been spending some time here and have just left. We did not see them, not knowing that they were here.
Working people in peasant dress were in the church this morning. Some carried on their backs long baskets which they left in the vestibule of the church. I felt interested in them.
After having seen roses all winter long in Italy we have now come here to enjoy them. A day or two ago we saw a fine rose locust. The locust tree, so common in America, does well here. It is frequently trimmed into a round tree which does not blossom. L. and I walked to the station this morning.
June 18.A great crowd was at the Springs yesterday afternoon and this morning to hear five new musiciansguests of the band. We were there in the crowd to hear them. Princess Beatrice and her companion were there also. One of the English ladies kindly offered to point ont the princess to me. I went with her through the crowd and found it was the same lady I had seen twice before and wondered if it were she. She is stout and is dressed in deep mourning. Her companion is also dressed in black. Princess Beatrice resembles pictures I have seen of her. I took a seat on the colonnade almost directly back of the Princess and her party. I could see her gestures, but could not hear what she said. They seemed to be talking about the music as well as about the people who passed them. L. came and sat by me and spoke of the music, but I cared more to see Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter. She wore a great deal of crape. Her hat was trimmed with three black plumes and crape. The lady with whom she was talking is, I am told, the Princess of Hanover. The gentleman who was with the party and who seemed to have the care of the Princess came with her from England and is her equerry, the English lady told me.
This morning we went into the Catholic church together. Banners or flags have been flying from the steeple and from poles set up in front of the church. The church was more than half filled with young girls wearing wreaths of flowers and leaves. The young boys wore bouquets. The church was crowded. L. had gone and I was near the front vestibule expecting soon to go when the bishop, in purple robe, came in a carriage. He was escorted into the church by a small procession of little boys dressed in red and white, who carried bright banners, and a number of priests, richly dressed. They were arraying the bishop in other robes when I left the church. We were on our way home from the Springs and were anxious for our breakfast.
The bells of the Catholic church ring a great deal. Services of various kinds seem to be held there most of the time.
Frequently I walk with L. to the Saale river, which is back of the colonnades and of the Rakoczy Spring. Occasionally we go beyond the spring to the stores which stretch along near the bank of the river. I am drinking now the Maxbrunnen water instead of the Rakoczy. L. takes a quarter of a glass of the Rakoczy in the afternoon and none in the morning. Ile is feeling better and stronger. Syringas are now in bloom.
June 21.L. says “time goes in spite of us.” Yesterday we purchased what L. calls a “stone tumbler.” On it is a pretty picture of Kissingen taken from the hill Altenberg where there are restaurants and where we see the lights burning every evening from the front windows of our room. Besides the picture on the tumbler is a motto in German. Translated into English it is, “Come in (or welcome) ; it is good to be here.” We can see a light burning also in the restaurant on Sinberg Hill, and in Ludwig’s tower on the top of Staffelsberg Hill. Stationsberg is the one where we saw the Stations of the Cross last season, both of us climbing all the way up the hill. L. was up early this morning and down at the Springs in time to hear the opening piece. which is always a choral and to get the Kur-Anzeiger, which is a little paper containing a programme of the pieces which are to be played during the day.
We saw Princess Beatrice at the Springs again this morning. She was walking with her lady-in-waiting. Both were dressed in plain black brilliantine dresses, with close fitting wraps of the same material. They each carried a white parasol with black lining and black handle. The Princess wore a distinguished looking hat of black straw trimmed with a great deal of crape in the back, which gave it the appearance of a very high broad hat. The front was trimmed with two high black wings with crape. I saw the Princess buy rolls at one of the bread stands. She gave the order and the lady-in-waiting paid the money and carried the long bag of rolls which contained the Bismarcks. Between the pieces of music they walked to a book store. The Princess looked at pictures in the window from the outside while her lady-in-waiting went into the store. When she returned she had in her hand a large heavy envelope with a broad black edge. Then they returned to hear the music. The Princess appeared to enjoy it and stood up like the others. She has pretty brown hair and a light complexion with light blue eyes. Her dress is short for walking. She bears while here an assumed name Countess Carisbrooke. Very many do not know that she is here.
The pictures she was looking at in the store window were pictures of Christ. One was an engraving of the Last Suppernot Leonardo da Vinci’s, but an interesting picture.
L. and I sat for two hours this afternoon listening to the music. We shook hands with the leader. A number of the musicians came to Maxbrunnen Spring to drink while I was there. These are the only gentlemen in the Kurgarten who wear silk hats.
While I am writing I hear the horn of a carriage driver. It is like a post horn and he plays quite a tune as he starts off or returns with his load of passengers. His dress is blue and white.
It has been a perfectly delightful day. We can say very little against the weather of late.
June 22.-There was a heavy thunderstorm this morning about two o’clock. It hailed this afternoon at the Springs while L. and I were sitting in the colonnade listening to the music. The stones were so large that L. thought they would really hurt anyone who was struck by them. How every-body ran who was not under shelter ! The band stopped playing until it was over. L. is down there yet. I came home. When I reached our room I found that Kathrina had closed the blinds of all the windows to keep out the hail. The room was dark but I soon let in light and fresh air. The sun is shining now and comes in delightfully as I sit here on the red plush sofa by the window, writing.
L. is here. He remained at the Springs to hear the last piece.
June 23.-We have been kept in by the rain up to this time (2 p. m.) Rain came in all four of the windows. Have had our little dinner all by ourselves in our room. I hope we can get the dishes that we use safely home to keep as souvenirs of our stay in Kissingen. I called this morning on Mr. and Mrs. Esche, who have been very kind.
June 24.-I walked to the Catholic cemetery this morning to see the flowers. On my way home I went into a yard belonging to a private dwelling to see two large swans and five little mouse-colored swans that were swimming in a pond. The large swans objected to me and took threatening attitudes. I retreated behind a line of clothes, fearing that they might attack me. I passed a large flower garden where there were two graves very nicely taken care of. We purchased a vase yesterday morning which has a picture of the Rakoczy Spring.
L. walked partly up Altenburg this morning. I did all the climbing that I intend to do in Kissing en last summer. This is St. John’s holiday. The Catholics have many holidays and keep them all. We have been surprised. Nearly all the people attend church and the stores are mostly closed. How the bells swing and swing and ring and ring in the church close by.
After drinking my one glass of water this morning I walked on the other side of the pavilion where there are large beautiful trees with the river winding its way prettily among them. The river Saale, although beautiful, is quite narrow here.
I met Dr. Diruf at the Springs; he is there every morning to receive his patients. His long gray hair attracts attention.
Mrs. L. sent up to me this morning by Kathrina some lovely La France and Marechal Niel roses.
June 26.L. and I were at the Springs at six o’clock this morning to hear the first piece, which is al-ways a choral. Those who wish can always hear two first class concerts each day, eight pieces in the morning, from six to eight, and eight in the afternoon, from five to seven. Yesterday afternoon and this morning the music in the Kurgarten was by a German military band. There were tiny flutes, but no violins or other stringed instruments. A crowd of people was there to hear them. The dignified, smiling leader wore, unfortunately, a very short coat which we thought annoyed him as he stood with his back to the larger part of the crowd. His efforts to lengthen it were quite noticeable. However, he led the band safely through the twenty pieces. These military musicians wear showy bright blue uniforms trimmed with red and yellow, with both colors on the shoulders. Each musician carries a sword.
June 27.The grounds in front of the Conversation House had, as I have said before, charming beds of daisies, forget-me-nots and pinks. Suddenly they were transformed into the loveliest foliage beds imaginable. Besides these, banana trees, palm trees in tubs and other trees give additional beauty.
The music was fine, as usual, this morning. L. and I stood through several pieces. We drank them in. We shall miss the music and the flowers when we leave Kissingen. I look upon the beautiful hills from our windows and think we must soon say goodbye to them.
There goes a cow drawing a small wagon on four small wheels. A woman is walking by the side of the cow, cracking her whip. Another woman is walking behind and has hold of the wagon. A man is walking with her. I went to the market place this morning with L. Some of the musicians were buying vegetables.
June 28.Again yesterday afternoon it rained while we were in the Kurgarten listening to the music. L. and I sought shelter on the rear steps of the music stand under the awning. I sat awhile on the stone steps, L. standing by me. The drum was rather loud and before the last piece was played we went away. Before the rain there was a harp solo. The lady harpist was given another bouquetthis time in the form of a harp.
The Fraulein and Mrs. Liebeskind have given me their pictures this morning. I gave the Fraulein one of the little copper pitchers from Siena and promised to send our pictures to her. Mrs. Liebeskind made signs of distress, meaning that she must have them too.
Kathrina is making the beds and L. is resting on the lounge.
Prince Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, is here in Kissingen at the Kurhaus Hotel. The English ladies who kindly pointed out to me his sister, the Princess Beatrice, tell me that he is “very like” his brother, the Prince of Wales, and that he has a dog with him.
I have been packing today. Mrs. Liebeskind and the Fraulein are playing cards in the garden underneath the window where I am writing. It is duska quarter past nine, and I am writing without a candle. It is rosy in the west and north here at ten o’clock at night.
June 29.At the Englisher Hof hotel last evening a gentleman said he would point out Prince Alfred to us this morning. He kept his word. The Prince looks old for a man of his age, is rather short, has a full face with very light blue eyes, a prominent nose, a short, full beard, and hair cut closely and slightly grey. He wore a drab suit, a soft drab hat and tan shoes. I saw the Prince drink three glasses of Rakoczy water. Each time the man who waited on him at the Spring took off his hat. After the last glass he kept it off until the Prince stepped away. The latter carried a cane and some of the time walked with his left hand in his pocket, to the disturbance of his buttoned short sack coat. His step was rather stiff and feeble and his shoulders somewhat stooping. When the Duke was through drinking the gentleman who was with him took the glass from him. The entry in the Kur-list for June 25th is, “His Royal Highness Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.” There are five in his party, all at the Kurhaus Hotel. Princess Beatrice also made her home at this hotel.
Two of the guests in this Villa are Herr Joseph Schwerenz and his Frau, Annie Schwerenz. They have said lovely, encouraging things to me which will be ‘delightful to re-member and which my good husband endorses ! That is the very best part of it all.
We are doing the last things in Kissingen before leaving. This is another holiday in the Catholic church, that of St. Peter and St. Paul. We stepped into the church for a few moments, but were too early for the service. Peasant women were there with shawls on their heads and wearing aprons, some of which were bright green, some bright blue and others bright red. The most of them appeared to be silk. Kissingen is a lovely place. I do not like to feel that we shall never see it again.
June 30.The last day in Kissingen has come ! We both feel sorry to leave. Not that we have been benefited by drinking the water; we hardly think so, but we have be-come attached to the place, having been here twicesix weeks and two days last year and four weeks and two days this year. We both went early to the spring this morning in time to hear the choral, “Sleepers Wake, which the leader, at L.’s request, had promised to have played. This was at six o’clock and we remained there two hours listening to the musicthe last music. We said goodbye to the leader, who has learned to know us and has for some time bowed very politely each day. L. bought the only picture of the band we could find. We showed it to the leader, who was pleased. Quite a number of the musicians stretched up their necks to look at it. I held it up high so that they might see it and bowed a goodbye to them, which they smilingly returned, but they did not understand that we were going away. Afterwards the leader must have told them, for one of the musicians followed us. He caught up with us near the market place and asked us if we were really going away. We had some pleasant conversation with him. He wished us to send him a picture postcard from America. We exchanged addresses.
I talked with a Russian lady and her daughter yesterday afternoon near the music stand and called her attention to the Prince. She seemed pleased to see him, but thought “he had not a distinguished air.” As we all sat on the seat listening to the music we could see the Prince and the gentleman with him walking back and forth. L. took his glass of water and met him face to face. He said the two men looked up surprised and L. laughingly said that “perhaps the Prince thought he was going to drink his health.” We saw the royal personage again this morning. A German gentleman told us that he (Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) was not loved in Coburg because he “did not give out the money” and his wife was not liked because she “would not speak German but would speak French.”