Fourteen Months Abroad – Leipsic, Saxony, Germany

July 3.—On our arrival here yesterday afternoon we had difficulty in finding our hotel. We knew where we wished to go, but the man who carried our hand baggage took us purposely to a different hotel. We insisted on his taking us to the right one, but he would not. He went away. The hotel proprietor also seemed determined to keep us. We were equally determined not to remain there and managed to drag our heavy luggage out to the pavement where one of us watched over it while the other went in search of the hotel, which we found, engaged a room and had some one sent from the hotel to carry the baggage. At last we were housed. Then the trunks had to be brought. All this gave us a late supper and oh, how tired we were ! On our journey yesterday the wild red poppies blossomed so profusely in a crop of wheat that they seemed to occupy about half the ground. We saw many cherry trees filled with bright red cherries. We passed through Erfurt where Luther became a monk at the age of twenty-two, and through Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, where Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, was born. We could see considerable of the town. We also went through Weimar, where Goethe and Schiller lived, the former for fifty-six years. Some of the way we saw much of the river Saale, so familiar to us in Kissingen. It was a very winding stream, first on one side, then on the other. Leipsic is the center of the German book trade.

While we were on Augustus Platz this morning L. left me in a waiting room while he went to the Book-trade Museum where he saw the famous Gutenberg Bible, printed in Mayence in 1450-55. He considers it a good copy of the first book ever printed.

After L. returned we saw a great historical procession, fifty minutes long, representing different ages in Europe and different trades and occupations. The representations of the earliest and the middle ages in dress and armor were rich and showy and somewhat grotesque. Among the picturesque vehicles that we saw perhaps the most striking was that of the Brewer’s Association. A gigantic man wearing a crown and dressed in a red flowing robe trimmed with ermine rode on a monstrous cask. His right hand held an enormous goblet half filled with beer. The big tun was surmounted by crowns. A part of the procession consisted of a bicycle show. The larger part of those who had bicycles walked with their wheels by their sides, and were dressed in various costumes. Some rode very slowly. One rider dressed in a fantastic way ‘carried on his back a dog in a bag, the dog’s head showing itself. A great crowd of people lined the streets on both sides. It seemed a strange way to spend the Sabbath, both on their part and ours. We walked home by the promenade.

While L. and I have been resting this afternoon three men have been paving on the other side of the street, settling the stones with steel rams that give three different notes, one tone apart, do, re, mi, many times repeated. It is musical but not restful.

The King of Saxony passed us in an open carriage while we stood waiting for a tram. This King is much beloved by the people. He is an elderly man with gray hair and wore a cap trimmed with red. We have taken interesting walks and rides this afternoon and find Leipsic a flat city with three small rivers. Considerable old German architecture is here as well as in Eisenach. We made the circuit of the old and inner city this afternoon, following the line of the ancient fortifications which have been turned into finely shaded promenades. The larger part of the way we rode in two different trams, or street cars as we call them in America. We finished on foot. Saw the only tower that is left.

In the inner city there are narrow, crooked streets, but the modern part has broad streets and fine squares.

July 4.-I am up early to write a little. A gentleman told us yesterday that our fourth of July is observed here each year and would be today-I suppose by Americans. Leipsic is very gay with flags on account of yesterday’s celebration. Green and white flags in stripes, also red, black and white flags in stripes decorate this great book city. “Upward of three hundred houses are engaged in the book trade. There are also many printing establishments.”

We saw the new and splendid Imperial Supreme Court building, the Conservatory of Music and other fine buildings near by. Have bought views of Leipsic in the stores this morning and visited the Market Platz where we found very quaint old buildings—the town hall being the quaintest, but all were most interesting. A splendid war monument is there — the highest figure representing Germany. Have thought often of my friend Mrs. Smith and her children, who spent two years in this book city.

We rode to Rosenthal—the City Park. The dear black birds were singing there. We sat near the lake and rested. This park is a broad, flat meadow with broad paths and is surrounded by fine forest trees. Flowers are there and plenty of space for games. Then we went to Teubner’s book establishment. L. has received books from this place for more than thirty years. He wished much to see it but could not find it at first. After searching the whole street he found at last the dark entrance from a court with no sign on the street. While there he was taken into some of the manufacturing rooms.

This afternoon we rode to the Connevitz Woods which are usually known as the “Linie” and found a delightful spot with pleasant walks and drives. People were walking there; children were running about and babies were there in their carriages. These beautiful woods lie southwest of Leipsic.

The air has been fine today. We have walked about slowly and found much that is curious and antiquated. It is raining now. We are glad to be safely housed. Very large outdoor restaurants are numerous here. The pink and white daisies are growing wild in the grass but we have not seen many of them.