An Ancient Toll House

An Ancient Toll House.

Castle Of Schonberg

Castle Of Schonberg.

Senseless Stone

Senseless Stone.

" Of love they ever made a jest, For a stony heart was in each breast; Now, sunk in the Rhine for their sins to atone, They are changed into rock and senseless stone."

The present generation, however, apparently cares very little for this warning. Providence seems to have changed its method of protecting jilted lovers; else would the shores of Mount Desert and Narragansett Pier be quite impassable for boats.

At one point on the river, German students love to perpetrate a standard joke, at which all travelers have laughed for twenty years, but which still causes merriment. The echo here from either bank is so exceptionally fine, that students often shout the question, "What is the Mayor of Oberwesel?" The echoed answer comes back from the hills, "Ese/," that is to say, "an ass."

St. Goar

St. Goar.

Rheinfels, Near St. Goar

Rheinfels, Near St. Goar.

The Lorelei

The Lorelei.

The Rhenish village of St. Goar derives its name from an old saint of the most remarkable character and habits, who flourished here eight hundred years ago. Professionally he was a boatman, and ferried people back and forth across the Rhine; but not content with this, he sought to convert the heathen of this region to Christianity. His methods, however, were peculiar. One day, for example, as he was rowing a traveler across the Rhine, an idea suddenly came to him like an inspiration. Ceasing to row, he asked his passenger if he were a Christian. The man replied that he was not. Whereupon St. Goar immediately rushed upon him, plunged him over the side, and baptized him, ere the astonished man had time to catch his breath. Then, for fear that such a quick conversion might not last, he left him in the Rhine to drown, so that he might go at once to Paradise. The legend adds that, the same night the soul of the drowned man appeared to St. Goar, and, far from reproving him for his rough treatment, thanked him for thus securing to him the joys of Heaven. Thenceforth the valiant saint doubted no more that baptizing was his vocation, and hardly a day-passed without an immersion. It is true, the bishop of the town reproved him for his undue violence, but the saint immediately wrought a miracle by hanging his hat on a sunbeam, and the bishop could not say a word. Nevertheless, this system of compulsory baptism lasted only a short time; for, naturally enough, as soon as his habits became known, each passenger, when in the middle of the stream, would always make the sign of the cross, and swear with chattering teeth that he was a Christian.

The Siren's Cliff

The Siren's Cliff.

At a little distance below St. Goar, the finest scenery on the Rhine reveals itself, where the imposing cliffs of the Lorelei rise, dark and threatening, to the height of four hundred and fifty feet. Combined with beauty here, there used to be, in the days of small boats, dependent merely upon oar and sail, an element of danger. For at this point the Rhine is sometimes turbulent, and in a distance of one hundred yards the inclination of the river-bed is about five feet. Even now, a sunken ledge still makes a whirlpool, dangerous to small craft, unless skillfully managed. The curious legend of the place is, therefore, easily explained; for, in the evening, when the white foam beat against the rocks, and the pale moonbeams rested phantom-like on the frowning cliffs, the peasants fancied they perceived the golden hair and ivory shoulders of a siren who lured poor mariners to their destruction. But now, at all events, the Lorelei has lost her power. A railroad tunnel perforates the rock, the steamboat's whistle drowns the melody of her voice, and she spreads the meshes of her whirlpool-net in vain.

Not far below this siren-haunted cliff, I visited one day two famous ruins, standing side by side, called the Castles of the Brothers. The picture of the Rhine, seen through the crumbling arches, was enchanting, but the old walls were gaunt and bare as skeletons, and their deserted windows called to mind the eyeless sockets of a skull. Their legend is well suited to the place; for, it is said, two brothers once resided here in perfect harmony, until a fatal shadow crossed their path in the form of a mad, unconquerable passion for the same woman. In such a love, appeals to generosity are useless. Neither brother would yield his claim; and upon a narrow ledge between the castles they finally met in mortal combat.