Nuremberg -- St. Petersburg -- Dannemora.


Visit to Nuremberg ,
Albert Dürer ,
Adam Krafft ,
Visit to St. Petersburg ,
General Wilson ,
General Greg ,
Struve the astronomer ,
Palaces and shops ,
Ivy ornamentation ,
The Emperor Nicholas a royal salute ,
Francis Baird ,
Work of Russian serfs ,
The Izak Church ,
Voyage to Stokholm ,
Visit to Upsala ,
The iron mines of Dannemora ,
To Gottenburg by steamer ,
Motala ,
Trollhätten Falls ,
Sweedish people ,
Copenhagen ,
Tycho Brahé ,
Zeland and Holstein ,
Holland, and return

IN the autumn of 1842 I had occasion to make a journey to Nuremberg in company with my partner Mr. Gaskell. We had been invited to a conference with the directors of the Nuremberg and Munich Railroad as to the supply of locomotives for working their line. As this was rather an important and extensive transaction, we thought it better not to trust to correspondence, but to see the directors on the spot. We found that there were several riskful conditions attached to the proposed contract, which we considered it imprudent to agree to. We had afterwards good reason to feel satisfied that we had not yielded to the very tempting commercial blandishments that were offered to us, but that we refrained from undertaking an order that required so many important modifications.

Nevertheless, I was exceedingly delighted with the appearance of the city of Nuremberg. It carries one back to the mediaeval times! The architecture, even of the ordinary houses, is excellent. St. Lawrence, St. Sebald's, and the Frauenkirche, are splendid specimens of Gothic design. The city is surrounded by old walls and turrets, by ramparts and bastions, enclosed by a ditch faced with masonry. Very few cities have so well escaped the storm of war and sieges in the Middle Ages, and even in modern times. Everything has been carefully preserved, and many of the best houses are still inhabited by the families whose forefathers originally constructed them. But "progress" is beginning to affect Nuremberg. It is the centre of railways; buildings are extending in all directions; tram-cars are running in the streets; and before long, I fear, the ditch will be filled up, the surrounding picturesque walls and towers demolished, and the city thrown open to the surrounding country.

I visited the house of Albert Dürer, one of the greatest artists who ever lived. He was a man of universal genius -- a painter, sculptor, engraver, mathematician, and engineer. He was to Germany what Leonardo da Vinci was to Italy. His house is wonderfully preserved. You see his entrance hall, his exhibition room, his bedroom, his studio, and the opening into which his wife -- that veritable Xantippe -- thrust the food that was to sustain him during his solitary hours of labour. I saw his grave, too, in the old churchyard beyond the Thiergarten gate. I saw the bronze plate commemorating the day of his death. "Emigravit 8 idus Aprilis 1528." "Emigravit" only, for the true artist never dies. Hans Sachs's grave is there too -- the great Reformation poet of Luther's time.

Adam Krafft must have been a great sculptor, though his name is little known out of Nuremberg. Perhaps his finest work is in St. Lawrence Cathedral -- the Sacramentshauslein, or the repository for the sacred wafer -- a graceful tapering stone spire of florid Gothic open work, more than sixty feet high, which stands at the opening of the right transept. Its construction and decoration occupied the sculptor and his two apprentices no less than five years; and all that he received for his hard labour and skilful work was 770 gulden, or about £80 sterling. No wonder that he died in the deepest distress. St. Sebald's and the Frauenkirche also contain numerous specimens of his admirable work.

In the course of the following year (1843) it was necessary for me to make a journey to St. Petersburg. My object was to endeavour to obtain an order for a portion of the locomotives required for working the line between that city and Moscow. The railway had been constructed under the engineership of Major Whistler, father of the well-known artist; and it was shortly about to be opened. It appeared that the Emperor Nicholas was desirous of securing a home supply of locomotives, and that, like a wise monarch, he wished to employ his own subjects rather than foreigners in producing them. No one could object to this.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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