Journal 29 Page 1 July 28, 1869
         

Book No. 5-Life Abroad

Switzerland

July 28, 1869 Bsle-

At the pleasant Hotel de Trois Rois Here, one year ago, we first heard the flow of the musical Rhine beneath our windows at night. What long journeys we have made since then-how much have learned & how thoroughly enjoyed our wanderings (for memory "counts but hours that are serene.") since that time. Everything shows me hew much I have improved as an observer since last year. Things impress me more deeply and seem more significant than then. I also perceive what an advantage it is to revisit places of interest.-We went to the magnificent Mnster again & though I have seen churches so much finer since I saw it first, its beauty gave me greater pleasure than I felt then. -its adaptation from a Catholic to a Protestant church was an agreeable study; while its tomb of Erasmus, fragments of Hans Holbein's "Dance of Death" and its rle in history give it a decided interest aside from its quaint & massive architecture-the "Dance of Death" is so celebrated that one can not fail to examine it with pleasure, though with little admiration & in the sufficiently well founded opinion that Holbein's powerful pencil never left a stroke upon its dim remains.-The Museum, which we were unable to visit last year, is doubtless the best of places in which to study this leading master of the German school. We were unable to stay long but the wonderful "+Dead Christ," [at bottom of page:] +said to be copied from a Jew drowned in the river. the "Passion" (in eight compartments) the "Last Supper," portraits of Erasmus & the Burgomeister Meyer & his wife, I shall not soon forget. Among the numerous drawings of Holbein which are here shown, one gets an impression of his power & versatility almost equal to that afforded by the contemplation of his finished pictures & in one sketch of a Madonna & Child I saw an additional argument in favor of those who take the affirmative side of the question: Is it Christ or not Christ in the arms of the famous Dresden Madonna? This infant (in the drawing) has a face almost as much distressed as that in the picture. The extended arm would seem to help in solving the problem. Dr. Bellows has what seems to me some sensible observations on this mooted point. The first example of Gottfried Mind that I have anywhere observed is here-two white pussies from the loving pencil of "the Rapheal of Cats . "

Basle is a beautiful city-a pleasant introduction to the delightful panorama of Switzerland now opening before us. Its cleanliness, cheerful air & the numerous & statued fountains are characteristic of Swiss towns in general as I suppose.