|There are rest and healing in the contemplation
- Life on the Mississippi
Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson
There is a museum of antiquities in the Castle, and among its most treasured relics are ancient manuscripts connected with German history. There are hundreds of these, and their dates stretch back through many centuries. One of them is a decree signed and sealed by the hand of a successor of Charlemagne, in the year 896. A signature made by a hand which vanished out of this life near a thousand years ago, is a more impressive thing than even a ruined castle. Luther's wedding-ring was shown me; also a fork belonging to a time anterior to our era, and an early bookjack. And there was a plaster cast of the head of a man who was assassinated about sixty years ago. The stab-wounds in the face were duplicated with unpleasant fidelity. One or two real hairs still remained sticking in the eyebrows of the cast. That trifle seemed to almost change the counterfeit into a corpse.
There are many aged portraits--some valuable, some worthless; some of great
interest, some of none at all. I bought a couple--one a gorgeous duke of the
olden time, and the other a comely blue-eyed damsel, a princess, maybe. I bought
them to start a portrait-gallery of my ancestors with. I paid a dollar and a
half for the duke and a half for the princess. One can lay in ancestors at even
cheaper rates than these, in Europe, if he will mouse among old picture shops
and look out for chances.
- A Tramp Aboard
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