Der ewige Jude als Motivationstrainer

Meine größeren Rheinexkursionen stehen kurz bevor und ich stoße auf Thomas Hood, den Ehemann von Jane Hood (s. letzter Eintrag), der das alles lange schon hinter sich hat. In seinem Buch Up the Rhine (London MDCCCXL) läßt sich dieser Aufbruch sehr britisch, nämlich wie folgt in einem fiktiven Brief, an: „My Dear Brooke, – Your reproach is just. My epistolary taciturnity has certainly been of unusual duration; but instead of filling up a sheet with mere excuses, I beg to refer you at once to „Barclay`s Apology for Quakerism,“ which i presume includes an apology for silence. The truth is, I have had nothing to write of, and in such cases I philosophically begrudge postage, as a contradiction to the old axiom ex nihilo nihil fit, inasmuch as the revenue through such empty epistles gets something out of nothing. Now, however, I have news to break, and I trust you are not so god a man as „unconcerned to hear the mighty crack. “ We Are Going Up The Rhine!!! You who have been long aware of my yearning to the abounding river, like the supposed mystical bending of the hazel twig towards the unseen waters, will be equally pleased and surprised by such an announcement. In point of fact, but for the preparations, that are hourly going on before my eyes, I should have, as Irish Buller used to say, some considerable doubts of my own veracity. There seemed plenty of lions in the path of such a Pilgrim`s Progress; and yet here we are, resolved on the attempt, in the hope that, as Christian dropped his burthen by the way, a little travelling will jolt off the load that encumbers the broad shoulders of a dear, hearty, ailing, dead-alive, hypochondriacal old bachelor uncle.“ Der Onkel kommt im Folgenden nicht sonderlich gut weg. Schwer, den Herrn für eine Rheinreise zu begeistern: „It is with the sanction, indeed by the advise of the medicus just mentioned (an original of the Abernethy school) – that we are bound on an experimental trip up the Rhine, to try what change of scene and travelling will do for such an extraordinary disease. The prescription, however, was any thing but palatable to the patient, who demurred most obstinately, and finally asked his counsellor, rather crustily, if he could name a single instance of a man who had lived the longer for wandering over the world? „To be sure I can,“ answered the doctor, „the Wandering Jew.““

Romantische Vorfälle

Jane, die Ehefrau des Dichters Thomas Hood berichtet in einem Brief im Jahre 1836 an ihre Freundin Ms. Elliot aus dem Zentrum der Rheinromantik: „(…) Supposing you have not forgotten the Lurlei, imagine that narrow passage blocked up with a storm of ice; for the immense pressure has heaved it up in huge waves and furrows, eight or ten feet high, each ridge composed of massive slabs of ice tossed about in all directions. At every bend of the river there had been a dreadful scuffle, and the fragments were thrust upwards and end-ways. But the mighty river would not be dammed up – you saw it now and then in a narrow slip rushing like a mill stream – then it plunged under the ice and boiled up again a hundred yards farther. At one bend of the river a green orchard was covered with great blocks hurled over the bank, one could not suppose how. There were some ridges, or rather ruts, so straight and evenly shaved down, that one fancied some giant of the mountain had driven his car through the middle of the ice, and that his wheels had left these traces and deep furrows. But on considering it, Hood discovered that the middle ice had moved, while that on the sides was stationary, and the friction had worn it as smooth as if cut with a knife. We went to Oberwesel, part of which was under water. We had not time to proceed farther, though we both agreed that we could have gone on, and on, and on, to see more. We hear that higher up a church was surrounded with masses of ice so that only the steeple was perceptible. The Moselle ice carried away a youth of sixteen, who has playing on it, and a similar and somewhat romantic incident occurred on the Rhine. On the island just above the bridge resides the Countess of P., who walking out by herself to see the ice floating down, managed to fall in; perhaps she was pushing the loose bits of ice as the children do. (…) As Hood says „some German cherub that sits up aloft“ brought a willow bough to her assistance, and there she hung, well preserved in ice, a good long spell – till a young man (…) came in a boat and rescued her. (…) Unfortunately the young lady is not a beauty; or even interesting. (…) Hood foretells she will give her preserver a lock of her tow-coloured hair (…). This is his splenetic idea of German gratitude. (…)“

Jane Hood in: Memorials of Thomas Hood, London 1860