Melville in Koblenz

“Monday Dec: 10th 1849. Coblentz. Embarked last night about 9 1/2 PM for Coblentz. But before so doing went out after tea to take a final stroll thro` old Cologne. Upon returning to the hotel, found a large party assembled, filling up all the tables in the Dining Saloon. Every man had his bottle of Rhenish, and his cigar. It was a curious scene. I took the tall spires of glasses for castles & towers, and fancied the Rhine flowed between. I drank a bottle of Rudenshimer (?) (Anm: oder Rusheshiemer?). When the boat pushed off it was very dark, & I made my way into the 2d cabin. There I encountered a German, who was just from St: Louis in Missouri. I had a talk with him. From 9 1/2 P.M. till 5. A.M., I laid down & got up, shivering by turns of the cold. Thrice I went on deck, & found the boat gliding between the tall black cliffs & crags. – A grand sight. At last arrived at Coblentz in the dark, & got into a bed at the “Giant Hoff” near the quay. At ten o`clock in the morning descended to breakfast, & after that took a valet de place & crossed the Bridge of Boats to the famous Quebec fortress of Ehrbrincedstein. A magnificient object, truly. The view from the summit is superb. Far away winds the Rhine between its castellated mountains. Crossed the river again, & walked about the town – entering the curious old churches – half Gothic, half Italian – and crossed the Moselle at the stone bridge – near where Prince Metternich was born. Singular that he was born so near the great fortress of Germany – Still more curious that the finest wine of all the Rhine, is grown right under the guns of Erhbreistein. At one´o´clock dined at “The Giant” at the table d`hote. There were some six or eight English present, two or three ladies & many German officers. The dinner was very similar to the dinner at the Hotel de Cologne yesterday. After dinner, walked out to the lower walls & into the country along the battlements. The town is walled entirely. At dinner I drank nothing but Moselle wine – thus keeping the counsel of the “Governor of Coney Island” whose maxim it is, “to drink the wine of the country in which you may be travelling.” Thus at Cologne on the banks of the Rhine, & looking at the river thro` the window opposite me – what could I imbibe but Rhenish? And now, at Coblentz – at the precise junction of the Moselle – what regale myself with but Moselle? – The wine is blueish – at least tinged with blue – and seems a part of the river after which it is called. At dusk I found myself standing in the silence at the point where the two storied old rivers meet. Opposite was the frowning fortress – & some 4000 miles was America & Lizzie. – Tomorrow I am homeward-bound! Hurrah & three cheers!”