My dear boy:
I certainly had a hard time to get away from Neuss. They wanted us to stay over Sunday, and we all wanted to stay, but I had made all arrangements for our reception at Bremen and, besides, I did not wish “to wear our welcome out.” So we departed at 10 o’clock in the morning.
Cousin Theodor and his wife, Else, went along as far as Dusseldorf, where we had to change cars, and they saw us off. We have a very pleasant ride and good company, took dinner in the Speisewagen, for which we had to pay 75 cents a person and which consists of four courses. When we reached Hemelingen, I knew that we were near Bremen and, presently, the steeples and houses loomed up in the distance. I felt like shaking hands with everybody.
Paul Gruenewald and Armine were at the depot and received us with smiles and roses. What a change in the size of the station, it loomed up large, and the large “Bahuhofsplatz” has shrunk in size on account of the increase in the size of the station and the erection of many other large building, such as the Museum of Natural History, which is now being enlarged, and the many hotels. Street cars, too, which, 40 years ago, were not in evidence, take up part of the room.
We walked to the hotel and, after a short chat, we took a walk along to the Bahnhofstrasse, past Hillmann’s Hotel, unchanged in appearance and the old Heerdenthor, but there was no “Wache” there, or no “Wach heraus!” was called when we passed up the Sogestrasse, past the old Liebfrauen Kirche, and here I could see the great changes which had taken place since I left.
The old Borsengebande has been removed, and, in the Platz, now stands the equestrian statue of Emperor Wilhelm I in bronze with his back to the portal of the old Rathaus.
And here, around the corner, in front of the Rathaus, the old fellow still stands, as of old, “Roland der Riesae am Rathaus su Bremen,” a colossal figure in stone, 18 ft. high, erected in 1404 on site of a still earlier figure in wood, a symbol of municipal jurisdiction and the palladium of civic liberty. In his left hand, the giant bears a shield with the imperial eagle, and a naked sword in his right, and here he has stood and looked down upon generations for over 500 years—what is 40 years compared with 500?Still I believe the old fellow was glad to see me again! Did he smile? No, I don’t believe that he ever smiles, and he looked a sort of haughty. Still he seemed to say, “Glad to see you again.”
Here is the old Marksplatz, but oh, my, how it has shrunk in size and does not look by half as imposing to me as it did some 50 years ago, but it looks familiar.
There stands the old Schuttering (Chamber of Commerce), erected in 1538. Right near to it, the new and imposing “Bose” (Chamber of Commerce), new at my time, and the Cotton Exchange erected in 1900.
They are pulling down the old city hall, and a beautiful building is to be erected in its place, which is to be in keeping with its surroundings. I think that this market place is one of the finest, if not the finest, in Germany, as are the beautiful old architectural buildings surround it.
We walked to the Domshof, an extensive platz, and I saw the new courthouse, also the beautiful Teichmann Bunnen (Fountain), representing a mariner and mercury [sic] in imminent danger of a shipwreck, while a nymph strives to pull the boat under.
The Domsheide with the statue of “Gustave Adolf” looked very familiar. The Kunstterverein Building, the new Port Office, a fine building in Renaissance, the Law Courts in German Renaissance (with statues and the X Commandments adorning the outside) are near to this place, and we gave them a fleeting glance, expecting to see them again before we leave.
It was raining, and we decided to return to the hotel. Down the Obernatrasse, which has entirely new buildings and has been widened, we reached the Ausgari Kirche erected in the 13th century and, opposite to this, the old Krameramthaus, or Gewerbehaus, as they call it now. This was erected in 1619 as a guild-hall of the cloth merchants and has a beautiful and well preserved facade in sandstone.
Here Father preached his first sermon after his arrival in Germany, from America, as missionary to Germany of the Methodist Episcopal church in 1849.
We walked along the Ausgarithor Strasse and past the old Wache, along the Georgestrasse, until we reached the old “Traktathaus,” where once upon a time I served my apprenticeship in the book concern and where now are offices. The old chapel is still in use, and I expect to see it Sunday.
We returned to the Courtescarpe and, walking along the Stadtgraben (moat), we reached the Heerdeutor and our hotel. A light supper and to bed.