We arose in good time and started for Reutlingen at 11:30. It was a beautiful day, and I selected a slow train in order that we might enjoy the scenery. Next Monday, the Emperor is coming to Stuttgart for a grand review of the troops, called the Kaiser Parade, and so we met many soldiers on our way.
We passed through Canstatt, the pretty suburb of Stuttgart. Looking back, we obtained a fine view of the Villa in Berg, the Rosenstein, a royal chateau and the Wilhelma, a pretty Schloss in the Moorish style.
The train ascended on the bank of the Neckar, and we passed through one of the most beautiful and fertile districts in Swabia. Up on the Rotenberg, we could see the pretty Greek Chapel, which King William I of Wurtemberg erected on the site of the castle of Wurtemberg, the old ancestral castle of the princes of this dynasty.
Esslingen, prettily situated on the Neckar, still partly surrounded by walls with its fine old churches is one of the places which I visited when a boy, and now we were kept busy looking right and left.
Here, on a square church steeple, we saw a large stork’s nest. In Plodingen, we saw a fortified church, i.e., a church surrounded by walls, and the pretty little villages with their quaint old houses and barns with immense stores of manure right next to the house, for, in this country, the size of the manure pile indicates the wealth of the farmer.
Everybody seemed to be out “Making hay while the sun was shining,” and now we crossed the Neckar by an ancient bridge, probably built by the Romans and restored in 1603. Just think of it—crossing a bridge of that age with a railroad train.
My heart was filled with gratitude to the good Lord who permitted me to see all this again.
We arrived in Reutlingen at 1:40 and enjoyed our dinner at the Kronprins Hotel. We then walked to the large cotton mills of the Gminder family who are relatives of Louis Baur. I introduced myself to M. Theodor Gminder who seemed delighted to meet one who could give him news of Uncle Louis in America, and he called in Mr. Gayler, the son of Louis’s older sister, Mrs. Auguste Gaylor. He told me that he could not possibly show me the town, but that another relative, a Mr. Robert Kocher, would take us around.
I did not wish to accept, but he insisted on it and introduced Mr. Kocher who took us out and showed us a fine old Garten and the Tübinger Tor, both well preserved relics of the ancient fortifications.We went to see the Church of St. Mary, a noble Gothic edifice of the 12th century. It was burnt in 1726 and repaired in 1844 and thoroughly restored in 1892 to 1901. The beautiful tower is 240 ft. high and has the prettiest ornamentations in stone which I have seen for some time.
In the interior, we saw a fine octagonal stone Font., made in 1499, richly sculptured with reliefs in the niches, representing the Baptism of Christ and the seven Sacraments. The holy Sepulchre in the Choir, which is some 450 years old, is also very interesting. The handsome modern altar is made of a rare stone [text missing?].I was also very much interested in the pews, which have a contrivance for overflow meetings. Out of the pew end, a seat can be drawn, which, at the close of the meeting, can easily be pushed back, which is much preferable to the placing of chairs in the aisle and which ought to be taken up by our church furniture makers.
Along the walls are similar arrangements. There is a folding desk appliance in one of the pews near the pulpit for the stenographer, and, all around it, is the most practical seating arrangement, which I have every seen. You can note at once that a business man had his hand in it and, upon inquiry, I learned that the Herr Kommersienrath Gminder was the leading spirit in the renovating of the church in 1893.
The old sacristan took great interest in showing us around and explaining all the parts which are of interest. He also pointed out a window which has been donated by a former citizen of Reutlingen who lived and died in America.
It is a fine triple window with many figures, illustrating the text. We have no resting place here, etc., with the open gates in the Gothic part, and, in the three panels below, a family, the father reading from the Bible. He told me that it cost 3,000 Marks, and I know that we would have asked at least the double amount.
Emily and Mr. K. climbed the steeple while the good old sacristan entertained us, and the organist was practicing on the organ.
We then went to the market place, where we admired an old fountain and called on Mrs. Gayler, sister of Clara and Theodor Bauer in Cincinnati and step-sister to Louis Baur, a fine old lady of 70 odd years, who was delighted to see us. Mama had to take the seat of honor on the sopha [sic], and we talked of her folks in America.
Her niece, a Mrs. Gayler, was there on a visit and told me that she has a brother in St. Louis, Carl Gayler, who lives at 2917 Henrietta St., and I promised to look him up when I returned.
We walked around the streets for a while and took a train for Tubingen at 7:10. It was too dark by this time to see much of the country, and it was only a short ride of 30 minutes anyhow.
At Tubingen, we went to a hotel near the depot, the “Goldener Ochse.” Our way there led us through a fine promenade with grand old trees. We had nice rooms and, after a good supper in a good old fashioned wirths stube, we retired for the night, much pleased with our day’s doings.