National Geographic : 1951 Dec
722 National Geographic Photographer Volkmar Wentzel Tenor Lauritz Melchior and the Author Met on the Clipper Good Hope over Germany Boarding the Pan American plane at Amsterdam, Mr. Bumstead visited the crew in the cockpit. Seeing the singer there, he forwarded his National Geographic Society card with the scribbled message, "Are you a member?" Mr. Melchior smilingly waved assent. Mrs. Melchior (wide hat) poked her husband in the ribs, and volunteered, "He saves NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS !" Using The Society's maps, the three spent the rest of the flight picking out German landmarks. Here at Frankfurt am Main after the ride up the Rhine, they part with Capt. E. J. Martin and stewardess Eleanor Gabunas. town of turrets, gables, and cobbles that must have inspired many a fairy book illustrator.* In 1631 General Johann Tilly besieged and finally entered Rothenburg. Provoked by their stubborn resistance, Tilly ordered the councilmen hanged. In jest, he promised mercy if any Rothenburger could drink, in one draught, a 3-quart pitcher of wine. One did. Rothenburg re-enacts the historic scene annually (page 717). The costumed actors in the drama seemed to have walked out of a Rembrandt painting. Hoofs on cobbles, cannon fire mingled with musket shots, and the ringing of the town's bells so completed the realism of the medieval setting that Wentzel and I felt we had gone back to the year 1631, when the first "big drink" took place. Another admirer of Rothenburg is John J. McCloy, U. S. High Commissioner for Ger many, who, as Assistant Secretary of War, spared the town from shelling during World War II. In appreciation, after the war, Roth enburg made McCloy an honorary citizen. Twice during the 80 days of my trip it was necessary to alter the schedule. Once this re- suited in a longer stop, in Pakistan, and the other time in a shorter one. Paris, of all places, was the short stop. Here, with Paris celebrating her 2,000th birth day, I had time enough only to realize the misfortune that was mine.t What John Adams Thought of Paris As I sipped coffee in a sidewalk cafe on the Champs Elysees, I found myself in full sym pathy with John Adams when he wrote his wife Abigail in Boston from Paris in 1799: "I admire the Parisians prodigiously. They are the happiest people in the world, I believe, and they have the best disposition to make others so." For the most part, I had to content myself with a drive through the Bois de Boulogne, a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower, a visit to the Arc de Triomphe with its Eternal Flame, and a few other standard attractions (page 719). * See "Rothenburg, the City Time Forgot," by Charles W. Beck, Jr., NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, February, 1926. t See "Home Life in Paris Today." by Deena Clark, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1950.