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53 14 If Maria wants to go to the center of town from Stromgasse, she first turns right into Rosstrasse. Here, in the middle of the street, like an island, stands the little Roskapellchen (Ros Chapel). It is eight-sided, with a domed roof, and if you look through the front grille, you can see the Madonna and child inside. In the attached house there is a tiny shop where, once a week, Maria has a little bottle filled with schnapps for Papa. That costs thirty pennies. In the summer, when it is too hot for Mama to light the fire in the stove, Maria takes a jug, the bottom of which is already covered with ground corn or malt coffee, to the shop and has it filled with boiling water. That is two pennies. Mama does not own a spirit stove for cooking outdoors. Maria is always surprised when she goes through Rosstrasse at how many children there are. The whole street is full of them. Cats are sitting on the windowsills and in the doorways. Outside the windows of the ­upper stories, many with green wooden trellises filled with flowerpots, hang birdcages , and the birds in them hop continuously from floor to perch and from perch to floor. From early morning, old men sit on chairs beside their front doors or squat on stone doorsteps. The women often join them, peeling potatoes or darning and sewing. Some of the houses in Rosstrasse are so old that the doors and windows hang all crooked in their frames. Rosstrasse is unlike any other street in the area. Here, the residents are in the middle of town, in a world of their own, as in a village. Often, families have lived here for generations. On Mühlenberg Street, high above the slanted roofs and the little chapel of this odd little street, stands the splendid church of St. Jakob, Maria’s parish church. Its thick walls were built from the stones of the old town wall. In July, when St. Jakob’s celebrates its name day, the Ros, as Rosstrasse is affectionately called, celebrates, too. A rope is stretched in front of the decorated chapel Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 53 4/26/2017 12:17:36 PM 54 Maria Wallisfurth from one side of the street to the other, high above the throng of children. An angel with golden hair, a glittering crown, and wings poking out of a white dress glides stiffly along the rope. Maria and her foster sisters gape at the angel, their arms stretched out toward it. Halfway across the street, the angel sways to and fro and sweets spill down from its basket in both directions. The children grab and grasp, scramble and tussle, until there is not a single sweet left on the street, and the fun begins again. Mama goes through the Ros with the children when she wants to go shopping in town. Maria and Adelheid carry the shopping basket while Mama holds little Anna Dilesio’s hand. They walk past the city theatre and come to the Elisenbrunnen, which houses two hot springs. Maria was astonished when she saw the building for the first time: a round, tall, open hall supported by thick white columns, with colonnades on both sides that lead to two enclosed pavilions. For centuries people have come to Aachen from far away to soak in and drink the sulfur-smelling waters that bubble up hot from the earth in various places throughout the city. Mama never goes past this healing spring without taking a drink from the smelly, steamy water. The children shudder. No, they don’t want to do the same! They have tasted it once! Maria pinches her nose and says, “Water stinks!” In the square in front of the Elisenbrunnen, tables and chairs are set up underneath the shady lime trees. Whoever has the money and the time can be waited on here and watch life and people go by. While the children are waiting for Mama to finish her drink, they, too, are watching what is happening on the Graben. Carriages drawn by elegant horses rush by, followed by heavy farm horses with carts. Some of the carts stop in front of the fancy shops nearby, unloading or loading up goods. Kegs of beer are rolled over the pavement and down into the cellars of restaurants. Somebody is pushing a wheelbarrow.The streetcleaner is sweeping up the horse droppings and other litter...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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