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Title: Letters from Switzerland
Author: Prime, Samuel Irenæus
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters from Switzerland" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's Notes:

When italics were used in the original book, the corresponding text has
been surrounded by _underscores_. Ditto marks have been replaced by the
text they represent. The oe ligature has been replaced by the letters oe.

Some presumed printer's errors have been corrected. In particular,
punctuation has been normalized and duplicate words were removed. Other
corrections are listed below with the original text (top) and the
replacement text (bottom):

                      Contents: Gerni

                      Chapter I: herren


                      Chapter II: intere t

                      Chapter III: caries

                      Chapter IV: withont

                      Chapter V: fouud

                      Chapter VI: Agazziz


                      Chapter VII: cotages



                                   white lace vails
                                   white lace veils

                      Chapter VIII: replendent


                      Chapter IX: visiters


                      Chapter X: businesss

                      Chapter XII: T56M[symbol]

                      Chapter XIII: benificent


                      Chapter XIV: fearfuly




                       Letters from Switzerland.


                         SAMUEL IRENÆUS PRIME,

                                &C., &C.


                               NEW YORK:
                 SHELDON & COMPANY, 115 Nassau Street.
                        BOSTON: GOULD & LINCOLN.


      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by
                           SHELDON & COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of



                               CHAPTER I

                          BASLE AND THE RHINE.

The Three Kings--Cathedral--Council of Basle--Puritan rules--Dance of
   Death--Seats in the Diligence--Supplement--The Rhine--An Alderman in
   trouble--Dining in haste--English manners--Girls in holiday
   dress--Falls of the Rhine--Niagara--Up the river--Old
   nunneries--Gottlieben--Prisons of Huss and Jerome of Prague.

                                                              Pages 9-20

                               CHAPTER II

                         CONSTANCE AND ZURICH.

A decaying Town--the Kaufhaus--Famous Council--Dungeon of Huss--Scene of
   Martyrdom--House of Huss--Lake Constance--the Ride to
   Zurich--Villages--the Valley--Hotel Baur--a Swiss Cottage--the
   Furnishing--Miles Coverdale--Zwingle--Lavater's Grave--the
   Library--Sunset View from the Botanical Garden.

                                                             Pages 21-31

                              CHAPTER III.

                           THE MOUNTAIN TOPS.

Climbing the Utleberg--Fat woman on a donkey--First Alpine view--The
   valley, lake and hills--Haunts of Lavater, Zimmerman, Klopstock,
   Gessner--The work of Escher--Coming Down--Baur Hotel--Lake
   Zurich--Lake Zug--Golda--Land-side--Ruin--Ascent of the Rigi--The
   best route--Chapels by the way--Mary of the Snow--Convent and
   monks--The Summit--The Company--Change of
   Temperature--Sunset--Supper--Night--Sunrise--Glory of the
   view--Getting down again--Fat man done up.

                                                             Pages 32-53

                              CHAPTER IV.

                     LUCERNE AND THE LAND OF TELL.

The Lake--Avalanches--Pontius Pilate--Lucerne--Dance of
   Death--Fishing--Storm on the Lake--Ramble among the Peasantry--Two
   Dwarfs--On the Lake--Rifle Shooting--Chapel of William Tell--Scenes
   in his Life--Altorf--Hay-Making--a Great Day.

                                                             Pages 54-80

                               CHAPTER V.

                          PASS OF ST. GOTHARD

The Priest's Leap--The Devil's Bridge--Night on the
   Mountains--Storm--Hospenthal--the Glaciers--a Lady in Distress--the
   Furca Pass--Glacier of the Rhone--Heinrich and Nature--Heinrich asks
   after God--Scene in the Hospice.

                                                            Pages 81-106

                              CHAPTER VI.

                          GLACIERS OF THE AAR.

My new Friend--a Wonderful Youth--Hospice of the Grimsel--the Valley--a
   comfortable Day--Glaciers of the Aar--a Gloomy Vale--Climbing a
   Hill--View of the Glacier--Theory of its Formation--Caverns in the
   Ice--Incidents of Men falling in--My Leap and Fall--an Artist

                                                           Pages 107-121

                              CHAPTER VII.

                     MOUNTAINS, STREAMS AND FALLS.

Pedestrianism--Mountain Torrents--Fall of the Handek--The Guide and his
   Little Ones--Falls of the Reichenbach--Perilous Point of View.

                                                           Pages 122-145

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                        A GLACIER AND AVALANCHE.

Alpine Horn--Beggars--The Rosenlaui Glacier--Beautiful Views--Glorious
   Mountain Scenes--Mrs. Kinney's "Alps"--A Lady and Babe--The Great
   Scheidek--Grindelwald--Eagle and Bear--Battle with Bugs--Wengern
   Alp--A real Avalanche--The Jungfrau.

                                                           Pages 146-165

                              CHAPTER IX.

                         INTERLACHEN AND BERNE.

The Staubach Fall--Lauterbrunnen--Interlachen--Cretins and Goitre--Dr.
   Guggenbuhl--Giesbach Fall--Berne--Inquisitive Lady--Swiss
   Creed--Crossing the Gemmi--Leuchenbad Baths.

                                                           Pages 166-180

                               CHAPTER X.

                         MONKS OF ST. BERNARD.

The Char-a-banc--the Napoleon Pass--Travellers in
   winter--Monks--Dogs--Dinner--Music--Dead House--Contributions--a
   Monk's Kiss.

                                                           Pages 181-192

                              CHAPTER XI.

                       FIRST SIGHT OF MONT BLANC.

The Host of Martigny--Vale of the Drance--Mount Rosa--Tete Noire--Col de
   Balm--The Monarch of the Alps.

                                                           Pages 193-204

                              CHAPTER XII.


A good House--Prisoner of Chillon--Calvin--Dr. Malan--Dr. Gaussen--Col.
   Tronchin--the Cemetery.

                                                           Pages 205-213

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                        PICTURES IN SWITZERLAND.

Waterfalls--Constance--Zurich--William Tell--Glaciers--the Monarch.

                                                           Pages 214-246

                              CHAPTER XIV.

                              SAXON SWYTZ.

A Model Guide--the Bastei--Banditti of old--a Cataract to Order--Scaling a
   Rampart--Konigstein--the Kuhstall--the Great Winterberg--Prebisch
   Thor--Looking Back.

                                                           Pages 247-264




                               CHAPTER I.

                          BASLE AND THE RHINE.

The Three Kings--Cathedral--Council of Basle--Puritan rules--Dance of
   Death--Seats in the Diligence--Supplement--The Rhine--An Alderman in
   trouble--Dining in haste--English manners--Girls in holiday
   dress--Falls of the Rhine--Niagara--Up the river--Old
   nunneries--Gottlieben--Prisons of Huss and Jerome of Prague.

Switzerland, to be seen aright, must be entered from Germany. Many
travellers rush from Paris to Geneva, and beginning with Chamouni and
Mont Blanc come down from the greater to the less, tapering off with the
beautiful instead of rising to the sublime. One lovely summer day in the
early part of the month of August, we left Baden Baden, where we had
been resting after a tour in Belgium, Holland, Prussia, Saxony, Saxon
Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria, and Bohemia, and came by the Duke of
Baden's railroad to Basle.

The hotel de _Trois Rois_, or, _Three Kings_, was reluctant to receive
us, so great was the rush of company. Large as some of our own first
class hotels, it was crowded to overflowing, but we found lodgings for
three at the top of the house. It stands on the very borders of the
river Rhine, which rushes by with a powerful current, and the verandah
in front overhanging the stream is a pleasant lounge after a weary day
of travel. Lodgings for three gentlemen, or in German, "fur drei
Herren," we had so often asked for, that we came to be called the "Drei
Herren," or "dry herring," as it sounded in our English ears.

The river forms a broad and noble stream along the sloping bank on which
the city stands; the Jura mountains rise on one side, and the hills of
the Black Forest on the other, while the intermediate region is richly
covered with vegetation, and the villas of a wealthy class of people who
have retired from the city, or who own the soil. Basle is a goodly town,
and if the people have some rigid notions of morality in the judgment of
travellers of easy virtue, it is refreshing to come into a city where
the shops are closed of a Sunday, and every one is required to be at
home by eleven o'clock at night. A city that bore so conspicuous a part
in the Reformation, and still cherishes the ashes of so many great and
good men, ought not to lose its veneration for the spirit and principles
of the past. In the _Cathedral_, now in process of renovation, we stood
over the dust of the learned Erasmus, read his epitaph in Latin, walked
among the beautiful cloisters which have been burial places for the wise
and good for more than _six_ hundred years! where the monuments stand of
Grynæus, and Meyer, and OEcolampadius, men who were mighty in the
Scriptures, in the days when such men were few. We walked through the
portal of St. Gallus, under the statues of Christ and Peter, and the
wise and foolish Virgins, and admired the pulpit of three pieces of
stone, carved with great skill and effect; and then we were led to the
chamber where the Council of Basle held its sessions, beginning in 1436,
and lasting eight years. It has undergone no alterations in the four
hundred years which have since elapsed. In the _Library_ are preserved
manuscripts of Luther, Melancthon, Erasmus and Zwingle, and a huge
volume in which illustrious visitors had inscribed their names for two
hundred years. The celebrated pictures of the _Dance of Death_ once
adorned the walls of the Dominican church in Basle, and a few of them
still preserved are now hung up in this collection, among others of
greater merit but less fame, by Holbein. A beautiful picture, which I
have seen attempted with far less success before, presents a Venus
sleeping by the side of a stream, and a skull lying near her, and
flowers blooming around, to illustrate the lines: _Mortis imago sopor:
velut amnis labitur ætas, vix forma reliquium pulvis et ossa manent._
"The image of death is sleep: like the river life glides away, and dust
and bones, the only relics of departed beauty, are left behind." In the
next room the same sentiment is more impressively taught from an
uncovered sarcophagus, in which a female mummy grins horribly at you, as
you look into the narrow house which she has slept in for two or three
thousand years.

The architecture of this old Swiss town is very curious, and many of the
most antique gateways and fortifications, towers and walls, remain to
this hour, showing the quaint but not bad devices in the way of
ornament, which were in use 450 years ago. In old times, too, they had
moral laws here quite as stringent as those imputed to our New England
ancestors. On the Sabbath, no one might go to church unless dressed in
black; the number of dishes and the quantity of wine for a dinner party
were regulated by law, as well as the style and quality of clothes. The
good people used to put religious mottoes over their doors, and one or
two public houses still have them:

                 "In God I build my hopes of grace,
                 The ancient Pig's my dwelling place."

And another still more earnest:

                 "Wake and repent your sins with grief,
                 I'm called the Golden Shin of Beef."

The gates of the town are closed on the Sabbath day during the hours of
service, and an outward respect paid to the day which is creditable to
the people. In the hotel, a small room has been fitted up neatly as a
chapel for an English service, a custom not unusual in Switzerland,
where English travellers are flocking constantly.

Basle is the great starting point for Swiss travelling for those who
enter the German frontier. We have now come to the end of railroads, and
must depend on horses or go afoot. The sooner one takes his place in the
_diligence_ after arriving, the more likely he is to have a good seat
when he wishes to depart, and though we were early for this, no less
than twelve had the start of us, and the coach carried only nine. "You
shall have a _supplement_," we were told, and at nine in the morning
with twenty-five travellers we were at the _Post Office_, to be
despatched with the mails and the females to Schaffhausen. This posting
is a Government concern, and the postmaster has charge of the horses as
well as the letters. There was no place but the middle of the street in
which to remain, till at the appointed hour the heavy diligence lumbered
up to the door: the nine predestinated thereunto took their seats; an
omnibus and one or two carriages by way of supplement, received the rest
of us, many grumbling grievously that they had not places in the coach,
and others preferring as we did, an easy carriage with a party of four.
The postillion dressed in a yellow jacket with a brass horn under his
arm, with which he amused himself and the country people as he passed,
mounted the box, and we soon crossed the Rhine, and followed its banks
upward for many a pleasant mile. The morning was fine after a rainy
night, clear, cool and bracing; the distant Alps were constantly in
sight on the right, and the winding, often rapid, always beautiful
river, with its vine-clad shores and smiling cottages was by our side.
We left the carriage at _Lauffenburg_, and walked to the banks of the
Rhine, where the river is choked into a narrow gorge, and dashes with
terrible force through a deep sunk channel, among opposing rocks, making
a fearful pass in which an English nobleman lost his life, attempting to
make the rapids in a little boat. Resuming our seats, we found one of
our fellow travellers belonging to the diligence, Alderman ---- of New
York left behind. The coach was out of call, and the best he could do
was to mount the edge of the postillion's single seat in front of our
carriage and ride on to the next post town. The Alderman was heavy, the
place was too strait for him, and I suggested that a _franc_ would buy
the whole seat. He tried the effect of it, the postillion took the
silver, dropped down upon the foot rest, and the Alderman had the seat
to himself. In an hour we stopped to dine. Perhaps we were here a few
moments sooner than mine host of the _Waldshut_ Hotel expected us, for
the dinner was not on the table, but it gave us a fine opportunity to
observe a specimen of manners sufficiently characteristic to be made a
matter of record. At the table there sat ten English, six German, and
seven American ladies and gentlemen. The dishes were slow in coming in;
the English gentlemen all having ladies under their care, left the
table, rushed into the kitchen, seized the best dishes of meats they
could find, brought them to their own places, and helping themselves and
their ladies, devoured them in the presence of the more barbarous
Germans and Americans, who looked on with amazement. I took the liberty
of remarking that it was an outrage, of which I had never before seen an
example in civilized life, and was happy to observe that the practice
was confined to a single nation out of the number represented here. An
English lady gave me an approving nod, but the men were too far gone in
beef and sour wine to pay any attention to lessons in good breeding. As
might be expected, the leader in this grab-game grumbled at his bill,
declared he was charged for more wine than he had drunk, and laid
himself out in abusing Swiss taverns in general, and this in particular,
till the postman's horn summoned him and the rest to their seats.

The scenery improves as we ascend the Rhine. The banks are steeper, the
hills are bolder; the water rushes more rapidly through winding
channels, and the people we meet bear more characteristic features of
another country. It is a Catholic holiday. We are meeting the peasantry
in great numbers, dressed in their best clothes, some of them gaily;
blooming lasses in snow white muslin and no bonnets, but sweet pretty
head-dresses and pink ribbons tied as pretty girls in all countries know
how to tie them; they are gathering at the churches, and as they wend
their way through green fields to the highway, they give a romantic air
to the rural picture we are looking on. Many of them are paired, and as
they saunter along hand in hand, and now and then with an arm thrown
lovingly round the waist, we know them as probably paired for life, and
send up a little prayer that they may jog along as pleasantly all the
way through.

"The finest Cataract in Europe" is at Schaffhausen. We arrived at
sunset, just in time to see the falls before the last rays had faded
into night. The Rhine is here 300 feet broad, and after foaming and
rushing furiously for a mile or two it takes a bold leap over a shelving
precipice sixty feet high, and plunges into a bay of waters below,
boiling like a mighty caldron and sending up perpetual clouds of spray.
In the midst of the cataract two columnar rocks rise perpendicularly,
dividing the fall into three unequal parts. One of these rocks is
clothed with shrubbery and the steep banks on either side are lined with
trees. A castellated mansion crowns the summit on one side, and several
buildings grace the other, so that nature and art have here combined to
make a picture of wild romantic beauty, in which there is enough of
grandeur to entitle it, at times, to be called sublime. Certainly we
should so pronounce it, if we had not seen the waterfalls of America.

The only place to see a fall to perfection is directly in front of it.
We are told to cross the river and go up the hill to a jutting crag and
there in the midst of the spray, contemplate the "hell of waters,"
roaring and tumbling madly on their way into the dreadful deeps below.
We went over, but nothing satisfies me but to see a waterfall from its
base. It was an easy matter to induce two stout oarsmen to put the nose
of their skiff into the teeth of the cataract, and drive her up as near
to the falling torrent as their strength would fetch her. I knew the
strong current would send the little shell down stream, like an arrow,
when they crossed the eddies and struck the channel; and so it proved.
We toiled on till the spray-like rain covered us, and there we looked up
at the white waves as they marched in fury down upon us, threatening to
overwhelm the frail bark tossing on the surface as a shell. When we had
studied the scene from various points of view, we returned to the shore
and met a party of English gentlemen and ladies at Castle _Worth_, which
commands a fine sight of the falls. "How does it compare with Niagara,"
one of them enquired of me. I replied, "We do not love to make
comparisons between these beautiful scenes and those we have left at
home. Nature there is more majestic in her works, and there is no sight
on earth where so much majesty crowned with beauty is revealed as in the
cataract of Niagara. You see that hill which bounds this valley on the
west and that higher one which shuts it in above where the Rhine comes
down: those hills are not so far asunder as the river of Niagara is at
the moment it falls! It is a lake broader than this beautiful vale and
the precipice to whose brow it comes is loftier than the turrets of that
castle, now fading from our view. It comes not creeping down the rocks
like _that_, but gathering itself up and with one mighty leap, clearing
the barrier, it pours its awful flood, as if an ocean had been spilled,
into the abyss below. In the moonlight and in the sunshine rainbows are
twined upon its brow, and garlands of diamonds hang from the summit to
the base, in beauty indescribable."

We climbed up to the hotel Weber, which stands on the brow of the hill,
and the good man of the house gave us a chamber in full view of the
falls, where we went to sleep with the roar of the tumult of many waters
in our ears, making music the last we heard at night, and the first in
the morning. Now the grandeur of the distant Alps began to appear. Long
ranges, peak towering above peak, are seen; the names of some of them
are familiar, as they stand there inviting us to come to their feet. Let
us go.

_Aug. 16._--Refreshed by a sweet sleep, and ready for another fine day,
we were taken after breakfast to the village of Schaffhausen, where a
small steamboat received us for _Constance_. The current of the Rhine
above the falls is not so swift as below, but the waters are the same
deep green, increased by the reflection of the beautiful sloping banks,
covered with luxuriant vineyards. The vines are trained on short upright
poles, not on arbors as with us, and at a distance they look not unlike
our corn fields. But the river is so narrow here that we seem to be in
the midst of them, and enjoy the labors of the dressers, as they work in
the sun. Now we are passing the old nunneries of Paradies, and
Katherinethal, and that ancient castle above the town of Stein is
Hohenlingen, once the abode of the masters of all this soil. Here is the
island of _Reichenau_, where the remains of an ancient monastery are
seen, and on the right as we are ascending is the castle of
_Gottlieben_, where John Huss and Jerome of Prague were confined in
gloomy dungeons from which they were dragged to trial and death.

And this brings us to Constance.

                              CHAPTER II.

                         CONSTANCE AND ZURICH.

A decaying Town--the Kaufhaus--Famous Council--Dungeon of Huss--Scene of
   Martyrdom--House of Huss--Lake Constance--the Ride to
   Zurich--Villages--the Valley--Hotel Baur--a Swiss Cottage--the
   Furnishing--Miles Coverdale--Zwingle--Lavater's Grave--the
   Library--Sunset View from the Botanical Garden.

Forty thousand people once lived together within the walls of Constance.
Now less than seven thousand are here. But the old and curious houses
still stand, many of them without inhabitants, and the whole city
apparently asleep at noonday as we entered. The historic interest
hanging about Constance is very great, and will always render it
attractive to the traveller. On the borders of the lake of Constance,
and but a very few feet from the landing, we saw the _Kaufhaus_, built
in 1338, and memorable as the place in which the great "Council of
Constance" sat in 1414-18, whose decision for good and for evil were so
momentous in the Church of Rome. We walked up the solid steps into the
second story, one wide low room supported by heavy wooden pillars, and
with a rough plank floor like that of a barn. Here, in this room, more
than four hundred years ago were assembled from all parts of the
Christian world, no less than thirty cardinals, four patriarchs, twenty
archbishops, one hundred and fifty bishops, two hundred professors of
theology, besides princes, ambassadors, civil and ecclesiastical,
abbots, priors, and inferior churchmen. The chair in which the Emperor
Sigismund sat, and the chair in which the Pope presided, stand as they
stood then, and various relics of those times, historically associated
with the Council, are gathered, forming a Museum of unusual interest.
Before this council John Huss and Jerome of Prague were brought from
their dungeons, and though the Council was assembled professedly to
reform the church, it condemned these holy men to the flames.

The old Cathedral is here, where those martyrs stood when the sentence
of death was passed upon them, and the model of the dungeon not three
feet wide and ten feet long, with the identical door and window in it,
where Huss was confined for many weary months. Here too is the hurdle on
which he was dragged to the place of execution, and when we had examined
these and many interesting objects which a Catholic claiming to be the
friend of Huss showed us, we walked out of the old chamber, and
following the long street to the Huss Gate, found beyond the walls of
the town, in the midst of a garden, the spot where these blessed men
were caught up by chariots of fire into heaven. An old Capuchin convent,
deserted now, is standing near it, and so peaceful and fertile seemed
these fields as we stood in the midst of the fruits and flowers, it was
hard to believe an infuriated mob had once rioted here, and religious
persecution kindled the fires of martyrdom on the flesh of men of whom
the world was not worthy.

In the Council Chamber are wax figures of these martyrs, bearing the
records which I copied. "Jerome of Prague, called Faulfisch, a learned
man of great celebrity, the friend and defender of John Huss, born at
Prague, March 14, 1362; burned alive in consequence of the order of the
Council of Constance, May 30, 1417, in the 55th year of his age. Jerome
walked to the place of punishment, as though he went to a place of
rejoicing. When the executioner was going to set fire to the pile behind
him, Jerome said to him, 'Come here, light it before me, for if I had
feared the fire, I would not have been here.'"

"John Huss, of Housenitts in Bohemia, born July 6, 1373, rector of the
University and lecturer at Prague, burned alive at Constance in
consequence of the order of the Council, July 6, 1415, in the 42d year
of his age. His last words were, 'I resign my soul to the hands of my
God and my Redeemer.'"

Returning from the place of execution, we paused in front of the house
in which John Huss lodged before he was imprisoned. A rude image in
stone of the Reformer, but a strongly marked likeness, was on the
outside. Every one we met could tell us which way to go to find the Huss
house, and though there are but a few hundred Protestants in the whole
city, the idea seemed to be general that a good man was wrongfully and
cruelly murdered when Huss was burned.

In the after part of the day, as the shades of evening were drawing
around us, we had a boat and went out on the Lake, and skirted along its
shores, passing a large monastery where a few brothers of the Augustine
order are still maintained, and a few miles beyond is a long and
beautifully planted nunnery which was suppressed in 1838, and converted
into a hospital, though the sisters are permitted to live and die there,
without adding to their number. This is the largest of all the Swiss
lakes, and lies 1255 feet above the level of the sea. We floated around
until the evening became so cool that we were glad to go ashore. Passing
an ancient-looking church of which the door was standing open, we walked
in: a solitary lamp was burning near the altar, and the sound of voices
led us down the aisle to a door opening into one of the cloisters where
a group of boys were on their knees, repeating prayers in concert, and
vieing with each other in the loudness and sing-song tone with which
they performed the service. We returned to our hotel by the light of
lamps hung in the middle of a chain stretched across the street, and
went early to bed as we were early to rise.

_Aug. 17._--We went by diligence to Zurich to-day. The ride was
pleasant. Some of the Swiss towns we passed through were very pretty,
showing so much taste in the grounds about the houses, that one was sure
there was a pleasant home. Part of the way was called the Roman road,
and the remains of the ancient presence of that people are still
visible. The river _Thur_ flows along in the valley of the road, and its
banks are lined with frequent mansions. Chateaus of elegance are on the
hill-sides, and just after leaving Constance we passed one in which the
present Emperor of France once resided, and which still belongs to him.
_Frauenfeld_ is a fine town where we paused to dine, and I there
celebrated the day as an anniversary that I am quite sure was not
forgotten elsewhere. _Winterthur_ is really a beautiful city. Its
streets intersect one another at right angles, and each intersection has
an arched gateway, surmounted by a tower with a clock. As we advance
into Switzerland, the scenery becomes more commanding: now and then a
sharp blue peak shoots up into the sky, and as the road descends we lose
sight of it again, to see the same and others as we rise. At last as the
day was closing, we came suddenly upon Zurich, the capital of the canton
of the same name, the most thriving city in Switzerland, and rejoicing
in the midst of one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. I should
be deemed extravagant were I to speak of it as it appeared to me when
descending through vineyards and gardens, and among elegant mansions, to
the shores of the lake on which this city stands. The Hotel _Baur_ is
the largest and best in the town, but it was crowded, and the
gentlemanly landlord said the best he could do for us was to give us
rooms in a private house adjoining his own. To this we assented with the
more readiness, as it would bring us at once into the residence of the
Swiss, and we could see more of their indoor life than the hotel would
furnish. There is no carpet on the floor, except a beautiful square on
which the centre-table with a pot of flowers is standing. A piano with
music and books is on one side, a sofa covered with white dimity on the
other. The chamber looks out on a square, and the windows fill the
entire front of the room, but rich lace curtains hang before them, and
some of the panes of glass are replaced with porcelain pictures of
exceeding loveliness. Before the mirror is suspended a vase, like a
pendant lamp, in which a plant is growing, with its leaves as on silver
threads falling gracefully on every side of it. Another flower-pot has a
plant trained upon a flat frame, in the centre of which is one of these
porcelain pictures through which the light is streaming. Around the
walls are many engravings in neat frames, and on the mantel and
side-tables are various ornaments, chiefly curiously carved figures in
wood, or beautiful glass-work, all displaying the taste of their
possessor, and telling us all the time that these are the domestic
precincts of some one who has let the lodgings for a season. These
delicate cushions of pink silk with white lace edging, assure me that a
lady is the rightful tenant; but I am tired, and shall slip into the
linen sheets. Good night.

_Aug. 18._--To-day we have been exploring Zurich, a city famous in the
history of the Reformation and dear to every Protestant heart. Here the
exiles of England, when Bloody Mary was on the throne, found a
hiding-place from her bitter persecutions. Here the first entire English
version of the Bible, by _Miles Coverdale_, was printed in 1535. From my
window I see the cathedral where Zwingle, the soldier of the Reformation
who resisted unto blood striving against sin, once thundered the wrath
of heaven upon the abominations of the Church of Rome. Here is the house
yet standing in which he passed the last six years of his noble life.
The clock of St. Peter is now striking. This church had for its pastor
for twenty-three years the celebrated _Lavater_, author of the work on
Physiognomy. He was born here, and in the door of the parsonage which I
visited to-day, he was shot by a brutal soldier, when the town was taken
by the French in 1799. He had given wine and money to his murderer but a
few minutes before: and though he lingered for three months, he refused
to give up the name of the assassin to the French commander, who desired
to punish the atrocious deed. I plucked a flower and a sprig of myrtle
from his grave in the humble churchyard of St. Anne, where a simple
tablet to his memory bears this inscription: "J. C. Lavater's Grave.
Born 15th Nov. 1741. Died 2d Jan. 1801." In the town library of 45,000
volumes, admirably arranged, is a fine marble bust of Lavater, and also
of Pestalozzi, with portraits of Zwingle and many other reformers. But I
was more interested in reading several manuscript letters in Latin, by
Lady Jane Grey, Joanna Graia, addressed to Bullinger. The beautiful
execution of the writing, the quotations in Greek and Hebrew, the spirit
they breathed, and the fate of their lovely author, gave them sacred
interest. Here, too, in his own Bible is the family record of Zwingle
and his wife Anna Bullinger; and many Greek and Arabic manuscripts which
Dr. Raffles or Dr. Sprague would give a heap of guineas to get.

It is said that the sunset view of the city, valley, lake, and mountains
is not surpassed by any scene in Switzerland. We had been so busy in
these old and interesting scenes, that the day was gone before we knew
it, and as we walked out to climb the hill, from which the view is to be
had, we feared the sun had already set. Part of the old rampart of the
town remains, an elevated mound which has been tastefully laid out with
walks and planted with shrubs and flowers, for a botanical garden. On
the summit fine shade-trees stand, and here is one of the most beautiful
promenades in the world. The sun was half an hour high, and just as we
reached the hill-top it began to come down from behind a dense cloud,
like a mass of molten gold distilled into a transparent globe. Its
liquid form appeared to tremble as it came forth; but the face of nature
smiled in his returning beams. The nearer summits first caught the
brightness, and then the more distant, invisible before, now stood forth
in their majesty, shining in the sunlight. Below me lay the lake like a
silver sea. And all along its shores and far up the hill-sides,
thousands of white cottages and villas, the abodes of wealth and peace
and love, sweet Swiss homes, rejoiced in the sunshine, as they sent up
their evening psalm of praise from ten thousand happy hearts to God. A
hundred years hence our valleys may be so peopled: but we have none now
like this. For a thousand years these hill-sides have been tilled, and
all these acres, wrested from the forest, and subdued by the hand of
industry and art, have been planted with corn and wine, neat and many
splendid mansions have been reared in every nook and on every sunny
slope, and now on all sides the panorama seems to present the very spot
where learning, religion, taste and peace would delight to find a refuge
and a home. It is now sunset in the valley. The lake is dark. The last
ray has played on the spire of St. Peter and the Minster. But the dome
of the Dodi still gleams in the sun, and the far-off Glarus and Uri are
reflecting his lingering beams.

They are gone. The rose-tints have faded from the loftiest summit of
snow, and the sun has gone down to rise on those dearer to me than his
light, in a distant land.

                              CHAPTER III.

                           THE MOUNTAIN TOPS.

Climbing the Utleberg--Fat woman on a donkey--First Alpine view--The
   valley, lake and hills--Haunts of Lavater, Zimmerman, Klopstock,
   Gessner--The work of Escher--Coming Down--Baur Hotel--Lake
   Zurich--Lake Zug--Golda--Land-side--Ruin--Ascent of the Rigi--The
   best route--Chapels by the way--Mary of the Snow--Convent and
   monks--The Summit--The Company--Change of
   Temperature--Sunset--Supper--Night--Sunrise--Glory of the
   view--Getting down again--Fat man done up.

                                                              August 19.

Rankin challenged me this morning to walk to the heights of Utleberg, on
the Albis ridge, to the west of Zurich. The Utleberg is only three
thousand feet high! and that is a small matter in Switzerland. After a
cup of coffee we set off at eight in the morning, and without guide or
mules we wandered out of the town, across the river, and through
beautiful vineyards, with luxuriant grapes, not ripe enough to be
tempting. We climbed along up the hill-side. Other parties were on their
way, some German, some French, some English, none American but
ourselves. At the foot of the hill we met a flock of milk white goats,
which their owner was driving down from the mountains to sell in town;
beautiful creatures; for the first, we learned that beauty could be
affirmed of a goat. Here the lame and the lazy supplied themselves with
mules, and a comical figure of a fat German lady on a miserable little
donkey, will be an amusing memory for many a day. When she was half way
up the mountain she looked so jaded with the jerking, that we thought
she would have suffered less if she had carried the donkey. We cut stout
sticks in the forest, and pushed on, stopping now and then to pick
flowers, or to examine a leech or a lizard, in the pools and streams by
the side of the path, resting when tired, but pressing onward and
upward, steadily and slowly; encouraged often by the splendor of the
scene below, as we caught it from some opening in the woods, and feeling
that we had the day before us and nothing else to do. The ascent became
steeper as we pressed along, and it doubtless seemed steeper to us the
more we were wearied with the way, but we made it in less than two
hours, winding around the mighty rock that caps the apex, and entered
the house of refreshment before we looked off into the world below.

I had not felt myself in Switzerland till on this summit, we saw for the
first time a real Alpine view. It has _points_ of view peculiar to
itself, nationally characteristic; there is nothing got up on the same
scale and the same plan in any other part of God's great world. Why it
pleased him to heap these hills in such "confusion unconfused," in this
little country, we do not know, but they who would see the most
remarkable of his works in mountain-building, must come here and climb
up to some of the highest peaks, where they can take in at once as much
of the majesty of the scene as each man's mind can hold. Rankin and I
reasoned some time on the question whether these lofty ranges were
clouds in the heavens or mountains propping up the sky. Now the problem
is solved. What we thought might be white clouds, are the snowy ridges
of the distant hills, and the dark blue mountains are now facing us as
from one height across the valley we see them without looking up.

The vale of Zurich lies at our feet. The lake for twenty-five miles, and
with a breadth of not more than three, stretches itself more like a
river than a lake, through the valley to the south as far as we can see;
and the hills rise very gradually from the water affording the most
delightful grounds for vineyards; while scores of villages, each with
its church spire, are scattered on each side, and between the villages
so many dwellings are seen, that the whole valley, with its dense
population, seems but one great family; certainly, it is one
neighborhood, where industry, religion, intelligence and happiness,
ought to flourish and have their reward. Thalwyl may be seen away to the
south, near to which Lavater wrote a portion of his work on Physiognomy;
and still farther on is Richtensweil, where Zimmerman lived, whose work
on "Solitude" celebrates the praises of this spot. So does Klopstock in
his ode, and Gessner, the Swiss poet, who was born in Zurich and has a
monument reared to his memory in one of its delightful promenades.
There, too, is Stafa, where Goethe once resided, and Rapperschuyl, with
the longest bridge in the world, it is said, four thousand eight hundred
feet, or three-fourths of a mile; but I think the Cayuga bridge is
longer. There lies a beautiful islet, in which Ulrich Von Hutten, the
friend of Luther, found a refuge and a grave. Look away to Usnach, and
you see a valley out of which the river _Linth_ is flowing; connected
with it is a remarkable story. Yesterday in the churchyard of St. Anne,
we saw a massive rough stone, with a polished spot in the midst of it,
on which was engraved in gilt letters, "Escher, Von der Linth," or
Escher of the Linth. The title had plainly been given him for some work
connected with the Swiss river of that name. Some thirty or forty years
ago the river, coming down from the glaciers, and bringing with it a
vast quantity of stones and soil, had become so much obstructed, that
the valley was repeatedly overflowed, terrible pestilences followed, and
the inhabitants swept off in great numbers. Conrad Escher suggested to
the government the idea of digging a new bed for the river, and turning
its waters off into another lake, the Wallenstadt, where its deposits
would be received without injury. This lake he connected with that of
Zurich by a navigable canal, and so complete was the success of all his
suggestions, that he is looked upon as a national benefactor. Just
there, at the opening of the valley, a tablet has been placed in the
solid rock, with an appropriate inscription. But that is not all. Hard
by it is an institution for the education of the poor of the canton,
which is called after his name; and a factory where the Linth colony are
at work, who were brought here and supported while the great work was in
progress on which they were employed.

Whichever way the eye turns from this point of observation, it finds
something interesting or wonderful on which to rest. We are now in the
morning of our tour in Switzerland, and have been assured again and
again that this is _mere_ beauty, compared with the glory that awaits us
hereafter. But those mighty mountains crowned with eternal snow, and
piercing the very skies with their sharp peaks, or supporting the
heavens with their broad white shoulders, are certainly most majestic
works of God, and what more and greater there can be, it is beyond
imagination to conceive. Not many travellers climb up here. They are in
such haste to see the Rigi and the Passes, and the Vale of Chamouni,
that they do not give a day to Zurich, the most classic and picturesque
of any of the cantons of Switzerland. An English gentleman and lady are
up here with me, who have just been traversing this whole country on
foot. They are full of delight with the view, though they have seen
everything else that is to be seen.

The only incident to give variety to our return was losing the way, and
making the walk a mile longer; but that was of small account to Swiss
pedestrians, ambitious of doing great things, and making nothing of
climbing a mountain, and coming down before dinner.

We are at Zurich now. Mr. _Baur_ has the most elegant "Hotel and
Pension" on the verge of the Lake of Zurich, that I have seen in Europe.
He calls this, as well as the Hotel in front of the Post Office, after
his own name, and gives them a degree of personal attention unequalled
by any landlord into whose hands it was ever my pleasure to fall. In
most of the hotels in Europe, the proprietor keeps himself out of sight,
and trusts the entire management of affairs to his assistants, the head
waiter being the most of a man you are ever able to find. Mr. Baur is
everywhere at once: receives his guests on their arrival, makes himself
acquainted with their wants, and sees that they are attended to without
fail. His new house on the lake with a charming garden in front, is one
of the most delightful places for a weary traveller to rest in for a few

There are many routes to the Rigi. Of course we went by the best. Every
traveller does; at least he thinks so, and that often amounts to the
same thing. But in this as in every other road up hill in life, before a
man gets half way up, he wishes he had taken the other. So it matters
little, if he only reaches the top at last. The steamboat on the
Zurigsee, leaves at eight in the morning, and at least a hundred
passengers crowded the little thing, when with a lovely breeze and a
fine clear day we were off for the Rigi.

The glory of the Rigi is at sunset and sunrise, and then there is none
unless the sky is clear. Nor are you sure of a clear sky up there, if it
were ever so bright when you left the base. The group of mountains known
by the name of Rigi, of which the highest peak is alone the object of
interest to the traveller, stand so isolated by the lakes of Zug and
Lucerne from the rest of the ridges and ranges, that the view from the
summit, especially at the close of the day and at sunrise, is
unequalled. It stands up there alone, as an observatory from which to
see the others. An hour on the boat brought us to the village of Horgen,
where we were carried by stages across the country to Zug, on a lake of
the same name. At Horgen about sixty passengers were landed, and we
found that our tickets had been numbered as they were given to us on
board the boat, and we were to be seated in the coaches accordingly. My
number was forty-seven, very near the end of the list, but it turned up
a very good seat, on the shady side of the stage, a very important
matter in the middle of a hot day for a ride of three hours. Not a
winding but very much of a zig-zag road, led us over the hill country
that divides the lakes. Sometimes we had delightful views, deep ravines
through which the mountain streams were finding their way; on the crest,
the Rigi and Pilatus first meet the eye, and then rapidly we make our
way to the borders of the lake, on which stands the little town of Zug,
the capital of the Canton of that name, the least among the tribes.
After a hasty dinner at the tavern we embarked on another steamboat, and
still smaller than the one on the Zurich Lake. What a lovely sheet of
water is this Lake Zug! It lies eighteen hundred feet higher than the
sea; and all around it except at the head, the richly cultivated shores
are sloping away from the water's edge. But just before us, as we are
going South, the noble Rigi rises from the shore of the Lake, and in the
clear water the whole of that vast mountain clothed with verdure to the
very summit is reflected so perfectly, that instead of looking up to
study the ridges and precipices and forests and flocks on its rugged
sides, it is pleasanter to study it as it lies there in the depths of
this pellucid sea. We reached the South end, or head of the lake about
three in the afternoon, and here we arranged to ascend the mountain.

The ascent from Arth is made by many, but it is far better to push on
through the village to Goldau, and there look at the evidences of the
awful work of ruin and death that was wrought in 1806 by the slide of a
large part of the Rossberg mountain; burying 450 human beings in one
living grave. There is the fresh white side of the mountain, as if the
half of it had fallen away yesterday. It is 5000 feet high; and lies in
great strata of pudding stone, which is very liable to be split asunder
by the water that filters between the layers. You can see the ranges in
the strata as the sun falls on this bare side, and it seems as if what
was left lying there, might one of these days come down to find the half
that left it fifty years ago. Then a portion three miles long and a
thousand feet broad and at least a hundred feet thick broke away from
the rest, after a long succession of heavy rains; and came down into the
valley, teeming with a population of happy peasantry, and overwhelmed
them with the most awful deluge of modern times. So sudden was the rush
of rocks and earth, that a party of travellers going up the Rigi, where
I ascended, were met by the torrent; seven had passed on 200 yards ahead
of the other four and were caught by the descending avalanche, and never
seen again. The valley is now covered with vast rocks and masses of the
conglomerate, which then came down, and with so much force that some of
them now lie scattered some distance up the hill on the other side of
the vale! Fifty years have not restored the valley to its former
fertility and beauty. One of its lakes was nearly filled up, and now
little pools are seen where once was the bed of a handsome sheet of
water. The stories told of individual cases of suffering, of whole
families perishing, and what is on some accounts more distressing, of
some being taken and others left, are so many that I will not attempt to
repeat them now. I walked into the beautiful little church at Goldau, a
gem, and on each side of the front door is a black slab with a record of
names of some of those who perished in that dreadful day. This is a
Roman Catholic Canton, as I had evidence presently.

A new scene opens on the eye of the traveller when for the first time he
arrives at the foot of a mountain with a large party, and prepares to
ascend. We led off on foot from Arth to Goldau, supposing that the fifty
or more from the boat would strike up the hill immediately. But they
followed us: some with guides, some without: some carrying their own
packs, others with a servant to help them: some were ladies ready to
foot it to the summit: some were to be carried in a chair on a bier by
four bearers: the lame and the lazy are expected to ride on horses. I
was in the former class to-day, recovered from my Utleberg tramp, and
was glad to have good company to keep me in countenance, for I was a
little ashamed of myself in taking a horse when so many, and some of
them ladies, were going up on foot.

The path for a mile is gently ascending, and then takes a shaded gorge
in the hills, and on this account is greatly to be preferred to those
paths which lead from Arth and Weggis, around the mountain, exposing the
pilgrim all the way, to the rays of the sun. Now we are mounting
steadily: turning frequently in the saddle to look at the constantly
enlarging and ennobling view. Now and then a little cascade diversifies
the hour: or we stop to refresh ourselves from the many rills that are
gurgling by the path. The noise of running streams and waterfalls is
constantly heard, and on the stillness of the air the tintinabula or
tinkling of the bells on the necks of the dun-colored cows, that are
feeding in numerous herds all up the sides of the mountain, comes gently
to the ear as soft music.

All along up the mountain are small sheds, called chapels or stations,
with some rude image of the Saviour in it, and pilgrims, to whom
indulgences were promised by the Pope in the seventeenth century, are
going from one to the other stopping at each and saying their prayers. I
dismounted and entered one; where the most hideous sight met my eye
which I have yet seen in the miserable Romish worship. A full life size
figure of Christ sinking to the earth beneath the weight of the cross is
carved in wood; the countenance indicating agony, but such a horrid face
to personate the Saviour! and a wig on his head of long dirty hair
hanging over his shoulders! It was sickening, and I was glad to hasten
away from it, as rapidly as possible.

These praying stations, thirteen in number, lead on to a neat church
called "Mary of the Snow," and around it are lodging-houses for pilgrims
who are very numerous in the month of August. A small convent is here,
where four or five monks of the Capuchin order reside; they do service
in the church, and among the mountains where their priestly aid is
required. These lodging-houses are sometimes resorted to by invalids for
the benefit of the mountain air, and the whey of goat's milk, which can
be had in great abundance here. Beggars beset your path from the valley
to the mountain top: old men and old women, young men and young women,
and little children trained to toddle into the road and put out their
hand before they can speak so as to be understood. Many of these are not
in want; but every bit of money that can be extracted from travellers is
clear gain.

The steepest of the ascent is over, long before you reach the summit,
and the last mile of winding way is a very easy and pleasant ride. The
change of atmosphere is great; and an overcoat is needed at once, if you
are warm with walking. Fortunately you have had no chance to get the
view for some time, till it bursts upon you all at once as you plant
your feet on the mountain top, on a piece of table-land, of half an
acre, that forms a magnificent platform from which to behold this scene.
More than two hundred people are there before us: most of them parties
travelling for pleasure from all parts of the civilized world, with
guides, couriers and servants, a singular group to find yourself among
so suddenly and so far above the level of "the world and the rest of
mankind." One large hotel, and one small one are to shelter this company
for the night, and we are so fortunate as to find that we are to have a
small room with three beds, just under the roof, with holes about the
size of a hat to admit light and air! That is better than none, and some
of these people will have none. Still the two hotels on the summit, and
one half an hour down, the Rigi Staffel, afford abundant accommodations
to company, unless as in the present instance, the weather has been bad
for a week, and hundreds have been waiting for a fair day, and the
promise of a good night above. The Album of the house in which visitors
register their names records the disappointment of many who have climbed
up to see nothing but that mysterious mist which so often shrouds the
mountain tops. Probably the greater part of visitors are thus mocked,
for it is cloudy up here more than half the time. One party thus groans:

                "Seven weary up-hill leagues we sped,
                  The setting sun to see;
                Sullen and grim he went to bed,
                  Sullen and grim went we.
                Nine sleepless hours of night we passed
                  The rising sun to see,
                Sullen and grim he rose again,
                  Sullen and grim rose we."

Not such was our fate. The sun was half an hour high when we reached the
highest peak; and the first Alpine panorama was around us. Other views
had been partial: this was a great circle of the heavens and the earth,
three hundred miles in circumference! A few clouds in the western sky
were gorgeously crimson in the declining sun, but the atmosphere was
clear enough to reveal every mountain, every lake, every village, city,
forest and plain, with the cottages innumerable, dotting the valleys. At
our feet the Lakes of Lucerne and Zug are apparently underneath the
mountain, and they stretch themselves so curiously among the hills, that
we can scarcely determine to what sheets of water they belong, or
whether they are new lakes and not those seen before. And away at a
distance are other waters, some of them very small, but giving beauty
and variety to the plains below. The villages lying close by have their
historic interest. All this region is William Tell's. His name is
associated with many a spot on which the eye is resting. A neat little
chapel is built to mark the place where he shot his oppressor Gessler.
Here at the right is the Lake and town of Zug, and just behind it, rises
the spire of the church of Cappel, where Zwingle fell on the field of
battle. But turning from the views at the West and North, and looking to
the South and East, and such a prospect of Alps on Alps is seen as no
one had believed could be piled into sight from a single point. The
Bernese Alps clothed in perpetual robes of snow; those of Unterwalden
and Uri, with the dull blue glaciers in the midst of them; sending up
the peaks of Jungfrau, the Titlis, Rothstock and Bristenstock, are
directly in front, and on to the Eastward, is the broad white head of
the Dodi, the Sentis and the Glarish; but these are a few only of the
many named and unnamed that are now reflecting the sunset from their
white crowns, or retiring into the shades of evening as the sun goes
down. We look to the South East into an opening called the Muotta Thal,
where Suwarrow and Massena with their hostile armies fought bloody
battles in the midst of fearful crags and precipices, and we wonder that
this land of mountains and ice has been selected as the scene for so
much warfare and blood. The sun was now sinking to the edge of the
horizon. A lady standing near me said, "It is fit to light such a scene
as this!" There was a fitness between the sun and the scene that was
truly striking and glorious. The hum of the hundred voices was hushed.
It was also fit that we should be still while the sun took his last look
of our world that night.

It is for a wonder to me that Switzerland has produced so few poets, but
not strange that some of the noblest strains of English poetry have been
penned under the inspiration of these Alpine views. They awaken a train
of emotions so profoundly new, and at the same time so elevating and
sublime, that the heart wishes to utter itself in the passionate
language of poetry rather than in the duller words of prose. "These are
thy works," O God: before the mountains were built, and before the
hills, thou wert here. Thou didst "prepare the heavens, the earth, the
fields, and the highest part of the dust of the world." Thou hast
weighed the Alps in a balance, and held these mountains in the hollow of
thy hand. They shall flow down at thy presence, when thou comest to
shake terribly the earth. They stand now, because thou, Lord, dost hold
them up, for giants as they are, and touching thy heavens, they still
lean on thee.

During this half hour of observation on the summit of the Rigi, we had
been wrapped in our cloaks to protect us from the cold. As soon as the
sun was gone, we were glad to go into the house, where a table for a
hundred guests was spread, with a hot supper sufficient for half the
number; and before ten o'clock we were sound asleep. Those who could not
find beds spent the night in the dining hall, entertaining themselves
and disturbing the rest, but we were so far above them that we heard
nothing till the blast of a wooden horn rung through the halls,
informing us that the sun would be up before us if we did not hasten to
meet him. We hurried on our clothes, wrapped up warmly, and in a few
moments stood with our faces to the East, intently watching, like
worshippers of the Sun, the first signs of his coming. One single peak
was precisely between us and the sun, and as the earliest tints of the
morning began to redden it, the appearance was not unlike that of a
kindling fire in the summit. The blaze gathered around it, and seemed to
shoot away into the regions of ice and snow; and then far into the
clouds above, the bright hues of day were cast, and the crowd stood
still, anxious to enjoy the first view of the emerging sun. The horn was
blown again by the trumpeter, a miserable mode of announcing that the
King was coming, as if he needed a herald as he rode up the East in his
chariot of gold and fire. There was just haze enough in the atmosphere
to dim the sun of his dazzling brightness, and we could look steadily on
his face as he rose behind the mountain, and seemed to pause on the
summit, and calmly to look down on the world he had left in darkness a
few hours before. Then peak after peak, and mountain ridges, and domes
and minarets, fields of fresh snow, and forests of living green, began
to catch the morning tints: gorges in the hill sides would lie there in
deep shadow, and bosoms of virgin snow, bared to the rising sun, would
blush when he looked in upon them, while villages and hamlets in the
vale below are still wrapped in the shades of the gray dawn, and have
not thought of waking yet to begin another day. We spent an hour or two
in the enjoyment of this magnificent prospect, which we are told is one
of the most delightful we are to have in Switzerland; and when the sun
was fairly up to the dwellers in the vale as well as to us on the
mountain top, we turned our backs upon him, took a cup of coffee in the
Rigi Culm, and bade farewell to the most splendid of all the prospects
we had ever seen, or expect to see on earth. I am greatly moved in the
presence of Niagara; and there have formed impressions of the active
power and glory of the great Creator, such as are conveyed by no other
of the works of God. But now I am looking on the silent evidence of his
creating might in a new and wonderful form; and it seems to me but a
short step from those shining glaciers and snow-crowned palaces to the
central throne of Him who sitteth in the circle of the heavens. "O Lord
God of Hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? The heavens are
thine: the earth also is thine; as for the world and the fulness
thereof, thou hast founded them: the north and the south thou hast
created them; Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a
mighty arm; strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand."

As we had ascended the Rigi from Goldau, on the eastern side, we now
went down on the western to Weggis. We were in no haste: the day was
before us, and we had nothing to do but to walk till we were tired,
choose a shady spot commanding a fine view of the lake of Lucerne and
the surrounding hills, and then rest and enjoy the scene. The bells from
the herds of cattle far below us, and sometimes above us, and the
strains of music from the villages in the vales, would come floating to
us on the morning air, while nature with all her voices was making one
rich psalm. The descent is far less fatiguing than climbing up, but when
continued for two or three hours it becomes exceedingly exhausting. We
provided ourselves with pike staffs having a Chamois horn for a head,
and with these we resisted the too constant downward tendency, using
them as a drag to a wheel, and making the greatest effort to hold back.
On this path to or from the Rigi is a boarding and bathing house, over a
spring of very clear cold water to which invalids resort; and as walking
on the mountain side for an hour or so after bathing is part of the
discipline, I have no doubt that the establishment works many wonderful
cures. A chapel of the Holy Virgin is close by, where prayers are daily
said for the shepherds on the precipices, whose lives are in constant
danger while they pursue the duties to which they are trained. Half an
hour below the chapel, the path leads through a mighty archway formed by
two huge masses of rock supporting a third between them. Some great
convulsion of nature has thrown them into this remarkable position, and
they show in their make the nature of all the upper strata of these hill
sides, which are in constant danger of sliding down when the water works
its way under them, and separates them from the lower. Here we sat down
and refreshed ourselves: a cool breeze rushing through the passage, and
making a delightful resting place for weary travellers.

I said it was easier far to go down than up. So it is, but one who
carries much weight, or who has not considerable powers of endurance
should be cautious of making the experiment. A very heavy gentleman who
came to the foot of the mountain with us yesterday, and rode up, with
his son, a fine lad of fourteen, running along by the side of the horse,
attempted to come down on foot. We overtook him; and just then he lay
down on the grass by the side of a beautiful spring of water: he was
exhausted, and had sent his son down for help. Presently the faithful
and noble boy came running up the mountain with a bottle of wine and a
loaf of bread, and soon four stout men with a chair, whom the lad had
outstripped, came on, and the heavy gentleman was carried by hand the
rest of the way. I met them afterwards at the foot of the hill, and
congratulated the father on his safe arrival; and more on being the
father of such a boy.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                     LUCERNE AND THE LAND OF TELL.

The Lake--Avalanches--Pontius Pilate--Lucerne--Dance of
   Death--Fishing--Storm on the Lake--Ramble among the Peasantry--Two
   Dwarfs--On the Lake--Rifle Shooting--Chapel of William Tell--Scenes
   in his Life--Altorf--Hay-Making--a Great Day.

In the Hotel de la _Concorde_, the "house of peace," I found a pleasant
chamber on the edge of the Lake of Lucerne; and so near that in its
lucid waters I can from my window see the large fish chasing and
devouring the little ones, just as big fish on land are doing
everywhere. In front, the lofty Pilatus rises in heavy grandeur, and the
Buochsherhorn and Stauzerhorn are in full view, with other peaks all
white with snow, while it is oppressively hot below. I spent the day
here at the foot of the mountain.

There is no life in this little settlement except when the boat arrives
with travellers for the Rigi: the mountain comes down so suddenly to the
shore that there is hardly room for dwellings, and a few inhabitants
only are scattered along on the water's edge. But it is on the shore of
the most enchanting lake in Europe, and at a point where some of the
finest views of this lake are to be had. We sat on the bank to see the
sun set, a sight of which one never tires; hundreds of travellers have
passed up or down the Rigi to-day, and of that whole number we are the
only two who have cared to rest here to study and admire the scenery,
and at the same time refresh ourselves for future pilgrimages.

There was a crash among the mountains just now: at first we thought it
the noise of a steamboat on the lake, but the roar became quickly
greater, and we knew that it was an avalanche of ice or of rocks that
had come down the side of old Pilatus. It was the first that we had
heard, and were very willing that the quiet of our evening should be
thus disturbed. Then as if nothing were to be wanting to make the
enjoyment of this scene perfect, the clouds marshaled themselves about
the Buochsherhorn and played off their lightnings around his head; while
torrents of rain came down on the lake below us, and the snow fell in
sheets on the loftier mountains in the South. This lake is subject to
sudden visitations of storms, and is therefore dangerous for skiffs
unless under the guidance of the native boatmen, who know the signs of
the weather, and put in for shore when they apprehend the approach of a
gale. The hoary mountain _Pilatus_ is said to have derived its name from
Pontius Pilate, who was driven away from Rome, became a wretched
wanderer here in this wild land, and finally in the horrors of a guilty
conscience plunged from one of the crags of this mountain into the lake
and perished. From its peculiar position and great height, 7,000 feet
above the sea, and the foremost in the Alpine chain at the North, the
clouds delight to gather about it, and so many are the storms which come
down from this point, the superstitious dwellers on the shores for a
long time supposed that poor Pilate was at the bottom of them all, and
the lake would never be safe till his troubled spirit was put to rest.

From the summit of the Rigi, the seven towers of Lucerne had caught my
eye, but they and the city they overlook and defend, appeared more
beautiful and exceedingly picturesque as I approached them by water from
Weggis. The old wall, of which the gates and towers are still remaining,
surrounds the land side of the town, which stands on a side hill rising
gradually from the water; and all outside of the wall the hill is dotted
with handsome dwellings embosomed in orchards and rich meadow lands; a
picture of quiet beauty and a spot for classic repose that a weary man
might almost be pardoned for coveting. The town itself has no
pretensions to taste in its architecture, but for beauty of situation on
the most attractive of all the Swiss lakes, it is without a rival. The
hotels are on the borders of the lake at the very landing, and the lofty
Pilatus on the right, the Rigi on the left, and the far loftier and more
majestic heights of the Alps in the cantons of Schwytz and Uri are lying
in full view of the _Swan_ Hotel, where I lodged, a capital house, which
I cordially commend.

We have been exploring the town to find what of interest may be in it,
though it is scarcely worth while for any man to look down for a moment
while he is in Switzerland, unless he is on the top of a hill. But
Lucerne has one peculiar feature of interest, in its covered bridges
adorned with curious paintings. In Berlin a gallery for the fine arts
was opened over a stable, and some poet ridiculed the idea by suggesting
the inscription "Musis et mulis," to the Muses and mules; but the
Lucerne people had the singular fancy of making their bridges over the
River Reuss, which divides their town in two, the repository of
paintings, some of them possessed of no artistic merit, and all of them
more or less injured now by the weather. The bridges are roofed, and
under the roof, about ten feet apart, these pictures in triangular
frames are fastened up, so that the foot passenger, (no carriages are
allowed,) may study them as he walks along. One series illustrates
scenes in Swiss history--another on the reverse of the same canvass, the
exploits of the patron saints of the town. These are on the
Kapell-Bridge which starts near the Swan Hotel, and runs across the very
rapid river Reuss, which here emerges from the lake. The Mill-bridge,
lower down the river, has a very rude imitation of the paintings of the
"Dance of Death," a series of pictures that are so often attempted, we
may be sure they once had power on the minds of men. The originals are
destroyed with the exception of the few fragments at Basle. The doggerel
verse into which the German text is translated, is about equal in
artistic excellence to the painting. The most remarkable bridge which
Lucerne once boasted was across the end of the lake, but it has now been
removed, the waters crowded back by the hand of art, and the large
hotels now stand on the site of the old Hof-Bruche.

In the arsenal is a sacred deposit of old armor, and relics of more than
doubtful authenticity, including the sword of William Tell, and the
battle-axe which it is said the Reformer Zwingle carried in his hand on
the field where he fell. A stranger may look at these and a hundred
other curiosities, with some interest, if he has not been already
surfeited, as I am, with the same sort of thing.


They have one lion here that _is_ a lion--one of the noblest monuments
and magnificent designs that I have seen in Europe. We passed through
the Weggis Gate, and by a shaded pleasant walk in the private grounds of
General Pfyffer, came to a lonely, lovely dell. On one side of it a huge
precipice presents a bare rock face from which the water trickles into a
little lake at the base. This rock is fringed on the sides and over the
brow with shrubbery and trees, a graceful drapery, and in the solid side
of the rock the figure of a dying lion is carved out of the same stone.
A broken spear sticks in his side, and the blood oozes from the wound.
The agony of death is in his face, but his paw rests on a shield with
the arms of France, which even in death he is determined to defend. This
monument was designed by the great Thorwalsden, but was executed by
Ahorn, a sculptor of Constance, to commemorate the bravery of the Swiss
guards who were slain at Paris while defending the Bourbons in the
Revolution of 1792. This lion is nearly thirty feet long, and in just
proportions, making an impressive monument better than the deed
deserves. A representative of the Swiss guard wearing his uniform, is
present to expound the design to those who are not quick at finding
"sermons in stones."

A cool delightful walk of fifteen minutes from this sequestered spot
brought us into the grounds of a little convent, pleasingly situated on
the sloping banks, and among cultivated fields, now fragrant with
new-mown hay. An aged priest came by, and taking off his hat politely
saluted us as we passed. We paused at the door of the chapel; a single
lamp was burning before the altar, and one lonely nun was on her knees
performing her evening devotions. It was not in our hearts to disturb
the calm current of her thoughts, as she was gazing on the picture of
her Saviour, and we did not enter. So sweetly and gracefully did the
villas lie among the green fields and fruit trees, with the lake in
front of them and the snowy Alps on the other side of it, full in view,
but far enough to be in another clime, that I felt very much like
setting up a little convent there on a new plan, and sending over the
sea, for the community to people it.

_Aug. 24._--We had a storm on the Lake this evening. For two or three
days the weather had been very hot, so much so that I was not disposed
to go tramping, even for the sake of climbing up a hill into a colder
atmosphere. We had been lying off, too lazy to write, or to read. So we
went a fishing after dinner. The Apostles went fishing. They fished all
night, and caught nothing: we fished all the afternoon and had the same

Just before nightfall, the wind began to blow all of a sudden as if it
had broken out in a new place. It blew all ways at once. The little
skiffs that were out on the Lake pulled in for shore with all haste; and
in less time than I have taken to tell of it, the scene of calm beauty
which the Lake had presented, was changed to that of an angry
tempest-tossed sea. The whole valley was filled with black, fierce
clouds. Rigi was clothed with thunder. Pilatus was totally obscured. The
storm was coming from his quarter, confirming the superstition of the
natives, that his troubled spirit stirs the tempest. Through a single
break in the clouds I could see the sunshine playing among the valleys
away to the south, while darkness and gloom were all around us. The
contrast was striking and peculiar to this region, where the sudden
elevation of the mountains makes the transitions from one temperature to
another rapid. On the bosom of the Lake the reflections of the clouds
were exceedingly curious, giving almost as many colors as the rainbow
that now began to appear on the Rigi. It was a beautiful bow. No rain
had yet fallen here; but there on the side of that noble mountain on
whose summit I had spent the night, the blessed bow was resting; so
pure, so glorious, so full of sweet suggestions of God's promise, that I
looked on it as on the face of a friend in a strange land. It is just
such a bow as they have in America. The same sun and the same showers
make it, and the same God hangs it out there, the sign of his
faithfulness, the token of his love. Who can be afraid of a storm when
the rainbow appears? But it faded, as all bright things fade, and the
dark clouds grew darker, and a heavy clap of thunder in the west shook
the Alps, and another: not preceded by a streak of chain lightning
leaping like a red serpent in the clouds, but by a broad lurid sheet of
fire, filling the atmosphere, and then suddenly vanishing into darkness.
The rain now came down in sheets; the wind blew with increasing power,
and for a few moments it did indeed appear as if the prince of the
powers of the air had been suffered to reign, and he was doing his worst
while he was left unchained. The ignorance of the people could readily
be imposed upon, when such scenes as this are frequent; and I am told,
in former times so strictly was the ascent of Mount Pilatus forbidden,
lest a storm should be provoked by the intrusion, that a Naturalist,
Gessner, had to obtain a special license to pursue his investigations

The storm was of short duration. The hundreds, induced by the clear
bright morning to go to the summit of Rigi for a sunset and a sunrise,
found it was not the entertainment to which they were invited. In full
view from my window, though five hours distant, I can see where the
clouds cap his head, the rain is pouring there in torrents, the western
and eastern sky is enveloped in mists that obscure all view of the sun,
and more than half of the time, there is as little to be seen from the
summit of Rigi, as in a cellar. The sun is shining brightly now on the
lake near me, and a great fleece, as if a thousand flocks had yielded
theirs for a robe, is thrown over the crown of the mountain, making a
veil that no glass can see through.

The next morning we set off for a walk into the country. The landlord of
the Swan assured us it would be a pleasant day, and as this prediction
was made at the risk of losing two guests in consequence, we were bound
to respect his judgment. We resolved to make an expedition into the
country behind Lucerne, cross some of the spurs of the mountains, come
around by the foot of old Pilatus, and so return to our lodgings. The
whole walk would be only about twelve or fifteen miles, and if we should
lose our way and make it a little longer, why so much the better.

It was just eight in the morning as we left and wandered slowly through
the streets with our Alpen-stocks or pike staffs in hand. We paused at a
church door or two, and looked in, where a few were paying their silent
devotions before the altar, with a single burning lamp, and passing out
of the gate underneath one of the seven old feudal towers, we took the
bank of the river Reuss, and walked by a pleasant path, expecting every
moment to find a bridge, as our road was to lead us off to the west, and
we must cross the stream to reach it. I asked a little girl, tending two
babies in a cottage door, if there was any bridge in that direction, and
her ready answer "Nein," or _no_, sent us about in a hurry. Here was the
first mile thrown away, and retracing our steps, we crossed at the
bridge near the wall, and taking the high road toward Berne, were soon
in the midst of rural Swiss valley scenery. A path for a mile or more on
the bank of the river, shaded by a row of fine trees, led along by the
side of the carriage road, but we kept the track, having little desire
to miss it again. Three miles of easy walking brought us past the
village of Lindau to a bridge over a deep and frightful gorge, through
which a mountain stream is rushing, fifty or sixty feet below the
bridge. Here it is compressed in one place to a passage it has worn for
itself through the solid rock, and not more than three feet wide, but
the bed of the ravine gives evidence that the torrent when swollen with
melting snows in early summer, or by heavy rains, may be terrible, so
that this massive bridge, though very short, is required to resist its
force. The sides of this ravine were so precipitous that we did not
attempt the descent: but finding a path up the mountain, and learning
from a peasant whom we met that it would take us over into a vale, we
struck into it, and climbed. The roots of trees in some places made a
flight of steps up which we walked, and all the way it was so steep that
to get on required resolution and wind. But the ascent though sharp was
very short, and in a few minutes we reached a well made winding way,
that led us into a lovely vale. Thirsty if not weary, we called at the
door of a little dwelling and asked for milk. The farmer and his wife
were sitting on wooden benches by a table, taking their meal; what meal
it was we could not determine, as it was ten o'clock in the morning; too
late for breakfast, too early for dinner. They had an earthen pot of
weak coffee or something of the same color, and pieces of brown bread
which they dipped in and ate, taking a drink of the fluid now and then,
and apparently enjoying their frugal meal. The old woman gave me a "Yah"
in answer to my request for milk, and taking a glass tumbler from a
closet, she wiped the dust out of it with her fingers, and going into a
dark room, the dairy likely, she brought me a draught of as sweet milk
as ever wet the lips of man or boy. The cottage was not clean, I am
sorry to say it. I looked up a flight of stairs, and the appearance of
things there did not suggest to me the idea of taking lodgings, but
giving the woman a bit of silver for which she thanked me in German, we
walked on, refreshed with the milk and the moment's rest while getting

A little farther on, and a fine mansion with castellated towers, stood
on the rising hill commanding a wide prospect of mountain scenery, but
the road did not lead us near to it. Perhaps the proprietor of the
valley has his home up there, and the tenants below may not be thriving:
certainly it looks as if wealth, state, comfort, and elegance were in
those old halls and having had milk in the cottage, I presume we might
have wine in the mansion.

We soon lost sight of every sign of a dwelling, and walked on through a
pine forest, the saddest of all forests to tread in: the sighing of the
air through the tree tops making a music "mournful to the soul." A water
course, in hollowed logs carried through the woods, led on to a mill by
the way-side, into which we entered to see a novel operation, and as
queer a little miller as any body ever saw. The water turned an overshot
wheel outside of the mill, and this turned two large wooden cog wheels,
which raised two beams and let them fall, up and down, upon pine bark,
which was thus pounded up fine enough to be used for tanning. But the
miller who fed the mill with the bark was a man dwarf about three feet
high, well enough proportioned, a stout healthy fellow, forty years old.
He looked up and laughed us a good morning, and went on with his work,
which made such a noise that it was useless to converse. And just as we
left the mill we met a woman not more than three feet long, so nearly
the same age and size, we could not but think they might be another
remarkable pair of twins, who would have made the fortune of any body
bringing them to America for exhibition.

We were now in a manufacturing valley. The fine water power was improved
to drive looms in a mill where twenty girls were weaving, and when we
passed, which was at eleven o'clock, they all quit for dinner, and
trooped by us in rows of six abreast: hearty looking girls with no hats
on, their hair braided, and hanging in two strips half way to their
feet. They seemed to be very happy among themselves, and modest and well
behaved as we walked along with them for a while. Other establishments
for working iron were in the same neighborhood, and a village called
_Kriens_, had some beautiful houses in it--one of them with twelve
windows in a row in front, and three stories high, a fine mansion; and
all of them were surrounded with flower gardens, tended with care, and
glowing with splendid dahlias, and other flowers. The best houses I have
yet seen in Switzerland are covered instead of clapboards, with small,
round-end shingles, put on so neatly as to look like scollop shell work.
So we walked from one to another hamlet, studying life in these secluded
places, where the habits of the people are quite as unsophisticated as
if they had never been a mile from home--the children did not know of
such a place as Lucerne, though not five miles off--but there was peace,
order, thrift, and contentment--the mountains rise suddenly from behind
their dwellings, and shelter them from the winds, and God watches them
in the winter when the deep snow fills this vale, and they are as
contented as if they knew that people live on the other side of the
hills. Some of the cottages were beautifully covered with grape vines,
trained between the windows, and giving them an appearance of luxurious
growth, that might be adopted in our country far more than it is. The
vine thus cultivated occupies no space that could otherwise be used, and
is an ornament and protection, while it yields delicious and abundant

Our walk this morning of five hours brought us through this valley and
back to Lucerne by one o'clock, and if there had been any good reason
for it, we could have done a dozen miles more toward night. We had been
brought more immediately into contact with the country people, and saw
more of their way of life, than we would in a month of travel on the
thoroughfares. None of the places we visited are even named in the guide
books, and we thus had the pleasure of breaking out of the beaten path,
and finding one that was new and interesting.

_Lake of the Four Forest Cantons._

Lake Lucerne is called the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons, a longer but
a very appropriate name, as its shores are washed by four and only four
of the Cantons of Switzerland--Lucerne, Uri, Unterwalden, and Schwytz.
Above all the lakes of the country, and perhaps of the world, it is
distinguished for the majesty of its scenery and the grandeur of its
historical associations.

Speaking of the classic history of the lake and mountains around it, Sir
James McIntosh says:

  "It is upon this that the superiority of the lake of Lucerne to all
  other lakes, or as far as I know, to all other scenes upon earth,
  depends. The vast mountains rising on every side, and closing at the
  end, with their rich clothing of wood, the soft spots of verdant
  pasture scattered at their feet, and sometimes on their breast, and
  the expanse of water unbroken by islands, and almost undisturbed by
  any signs of living men, make an impression which it would be
  foolish to attempt to convey by words. The only memorials which
  would not disgrace such a scene as those of past ages renowned for
  heroism and virtue, and no part of the world is more full of such
  venerable ones."

The shores of this lake are the scenes of William Tell's illustrious
deeds, and the theatre also of modern deeds of valor not surpassed by
those of ancient times. It was the contemplation of the moral as well as
the physical sublime in this region, that led the same elegant author to

  "The combination of whatever is grandest in nature, with whatever is
  pure and sublime in human conduct, affected me more powerfully in
  the passage of this lake, than any scene which I had ever seen.
  Perhaps neither Greece nor Rome would have had such power over me.
  They are dead. The present inhabitants are a new race who regard
  with little or no feeling the memorials of former ages. This is
  perhaps the only place in our globe where deeds of pure virtue,
  ancient enough to be venerable, are consecrated by the religion of
  the people, and continue to command interest and reverence. No local
  superstition so beautiful and so moral anywhere exists. The
  inhabitants of Thermopylae or Marathon know no more of those famous
  spots than that they are so many square feet of earth. England is
  too extensive a country to make Runnymede an object of national
  affection. In countries of industry and wealth the stream of events
  sweeps away these old remembrances. The solitude of the Alps is a
  sanctuary destined for the monuments of ancient virtue; Grutli and
  Tell's chapel are as much reverenced by the Alpine peasants as Mecca
  by a devout Musselman; and the deputies of the three ancient cantons
  met, so late as 1715, to renew their allegiance and their oaths of
  eternal union."

Filled with such emotions as these and fresh from the perusal of these
fine passages I left Lucerne on a lovely morning in August, the
atmosphere pleasantly cooled by the previous storms, and now a glorious
cloudless sky hanging over this mountain sea. On a little island, and
strange to say the only island in the lake, a monument of wood once
stood to the memory of William Tell, but it was struck by lightning and
has disappeared. Near it the bay of Kussnacht sets up, where is a chapel
to mark the spot on which the arrow from Tell's unerring bow drank the
heart's blood of his enemy and tyrant Gessler; and a ruined castle said
to have been the prison to which Tell was destined when he made his
memorable escape of which we shall soon speak. But the boat put up into
another bay on the other side under old Pilatus and landed passengers
who were taken into the small boats which ply continually among these
bays, and distribute the passengers at the several points from which
they would make their excursions into the country. Pilatus rises in
gloomy grandeur from the very shores of the water, and its bifurcated
peak soon is lost sight of, while but one presents itself. Rugged,
barren and uninviting as it is, there are those who yet make the ascent,
and from this landing, though the ascent is far more difficult, and the
view from the summit far less satisfactory than the Rigi.

We now returned to Kussnacht bay; and if the great shooting match which
occurred last Monday had been coming off to-day, we would go ashore to
see it. Once a year the marksmen of the canton assemble for a trial of
their skill with the rifle, and there is also an annual festival, when
the best from all the cantons assemble for the federal shooting match.
With music and banners and processions, with garlands and arches of
victory and feasting and drinking, they keep up this custom from
generation to generation; and the riflemen of the Swiss and Tyrol
mountains, like their ancestors of the bow, have no rival. The military
displays were very miserable. Having just come from France, Prussia, and
Austria, where the army was evidently the pet of governments, and the
curse of the people, I was pleased to see that the Swiss had no need of
armies, and the military procession was sorry enough. But the music was
stirring, and the Swiss feel it a part and parcel of their patrimonial
inheritance, to be roused by its strains to noble deeds, or melted to
tenderness by its subduing power. The lake had assumed to the eye, when
looking down upon it from one slope of the Rigi, the form of an X, and
now the two promontories that divide it come within a mile of each
other, and are called the Noses, which we pass, and enter the bay of
Brochs, where the Horn of that name and Stawzer rear their lofty heads.
We touched at Bechenried, and then swept the width of the lake again to
_Gersau_, a little cluster of houses at the foot of a gently-receding
hill, one of the most remarkable spots of land in the whole world, in
the fact that for four hundred years the people of this village, shut
out from the rest of mankind by these mighty ramparts of mountains, and
having but three miles long and two wide of territory, maintained an
independent democratic government of their own. The French invasion of
1798 destroyed their freedom by uniting them to the Canton Schwytz. The
mountain-side is covered with orchards, in the midst of which neat
cottages nestle sweetly. All the land they have has been washed down
from the mountains, and it would not be strange if trees and cottages
and people should one day be washed into the lake together. Such a
calamity would carry off the old gallows, still standing, but which the
government had no occasion to use during its independent existence. Here
the scenery of the lake becomes in the highest degree sublime. We stop
for a moment at Brunnen, where goods are deposited that are to go over
the Alps by St. Gothard into Italy, and on one of the warehouses you see
three men painted in bold colors, and their names affixed, the heroes
who with Tell achieved the deliverance of Switzerland in 1315. On this
spot the alliance was formed between the three cantons of Uri,
Unterwalden and Schwytz. Now the vast mountains rise more
perpendicularly from the lake: a solitary rock stands a few feet from
the shore on the promontory opposite, and passing it we seem to be
issuing into a new lake altogether. Away on the ledges, or table land on
the heights, stands a little church, and a few dwellings are scattered
around, but we lose sight of them, and are now in the midst of a
solitude of water, mountain, snow and sky, the grandeur and sublimity of
which it is equally impossible for me to exaggerate or describe. No
road, not even a footpath can be made along the base of these rocky
mountains that literally stand in the water, and thence rear their heads
so far into the upper air that the fields of snow lie there in full
view, forever whitening in the sun. A little recession from the shore
gives lodgment for soil enough to make a secluded bosom in the hills;
and this _oasis_ is a sacred spot in Swiss history, for here in the dead
of night, the three confederates met to form their plans to deliver
their country from the Austrian yoke. This is Grutli, and every American
who passes the spot will feel a sympathetic thrill of joy to look on the
birth-place of a country's freedom. Nearly opposite to Grutli, the
steamboat slackens its speed, and moves slowly and solemnly by a small
chapel, with an open front, and filled with rude paintings of scenes in
Swiss history. This chapel is to commemorate the spot where Tell leaped
ashore from the boat in which the tyrant Gessler was conveying him from
Altorf to his dungeon in Kussnacht. A storm came up with such fury that
Gessler, being frightened, and his oarsmen failing, ordered the chains
to be taken off from Tell, that he might guide the skiff ashore. He ran
it to this rock, leaped ashore, and made his escape. Before the despot
reached his castle, Tell had waylaid him and sent an arrow to his heart.
This chapel was "built in 1388, by the Canton of Uri, only thirty-one
years after Tell's death, and in the presence of one hundred and
fourteen persons who had known the hero. Once a year, mass is said, and
a sermon preached in the chapel to the inhabitants of these borders, who
repair hither in boats, forming an aquatic procession."

We were at the head of the lake in a few minutes. I was willing that it
should be extended for hours, but the little village of Fluellen was
reached, and here we go ashore. The village stands in a marsh, which is
formed at the entrance of the river Reuss into the lake, and in
consequence the people are subject to goitre and cretinism, those
terrible diseases so peculiar to this country. It is not desirable to
stay here any longer than is necessary to get away; and there is nothing
to attract the stranger. We took the first carriage we found, and rode
on to _Altorf_. At the hotel two young women came out to receive us, as
men waiters would do in another country. It was a novelty to be thus
received, and giving a hand to each of the damsels I was assisted from
the carriage and escorted into the house. One of them, a fine-looking
girl of eighteen, in a picturesque and becoming dress, white spencer and
short sleeves with a dark skirt and bracelets, insisted on taking my
knapsack, which I declined giving up, and leaning on my Alpen stock, I
had so much of an argument with her that the travellers formed a circle
about us and looked on. While dinner was preparing I walked out to the
open square in which that scene was enacted which has been more famous
than any other in Swiss history. Here by this fountain was the tree to
which the son of William Tell was bound, with the apple on his head, and
at the other fountain the father stood, to obey the infamous order of
the tyrant to shoot with his cross-bow the apple from the head of his
lovely boy. A statue of the father surmounts the fountain. The old
village has all the signs of decay, and I found it difficult to believe
that here the crowd had gathered five hundred years ago to behold that
dreadful spectacle--here stood the monster who had given the cruel
order, here fell the arrows from beneath the garment of Tell, which he
declared he designed for the tyrant if his arrow had slain his son. I
walked out of the village into the narrow meadow under the brow of
overhanging mountains, and admired the industry that has terraced the
slopes and wrung all the support it would yield from the soil. A row of
targets was here, with evidences that the people having long since laid
aside the cross bow, are now experts with the rifle: and as this village
is the capital of the canton of Uri, it is the rallying place for those
trials of skill in which they take so much delight. The tree on which
Gessler's hat was hung, with the command that the people should bow down
to it, stood here till 1567, when it was removed and a stone erected in
its place.

The valley of Schachen, which we enter on leaving Altorf, delighted me
with the beauty of its meadows, in which the Swiss peasants were making
hay under a burning sun, while the mountains rising from the edge of the
fields were white with snow. The men and women at noon when we passed
were resting from their toil, and lying around on the mown grass, the
very picture of slow and easy hay-makers. We crossed a rapid stream
foaming in its downward course, in which William Tell was drowned while
nobly striving to save the life of a child; and a little further on we
passed the village in which he was born. Thus in a single day which is
not yet half gone, we have seen the various spots in Switzerland made
classic by the deeds of William Tell and his compatriots, and the places
where that illustrious though rustic hero was born, where he performed
his great exploits, and where he perished in the midst of one not less
noble than any other that sheds honor on his name. It was a great day to
have passed through all these scenes, and I can say, without affectation
that my solitary walk in that ruined town of Altorf moved me more than
the contemplation of any battle field in Europe.

                               CHAPTER V.

                         PASS OF SAINT GOTHARD.

The Priest's Leap--The Devil's Bridge--Night on the
   Mountains--Storm--Hospenthal--the Glaciers--a Lady in Distress--the
   Furca Pass--Glacier of the Rhone--Heinrich and Nature--Heinrich asks
   after God--Scene in the Hospice.

We are now on the great road that leads over the Alps into Italy by the
famous Pass of St. Gothard. The diligence to Milan went off this morning
at nine o'clock, and had we come on in the earliest boat from Lucerne,
we might have been taken on as far as we liked by that lumbering
conveyance. A party of students, seven from Germany, and two from Oxford
joined us, and we resolved to hire a carriage to Amsteg, two hours
onward, and there to begin the ascent and pedestrianism together. The
ride to Amsteg was lively, but when we were set down at that village,
with a walk of five hours before us, all the way up the mountains, I
confess to a slight sinking at the heart; and my courage oozed out
gradually at the end of my toes. At the inn of Altorf, a young German
student attracted me by the gracefulness of his manner, the delicacy of
his features, and the pleasant expression with which he conversed. He
attached himself to our party, and we walked on together, pilgrims to
see Switzerland, and rejoicing in the power to take leave of all modes
of travelling, but that first and best, which nature had provided. The
river Reuss comes dashing along down with the fury of a young torrent,
pouring over rocks, and whirling around precipices with a madness that
brooks no control. The Bristenock mountain towers aloft into the regions
of snow and ice, and nature begins to grow wild and dreary. The soft
meadows on which the maids of Uri were making hay have disappeared, and
the green pastures with frequent herds are now the only hope of the
shepherd. The road is no longer a straight path, but in its toilsome way
upward, it crosses again and again this foaming river, and bridges of
solid masonry, built to resist the flood when it bears the ruins of
avalanches on its bosom, and spreads them in the spring on the plains

We crossed the third bridge and came to a gorge of frightful depth
through which the river rages furiously, in a maddened torrent too
fearful to look on without awe. It is called Pfaffensprung, or the
Priest's Leap, from a story--which no one will believe who stands
here--that a monk once leaped across the chasm with a maiden in his
arms. I have no doubt a monk would do his best under the circumstances,
but I doubt the possibility of his clearing thirty feet at a bound over
such an abyss as this, even for the sake of the prize he is said to have
carried off. We had been beset by beggars under all sorts of guises, and
here a miserable old woman--alas that a woman could come to
this--appeared with a huge stone in her hands, which she hurled into the
deeps, for us to see it leap from rock to rock and finally sink into the
raging waters far below. A few cents she expected for this service, and
she received them with gratitude; when an old man, perhaps her husband,
came on with another rock which he was willing to drop for a similar
consideration. As I turned away from the scene, a carriage came up in
which an English gentleman was riding, with two servants on the box. I
walked by the side of his carriage and fell into conversation, when he
very politely invited me to ride with him. I declined of course, and
told him that I was making a pedestrian tour, and designed to walk to
Andermatt, three hours and a half farther up the mountain. "I spend the
night there also," he said, "and I will esteem it an honor, Sir, if you
will take a seat in my carriage." Such an invitation, under the
circumstances, was not to be refused, and I took a seat by the
gentleman's side. How wonderfully the scenery improved, certainly how
much my appreciation of it increased, when I fell back on the cushions!
My companion was an accomplished member of the London bar. He knew
public men whom I had met, and was well acquainted with all subjects of
international interest, so that in fifteen minutes we were comparing
minds on those questions in which England and America are so much
concerned. We stopped at the little village of Wasen for refreshments. I
insisted on paying the reckoning, when he stopped me with this remark,
"Sir, you are my guest to-day: when I meet you in America I shall be
happy to be yours."

We rode on and upward, the road now assuming the character of a mighty
structure of mason work through a savage defile, only wide enough for
the carriage-path, and the torrent of the Reuss, which no longer flows,
but tumbles headlong from one cliff to another, while for three or four
miles the lofty precipices hang fearfully on high. In the spring, the
rage of this mountain river, swollen by melting snows, and bringing down
ice and rocks in its thundering fall, would tear away the foundations of
any common pathway, and this must be built to defy the fiercest storm.
Twenty-five or thirty thousand persons cross the Alps by this route
every year; and to secure this travel, which would otherwise be carried
off to the other passes, the cantons of Uri and Tessin built a road
which has twice been swept away by the avalanches, but one would think
that the present might stand while the mountains stand. So rapid is the
ascent, that the road is made often to double on itself, so that we are
going directly backward on the route; a foot passenger may clamber
across the doublets and save his time, but the carriage must keep the
zig-zag way, patiently toiling up a smoother and more beautiful highway
than can be found in the most level region of the United States of
America! Not a pebble in the path: the wheels meet no other obstruction
than gravitation, which is sufficient to be overcome only by the
strongest of horse power. Yet through this very defile, long before any
road like this had been built, three armies, the French and the Russians
and the Austrians, have pursued each other, contesting every inch of
this ground, and each one of these rugged heights, and disputing the
possession of dizzy cliffs where the hunter was afraid to tread. Never
did the feeling of Nature's awful wildness so take possession of my
soul, as when night was shutting in upon me in this dreary pass.
Sometimes the road is hewn out of the solid rock in the side of the
precipice, which hangs over it as a roof, and again it is borne over the
roaring stream, which in a gulf four hundred feet below is boiling in
its obstructed course, and making for itself an opening, it leaps away
over the rocks, and rushes down while we are toiling up. In the day-time
it would be gloomy here; it will be terrible indeed if the darkness
overtakes us before we reach our resting-place for the night.

More than five hundred years ago an old Abbot of Einsiedeln built a
bridge over an awful chasm here, but such is the fury of the descending
stream, the horrid ruggedness of the surrounding scenery, the smoothness
and solidity of the impending rocks, the roar and rage of the waters as
they are tossed about and beaten into spray, and so unlikely does it
appear that human power could ever have reared a bridge over such a
cataract, that it has been called from time immemorial the Devil's
Bridge, and so it will be called probably till the end of time. It was
just nightfall when we reached it. It was very cold, so far up had we
ascended. We had left the carriage and were walking to quicken the
blood, when the roar of the waters rose suddenly upon us, the spray
swept over us, and we were in the midst of a scene of such awful
grandeur, and with terror mingled, as might well make the nerves of a
strong man tremble. The river Reuss, at this stage of its course, makes
a sweeping leap, a tremendous plunge at the very moment it bends nearly
in a semi-circle, while the rocks, as if by some superhuman energy, have
been hurled into the torrent's path, so as to break its fall, but not to
withstand its power. Two bridges are here--for when the old road was
swept away, the bridge defied the storm, and this one, more solid and of
far greater span, has been thrown high above the other which is left as
an architectural curiosity in the depths below. And long before that was
built, another one was there, and when the French in 1799 pursued the
Austrians over it, and while the embattled hosts were making hell in a
furious fight upon and over this frightful gorge, the bridge was blown
up, and the struggling foes were whelmed together in the devouring
flood. A month afterwards, and the Russians met the French at the same
spot--no bridge was here, but the fierce Russians bound timbers together
with the scarfs of the officers, threw them over the chasm, crossed in
the midst of a murderous fire, and drove the enemy down the Pass into
the vales below.

[Illustration: THE DEVIL'S BRIDGE.]

It was dark before we were willing to quit this fearful place. The
strength of the present bridge is so obvious, and the parapet so high,
that the scene may be contemplated without fear; but the clouds had now
gathered, hoarse thunder muttered among the mountains, spiteful squalls
of rain, cold, gloomy, and piercing, were driving into our faces, and we
were anxious to find shelter for the night. We left the Bridge, but in
another moment plunged into utter darkness as we entered a tunnel called
the _Hole of Uri_, where the road is bored one hundred and eighty feet
through the solid rock, a hard but the only passage, as the stream
usurps the rest of the way, and the precipice admits no possible path
over its lofty head. This was made a hundred and fifty years ago, and
before that time the passage was made on a shelf supported by chains let
down from above. It was called the Gallery of Uri, and along it a single
traveller could creep, if he had the nerve, in the midst of the roar and
the spray of the torrent, and with an hungry gulph yawning wide below
him.--Emerging from this den, we entered a valley five thousand feet
above the sea; once doubtless a lake, whence the waters of the Reuss
have burst the barriers of these giant fortresses, and found their way
into more hospitable climes. No corn grows here, but the land flows with
milk and honey--by no means an indication of fertility, for the cows and
the goats find pasture at the foot of the glaciers, and the bees their
nests in the stunted trees and the holes of the rocks. We drove through
it till we came to Andermatt, where the numerous lights in the windows
guided us to a rustic tavern.

By this time it had commenced raining hard, and I began to be anxious
for my young friend Rankin, and a German student, Heinrich. But I could
do no more for them than to send a man to watch in the highway till they
should come up, and lead them into the house where I was resolved to
spend the night, whether we could find beds or not. These rural inns in
Switzerland are rude and often far from comfortable. But travellers here
must not stand upon trifles. The house was designed to lodge twenty
travellers, and thirty at least were here before us. A large supper
table was spread, and around it a company of gentlemen and ladies,
mostly German, were enjoying themselves right heartily, after the day's
fatigue was over. The London lawyer and myself had a separate table laid
for us--we soon gathered on it some of the good things of this life,
which by the way you can find almost every where, and had made some
progress in the discussion of the various subjects before us, when
Rankin and Heinrich arrived nearly exhausted with their toilsome walk.
They had a dreadful tale to tell of the storm they had met--which we
just escaped, and barely that. The lightning filled the gloomy gorge,
lighting up for an instant the mighty cliffs and hanging precipices,
while the thunder roared above the sound of the torrent, and the rain
drove into their faces, disputing with them the upward pass. But they
were young men, and strong. They told me that I never could have borne
the labor and the exposure of the walk. Two travellers and a guide had
given out, and taken lodgings in a hamlet we had passed, and the man
whom we had employed to bring on our light bags, had also halted for the
night, and would come up early in the morning.

After supper I led them to our chamber. Upon my arrival, the landlady
assured me that every bed in the house was full, but I insisted so
strenuously on having _three_, that the girls exchanged looks of
agreement, and one of them offered to show me a chamber, if it would be
acceptable. She led me up three pair of stairs, into a low garret
bed-room, with one window of boards which could be opened, and one small
one of glass that could not, and here were three beds kindly given up by
the young women. Into this chamber I now conducted my young friends.

Worn out with their hard day's work, but free from all anxious care,
they were asleep in five minutes, while I coaxed the candle to burn as
long as it would, fastened it up with a pin on the top of the
candlestick, and tried to write the records of the few past hours. It
was amusing to hear my companions, one on each side of me, talk in their
sleep; Heinrich in his native German, and Rankin in his English, showing
the restlessness of over-fatigue, while I sat wondering at myself, so
lately a poor invalid, now in this wild region, exposed to such nights
of discomfort, and days of toil. Yet was I grateful even there, not only
for a safe shelter and a much better bed than my Master had, but for the
strength to attempt such things, and for the luxury of health that lives
and flows in a genial current through every part of a renovated frame.

In the morning I met an American gentleman returning from the summit of
St. Gothard pass, and he advised me strenuously not to go further up,
unless I was going now into Italy. The most wonderful of the engineering
in the construction of the road, had already been seen, and there was
nothing else of interest above. The same savage scenery, in the midst of
which the Reuss leaps down 2,000 feet in the course of a two hours'
walk, is continued, and the dreariness of desolation reigns alone. A
house for the accommodation of travellers has been maintained for
hundreds of years, destroyed at times and then restored, and a few monks
have been supported here to extend what aid they may to those who
require their assistance. We resolved to pursue a route through the
_Furca_ pass, one of the most romantic and interesting of all the passes
in Switzerland. A long day's walk it would be over frozen mountains and
by the side of never melting glaciers, and no carriage way! Nothing but
a bridle and a foot path, and a rough one too, was now before us, and if
we left the present road, and struck off over the Furca, it would be
four or five days before we should reach the routes which are traversed
by wheels. Our baggage, though but a bag apiece and blankets, was too
heavy for us to carry if we walked, and I proposed to take a horse, put
on him our three bundles, and ride by turns. Heinrich had never heard of
the mode of travelling called "ride and tie," and he was greatly amused
when it was described to him. Accordingly we ordered a horse for the
day. The price is regulated by law, under the pretence of protecting the
traveller, but really for the purpose of extorting from him a sum twice
as large as he would have to pay if the business were open to
competition. The horse was brought to the door, and when we ordered the
bags of three to be strapped on, the landlord flew into a great rage,
and declared he would not be imposed upon. I smiled in his red face, and
asked, "If he knew how much baggage the law allowed each man to carry on
his horse." He said he did, and I then told him to weigh those, and he
might have for his own all over and above the legal allowance. He was
still dissatisfied, but when we bade him to take his old nag to the
stable, he suddenly cooled. Without further delay he made fast "the
traps," gave me a good stout fellow to conduct the party and bring back
the beast. An idle group of guides and tavern hangers, and quite a party
of Germans and English were looking on when I bestrode the animal, and
took my seat in the midst of the bundles rising before and behind, like
the humps of a camel. We are yet in the vale of the Urseren, not more
than a mile wide, and lofty mountains flanking its sides. The mountain
of St. Anne is clad with a glacier, from which the "thunderbolts of
snow" come down with terrific power in the spring, and yet there stands
a forest in the form of a triangle, pointing upward, and so placed that
the slides of snow as they come down are broken in pieces and guided
away from the village below. The great business of the people in this
vale is to keep cattle and to fleece the strangers who travel in throngs
over the pass of St. Gothard. Hundreds of horses are kept for hire, and
nothing is to be had by a "foreigner" unless he pays an exorbitant
price. Even the specimens of minerals are held so high, that no
reasonable man can afford to buy them. But we are now leaving Andermatt,
and on the side of the road not long after leaving the village we saw
two stone pillars, which need but a beam to be laid across them, and
they make a gallows, on which criminals were formerly hung, when this
little valley, like Gersau on the lake, was an independent state. The
pillars are still preserved with care, as a memorial of the former
sovereignty of the community.

We reached _Hospenthal_ in a few moments; a cluster of houses about a
church, and with a tower above the hamlet which is attributed to the
Lombards. I was struck with the exceeding loneliness and forsakenness of
this spot. It seemed that men had once been here, but had retired from
so wild and barren a land, to some more genial clime. Hospenthal has a
hotel or two, and it is a great halting place for travellers who are
about to take our route over the Furca to the Hospice of the Grimsel.
Here we quit the St. Gothard road, and winding off by a narrow path in
which we can go only in single file, we are soon out of the vale, and
slowly making our way up the mountain. The hill sides are dotted with
the huts of the poor peasants, who have hard work to hold fast to the
slopes with one hand, while they work for a miserable living with the
other. The morning sun was playing on the blue glacier of St. Anne, and
a beautiful waterfall wandered and tumbled down the mountain; yet this
was but one of many of the same kind that we are constantly meeting as
we go through these defiles of the high Alps. The vast masses of snow
and ice on the summits are sending down streams through the Summer, and
these sometimes leap from rock to rock, and again they clear hundreds of
feet at a single bound; slender, like a long white scarf on the green
hill, but very picturesque and beautiful. At the foot of this mountain
are the remains of an awful avalanche, which buried a little hamlet here
in a sudden grave, and a sad story of a maiden and a babe who perished,
was told me with much feeling by the guide as we passed over the spot.
The peasant men and women were bringing down bundles of hay on their
heads and shoulders from the scanty meadows which here and there in a
warm bosom of the hills may be found, and as they descended I recalled
the story of Orpheus, at whose music the trees are said to have followed
him, and I could readily understand that such a procession might be
taken or mistaken for the marching of a young forest. We are still
following up the river Reuss towards its source, and though it is
narrower, it is often fiercer and makes longer strides at a step than it
did last evening. We cross it now and then on occasional stones, or on
rude logs, and come to a spot where the bridge was swept away last night
by an avalanche of earth and ice, and well for us that it came in the
night before we were here to be caught. An old man with a pickaxe in his
hand had been working to repair the crossing, and had managed to get a
few stones arranged so that foot passengers could leap over, and the
horses after slight hesitation and careful sounding of the bottom, took
to the torrent and waded safely over. I held my feet high enough to
escape a wetting, but I heard a lady of another party complaining
bitterly that the water was so deep or her foot so far down, I could not
tell which, but it was evident that very much against her will she had
been drawn through the river.

At Realp, a little handful of houses, we found a small house of
refreshment, where two Capuchin friars reside to minister to travellers,
and this was the last sign of a human habitation we saw for some weary
hours. We are now so far up in the world, that the snow lay in banks by
the side of the path, while flowers, bright beautiful flowers were
blooming in the sun. It is difficult to reconcile this apparent
contradiction in nature. The fact is not surprising here, where we see
such vast accumulations of snow and remember that a short summer does
not suffice to melt it, but it is strange to read of flowery banks all
gay and smiling, within a few feet only of these heaps of snow. I
counted flowers of seven distinct colors, and gathered those that would
press well in my books, souvenirs of this remarkable region. On the
right the Galenstock Glacier now appears, and out of it vast rocks like
the battlements of some old castle shoot 1,000 feet into the air. I am
now among the ice palaces of the earth. The cold winds are sweeping down
upon me, and I hug my coat closer as the ice blast strikes a chill to my

We were just making the last sharp ascent before reaching the summit of
the Furca when I overtook a lady sitting disconsolately by the wayside.
She cried out as soon as I came up, "O Sir, my guide is such a
brute--the saddle turns under me and I cannot get him to fix it--my
husband has gone on before me--I cannot speak a word of German and the
dumb fool cannot speak a word of English. What shall I do?"

"Madam," said I, "my servant shall arrange your saddle, and I will
conduct you to the summit where the rest of your party will doubtless
wait." She overpowered me with her expressions of gratitude, and while
my servant was putting her saddle girths to rights, I gave her guide the
needful cautions, and we crossed a vast snow bank together, climbed the
steep pitch, and in ten minutes reached the inn at the top of the Furca.
Distant glaciers, snow clad summits, ridges, and ranges stood around me,
a world without inhabitants, desolate, cold and grand in its icy canopy
and hoary robes of snow.

The descent was too rapid and severe for riding, and giving the horse
into the charge of the servant we walked down, discoursing by the way of
things rarely talked of in the Alps. My young German friend had all the
enthusiasm of the French character joined to the mysticism of his own
nation. He is well read in English literature, and familiar with ancient
and modern authors, so that we had sources unfailing, to entertain us as
we wandered on; now sitting down to rest and now bracing ourselves for a
smart walk over a rugged pass. I became intensely interested in him,
though I had constant occasion to challenge his opinions, and especially
to contrast his philosophy with the revealed wisdom of God. We had
spoken of these things for an hour or more when I asked him if he had
ever read "the Pilgrim's Progress," and when I found he had not, I told
him the design of the allegory, and said "we are pilgrims over these
mountains, and have been cheering one another with pleasing discourse as
the travellers did on their way to the celestial city. They came at last
in sight of its gates of pearl."

"But what is that?"

We had suddenly turned the shoulder of a hill, and a glacier of such
splendor and extent burst upon our view as to fix us to the spot in
silent but excited admiration. It was the first we had seen near us.
Others had been lying away in the far heights, their surface smoothed by
the distance, and their color a dull blue; but now we were at the foot
of a mountain of ice! We could stand upon it, walk on its face, gaze on
its form and features, wonder, admire, look above it and adore! This is
the glacier of the Rhone! That great river springs from its bosom, first
with a strong bound as if suddenly summoned into being, works its way
through a mighty cavern of ice, and then winds along the base till it
emerges in a roaring, milky white stream and rushes down the valley
toward the sea. This glacier has been called a "magnificent sea of ice."
It is not so. That description conveys no idea of the stupendous scene.
You have stood in front of the _American_ fall of Niagara. Extend that
fall far up the rapids, receding as it rises a thousand feet or more
from where you stand to the crest: at each side of it let a tall
mountain rise as a giant frame work on which the tableau is to rest;
then suddenly congeal this cataract, with its curling waves, its clouds
of spray, its falling showers of jewelry, point its brow with pinnacles
of ice, and then, then let the bright sun pour on it his beams, giving
the brilliancy not of snow but of polished ice to the vast hill-side now
before you, and you will then have but a faint conception of the
grandeur of this glacier.

"It answers," said Heinrich, "to Burke's definition of the sublime--it
is vast, mysterious, terrible!"

I replied that "it was impossible for me to have the sensation of fear,
and scarcely of awe in looking upon the scene before us--it rather had
to me the image of the outer walls of heaven, as if there must be
infinite glory within and beyond when such majesty and beauty were
without. And then these flowers skirting the borders of this frozen
pile, and smiling as lovely as beneath the sunniest slope in Italy,
forbade the idea that this crystal mountain was of ice."

"But will it not vanish if we look away?" said Heinrich, as he gazed on
the frozen cataracts, and gave utterance to his admiration in the most
expressive words that German, French, English, Latin or Greek would
supply, for our discourse was in a mixture of them all.

Soon after passing the Glacier of the Rhone we met a peasant who assured
us that he had fallen into one of its crevices, seventy feet, and had
cut his way up with a hatchet, thus delivering himself from an icy

A little wayside inn gave us a brief respite from our toilsome journey.
We climbed the Grimsel, and reached the Dead Sea on its summit. It is
called the Lake of the Dead, because the bodies of those who perished in
making this journey were formerly cast into it for burial. Heinrich and
I left the path and climbed to a cliff where we looked down on the
pilgrim parties on horses and on foot, winding their way along its
borders. We sent our servant onward to engage beds for us at the hospice
of the Grimsel, and resolved to spend the rest of the day (the sun was
yet three hours high) in this wilderness of mountain scenery.

We could now look down into the valley, a little valley, but like an
immense cauldron, the sides of which are sterile naked rocks, eight
hundred feet high! On the west they stand like the walls and towers of a
fortified city, and in the bottom of the vale is a single house and a
small lake; but a flock of a hundred goats and a score of cows, with
tinkling bells, are picking a scanty subsistence among the stones. The
scene was wild, savage, grand indeed, and had there been no sun to light
it up with the lustre of heaven, it would have been dreary and dismal.
Heinrich had been very thoughtful for an hour. He had discovered that my
thoughts turned constantly to the God who made all these mountains,
while he was ever studying the mountains themselves.

"Here I will commune with nature."

I replied, "And I will go on a little further, and commune with God!"

"Stay," he cried, "I would go with you."

"But you cannot see Him," I said--"I see Him in the mountain and the
glacier and the flower: I hear Him in the torrent and the still small
voice of the rills and little waterfalls that are warbling ever in our
ears. I feel his presence and something of his power. I beg you to stay
and commune with nature, while I go and commune with God."

I left him and wandered off alone, and in an hour went down the
mountain, and to my chamber in the hospice. I was sitting on the
bedside, arranging the flowers I had gathered during the day, when
Heinrich entered, and giving me his hand said to me, "I wish you would
speak more to me of God!"

He sat down by my side, and I asked him if he believed the Bible to be
the Word of God.

He said he did, but he would examine it by the light of history and
reason, and reject what he did not find to be true.

"And do you believe that the soul of man will live hereafter?"

"I doubt," was his desponding answer.

I then addressed him tenderly, "My dear young friend, I have loved you
since the hour I met you at Altorf. And now tell me, with all your
studies have you yet learned how to die? You _doubt_, but are you so
well satisfied with your philosophy that you are able to look upon death
among the mountains, or by the lightning, without fear? My faith tells
me that when I die my life and joy will just begin, and go on in glory
forever. This is the source of all my hopes, and it gives me comfort now
when I think that I may never see my native land and those I love on
earth again. I _know_ that in another land we shall meet?"

"How do you know that you shall meet?"

"My faith, my heart, my Bible tells me so. I shall meet all the _good_
in heaven. I am sure of one child, an angel now."

"And where are your children?"

"Four in America, and one in heaven. I had a boy four years ago; earth
never had a fairer. His locks were of gold and hung in rich curls on a
neck and shoulders whiter than the snow: his brow was high and broad
like an infant cherub's; and his eye was blue as the evening sky. And he
was lovelier than he was fair. But in the budding of his beauty, he fell
sick and died."

"O no, not died!"

"Yes, he died here by my heart. And that child is the only one of mine
that I am sure of ever seeing again."

"I do not understand you."

"If my other children grow up to _doubt_ as _you_ doubt, they may wander
away on the mountains of error or the glaciers of vice, and fall into
some awful gulph and be lost forever. And if I do not live to see my
living children, I am as sure of meeting that one now in heaven, as if I
saw him here in the light of the setting sun.--Heinrich, have you a
mother, my dear friend?"

"Yes, yes," he cried, "and her faith is the same as yours."

I had seen his eyes filling, and had felt my own lips quivering as I
spoke, but now he burst into tears and fell on my breast. He kissed my
lips, and my cheeks, and my forehead, and the hot tears rained on my
face, and mingled with my own. "O teach me the way to feel and believe,"
he said at last, as he clung to me like a frightened child, and clasped
me convulsively to his heart. I held him long and tenderly, and felt for
him somewhat, I hope, as Jesus did for the young man who came to him
with a similar inquiry. _I loved him_, and longed to lead him to the
light of day.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                          GLACIERS OF THE AAR.

My new Friend--a Wonderful Youth--Hospice of the Grimsel--the Valley--a
   comfortable Day--Glaciers of the Aar--a Gloomy Vale--Climbing a
   Hill--View of the Glacier--Theory of its Formation--Caverns in the
   Ice--Incidents of Men falling in--My Leap and Fall--an Artist

Heinrich proved to be a wonderful youth. He had a warm heart, and his
intellect was cultivated to a degree not parallelled in my acquaintance
among young men. He was just one and twenty years of age, and had not
completed the usual course of collegiate education. But there was no
author in the Latin or Greek languages, poet, philosopher or historian,
whose works I have ever heard of, which were not familiar to him, as the
English Classics are to well read men in England or America. He
discoursed readily of the style, the dialect, the shade of sentiment on
any disputed point; he cited passages and drew illustrations from the
pages of ancient literature which seemed to him like household words:
and one of our amusements when crossing the Alps was to discuss the
difference in Greek or Latin words which are usually regarded as
synonymes. But classical learning was the least and lowest attainment of
this accomplished youth. The whole range of Natural Sciences had been
pursued with a zeal that might be called a passion. Botany and
Mineralogy were child's play to him: and Chemistry had been a favorite
study evidently, for its principles often came up in our rambling
discourse, and he was master of it as if he had been a teacher of the
science for years. Geology was a hobby of his, and he thrust it upon me
often when I wished he would let me alone, or discourse of something
else. And yet when I have said all this I have not mentioned the
department in which he was most at home, where his soul revelled in
profound enjoyment, and in which he was resolved to spend his life.
_Metaphysics_ was his favorite pursuit. His analytical mind was always
on the track of investigation, challenging a reason for everything,
questioning the truth of every proposition, and never resting till his
reason had subjected it to the most exhausting process. Yet in the midst
of these studies including many departments to which I have not
referred, as the exact sciences, he had polished this fine intellect by
the widest course of polite literature, perusing in the German
translations, all the old masters of the English tongue, admiring
Shakespeare and Milton, quoting from them as a scholar would from
Sophocles or Homer, and surprising me by reference to English authors,
whose works I had not supposed were translated into the German language.
Of course the poets and philosophers of his father-land were his pride
and love. Often he would speak of them in terms of endearment, as if
they were his personal friends; though of all beings, present or past,
in heaven or out of it, I think he loved Plato most. This boy was just
out of his teens, a student still, and modest as he was learned; burning
to learn more; asking questions till it was tiresome to hear them; and
never dreaming that he knew more than others. He was the most learned
young man I ever saw. And few old men know half as much. He now joined
my party, leaving his own altogether, and resolved to follow me to the
ends of the earth.

We are now in the Vale of the Grimsel. In the bottom of the Valley, by
the side of a lake forever dark with the shadows of overhanging hills,
is the _Hospice_, a name that here combines the idea of hospital and
hotel--its design being to furnish lodging and entertainment to
travellers, whether they are able to pay for the hospitality or not.
Last winter the landlord of the Grimsel having insured his house, set
fire to it, to get the money, and now is in prison for twenty years as
the penalty of his crime. In years past there have been terrible
avalanches here, and once the house was crushed by the "thunderbolts of
snow." Often it is surrounded by snow drifts twenty or thirty feet high,
yet some one lodges here all winter to keep up a fire and furnish
shelter to the benighted traveller. It is strange that these lonely
paths should be traversed at all in the depth of winter. But there is no
other mode of communication between the valleys, than along these
defiles, and the traffic among the people of one canton with another is
carried on, and the intercourse of families is kept up at the risk of
life here as in other countries. If one has a good home, it were better
to stay in it than to cross the Grimsel in the winter.

A mixed multitude were under the roof of the Hospice. The building is
yet unfinished; and it must have required prodigious exertions to get it
so far under way, since the fire, as to make it habitable for travellers
this season. Every stick of timber must be brought up by hand from the
plain some miles below. The walls are of stone, about three feet thick,
and rough enough. No attempt to smooth a wall, or paint a board appears
on the edifice, and the rude bedsteads, benches and chairs suggest to
the luxurious traveller how few of the good things he has at home are
actually essential to his comfort. The house has about forty beds, but
these were far from being sufficient to give each weary pilgrim one.
Many were obliged to choose the softest boards in the dining room floor,
and sleep on them. Yet in that company of sixty who crowded around the
supper table were many of the learned, and titled, and beautiful, and
wealthy of many lands; meeting socially in a dreary valley, on a journey
of pleasure, and refreshing each other with the "feast of reason and the
flow of soul." Reserve was banished, and the hour freely given to good
cheer, in which all strove to forget the toils of the day, in the
pleasures of the evening, and the repose of a peaceful night.

Within an hour's walk from the door of the Hospice is the Glacier of the
Aar, the most interesting and instructive of all the Glaciers of
Switzerland. It has been more studied by men of science than any other.
Agassiz and Forbes had their huts on its bosom, and spent many long and
weary months in prying into the mysteries of these stupendous seas of
solid water. Not one of the whole company who staid at the Hospice last
night, turned aside for a day to study with us this wonderful scene. A
party of English people read the guide book on the route to Meyringen,
and congratulated themselves on having a "comfortable" day, as there was
very little to see! They were _doing_ Switzerland, and were evidently
pleased to find a day before them when they had nothing to do but to go
on, without being worried with fine views and climbing hills. One party
after another came down and took a wretched cup of coffee, and were off
on their pilgrimage, some on foot, some on mules, and one or two were
carried on chairs by porters.

We were left alone at the Hospice, and after breakfast set off to spend
the day on the Glaciers. There are two of them, the Obi and Unter, or
Upper and Lower; the latter being the most easily reached, and happily
the most interesting. It is eighteen miles long, and about three miles
wide. To circumnavigate it therefore, is not the journey of a day, but
it may be explored on foot, and Hugi, the naturalist, is said to have
rode over it on a horse. The morning was not promising. Heavy mists had
lodged in the vale of the Grimsel. But far above them in gloomy grandeur
rose the sterile ridges of rocks, towering aloft, and looking like the
battlements of giants' castles, inaccessible save to the chamois and his
pursuer, who often risked, and sometimes threw away his life in his
daring adventures to secure his prey. Even the chamois has now almost
entirety disappeared, and the eagles alone have their dwelling places in
these desolate abodes. Yet from the lofty heights some beautiful
cascades are pouring all the way down into the vale, foaming as they
fall; and sometimes caught by the intervening rocks, and sent out from
the side of the precipice they melt into spray, and again on a lower
ledge are gathered to pursue their downward course. Along the bottom of
this gloomy vale we walked for an hour, till we came in sight of a
mighty pile of earth, rocks, ice and snow. At first we thought we had
come to a vast heap of sand, or to the _debris_ brought down by an
avalanche of soil with stones intermingled, but from the base of it a
torrent was rushing, not of clear blue water, but of a dirty milky hue,
as are all the streams when they issue from the beds of these Glaciers.
The front of the mass was perhaps one hundred and fifty feet high, and
nearly perpendicular, and here it was half a mile in width. On nearer
approach, we could see the rocks of blue ice projecting through the
coating of earth, showing plainly that the body of the great pile before
us was the cold icebergs hid beneath a covering of earth that had been
washed down upon it, from the mountains above. Now and then large masses
of earth, or a huge boulder would be dislodged from the brow of the
pile, and thunder along down, as we sat watching for these miniature
avalanches. The sense of the terrible was strong upon us now. It was not
beautiful: it was grand and awful, as we changed our position lest the
falling rocks should overtake us in their course. But a few little birds
were flying about from stone to stone unconscious of danger, the
solitary inhabitants of this frozen world.

We now determined to ascend and look on its face. With incredible toil
we climbed the hill by the side of it. If there ever was a path, we
could not find it, but from rock to rock, often pulling ourselves up by
the stunted bushes, we worked our way. Onward and upward we mounted, and
at last were rewarded for the struggle by standing abreast of the
glacier, where we could walk around and upon it and contemplate its
stupendous proportions. From the bosom of it rises the Finster-Aarhorn,
a lone pyramid that seems now to touch the blue sky: so cold and stern
it stands there, its head forever covered with snow and its foot in this
everlasting ocean of ice. The Schreckhorn is the other peak that stands
yet farther off, but the clouds are now so dense around its summit, that
I cannot see its hoary head.

Here we are six thousand feet above the level of the sea, and for
three-quarters of the year the snow is falling on these mountains: not
an April snow that melts as it falls, but a dry powder, into which a man
without snow-shoes would sink out of sight, as in the water. On the
loftiest of these mountains, the surface of the snow melts a little
every day, and the deeper you descend into the snow, the melting is
going on also. But at night it freezes, as by day for a little while it
thaws, and this process is continued until the snow is gradually
converted into ice. The high valleys are filled with these ever
increasing deposits of snow, which are thus constantly undergoing this
change, and as the fresh deposit far exceeds what is carried off by
melting, the enormous mass is rather increased than diminished by the
lapse of time. It becomes a fixed fact; yet not fixed, for the most
remarkable, and to my mind, the sublimest fact in this relation, is that
these glaciers are actually moving steadily, year by year. The
projecting mass in the lowest valley, as where we were standing a few
hours ago, is melting away, and sending out the river that leaves its
bosom on its mission into a world far below. Underneath the glacier,
where it presses on the earth, which has a heart of fire, the work of
dissolution is rapidly going on, while the sun on the upper surface
melts the ice, and streams flow along and cut deep crevices into which
the uncautious traveller may fall never to rise again till the last day.
Some of these glaciers may be traversed underneath, by following the
streams. Hugi wandered a mile in this way underneath magnificent domes,
through which the sun-light was streaming, and among crystal columns
which had been left standing as if to support the superincumbent mass.
The water, as in rocky caverns, trickles through and freezes in
beautiful stalactytes, to adorn these palaces, unseen except by the eye
to which darkness and light are both alike. As this decay of the glacier
takes place, and it is always more rapid near the lower border of it
than above, the pressure of the upper masses brings the whole mountain
slowly along: with a steadiness of march that cannot be perceived by the
eye, but which is marked with precision, and chronicled from year to
year. The place where great rocks are reposing on the surface near the
edge of the mountain against which the glacier presses has been
carefully noted, and the next year and for many subsequent years, the
onward progress of the boulder has been noted. Blocks of granite have
been inserted in the bosom of the glacier, and their position defined by
their relation to the points of land in sight; and years afterwards they
are away on their journey, and by and by, they have disappeared
altogether as the glacier moves on and heaves and breaks and closes
again. More wonderful still, it is recorded that a "mass of granite of
twenty six thousand cubic feet, originally buried under the snow, was
raised to the surface and even elevated above it upon two pillars of
ice, so that a small army might have found shelter under it." The men of
science who have pursued investigations here under circumstances quite
as fearful and forbidding as the navigators around the north Pole, have
a rude hut in which they make themselves as comfortable as the nature of
the case will admit; but this house though founded on a rock is not
stationary. It moves on with the mighty field of ice, about three
hundred feet in a year, or nearly one foot every day: not so rapidly in
winter as in summer, for the rate of progress depends on the melting,
which is arrested for a brief period during the terrible winters of this
Alpine region. Other glaciers move with greater rapidity than this. The
Mere de Glace is believed to move at the rate of four or five hundred
feet every year, and it is said that the glacier is gradually wasting

The surface of this frozen sea is exceedingly irregular, depending on
the nature of the ground below, and the progress of the ice. When a
stream has cut away a great seam, where the descent of the moving mass
will be swift when it does move, the shock will throw up the ice in
ridges, in pyramids, in various fantastic shapes, piling rocks on rocks
of ice, as if some great explosion underneath had upheaved the surface
and the fragments had come down in wild confusion, like the ruins of a
crystal city. Then the sun gradually melts those towers, and they assume
strange shapes of wild and dazzling beauty, unreal palaces, glittering
minarets, silvered domes and shining battlements; freaks of nature we
call them, but they are too beautiful for chance work, and we do not
know to what eyes these forms of glory may give pleasure, nor why it is
that God displays so much of his selectest skill and most stupendous
power, where few behold it of the race to which we belong. Doubtless our
own great Cataract leaped and thundered in the wilderness thousands of
years, with no human ear or eye to receive its majesty and beauty, but
it did not roar in vain. God has other and nobler worshippers than man,
and while we are groping like moles beneath the surface, and striving in
our blindness to discover the mysteries of God's works, there are minds
to which these wonders are revelations of their Maker's glory and
goodness, and they understand, admire and adore.

Here was a world of solid water, gradually enlarging and then melting
away, to send down rivers into the plains below, and this with the other
glaciers of the Alps, is thus supplying all the rivers in Europe which
might otherwise be dry. Yet as other rivers in other lands are
constantly supplied without this provision, we must suppose that some
other design in Providence is laid, which science may or may not
discover, but whether it does or not, we are certain that they are not
without a purpose corresponding with the magnitude of their proportions,
and the wisdom of Him who, though omnipotent, never wastes His strength
in works without design.

We confined our walks to the edges of this solid but still treacherous
sea. We had yesterday conversed with a man who had fallen into the
crevices of one of these glaciers, and we had a greater horror of
repeating the experiment. The case is on record of a shepherd who was
crossing this very glacier with his flock, when he fell into one of the
clefts, into which a torrent was pouring. This stream was his guide to
life and liberty again; for he followed its course under the archway it
had made, until it led him to the foot of the glacier into the open air.
But a Swiss clergyman, a spiritual shepherd, M. Mouron, was leaning on
the edge of a fissure to explore a remarkable formation over the brink,
when the staff on which he rested gave way, and he fell, only to be
drawn out again a mangled corpse. A man was let down by a rope, and
after two or three unsuccessful expeditions, found him at last, and was
drawn up with the body in his arms.

Coming down from the hill, we had hard work in crossing some dangerous
clefts in the rocks, and once I planted my Alpen-stock firmly, as I
thought, in the thin soil, and leaped; the spike failed; the foot of the
staff slipped on and left the steel in the ground, and I was sprawling
generally along down the hill: fortunately I recovered my foothold, and
came down standing! And this is a good place in which to say that shoes
with iron nails in the soles are not the best for walking over these
mountains: a good pair of boots with double soles have served me many
times, sticking fast in the face of a slippery rock, while travellers
shod with iron have been sliding down with no strength of sole to resist
the gravitation. But I met with no such misfortune in all my travels
over the most dangerous passes, and under circumstances of trial not
often exceeded by those who wander in these parts.

We had several sorts of weather in this expedition to the source of the
Aar. The misty morning was succeeded by a glowing sun at noon, followed
by clouds and rain. When this was coming, we thought it time to be
going, and gathering a few flowers, as usual, on the verge of the cold
beds of ice, we turned our weary steps towards the Hospice. It was our
good fortune just then to meet an Italian artist who had lost his way,
and we had the pleasure of guiding him to the Hospice. Wandering with
his knapsack and port folio, in search of the beautiful in nature, which
he sketched by the way, it was of no great consequence to him, in which
direction he travelled, but a storm was now at hand, it was rapidly
growing cold, and he was going every moment farther from any place of

We were soon housed safely in the Hospice; and glad enough to stretch
ourselves on a bed after the walk of the morning. It was hard to keep
warm anywhere else but in bed. The house was yet so unfinished and open,
and the storm increasing every moment; a wretched old stove in one
corner of the eating-room, scarcely giving any heat with the few sticks
of fuel we were able to find. We wrapped blankets around us, and tried
to write, and when that proved to be more than we could accomplish under
the difficulties, I took my Bible and read to my German friend some of
the sublimest passages in the Psalms, where the Lord is revealed among
the mountains, and his majesty portrayed by the loftiest of his works.
He listened with interest, and when I laid aside the book, he asked for
it, and read it long and earnestly.

As the evening drew on, a few travellers began to drop in, and at seven
o'clock a company, much like the one of last night, but all with new
faces, sat down to supper.

                              CHAPTER VII.

                     MOUNTAINS, STREAMS AND FALLS.

Pedestrianism--Mountain Torrents--Fall of the Handek--The Guide and his
   Little Ones--Falls of the Reichenbach--Perilous Point of View.

Not in the best of spirits, nor in as good condition as a pedestrian
could wish, I set off the next morning, with my young friends. We would
have felt better but for a foolish resolution to carry our own knapsacks
and overcoats and to make one day's journey without guide or mule.
Success is apt to make one proud; and we had improved so much in our
walking with each day's experience, that we actually began to think we
could do anything in that line. The storm of the night before had gone
by, and a clear cool day encouraged us. Alas, we knew not how soon, in
the midst of glaciers, and in sight of dazzling snow-drifts, the hot sun
would thaw our resolution, and compel us to call lustily for help, when
no Hercules would be at hand to lend us aid.

Not a wilder or more romantic path had we found than the one which led
us out of the vale of the Grimsel. The river Aar is by our side, leaping
from ledge to ledge in its rapid descent; dashing now against rocks and
foaming around them and onward, as if maddened by every obstacle and
brooking no delay. Water in motion is always beautiful. Here on our
right hand a streamlet is falling from the giddy height of a thousand
feet above us. At first it slips along on the edge of the rocks, as if
afraid to fall, and then with a graceful bound it clears the side of the
mountain, and comes down to a lower level, where it reposes for a moment
in a basin made without hands, and again it flows along down like a long
white robe suspended on the hill side, tastefully winding itself, as in

In full view, but far above us the snow lies fresh and white, for much
of it fell there yesterday: and among the clouds as they roll open and
let us see their beds, the blue glacier lies. Some of the views along
here are exceedingly grand, and in the midst of barrenness that can
hardly be excelled, the soul feels that enough is here to make a world,
though there is little vegetation, and not a human habitation. We
frequently cross the torrent by narrow bridges, and pause on each of
them to watch the angry waters whirling underneath. I was arrested on
one of them by the sight of a reservoir hollowed out of the solid rock
by the water; it would hold twenty barrels, and was full. The torrent
was now raving a few inches below, while the water within was as placid
in the sunshine as if it had never moved. The contrast was beautiful.
Let the mad world rush by, noisy, turbulent and thoughtless: it is
better to be calm and trusting: certainly it is better if our rest is on
a rock which cannot be moved.

The mountains rise suddenly from the edge of the torrent, and there is
barely room in some places for the path and the stream. There is great
danger too in travelling here in the winter when the avalanches come
rushing down the precipitous sides of these mountains. Their work of
destruction is lying all around us. They sweep across the path and for a
long distance have laid the rock perfectly bare, and polished it so
smoothly, that there is constant danger of sliding off into the gulf by
the side of the way. Grooves have been cut in the rock, that the feet of
the mules may have some support, but a prudent traveller will trust to
his own feet and his staff, and tread cautiously. We become so
accustomed to these dangerous places, that we pass them without emotion;
but there is never a season without its fatal accidents to travellers,
and none but fool-hardy persons will needlessly expose their lives. An
American family returned home a few days ago, having left the mangled
corpse of their son, a lad of twelve years, in some frightful gorge into
which he had fallen while riding on a mule in the midst of the Alps. We
frequently hear of painful facts like these, yet there is not a pass in
Switzerland which may not be safely made with prudence and coolness.

One of the finest cascades we had yet seen was on our right, after we
had made about five miles from the hospice. Its width of stream, volume
of water, and great height, entitle it to a name and a record which it
has not; and this has frequently appeared to me strange in this journey;
that _falls_ in Switzerland, of comparatively little beauty, have been
painted and praised the world over, while others of more romantic and
impressive features have no place in the hand-books, but are strictly
anonymous. The one we are now speaking of, attracted our attention as
decidedly more interesting than any we had seen among the mountains, and
in this opinion I presume others will agree. Its misfortune is that it
is within a mile of the Handek, which we are now approaching. A huge
log-hut received us, and we found refreshments such as might be expected
in a wilderness like this. Sour bread and sour wine, with strong cheese,
and a strange-looking pie, composed of materials into which it was not
prudent to inquire, gave us a lunch that might have been worse. We were
glad to get it, but even more pleased to find a place where we could lay
down our burdens, under which we had been groaning for an hour. This
pedestrianism in the Alps is very well to talk about, but it is not the
most agreeable mode of travelling to one who is accustomed only to a
sedentary life. We could find no mules here, however, but meeting a
sturdy fellow who was going up the pass, and who was a guide but not
just now engaged, we made a bargain with him to turn about and carry our
traps to Meyringen. He was on his way over the Grimsel into Canton
Vallais to buy eggs and butter, which he and his son, who was with him,
would bring back to sell in the lower valleys. This is the way in which
the traffic among the cantons is chiefly carried on. We are constantly
meeting the traders, men and women, with long baskets or wooden cans on
their backs, trudging over these mountains, exchanging the produce of
one part of the country for that of another. And this business is driven
in winter as well as summer, and many lose their lives in the snow, or
are overwhelmed by the avalanches. Our man now sent his boy on alone;
gave him a few directions as to what articles he should buy, and where
to wait his return, and then set off with us. I was astonished that a
father would trust a lad of such tender years (he was not more than
twelve), to go off on such an expedition alone, in such a region as
this; and after they had parted, I slipped some money into the little
fellow's hand, and said a cheering word or two, for I felt as if it were
cruel thus to leave him.

The river Aar has been rushing along by us, and now it has reached the
verge of a precipice more than a hundred feet high. At this point
another stream of only less volume forces its way across the path, and
dashes boldly into the Aar on the brink of the fall. Like two frantic
lovers they take the mad leap together into the fearful gulf. Standing
above the brow of the fall, and looking into the dark abyss, where the
vast column of water stands, silvered at the summit, spread and broken
into foam as it reaches the base, with clouds of spray rising from the
boiling depths below, we see a cataract that combines more of the
sublime with the very beautiful than any other in Switzerland. After we
had gazed upon it from the bridge at the brow, we went around and down
through the forest, and reached the ledge from which we could look up
and out upon the column of waters now pouring before us in exceeding
strength. A faint rainbow trembled midway, but the pine trees were too
thick to admit the sun's rays in full blaze upon the face of the fall.
But the surrounding scenery adds so much to the gloomy grandeur of the
scene, that I am quite willing to write this down as a _real_ cataract,
a wonderful leap and rush of waters, in the midst of a ravine of
terrific construction; filling the mind with the strongest sense of
wildness, horror, desolation and destruction, while the image of beauty
in the water and the bow, plays constantly over the face of all. We left
it with strong emotions of pleasurable excitement, and shall retain the
recollections of the falls of the Aar for many days.

The path by and by led under an extraordinary projection of rock,
shelving over, and making a pavilion. The descent became more rapid,
until we took to a long flight of stone steps in the path: and then on a
lower grade, we came upon meadow land, through which the grass had been
cut away for foot passengers to make a shorter course than that by which
the horses must find their way down. We entered a little cottage and
refreshed ourselves _again_, with coffee and milk, and had some pleasant
talk with the old lady and one or two of the neighbors who had dropped
down from some mountain home; for it is even pleasant, if no useful
knowledge is gathered, to learn the thoughts and feelings of these
secluded people, and to find that enjoyment, and contentment can exist
as truly and beautifully in the dreary heights of these Alpine
pasturages, as in the courts of kings: and a little more so.

For we were not very far above a lovely valley, one of the sweetest
spots that I carry in my memory. It is surprising how suddenly the line
of barrenness is passed, and the region of fruits and abundant
vegetation bursts upon you in this country. We had not been two hours
from dreary and inhospitable Guttanen, when we emerged from the narrow
defile into a vale, a plain, a basin of rare loveliness for situation
and embellishment. Level as a threshing floor, with a hundred Swiss
cottages scattered over it, and each of them surrounded with a garden
stored with fruits, apples, pears, and the like, while a stream flowing
through the midst of it divided the vale into two settlements, in one of
which a neat church sent up its graceful spire. We had been loitering
along down, and it was now drawing toward evening: the bell of the old
church was ringing for evening prayers, and the people, a few of them,
were gathering in their sanctuary as we passed. Four mountains, each of
them a distinct pyramid, rise on as many sides of this valley, and seem
at once to shut it from the world, and to stand around it as towers of
defence, as the mountains are round about Jerusalem. This is the Vale of
Upper Hasli; the river Aar flows through it; on the right as we are
going, is the village of Im-Hof, and on the left the settlement is
called Im-Grund. We passed a low house, like all the rest, and three
little children in a row, broke out with a song, a sweet Psalm tune,
such as our Sabbath school children would sing. We stopped to listen,
and the guide stood with us in front of the group, while they sang one
after another of their native melodies as birds of the forest would
warble an evening song. The youngest was not more than two years old;
and when we had given them some money for their music, I took the little
thing by the hand, and said, "Come away with me." The guide took it by
the other, and it trotted along between us with so much readiness, that
it occurred to me instantly that these might be the children of the man
who was with me. I said to him, "Are these yours?" "Yes Sir," said he,
and catching up the little thing in his arms, he kissed it fondly, and
carried it on with all the burdens already on his back. When he had put
it down and the children had returned, I asked him why it was that no
sign of recognition passed between him and his children when we first
came up to them as they stood by the side of the house. He told me that
he had taught them to receive him in this way when he came by with
strangers, whom he was guiding, and as they sang to receive what money
might be given them it was better that it should not be known there was
any relation between him and them. I had detected the connection by the
willingness of the babe to follow us, and the father was delighted to be
able to discover himself to his child, and to take it for a moment in
his arms. This incident reminded me of a striking scene in the well
known history of William Tell, where the tyrant Gessler confronts the
son with the father, and they both, without preconcert, but by a common
instinct of caution, deny one another, and persist in the denial till
the father is about to die.

Leaving the valley, we have a sharp hill to climb. A zig-zag path for
carriages has been made over it at great expense of money and labor; so
that this vale may be reached from the other side. The hill must at some
distant period in the past have resisted the progress of the Aar, and
this romantic valley was probably a beautiful lake in the midst of these
noble mountains. But the hill by some convulsion has been rent from the
top to the bottom, and the river finds its way through a fearful cavern;
one of the most awful gorges that can be found in Switzerland. After
crossing the hill we left the road, and following our guide for twenty
minutes came to the mouth of the cave, that leads down to the bed of the
river, where it is rushing through with frightful force in darkness but
not silence; for the roar of the waters is repeated among the rocks,
adding greatly to the terror of the scene. It is only half an hour's
walk from the Cave to Meyringen; but we made it more than an hour,
enjoying the fine views that opened upon us as we stood above the
village. It is but three miles across the plain, and as I look upon the
splendid cataract of the Reichenbach falling into it on one side, and
the Alpbach coming down on the other, and streaming cascades in great
numbers pouring into it down the precipitous sides of the mountains, the
first thought that strikes the mind is of the danger that the valley
would be filled with water one of these days and the people driven out.
Such a calamity has indeed occurred, and to guard against its return, a
stone dyke one thousand feet long and eight feet wide has been built,
that the swollen river may be conducted with safety out of the vale.
Long years ago the mountain torrent brought down a mass of earth with
it, so suddenly and so fearfully that in one brief hour, a large part of
the village was buried twenty feet deep, and the desolation thus wrought
still appears over the whole face of the plain. The Church has a black
line painted on it to mark the height to which it was filled with the
mud and water in this deluge of 1762. There is something very fearful in
the idea of dwelling in a region subject to such visitations. But there
is a fine race of men and women here. The men are spoken of as models
for strength and agility, and the matches and games in which they
annually contend with the champions of other cantons decide their claims
to the distinction. The women are good looking, and that is more than I
can say for most of the women I have met among the Alps; where the
hardy, exposed, and toilsome life they lead, in poverty and disease,
gives them such a look as I cannot bear to see in a female face. In fact
I could not tell a man from a woman but by their dress in many parts of
the mountains. Now we are down in the region of improved civilization,
and some taste in dress begins to appear among the women, who rig
themselves out in a holiday or Sunday suit of black velvet bodice, white
muslin sleeves, a yellow petticoat, and a black hat set jauntingly on
one side of the head, with their braided hair hanging down their backs.
An old woman on the hill at whose house I stopped for a drink, told me I
ought to stay there till next Sunday and see them all come out of
church; "a prettier sight I would never see in all my life."

Coming down from the Hospice of the Grimsel, I was filled with
admiration when I entered the valley in which the villages of Im-Hof and
Im-Grund lie, with their single church and hundred cottages. Naigle, my
guide, was one of the dwellers in this vale, and the meeting with his
children as he passed through had deeply interested me in the place and
the people. I wished to know more of their habits and especially I would
know the spirit and the power of the religion which these people
professed. They are so secluded from all the world, so girt with great
mountains and compelled to look upwards whenever they would see far,
that it seemed to me they must be a thoughtful religious people, even if
their way of religion was not the same as mine. It was a Protestant
Canton, and so far their faith was mine, but there is a wide difference
between the faith and practice of many churches that profess
Protestantism, as there is also in the churches under the dominion of
the Pope of Rome.

Naigle was a character. I was sure of it in five minutes after he was in
my service. Six feet high on a perpendicular, he was at least six feet
four, on a curve, for long service in carrying heavy burdens over the
mountains had made a bend in his back like a bow that is never unstrung.
I had asked him how many of those children he had, and he had told me
eight: and he did not improve in my good opinion when he offered as the
only objection to selling me the youngest, that he would be sent to
prison if he did. Yet Naigle loved his children I am sure, and would not
part with one of them unless for the sake of improving its prospects for
the future. His own were dark enough. One franc a day, less than twenty
cents of our money, is the price of a day's labor in the hardest work of
the year, though the very men who are glad to get this of their
neighbors, will not guide a stranger through their country, or carry his
bag, for less than five francs for eight or ten hours. The women will
work out doors all day for less than a man's wages, and perform the same
kind of labor. This Naigle was a hard-working man, it was very plain,
and there was a decided streak of good sense in him that assured me, he
could give me much valuable information, in spite of that miserable
mixture of German and French which was the only language he could speak.
Fortunately I had my young German friend with me, and we managed among
us to extract from Naigle all we desired. We had good rooms at
Meyringen, and Naigle was to stay over night there and return to his
family in the morning. I asked him where he would sleep; and he said "in
the stable," a lodgment I afterwards found to be common in this and
other European countries: not in rooms fitted up over the stalls, as in
America, but in bunks by the side of the horses: in the midst of foul
atmosphere which would be enough, I should suppose, to stifle any man in
the course of the night. Yet I have heard a German gentleman say that
there is no smell so pleasant to him as that of a stable, and I record
it as another evidence of the truth of the adage "there is no disputing
about _tastes_." Naigle came up to my room in the evening, sat down on a
trunk, and answered questions for an hour or two, but I can put all I
learned of him into a moderate compass, though it will want the
freshness and often the peculiar turn of thought with which he imparted

Naigle told me first of his family which he had great difficulty in
supporting on the low wages he received, and the small profits he could
make on his trade with the neighboring valleys. At least half of the
year, he said, they do not have a particle of meat in the house: they
live chiefly on potatoes and beans, with bread and milk: few vegetables,
and these not the most nutritious. The snow comes on so early in autumn
and lies so late in the spring that the season for cultivation is very
short, though they try to make the most of it while it lasts, as they do
of the little land in their valley, and on the mountain sides. Yet
poverty often stares them in the face with a melancholy threat of
famine. No people on earth dwell in such glorious scenery and in such
destitution of the real comforts of life.

But what are the morals of such a people? Are the virtues of social life
held in honor among them, and are the children of these mountain homes
trained up in the way they should go? One of the severest replies I have
had was given to me by a Swiss guide, who had followed his business of
showing strangers through the country for thirty years: and when he told
me he had three sons grown up to manhood I asked him if they were guides
also? He said, "No, he never allowed them to travel about with
foreigners: the boys learned too many bad words and ways in that
business." Very likely intercourse with travellers is not happy on the
morals of any people, but it is little that the dwellers in these
valleys see of foreigners, who push through them without pausing even to
spend a night. Naigle gave me however to understand that the standard of
social morals was very low among them, and this was confirmed by all
that I learned from the various classes of men with whom I came in
contact during my journey in this country. It is true everywhere, that
virtue does not flourish in the extremes of poverty or wealth.

He was greatly interested in the little church, and was pleased to
answer all my inquiries. The pastor, he said, was a good man who was
kind to them in sickness, visiting them to give the consolations of the
gospel, and especially at such times did they prize his instructions and
prayers. This service was rendered freely to the poorest among them, on
whom the pastor calls as soon as he hears that they are in distress, and
he is always engaged in looking among his flock to find those who have
need of his peculiar care. The same good shepherd has charge of the
parish school, to which all the children are sent; and if the parents
are able to pay anything toward their children's education, they are
expected to do so, but if not they are not deprived of the privileges of
the school. Here they are taught to read, to write, and to keep
accounts; but more than all this, they are instructed in the catechism
of the church, and are examined often on it, and encouraged to become
acquainted with the doctrines and duties of religion. It was hard for me
to convey my idea to Naigle when I sought to learn of him, if the good
pastor required of the young people any proof of _regeneration_, or a
change of heart, before giving them the second sacrament. He said their
children are all baptized in infancy, and admitted to the Lord's Supper
when they are old enough, and good enough, and understand the doctrines
taught in the school.

"But what if one of those who has come to the holy sacrament falls into
some sin, as stealing, or profane swearing?"

"O, in that case he is not allowed to come to the sacrament, till he has
repented and reformed. The minister is very strict about that, and the
people who belong to the church, that is, those who wish to be
considered as good Christian people, never indulge in any of those
things which are forbidden by the Bible. There are many loose people in
the valley who have no care for God or man, but have no connection with
the church."

On the whole, I was led to infer from what Naigle said that the church
of the Upper Hasli valley is about in the same condition with hundreds
of others in this and other lands. There is in the midst of this
mountain scenery far removed from the intercourse of the world, where a
newspaper is rarely seen, and few books are ever read, a little people
among whom God has some friends, who in their way are striving to serve
him, and whose service it will be pleasure to accept. Many of them have
only a form of religion. The Romish religion that surrounds these lands,
and which is so admirably framed for an ignorant and sensual people,
pervades the minds of many who are Protestants in name, and who cannot
be taught, or rather will not learn, that salvation is only by faith in
the Saviour. That other gospel which gives heaven to him who does
penance for his great sins, and bows often to the picture of a handsome
woman, is _the_ religion for a people who cannot read, or who have no
books if they can. Ignorance and Romanism go hand in hand.

My estimate of the Swiss character has wofully depreciated since I have
travelled among these mountains. With a history such as Greece might be
proud of, and a race of heroes that Rome never excelled in the days when
women would be mothers only to have sons for warriors; the Swiss people
now are at a point of national and social depression painful to
contemplate. They are indebted largely to the defences of nature for the
comparative liberty they enjoy, and perhaps to the same seclusion is to
be referred their want of a thousand comforts of life, which an improved
state of society brings. All the romance of a Swiss cottage is taken out
of a traveller's mind, the moment he enters one of these cabins and
seeks refreshment or rest. The saddest marks of poverty meet him in the
door. The same roof is the shelter of the man, woman and beast. The same
room is often the bed chamber of all. Scanty food, and that miserably
prepared, is consumed without regard to those domestic arrangements
which make life at home a luxury. There is no _future_ to the mind of a
Swiss youth. He lives to live as his father lived--and that is the end
of life with him. Perhaps he may have a gun, and in that case, to be the
best shot in the valley may fill his ambition: or if he is strong in the
arms and legs he may aim at distinction in the games which once a year
are held at some hamlet in the Canton, where the wrestlers and runners
contend for victory, and others throw weights and leap bars as of old in
Greece, when kings were not ashamed to enter the lists. Many of the
youth of Switzerland are willing to sell themselves into the service of
foreign powers, as soldiers--Swiss soldiers--hired to be shot at, and
shoot any body a foreign despot may send them to slay: a service so
degrading, and at the same time so decidedly hazardous to life and limb,
with so poor a chance for pay, that none but a people far gone in social
degradation would be willing thus to make merchandise of their blood.
Yet they have fought battles bravely with none of the stimulus of
patriotism, and their blood has been as freely poured out for tyrants
who hired them, as if they were bleeding for their own and the land of
William Tell.

_Falls of the Reichenbach._

I had enjoyed all the pleasures of pedestrianism that I wished, and told
Naigle to get me a horse for to-morrow. He was willing to go on with us
for a day or two more, but I gave him a trifle for his wife, and to pay
him for his evening while I kept him talking when he would have been
sleeping; and after he had brought me a man who would go with his horse,
and carry me on over the Wengern Alp, I dismissed him. There is nothing
in Swiss travelling more annoying than the impositions practised upon
you by those who have horses or mules for hire. The price for a horse is
at the rate usually of about ten francs or two dollars a day; but if you
are not to return the next day to the place from which you started, (and
you rarely or never do,) you must pay the same price for the horse to
come back. The driver manages to find a traveller to come back with, and
so gets double pay both ways in nine trips out of ten. If the business
were left open to competition without the help of government, the price
would be reduced. Naigle brought me a man who would go with his horse as
far as I liked for ten francs a day, and nothing for return money, but
he desired me to set off in the morning on foot, and he would be a few
minutes off, out of the village, for if the landlords who keep horses to
let, knew that he was at the business on his own hook, they would molest
him. He served me well, and I paid him to his entire satisfaction.

Leaving Meyringen on a lovely morning, the last of August, crossing the
Aar by a bridge, I came at once to the Baths of Reichenbach, where there
is a good hotel, said to be better than those at Meyringen. The grounds
about are tastefully arranged, and an establishment fitted up for
invalids, with every convenience for warm and cold baths on a moderate
scale. If plenty of mountain water and mountain air will make sick
people well, here is a fine place for them to come and be cured. I
climbed the mountain in haste, to get the finer view of the Reichenbach
Fall, whose roar I had heard, and the spray of which was rising
continually before me. I could see the torrent as it took its first leap
out of the forest, but it plunged instantly out of sight into a deep
abyss, and I must ascend to its brow, and see the rush of waters as they
descend into the gorge. The path to those coming down is very difficult,
so steep, indeed, that it is safer and pleasanter to leave the horse and
come on foot. But we went up slowly till we reached a meadow of table
land, which we were permitted to cross on paying a small toll, to a
house which has been built at the point where the best view of the fall
from below can be had. It is almost a shame to board up such scenes as
these, and compel a man to look through a window at a scene where he
would have nothing around him but the mountain, flood and sky. The young
woman was very civil, and offered us woodwork for sale, and a view
through colored glass, and a subscription-book to record our donations
for the construction of the foot-path, and we finally had the privilege
of taking a look in silence. A narrow, but no mean stream, plunging TWO
THOUSAND feet makes a cataract before which the spectator stands with
awe. The leap is not made at once, yet the river rests but twice in all
that distance, and only for a moment then. The point of view where we
are now beholding it, is midway of the upper and grandest of these
successive falls. The fury of the descending torrent is terrible. The
spray rises in perpetual clouds from the dread abyss into which the
river leaps. It might be a bottomless abyss, so far as human penetration
can discover, for no arm can fathom it, no eye can pierce the dark
cavern where the waters boil and roar, and whence they issue only to
make another leap into the vale below. The bow of God is on the brow of
the cataract. I do so love to find it there, not more for its exceeding
beauty than the feeling of hope and safety it always inspires. We
counted all the colors as it waved and smiled so fondly in the spray, as
if it loved its birth-place.--Having had the finest opportunity of
seeing the fall from this point, we did not return across the field to
the horses, but took the foot-path straight up the mountain, over a
rough and toilsome way, led on by a little lad who seemed anxious to do
us the favor. He guided us by a walk of twenty minutes to the brink of
the precipice. The path was just wide enough for one person to pass
around the headland, holding by the bushes as we walked, and thus by
taking turns in the perilous excursion, we went to the brow of the
cataract, and looked down the front of the terrific fall. A single
misstep or the slipping of a foot, might plunge the curious gazer into
the gulph; yet so seductive and so flattering is such danger, we rarely
have the least sense of it till it is over. Not the water only, but the
whole prospect from this overhanging cliff, is in a high degree sublime.
The plains of Meyringen, the mountains beyond, from which cascades are
hanging like white lace veils on the green hill-sides, villages and
scattered cottages, the river Aar shooting swiftly across the valley,
are now in full view, and we turn away reluctantly from the sight to
resume the ascent.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

                        A GLACIER AND AVALANCHE.

Alpine Horn--Beggars--The Rosenlaui Glacier--Beautiful Views--Glorious
   Mountain Scenes--Mrs. Kinney's "Alps"--A Lady and Babe--The Great
   Scheidek--Grindelwald--Eagle and Bear--Battle with Bugs--Wengern
   Alp--A real Avalanche--The Jungfrau.

A beautiful Chamois was standing on the ledge of rock that overhung the
path as I turned away from the Reichenbach Fall, and I was pleased to
see so fine a specimen of the animal whose home is the Alps and whose
pursuit has for ages been the delight of the mountaineer. He would have
sprung from crag to crag at my approach and soon disappeared, had he not
been held by a string in the hand of a boy who expected a few coppers
for showing the animal. This is but one of a hundred ways and means of
begging adopted by the Swiss peasantry. Of all ages from the infant to
extreme decrepitude, they plant themselves along the highways of travel,
and by every possible pretext seek to obtain the pence of the traveller.
Some are glad to have a poor cretin or a case of goitre in the family,
that they may have an additional plea to put in for charity. Others sing
or play on some wretched instrument, and the traveller would cheerfully
pay them something to be silent, that he may enjoy the beauties of the
world around him without the torment of their music. But the Alpine Horn
makes music to which the hills listen. A wooden tube nearly ten feet
long and three inches in diameter, curved at the mouth which is slightly
enlarged, is blown with great strength of lungs, and the blast at first
harsh and startling is caught by the mountain sides and returned in
softened strains, echoing again and again as if the spirits of the wood
were answering to the calls of the dwellers in the vales. The man who
was blowing, had but one hand, and after a single performance, or one
blast, he held out that hand for his pay, and then returned to his
instrument, making the hills to resound again with his wild notes.

The Rosenlaui valley into which we now enter is a green and sunny plain,
where the verdure is as rich and the fruits as fair as if there were no
oceans of never melting ice and hills of snow lying all around and above
it. On either side the bare mountains rise perpendicularly: the
Engel-Horner or Angel's Peaks sending their shining summits so far into
the heavens that the pagans would make them the thrones of gods, and the
Well-Horn, and Wetter-Horn, bleak and cold, but now resplendent in a
brilliant sun light. A small but very comfortable inn is fitted up in
this valley with conveniences for bathing, and a few invalids are always
here for the benefit of the air, scenery and the mountain baths. We
rested at the tavern, and then walked a mile out of the way to see the
Glacier of the Rosenlaui. After a short ascent we entered a fine forest,
and followed the gorge through which the glacier torrent is rushing: an
awful gorge a thousand feet deep it seemed to me, and if some mighty
shock has not rent these rocks, and opened the way for the waters that
are now roaring in those dark mysterious depths, they must have been a
thousand years in wearing out the channel for themselves. A slight
bridge is thrown across the ravine, and a terrible pleasure there is in
standing on it and listening to the mad leaps of rocks which the
peasants are prepared to launch into the abyss, for the amusement of
travellers. I shuddered at the thought of falling, and felt a glow of
pleasing relief when I was away from the tempting verge. I never could
explain to myself the source of that half formed desire which so many,
perhaps all have, of trying the leap when standing on the brow of a
cataract, the verge of a precipice, the summit of a lofty tower. It is
often a question whether persons who have thus perished, designed to
commit suicide or not. It is not unlikely that some are suddenly seized
with this undefined desire to make the trial: the mind is wrought into a
frenzy of excitement, dizziness ensues, and in a moment of fear, desire
and delirium the irresponsible victim leaps into the gulf. Many of the
fearful passes of the Alps have their local tragedies of this sort, and
I was not disposed to add another. We soon climbed to the foot of the
glacier. We have come to a mountain of emerald. The sun is shining on
it, at high noon. The melting waters have cut a glorious gateway of
solid crystal: we step within and beneath the arch. A ledge of ice
affords a standing place for the cool traveller who may plant his pike
staff firmly and look over into the depths where the torrent has wrought
its passage and from which the mists are curling upwards. The sunlight
streams through the blue domes of these caverns, long icicles sparkle in
the roof, and jewels, crowns and thrones of ice are all about me in this
crystal cave. Its outer surface is remarkable for the purity of the ice,
its perfect freedom from that deposit of earth and broken stone which
mars the beauty of most of the glaciers of Switzerland. Great white
wreaths are twisted on its brow, and on its bosom palaces and towers are
brilliant in the sunlight; and from the side of it the Well-horn and
Wetter-horn rise like giants from their bed, and stretch themselves away
into the clouds. No sight among the Alps had so charmed me with its
beauty and sublimity. These hills of pure ice, this great gateway only
less bright in the sun than the gates of pearl, cold indeed, but with
flowers and evergreens cheating the senses into the feeling that this is
not real, it must be a reproduction of fabled palaces and hills of
diamonds, and mountains of light. I am sure that I do not exaggerate:
the memory of it now that I recur to it after many days is of great
glory, such as the eye never can see out of Switzerland, and the forms
of beauty and the thoughts of majesty, awakened as I stood before and
beneath and upon this glacier, must remain among the latest images that
will fade from the soul.

Excited by what I had seen and mindless of the path by which I had
ascended, I threw myself back upon my Alpen-stock and slid down the face
of a long shelving rock, leaping when I could, and gliding when the way
was smooth, and reached the bridge and the ravine in safety, though the
guides insisted that the longest way around was the surest way down. We
are now at the foot of lofty mountains. The warm sun is loosening the
masses of snow and ice and we are constantly hearing the roar of the
avalanches. At first it startles us, as if behind the clear blue sky
above us there is a gathering storm: the sound comes rushing down and
multiplied by echoes themselves re-echoed from the surrounding hills,
the thunder is forgotten in the majesty of this music of the mountains.
We see nothing from which these voices came. There are valleys beyond
these peaks where perhaps the foot of man has never trod, and He who
directs the thunderbolt when it falls, is guiding these ice-falls into
the depths of some abyss where they may not crush even one of the least
of the creatures of his care. It is grand to hear them and feel that
they will not come nigh us. Our path is now so far from the base of this
precipitous mountain that if those snow caps fall, and we are constantly
wishing that they would, we should be in no peril, and so we ride on
with hearts full of worship, rejoicing in the thoughts of Him who built
these high places, and whose praise is uttered in the silence of all
these speechless peaks, and shouted in the avalanche in tones which seem
to be reverberated all around the world. One of our own poets, with a
soul in harmony with the greatness as well as the beauty of this
scenery, exclaims in view of these towering heights--

      Eternal pyramids, built not with hands,
        From linked foundations that deep-hidden lie,
      Ye rise apart, and each a wonder stands!
        Your marble peaks, that pierce the clouds so high,
        Seem holding up the curtain of the sky.
      And there, sublime and solemn, have ye stood
        While crumbling Time, o'erawed, passed reverent by--
      Since Nature's resurrection from the flood,
      Since earth, new-born, again received God's plaudit, "Good!"


        Vast as mysterious, beautiful as grand!
          Forever looking into Heaven's clear face,
        Types of sublimest Faith, unmoved ye stand,
          While tortured torrents rave along your base:
          Silent yourselves, while, loosed from its high place,
        Headlong the avalanche loud thundering leaps!
          Like a foul spirit, maddened by disgrace,
        That in its fall the souls of thousands sweeps
        Into perdition's gulf, down ruin's slippery steeps.

        Dread monuments of your Creator's power!
          When Egypt's pyramids shall mouldering fall,
        In undiminished glory ye shall tower,
          And still the reverent heart to worship call,
          Yourselves a hymn of praise perpetual;
        And if at last, when rent is Law's great chain,
          Ye with material things must perish all,
        Thoughts which ye have inspired, not born in vain,
        In immaterial minds for aye shall live again.

My mind was full of such thoughts as these, so finely clothed in Mrs.
Kinney's words, when I met a party, of ladies and gentlemen, and one of
the ladies was borne along in a chair, with a babe in her arms! Here was
a contrast, and a suggestive sight. It was certainly the pursuit of
knowledge under difficulties, but I could readily understand that having
overcome every obstacle in her strong desire to see the Alps, and to see
them now, she was enjoying them perhaps more than any one of the group
around her. And I did not fail to admire the energy of soul that in its
love of nature, and its thirsting after these mighty manifestations of
power and beauty, was equal to all the difficulties that opposed her
way. Whether ladies may make these difficult passes, which must be made
to see the inner life and real character of Switzerland, is merely a
question of dollars and cents. The feeblest may be borne as tenderly as
this infant was on its mother's breast, and the most delicate will
gather health and strength from the bracing mountain air, and new life
will be inspired in the midst of these exciting scenes. To see
Switzerland on wheels is impracticable. Its brightest glories are hid
away in regions of perpetual ice and snow, where no traveller passes
except to _see_. The highways of trade are not here. This is a secret
place of the Most High, where from the foundation of the world, he has
wrapt himself in storms and clouds, and thundered among the hills, and
has been admired only by those who have come here expressly to behold
his works. The solitude of such scenery adds intensely to the sense of
the sublime. Mountains all around us and God! To be alone with him
anywhere is to be near him: in the midnight, or on the ocean or the
desert, it is a heart-luxury to feel that only God is near; that his
presence fills immensity, and his Spirit pervades all matter and all
space. But to stand in the midst of these great Alps, hoary patriarchs,
monuments compared with which the pyramids are children of a day, is to
stand in the high places of his dominions and to be raised by his own
hand into audience with him at whose presence these mountains shall one
day flow down like water and melt away. _Heinrich_, my young German
friend, was peopling them continually with the creatures of Grecian
mythology, and his classic history often led him to speak of the lofty
seats of divinities where ancient poets had planted the council halls of
the gods. I loved to believe that God had made these hills for himself,
and as the people who dwell among them have no heart to appreciate them,
pilgrims from all lands are flocking here, and offering the incense of
praise at the foot of these high altars. How they do lead the soul along
upward toward the great white throne! How like that throne is yonder
peak in snowy purity shining now in this bright sun. It is very
glorious, and no human footstep ever trod the summit. God sits there
alone. Let us admire and adore. He is fearful in praises, doing wonders!
Who is like unto him, a great God, and a great King!

But this is not getting on with the journey. You have the privilege of
skipping my _reflections_ as you read; but to travel without reflection,
common as it is, is not my way--and if you would feel the sights that
meet the eye in this world of wonders, you must indulge me in pausing
now and then, to muse. All this time we have been going steadily up the
Great Scheidek, and have now stopped at a small house, with the word
tavern painted on it in two or three different languages. An apology for
a dinner we got after waiting for it till an appetite for supper came.
The view from this height into the Grindelwald valley is enchanting. The
descent is so steep that we were willing to leave the mules and walk
down, holding back by the alpenstock, and resting often to enjoy the
sight, into the valley below. And now we have come to another glacier,
in the midst of a sunny slope, stretching down into the bosom of verdant
pasturage where herds are grazing and flowers are blossoming, and women
and children are laboring under a burning sun. It is hard to believe,
even as we stand at the foot of it, that this is everlasting ice: a
segment of the frozen zone let fall into the lap of summer, and sleeping
here age after age, perishing continually, but renewed day by day, so
that it seems unchanged. It is a wonderful growth and decay; and the
greater wonder to my mind, and one that does not diminish, is that so
much life and beauty can exist and flourish in the midst of this eternal
cold.--Yet there is a greater contrast even here. We are coming into the
valley, and there another, called the Upper Glacier lies, and yet that
is not to furnish the contrast of which I speak. It is in the wide and
wonderful difference between this people and their country! Degenerate,
ignorant, begging and demoralized, this people seem, and indeed are,
unworthy of such a land as this. They have a history, but Switzerland
was, and is not. The race has run down.--Disease and hardships have
reduced the stock, till now we rarely meet a fine-looking man, never a
fine-looking woman, as we cross the mountains and traverse the valleys
of this noble country.

The vale of Grindelwald, into which we have now descended, is one of the
most fertile, picturesque, and quiet in Switzerland. It is a place to
stay in. The hotels, of which there are two, are crowded to overflowing.
We sent our guide ahead to get room for us, but he failed. There was no
room for us at the inn. We paused first at the _Eagle_, a very
good-looking establishment, and the balcony running across the front of
it was filled with good-looking people--but there were as many there as
the house would hold, and we had to go on to the _Bear_. And the Bear
would not let us in. The very best the landlord could do, was to give us
a room with three beds in it, in a _cottage_ across the way, where we
would be quiet and comfortable. We went over. Up stairs, by as dark,
narrow, dirty, ricketty, dangerous and disagreeable a passage as I had
made among the mountains, we were led by a tall, skinny, slatternly
woman, with a tallow candle in her fingers, and shown into our treble
chamber. For the first time we were in such a house as the better class
of peasants occupy in Switzerland. It had been taken by the proprietor
of the hotel, as a sort of makeshift when his hotel was overflowing--the
lower part of it was his bake and wash house, and this room was reserved
for lodgings. I was worn out with the journey of the day, and glad
enough to stretch myself on any thing that ventured to call itself a
bed. The walls of the chamber around and above were rude boards, and the
bare floor had been trodden a hundred years without feeling. The
furniture was a mixture of the broken chairs of the hotel and the
superannuated relics of the cottage, an amusing study, which helped to
pass away half an hour, while our prison keeper, the ugly old woman, was
scaring up something for us to eat. Bread and milk, with some cheese so
strong that we begged her to take it off, made a frugal repast, but
sweet to a hungry man: this mountaineering does give a man an
appetite--and then he sleeps so well after eating. Alas! my dreams were
short; a band of bloodthirsty villains attacked me in the dead of night,
and for four hours I fought them tooth and nail. The battle made real
the poet's description of another scene--

               "Though hundreds, thousands bleed,
               Still hundreds, thousands, more succeed."

How many of the foe found that night a bed of death in my bed, I cannot
say, as we took no account of the slain, but the conflict was sanguinary
and the destruction of life was immense. The sun rose upon the battle
field, but it was hard to say which was the victor. Exhausted quite as
much by the night's exertions as the travels of the previous day, I rose
to address myself to the journey. The rapacious landlord of the Bear
charged us the same price for our lodgings that was paid by those who
had the best rooms in his house, and I told him we were willing to pay
him for the privilege of hunting in his grounds, which we had greatly
enjoyed for several hours. He was too slow to take my meaning, but when
he did, he had no idea there was any harm in a few fleas. All these
mountain sides are covered with the huts of the shepherds, where during
a part of the year a man remains to tend the flocks, and he takes with
him some coarse food to last him during the months of his stay. The
shepherds and their families live in the midst of their dogs and cattle,
and fleas are no worse to them than they are to us. It only served to
amuse the landlord of the _Bear_, when we related to him the sufferings
of the night, and besought him never to expose travellers to such
annoyances again.

The ascent of the _Faulhorn_ is made from Grindelwald. It is a mountain
eight thousand feet high, and the view from the summit is said to be an
ample reward for the five hours' walk or ride which is necessary to gain
it. The long and glorious range of the Bernese Alps stands majestically
in sight, and there are not wanting those who declare the prospect
superior to that which is had on the Rigi. I took it on trust, and
having loftier summits still before me, was willing to leave the
Faulhorn. And I was willing to leave Grindelwald too--glad to escape the
scene of my midnight sufferings, but I doubt not that at the _Eagle_
(and not at the Bear) we might have spent a day or two very pleasantly
in this charming vale. And how soon are these little vexations of life
forgotten. They are worth mentioning only to remind us how foolish it is
to be vexed at trifles, which in a single day are with the things that
happened a hundred years ago. Thus moralizing and half sorry that I had
made any complaint of my quarters for the night, I mounted my horse and
set off to cross

_The Wengern Alp._

The ride through the vale in the early morning was refreshing. Parties
of travellers were emerging from cottages where they had found beds, and
winding their way by the bridle paths, in various directions, on foot
and on horseback, all seeking to see the world of Switzerland, and all
enjoying themselves with the various degrees of ability which had been
given them. We crossed the lesser _Sheideck_, and stopped on the ridge
of it at a small house of refreshment to eat Alpine strawberries and
milk. The berries are small and have very little of the strawberry
taste, but are quite a treat in their way. They were apparently more
abundant here than we had seen them elsewhere, and with plenty of milk
they made a capital lunch. Well for us that we had the milk before a
dirty boy who was playing at the door when we came up, plunged his mouth
and nose into the milkpan and took a long drink, only withdrawing when
his father wished to dip some out for a lady who had just arrived. Had
she seen the operation, she would have declined the draught, but where
"Ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise."

We rested a few moments only at this chalet, and then pushed on, passing
a forest, or the ruins of a forest, which the avalanches had mown down
as grass. The stumps, and here and there a scraggy tree were the
witnesses of the desolation that had been wrought. From the height we
are crossing we have one of the most magnificent of Alpine views. The
Jungfrau stands before us clad in white raiment, beautiful as a bride
adorned for her husband: in the sunlight she is dazzling and seems so
near to heaven, and so pure in her vestal robes, that we are willing to
believe the gateway must be there. The name of this mountain Jungfrau,
or the Virgin, is given, on account of the peculiar beauty and purity of
the peak which until 1812 had never been sullied by the foot of man.
Rising like a pyramid above the surrounding heights thirteen thousand
seven hundred and forty-eight feet, and seeming to be as smooth as if
cut with a chisel out of solid marble, she stands there sublimely
beautiful, to be gazed at and admired. Lord Byron has made this region
the scene of some of his most terrible passages, and I was forcibly
impressed as I read them with the _contrast_, not the similarity,
between his emotions and my own in the midst of these mountains. Here he
conceived some of those images never read in his Manfred without a
shudder. In his Journal he says "the clouds rose from the opposite
valley, curling up perpendicular precipices like the foam of the ocean
of hell during a spring-tide--it was white and sulphury, and
immeasurably deep in appearance." Then in Manfred he does it into verse:

            "The mists boil up around the glaciers: clouds
            Rise curling fast beneath me white and sulphury,
            Like foam from the roused ocean of deep hell
            Whose every wave breaks on a living shore,
            Heap'd with the damn'd like pebbles."

None but a mind surcharged with horrors, a mind which all bad things
inhabit, could find such images to convey its emotions in view of these
sights of grandeur, beauty, and glory. The mists were curling along up
the precipices as I have seen incense in a great cathedral, mounting the
lofty columns, and curling among the arches, a symbol of the praise that
goes up from the hearts of worshippers to the God of heaven. These white
clouds, not "sulphury"--so far from being suggestive of hell-waves, were
heavenly robes rather, and as the sun now nearly at noon, was filling
them with light, I loved to watch them, and then look away up to the
summit of the mountains around me, rejoicing in the manifestations which
the King of kings was making of himself in this dwelling among the
munitions of rocks. With these thoughts full on me as I rode along the
verge of the tremendous ravine that separates the Wengern Alp from the
Jungfrau, we reached a small inn, on the brow of the ravine, where large
parties, chiefly English people, were ravening for dinner. This house
has been planted here in the Jungfrau, that travellers may rest
themselves in its beauty, and watch for the avalanches that now and then
come thundering down its precipitous sides. Streams of water are in some
places pouring down. The music of the fall is constantly heard, and
every five or ten minutes the roar of a snow-slide thunders on the ear.
Few of them are seen. They break away from crags that are out of sight,
and plunge into dark abysses where the eye of man does not follow them.
But this is just the time of day when we might look for one, for it is
past noon when the sun's power is the greatest, and if the great
toppling mass which seems to be holding on with difficulty would but let
go its cold death grasp and come headlong into this mighty grave at the
base of the mountain, it would be a sight worth coming to Switzerland to

We watched and wished, and the more we watched, the more it would not
come. During the half hour we had sat wrapped up in our blankets, gazing
at the cold snow hills, and shivering in the bleak winds, the dinner had
been in preparation, and despairing of getting something to see, we
determined like sensible people, to have something to eat. The long
table was filled with hungry travellers, and all had forgotten in the
enjoyment of dinner the wonders of the Alps, when suddenly the alarm was
given, "_Laweenen_," the "_Avalanche_." Servants dropped the dishes and
ran, gentlemen and ladies following them rushed from the table, over
chairs and each other, crowding for the doors and windows: and had there
been danger of a sudden overwhelming of the house, and the destruction
of all the inhabitants, we could not have fled in greater haste and
confusion than we now did, to see the descending "thunderbolt of snow."
All eyes were upon one point where a stream like powdered marble was
pouring from one of the gullies far up the Jungfrau and lodging on a
ledge. It differed in no respect from a stream of snow, nor indeed from
one of water which is perfectly white in the distance when a small
cascade is dangling from the rocks. Yet we are told, and there is no
reason to doubt that this stream is made up of vast blocks of ice and
masses of snow, dashed constantly into smaller fragments as it comes
"rushing amain down," but still weighing each of them many tons, and
capable of dealing destruction to forests and villages if they stood in
its path. We looked on in silence, and with disappointment mingled with
awe. The stream that had rested for a while on one ledge now began to
flow again, and the roar of the torrent increased every instant, filling
the air with its reverberations, which were caught by distant mountains
and sent back in sharp echoes, and again in deep toned voices that
seemed to shake the sky. But I was disappointed. It was just what I did
not expect, although I had read enough of them to be prepared for what
was to come. This was _said to be_ one of the grandest scenes this
season! Of course we believed it, and report it accordingly. Grand
indeed it was, and when we consider that at least four miles are between
us and the hill side down which it is rushing, it is not surprising that
the masses of ice should be blended into a steady and liquid stream.
Certainly I prefer to see such a torrent at a distance, to being
sufficiently near it to run any risk of being buried alive in an icy

                              CHAPTER IX.

                         INTERLACHEN AND BERNE.

The Staubach Fall--Lauterbrunnen--Interlachen--Cretins and Goitre--Dr.
   Guggenbuhl--Giesbach Fall--Berne--Inquisitive Lady--Swiss
   Creed--Crossing the Gemmi--Leuchenbad Baths.

The Staubach Fall, nearly a thousand feet high, is far from being such a
thing of beauty as I had hoped to find it. It comes from such a height
and has so small a body of water, that it dissolves into spray, and
falling upon the rocks gathers itself up again and leaps down into the
valley. Byron compares it to the tail of the white horse in the
Apocalypse. Wordsworth speaks of it as a "heaven-born waterfall," and
Murray likens it to a "beautiful lace veil suspended from a precipice."
It is just at the entrance of the village of Lauterbrunnen, which lies
in a valley literally gloomy and sublime. The sides of the mountains
that shut it in are precipitous and so lofty that in winter the sun does
not climb the eastern side till noon, and so cold is it through the
summer, that only the hardiest fruits can be raised. I counted between
twenty and thirty cascades leaping over the brow of these mountains and
plunging into the valley. In the calm of the evening, after the sun had
ceased to shine in it, I rode from the village to Interlachen, and
thought it the most mournfully pleasing ride in Switzerland. Others whom
I met, and who passed me on the way, appeared to regard it as purely
delightful, and perhaps few would find in it as I did, the materials of
melancholy musings.

But all these feelings soon gave way to those of calm enjoyment, when a
weary pilgrimage of a week was brought to a close in the beautiful
village of Interlachen.

We were at the hotel des Alpes; the largest and best boarding
establishment in the village, where, for a dollar a day the traveller
finds every comfort that a first class hotel affords. It was a very
bright day, and the sun had been shining with a ravishing clearness on
the snow-white breast of the Jungfrau. At the dinner-table, one of a
party of ladies inquired the meaning of Jungfrau, and being told that it
was German for a young unmarried lady, I ventured to say that it could
not be called the Jungfrau to-morrow. "And why not, pray," was instantly
demanded. "Because," said I, "she is certainly clad in her bridal robes

Beyond all doubt, it is the most beautiful single mountain in
Switzerland. It is a calm, sweet pleasure to sit and look at her, as a
bride adorned for her husband: white exceedingly; pure as the sun and
snow; bright as the light, and glorious "as the gate of heaven."
Sometimes its lofty summit seems to be touching the vault of heaven, and
I could easily imagine that angels were on it, and not far from home.
The wide plain in the midst of which the village is planted is the
theatre of those yearly contests of strength and skill in which the
inhabitants of all the surrounding hills and valleys engage. On the
overhanging heights on your right hand as we go to Lauterbrunnen is the
Castle of _Unspunnen_, to which a legend attaches that I have not time
to tell. Byron is said to have had this scene before him when he made
his Manfred. Instead of telling you the doubtful story of this old
castle, I would rather give you some account of a modern and more humble
house on the hill.

It is in sight from the plain: not an imposing structure, but so far
above the vale, that you are tempted to inquire what it is, and with a
real pleasure you are told it is Dr. Guggenbuhl's Asylum for Cretins.
For weeks we have been pained almost daily with the sight of these
miserable objects. More distressing to the eye is the victim of the
_goitre_, which is a swelling on the neck, gradually enlarging with the
growth of the unfortunate subject, till it hangs down on the breast, and
sometimes becomes so heavy that the miserable individual is compelled to
crawl on the ground. What a strange ordering of Providence it is, that
these beautiful valleys should be infected with such a disgusting
disease. In the higher regions it is not known, but in low, damp valleys
where much water remains stagnant, it abounds. And so degraded are many
of the inhabitants, that some families regard it a blessing to have a
case of goitre, as it gives them a claim on the charity of others.

"Cretinism, which occurs in the same localities as goitre, and evidently
arises from the same cause, whatever it may be, is a more serious
malady, inasmuch as it affects the mind. The cretin is an idiot--a
melancholy spectacle--a creature who may almost be said to rank a step
below a human being. There is a vacancy in his countenance; his head is
disproportionately large; his limbs are stunted or crippled; he cannot
articulate his words with distinctness; and there is scarcely any work
which he is capable of executing. He spends his days basking in the sun,
and, from its warmth, appears to derive great gratification. When a
stranger appears, he becomes a clamorous and importunate beggar,
assailing him with a ceaseless chattering; and the traveller is commonly
glad to be rid of his hideous presence at the expense of a batz. At
times the disease has such an effect on the mind, that the sufferer is
unable to find his way home when within a few feet of his own door."

A young Swiss physician in Zurich, rapidly gaining fame and fortune in
his profession, one day saw a little _cretin_ near a fountain of water.
His heart was touched with a sudden sympathy, not for the single
unfortunate before him only, but for the thousands whom he knew to be
scattered over his magnificent country. His noble heart was moved as he
made an estimate of the numbers of his fellow beings in this helpless
and now hopeless condition. In a single valley where some ten or fifteen
thousand people live, not less than _three thousand_ cretins are found.
He could not redeem them all, but could he not do something for a few of
them--put a new soul into these bodies--snatch them from the lower order
of creation, from a lower level than the dog or the horse, and raise
them to the scale of man? It was a noble impulse; it was the beginning
of a noble work. In the virtuous heroism of the hour, he resolved to
give his life to the cause. Such a man could not have lived even a few
years in a community without gaining the affections of all the good, and
when it became known that the young physician would leave Zurich to
study abroad the subject to which he had consecrated his powers, the
poor people flocked about him, and held his knees beseeching him not to
forsake them. But his resolution was taken.

His observation and study taught him that in the more elevated regions
of the country, he would find the only place to locate a hospital, with
any hope of making improvement in the miserable cases on whom he might
make his experiments. Coming to this lovely vale of Interlachen, and
selecting a lofty and most commanding site, away above the old castle of
_Unspunnen_, with all the property that he possessed, and what he could
obtain from the charity of those who were willing to aid him in his
doubtful but philanthropic enterprise, he purchased a tract of mountain
land, and built a house of refuge, a hospital for idiots.

I rode a donkey up the hill, and with my German friend Heinrich on one
side of me, and my American friend Rankin on the other, we had a
delightful excursion through the forest; often emerging upon the side of
the hill from which we could look off on one of the loveliest scenes,
then winding our way by a most circuitous and sometimes a very steep
path, we at last overcame the four miles of travel, and found ourselves
at the door of the Asylum. At our call a young woman, evidently not a
servant, came to the door and showed us into a plainly furnished sitting
room, while she retired to announce to the Superintendent that strangers
would be pleased to view his establishment. She returned with the
register of visitors in which we were desired to write our names and
address. She then carried the book to the Doctor, who soon appeared,
gave us a cordial greeting, and invited us to walk with him through the
house. While we had been sitting there, an uproar was going on overhead,
as if the floor was to be broken through. Dr. Guggenbuhl led us directly
to the room where the riot was in progress. It was hushed as we entered.
But the cause was apparent. We were in the school-room, and teachers and
pupils were amusing themselves in the recess with all sorts of diverting
and boisterous plays. Here were thirty-seven idiots, of various ages
from three to thirty, in the way of being trained to the first exercise
of intelligent humanity, the art of thinking. The teachers are young
women, the daughters of Swiss Protestant pastors chiefly, devoting
themselves without fee or reward, like the Sisters of Charity, to this
painfully disagreeable task. Around the room are hung large pictures of
beasts and birds, which are designed to catch the attention of the
cretins, and to induce them to make inquiries. The first indication of a
desire to know any thing is seized upon with avidity and stimulated by
every encouragement. While we were standing there, several came in with
one of the teachers from a ramble in the woods. They had been for some
years in training, and were now awake to the world around them. They
brought in beautiful wild flowers which they had gathered, and were
delighted to show to us, describing their varieties, and exhibiting a
familiarity with the study that I did not dream of its being possible
for them to acquire. Feeble as were the exercises of these poor things,
it was a joy to know that they can be taught, and Dr. G. assured me that
he has had the pleasure and reward of seeing some of them so far
restored to sense, that they may be expected to provide for themselves,
and have some of the enjoyments of rational beings. He is obliged to use
his own discretion in the admission of pupils: his house will contain
but his present number, and hundreds must be denied his care, to whom he
would gladly extend it, if the rich would give him the means. He devotes
all his own property to their relief, and expects to give his life to
this self-denying work. In reply to my inquiries if his labors were
acknowledged by medical men abroad, he referred me to a score of
diplomas that had been sent to him from all the leading Societies on the
Continent of Europe and in England, but I saw none from America. Does
not my country know, and does it not delight to honor a man whose
philanthropy and genius are alike deserving the admiration of the world?

Among the poor idiots in this institution is one, the son of an English
Lord, sent far away from his native land, in the hope, faint indeed,
that the wonderful skill of this heroic man may open the eyes of this
child's understanding. What indeed is wealth, and title, and power, to a
fool? And O how happy they, who have joyous, bright and knowing little
ones, though only bread and milk to eat, and little of that.

The good doctor followed us to the brow of the hill, and with us admired
the lovely landscape away below, the richly tilled plain--the white
cottages scattered over it, and in its midst the beautiful village--wide
sheets of water around which the mountains stand and look down, solemn
and grand, in their everlasting silence and gray heads: and then we
pressed his hands long and earnestly, asking God to bless him, a noble
specimen of a Christian physician.

While at Interlachen we made excursions to the Geisbach Falls, which
have the preference in my view decidedly before all others in
Switzerland. We also made a trip to Berne, and passed a few days at the
_Couronne_ Hotel, one of the best in the land.--Every body has read of
the Bears of Berne, and there are many lions there to see, in the Museum
and out. The view of the Bernese Alps is worth the journey to
Switzerland. I saw them at sunset, in glory unrivalled and

Returning from Berne in the diligence, an elderly English lady sitting
in front of me, and hearing me converse with my friends, presumed I must
be a countryman of her own, and opened a catechism as follows--

_Lady._--"How long since you left England, Sir?"

_I._--About two months, Madam.

_Lady._--"When do you return, Sir?"

_I._--I hope in the Spring, Madam.

_Lady._--"Where do you spend the winter?"

_I._--In Syria.

_Lady._--"Good Lord, what a traveller you are!"

She took a pinch of snuff, and I resumed my notes and remarks with my
companion. She listened, and grew impatient to get hold of something by
which to learn who we were. She at last ventured to come toward the
point by asking,

"In what part of England do you reside, Sir?"

I am not an Englishman, Madam.

_Lady._--"Bless me, and of what country are you, pray?"

I am an American.

_Lady._--"O you are, are you? Well, I would not have thought it. Would
it be an _indiscretion_ for me to ask you what is your name, Sir?"

I gave her my name of course, but she was not satisfied. "Will you,"
said she, "have the goodness to give me your name in writing?"

I handed her my card, for which she thanked me, and then added, "I know
that you are making notes, and will write a book, and I shall hear of
you, &c.," and so she chatted on, amusing me not a little with her

We returned to Interlachen, and here a German lady who was travelling
with her family, begged me to allow her son, a student of Heidelberg, to
join my party, to make an excursion of a few days, and meet her at
Geneva. To this I assented, as it would increase our number to four, and
be quite agreeable. With this escort of young men, two Germans and one
American, I set off at daylight in the morning, to make the Gemmi Pass.
Along the shores of Lake Thun and by the castles of Wimmis and of
Spietz, we entered the beautiful vale of Frutigen, where the shepherds
and flocks, with their crooks and their dogs, gave us a sweet picture of
pastoral life. At a little tavern at which we halted for lunch, I found
the following Creed, framed and hung up in the dining-room. It was in

  "I believe in the Swiss country, the brave mother of brave men, and
  in Freedom only begotten daughter of Helvetia, conceived in Grutli,
  by the patriot in 1308 who suffered under the aristocrats and
  priests, was crucified for many centuries, died and was buried in
  1814; after sixteen years was again raised from the dead, came back
  into the bosom of true patriots, from hence she shall come to judge
  all the wicked. I believe in the human spirit which was delivered
  from ignorance by knowledge and raised by Education. I believe in a
  holy general brotherhood of the oppressed in Spain, Portugal, Poland
  and Italy, the communion of all patriots, the destruction of all
  tariffs, and the life everlasting of republics, Amen."

This is scarcely better than blasphemy; and it is probably one of the
formulas of faith on which the Continental conspiracies are formed. On
and up, the road led us to some beautiful falls of water, and between
perpendicular masses of rock that stood as if split asunder to give us a
passage through. We reached Kanderstey in the middle of the day, and met
parties returning from the Gemmi, who advised us against going on, as
there was every prospect of a coming storm. We were determined however
to press forward. I got a mule and a guide, and the young men were ready
to walk. We set off in good spirits, but as soon as we struck into the
defile which led up the hill, the mists began to thicken around us, and
it was impossible to call it any thing but rain. Three hours of steady
climbing brought us to the wretched inn of Schwarenbach, which Werner
makes the scene of a fearful tale of blood. We were wet and cold, but
found no fire, and the set of men and women inside were too dirty and
savage to tempt us to spend the night with them, as we were now heartily
disposed to do, if the quarters had been safe. I preferred to run the
risk of getting over the mountain to staying here. This was the
unanimous vote, and again we plunged into the storm. Dreary and dismal
was the way, along by the side of the Lake; the Dauben See, and in the
midst of broken masses of stone, strewed in wild disorder. We were near
the summit when the rain became snow and hail, and the winds swept
fearfully over us, so that I could not sit upon my mule. I had scarcely
dismounted, before he slipped on a ledge and fell; I might have broken
my neck had I fallen with him. No signs of a human habitation are on
this lonely height. And if there were, we could not find them in this
driving storm. There are no monks to come with their dogs to look us up,
if we lose the way. We must go over and down on the other side, or
perish. To return is impossible. Among the scattered fragments of rocks,
no path was to be seen; and we frequently feared that we had lost our
way. I followed the guide to the brink of a precipice two thousand feet
deep, and perpendicular. Down the face of this solid rock leads the most
wonderful of all the pathways in Switzerland. So narrow as just to allow
two mules to pass as they meet, the zigzag path is cut out of the solid
rock, and covered with earth and stones to prevent our feet from
slipping. The mule, by a wonderful instinct, walks upon the extreme
outer verge, lest in making the sudden turn his load should strike the
rock and tumble him off.

Sheltered somewhat from the rain by the overhanging rocks, we pursued
our weary way to the bottom; and then, through mud and mire and
darkness, drenched to our skins, we reached the Hotel Blanche at

This is the great bathing establishment of Switzerland. It is higher
above the sea than the summit of any mountain in Great Britain. Again
and again it has been swept away by avalanches, and is now protected by
a strong wall above the village. The water bursts out from the ground
immediately in front of our hotel, and supplies the baths, which are
twenty feet square, and in which a dozen or twenty men and women may be
seen, for hours, sitting with their heads only out of water, reading the
newspapers, or books, on little floats before them; playing chess; or
whiling away the time in some more agreeable manner.

The next morning, by a most romantic pathway along the borders of a vast
abyss, the scene of a bloody battle in 1799, we pursued our journey to
the valley of the Rhone, and taking the Great Simplon road, through
Sion, went to Martigny.

                               CHAPTER X.

                        MONKS OF SAINT BERNARD.

The Char-a-banc--the Napoleon Pass--Travellers in
   Monk's Kiss.

The weather was threatening when we set off from Martigny, and we had
many forebodings that the dogs of Saint Bernard might have to look us
up, if the storm should come before we reached the hospice. A
char-a-banc, a narrow carriage in which we sat three in a line with the
_tandem_ horses, was to convey us to the village of Liddes. On leaving
the valley and crossing the river Drance, we soon commenced the ascent,
by the side of the raving torrent, with majestic heights on either hand.
A terrible tale of devastation and misery, of sublime fortitude and
heroic courage, is told of the valley of Bagnes, where the ice had made
a mighty barrier against the descending waters, which accumulated so
rapidly that a lake seven thousand feet wide was formed, and a tunnel
was cut through the frozen dam with incredible toil, when it burst
through and swept madly over the country below, bearing destruction upon
its bosom. In two hours some four hundred houses were destroyed with
thirty-four lives and half a million dollars' worth of property. We were
four hours and a half getting up to Liddes, where we had a wretched
dinner, and then mounted horses to ride to the summit of the pass.

The rain, which had been falling at intervals all the morning, was
changed into snow as we got into colder regions. The path became rougher
and more difficult, and it was hard to believe that even the indomitable
spirit of Napoleon could have carried an army with all the munitions of
war, over such a route as this. Yet the passage now is smooth and easy
compared with what it was when in 1800 he crossed the Alps.

Leaving the miserable village of Saint Pierre, through which a Roman
Catholic procession was passing, we had an opportunity of refusing to
take off our hats, though some of the peasants insisted on our so doing.
We came up to heights where no trees and few shrubs were growing:
flowers would sometimes put their sweet faces up through the snow and
smile on us as we passed, and I stopped to gather them as emblems of
beauty and happiness in the midst of desolation and death.


The most of the travellers on their upward way, were mounted on mules,
but a few were on foot, and among these was one of the monks of the
Hospice, who with a couple of blooming Swiss damsels, was returning to
his quarters from a visit below. We passed one or two cottages, and a
house of stone which has been built away up here for the reception of
benighted travellers, and after a toilsome journey of four hours, just
at sunset we came upon the Hospice, a large three-story stone house, on
the height of the mountain more than eight thousand feet above the sea,
the highest inhabited spot in Europe. To shelter those who are compelled
to cross this formidable pass in winter, when the paths are far down
underneath the snow, and travellers are in danger of being overtaken by
storms, or overcome with fatigue and sinking in the depths of the
drifts, this _hospice_ has been founded and sustained. In the summer
season, as now, it is merely a large hotel, where pleasure parties are
drawn by curiosity to visit the monks and their establishment, famed the
world over for its hospitality and self-denying charity. The snow was
falling fast as we ascended the rugged pass, and at least six inches of
it lay on the ground at the top. I was glad to have reached it, in the
midst of such a storm. It gave me a vivid picture of the hospice when
its walls and cheerful fires and kind sympathies are needed for worn and
exhausted pilgrims. Such were some who arrived here this evening. Father
Maillard, a young monk, received us at the door, and after pleasing
salutations conducted us to our chambers, plainly furnished apartments
with no carpets on the floor, but with good beds. The house was very
cold. As the season is not yet far advanced, perhaps their winter fires
were not kindled, and as no fuel is to be had except what is brought up
from below on the backs of horses, it is well for the monks to be chary
of its use. Our host led us to the chamber in which Napoleon slept when
he was here, and my young German friend occupied the same bed in which
the Emperor lay. He did not tell me in the morning that his dreams were
any better than mine, though I had but a humble pilgrim's.

After we had taken possession of our quarters, we were at liberty to
survey the establishment. We began at the kitchen, where a small army of
servants were preparing dinner, over immense cooking stoves. The house
is fitted up to lodge seventy guests, but oftentimes a hundred and even
five hundred have been known to be here at one time. To get dinner for
such a host, in a house so many miles above the rest of the world, is no
small affair. We came up to the Cabinet, enriched with a thousand
curious objects of nature and art, many of them presented by travellers
grateful for kindness they had received, and some of them relics of the
old Romans who once had a temple to Jupiter on this spot. The reception
room, which was also a sitting and dining room, was now rapidly filling
up with travellers, arriving at nightfall. One English lady, overcome
with the exertion of climbing the hill on horseback, sank upon the floor
and fainted as soon as she was brought in. A gentleman who had but
little more nerve in him, was also exhausted. The kind-hearted priests
hastened to bring restoratives, and speedily carried off the invalids to
their beds--the best place for them. It was quite late, certainly seven
in the evening before dinner was served, and with edged appetites, such
as only mountain climbing in snow time can set, we were ready at the
call. The monks wait upon their guests, girded with a napkin, taking the
place of servants, and thus showing, or making a show of humility. It
was not pleasant to my feelings to have a St. Augustine monk, in the
habit of his order, a black cloth frock reaching to his feet, and
buttoned, with a white band around his neck, and passing down in front
and behind to his girdle, now standing behind me while I was eating,
offering to change my plate, and serving me with an alacrity worth
imitating by those whose business it is to wait on table. And when I
said, "thank you, father," in Italian, it was no more than the tribute
of respect due to a gentleman of education and taste, whose religion had
condemned him to such a life as this. Father Maillard presided at the
table, and was very conversable with the guests; cheerfully imparting
such information as we desired. Of the eight or ten monks here, not one
of then speaks the English language; but the French, Italian and German
are all in use among them. I inquired of Father Maillard if those
terrible disasters of which we formerly read so much, travellers
perishing in the snow, are of frequent occurrence in late years. He told
me that rarely, I think he said never, does a winter pass, without some
accident of the sort. Hundreds of the peasantry, engaged in trade, or
for the sake of visiting friends, will make the pass, and though the
paths are marked by high poles set up in Summer, these are sometimes
completely buried under mountains of snow, and the poor traveller loses
his way and sinks as he would in the sea. He also told me that after his
brethren reside in this cold climate for a few years, they find their
health giving way and they are obliged to retire to some other field of
labor, and usually with broken constitutions. Yet there are always some
who are willing, at this hazard, to devote the best years of their life
to the noble work of saving the lives of others. Honor to the men,
whether their faith be ours or not.

Our dinner, this being our only dinner where monks were our hosts and
servants, is worth being reported. We had no printed bill of fare; but
my young friends helped me to make one out the next day as follows: 1.
Vermicelli soup. 2. Beef a la mode. 3. Potatoes. 4. Roast Lamb. 5. Roast
Veal stuffed. 6. Dessert of nuts, figs, cheese, &c. This with plenty of
wine, for which the cellars of St. Bernard are famous, was dinner and
supper enough for any, certainly we were prepared to do it justice, as
to a table spread in the wilderness.

After dinner, the party now numbering fifty or more, assembled from the
two or three refectories, in the drawing-room, and the many languages
spoken gave us a small idea of Babel. One of the priests took his seat
at a poor piano, sadly out of tune; and commenced playing some lively
airs. The two Swiss maidens who had come up with him to visit the
hospice, stood one on each side of him, at the piano, and sang with
great glee to his music, and at the close of every song, the party
applauded with hearty clapping of hands, that would have pleased Mario
and Grisi. I asked Father Maillard, who stood by me all the evening, and
with whom I formed a very pleasant acquaintance, if they had such gay
times every night. He said that during the summer travel they had many
pleasant people who enjoyed themselves much during their brief visit. We
certainly did. And at an hour later than usual we retired to our
chambers. It was so cold that I had to take my Glasgow blanket and wrap
myself well up in it before turning in, but I slept soundly, and was
awakened by the Convent bell, before daylight, calling the monks to
morning prayers. I rose, and hastily dressing, hurried to the chapel.
The priests, the servants, and thirty or forty muleteers who had come
with the travellers were on their knees on the stone floor of a pretty
little chapel, devoutly worshipping. None of the travellers were here:
but those who entertained and served them, had left their beds before
dawn to pray.

Breakfast was not prepared for all at once, but each person as he was
ready called for his coffee and rolls, and they were immediately

The celebrated dogs of St. Bernard were playing in the snow as I stepped
out after breakfast: a noble set of fellows they were, and invested with
a sort of romantic nobility, when we thought of them ploughing their way
through drifts, leading on the search for lost travellers, and carrying
on their necks a basket of bread and wine which may be as life to the

The dead! Come and see them. Close by the hospice is a square stone
house, into which are carried the lifeless bodies of those who perish in
the snow, and are found by the dogs, or on the melting of the snow in
the summer. They cannot dig graves on these rocky heights, and it is
always so cold that the bodies do not rot, but they are placed in this
charnel-house just as they are found, and are left to dry up and
gradually to turn to dust. I counted thirty skulls lying on the ground
in the midst of ribs, arms and legs; and twenty skeletons were standing
around the sides of the room, a ghastly sight. In one corner a dead
mother held the bones of her dead child in her arms: as she perished so
she stood, to be recognized if it might be, by anxious friends, but none
had ever come to claim her. What a tale of tender and tragic interest,
we read in these bones. Sad, and sickening the sight is, and I am
willing to get away.

Father Maillard walked with me into the chapel, showed me the paintings,
and the monument of Gen. Dessaix, and when I asked him for the box into
which alms are put, he pointed to it, and hastened away that he might
not see what I put in. They make no charge for entertaining travellers,
but every honest man will give at least as much in the way of a donation
as he would pay at a hotel.

My friend, as I now call him, Father Maillard, embraced me tenderly, and
even kissed me, when I bade him farewell, and mounting my horse, set off
at eight in the morning, with a bright sunshine, to descend the

                              CHAPTER XI.

                       FIRST SIGHT OF MONT BLANC.

The Host of Martigny--Vale of the Drance--Mount Rosa--Tete Noire--Col de
   Balm--The Monarch of the Alps.

"Bring me for my ride to-morrow the _easiest_ of all the mules in
Martigny," I said to Antonio, on the evening after my return from the
pass of St. Bernard. I was knocked up nearly, done over certainly, and
contemplated another trip with a sort of shrink. But there is nothing in
Martigny to see, after you have looked at the measures of the various
heights to which the water has risen in times of inundation, to which
these valley-villages are sadly subject. So in the morning--a bright
glad day it was--Antonio came in to tell me that he had a lady's mule
for me, so easy I should be in danger of falling asleep on his back; but
this hazard I was willing to risk. The past few days of walking and
riding had made me so stiff in the joints that I was awkward about
mounting, and my host of the _Poste_, a huge man as well as an admirable
publican, put his hands under my shoulders, and with all ease placed me
astride of the beast in a moment. The feat was received with applause by
a score of rough-looking peasants, guides, beggars, &c., of whom there
are plenty in this unwholesome valley; and we were off for the vale of

Following up the river Drance, we turned off to the right, and slowly
worked our way by a bad pathway, meeting people now and then coming down
with their truck to sell below. One man had a log of wood with a string
tied around it, dragging it behind him, women with baskets of
knick-knacks, all intent upon driving a trade in a very small way, but
industriously, and that commends a people to you wherever you see them.
On the left were terrible precipices, along the edge of which the path
often led us; till we came to a lovely reach of pasturages, a wide plain
where cottages were scattered, and flocks were grazing--a peaceful scene
in the midst of rugged mountains. Crossing this plain we ascended the
Forclaz, and from the ridge looked back on the valley of the Rhone. The
great road over the Simplon stretches for many a long mile up this vale,
and Sion in the distance is seen; and around us more than fifty snowy
peaks of the Alps with the morning sun gilding their crowns. Among them,
but in beauty above them all is Mount Rosa, admired even more than Mont
Blanc; and now that peculiar tint of pink was spread all over it with
uncommon lustre. "Great glory" was the exclamation which often rose to
my lips as from one and another point of observation I looked at these
white mountains, and the "excessive brightness" blazing from every
summit. But we cannot always be on the mountain tops looking at still
higher mountains. We descend into the valley of Trient, into which a
glacier extends, bringing its perpetual ice into the bosom of a sweet
vale, where green meadows were rejoicing, and the peasants were busy
with a scant harvest.

We have our choice of two roads from this valley to Chamouni. The one by
the _Tete Noire_ is the easiest, and we resolved in the freshness of our
strength to take this road first, and having pursued it to the _Tete_,
to enjoy the view, and then come back and go by the Col de Balm. By this
extra effort we accomplished a noble day's work, and were richly repaid
for the fatigue. In no part of Switzerland are the precipices grander
and more fearful, and for an hour we rode along the edge; and when the
rocks shoot out over the path, a tunnel or gallery as they call it, is
cut through; and near by a rude inscription cut into the rock celebrates
an English lady who contributed something to improve the pass. The
_Tete_ or Head, Black Head, is given to the dark mountain, whose
overhanging rocks present a gloomy front which has given its name to
this narrow defile. Hundreds of feet down in the dark abyss on whose
verge we are travelling, the Trient is roaring and leaping along its
rocky way to the Rhone. At every turn in our zigzag single-file march,
we are tempted to pause and study the scenes of sublime and terrible
that break upon us: for when we are in no danger ourselves, there is a
fascination in looking upon scenes where the fearful makes us shudder.
But we returned from these out-of-the-way places and were at noon in the
valley of Trient again, gazing at the lofty crags from which Escher de
Berg fell in 1791, when, like many more fortunate travellers, he
disregarded the advice of his guides, and lost his life in showing his
temerity and strength in making a leap.

The ascent of the Col de Balm has been described by the most of
travellers as one of the most difficult, and we are told it seems
incredible that mules can work their way up where travellers are obliged
to climb by the roots and shrubs. But over this hill lies the road to
Chamouni, and over this hill we are going. For an hour we did have hard
work, and Heinrich and I amused ourselves with digging up some Greek
roots, while the mules were slowly picking their way among the stones up
a path sometimes all but perpendicular. And when at last we emerged from
the forest, and reached the high pasturages, we had still a long hour of
travel before us, through the open country.

Our party had been enlarged during the morning by the accession of
others on the same route, and as we were nearing the ridge, there began
to be quite a strife among us as to whose eyes should have the first
sight of Mont Blanc. For a month we had been on and under the mountains
of Switzerland; gazing successively upon higher and yet higher heights;
and when the Jungfrau, and Mount Rosa, and other of the lesser kings of
the country had stood before us, we could not believe that any other
could be a monarch in the midst of such mountains as these. But Mont
Blanc was always to come. It was the last, for we had seen them all,
rejoiced in them all, looked up through them all to Him who holds them
in his hand, and counts them only as dust in the balance; and still one
more wonderful than they was just before us, on the other side of the
ridge, and in a few moments more would stand up and meet us face to
face. Over the pasturages there were many paths, and we scattered in our
attempts to gain upon each other. The mules seemed to catch somewhat of
the inspiration of the occasion, and did their best, till we came out
together, neck and neck, and we stood on the summit, with the vale of
Chamouni, the steeple-like _Aiguilles_ of Charmoz and Midi, Argentiere
and Verte, and others shooting up cold and black, sentinels around the
hoary old monarch of the Alps lying there with a crown of mist on his
head, which rises as we look at it, and Mont Blanc is before us.

"Disappointed of course," you say. Perhaps so. It does not stand in the
middle of a plain, and rise right up like a pyramid, till its apex
touches the blue sky. In fact, you must be assured by your guide that
the round summit to the South of two or three that seem to be higher is
actually Mont Blanc, the loftiest of them all; and as you sit here and
take in the wonderful panorama of the glaciers, needles, and majestic
summits, the grandeur gradually steals into your soul and takes quiet
possession. I wanted to be still and absorb the scene, which I should
soon leave and never see again. I would expose my heart to it, till a
sort of daguerreotype was made, which I could carry with me, and look at
when I should sit down at Niagara, or among the White Hills of New

[Illustration: CHAMOUNI AND MT. BLANC.]

"'Pon my honor, 'tis very fine," said a very red-faced, red-whiskered
Englishman, who had followed me to my solitary stand-point. "What do you
think of it? Is it not fine: very fine?" And so he kept chattering on,
till I crept off gently a few rods, and again essayed to be alone. But
my tormentor followed up, and renewed his attack, as if it were
impossible for him to see the prospect with any satisfaction unless he
could keep talking to somebody all the while. A small house of
entertainment stands here, and while my Englishman went in to have some
brandy and water, I managed to get a few moments of undisturbed
possession of the scene. Of all the points of observation in this
country of stupendous scenes, there is no one that furnishes a more
sublime and glorious spectacle than this. It is the crowning hour of the
tour of Switzerland. I felt that I had reached the climax, and with
reverence I could make a parody on the words of old Simeon. All my
feelings have been of reverence in this country. The Alps and God have
been around me for a month, and my soul has been rising in high converse
with Him who covers these hills with his presence, and is glorious in
the solitudes of these vales. And now as I look off at these glistening
glaciers, so many miles of resplendent ice, a _Mer de Glace_, a sea of
glass, lying among those mountains, and extending far down into the
vales below; when I look up at these precipitous peaks actually piercing
the clouds, and then at the solemn brows of those giant mountains, where
the foot of man has seldom trod, and the glory of God is forever
shining, I feel a sense of the presence of the Infinite and Eternal as
no other scene has ever yet awakened in my soul. With the disciples on
another Mount, I feel "it is good to be here."

That was my first sight of Mont Blanc. The day could not have been more
favorable, and that evening as the sun went down, I stood in the vale of
Chamouni and saw his last rays lingering on the summit, the stars
trooping around it at night, and the next morning before sunrise I was
out again to see the first beams of day as they kissed his brow.

          Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
          Thou owest; not alone these swelling tears,
          Mute thanks and secret ecstacy! Awake,
          Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
          Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my hymn.--
          Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale!
          O struggling with the darkness all the night,
          And visited all night by troops of stars,
          Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink;
          Companion of the morning-star at dawn,
          Thyself earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
          Co-herald! wake, O! wake, and utter praise!
          Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth?
          Who filled thy countenance with rosy light?
          Who made thee parent of perpetual streams?
          And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad,
          Who called you forth from night and utter death,
          From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
          Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
          Forever shattered, and the same forever?
          Who gave you your invulnerable life,
          Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
          Unceasing thunder, and eternal foam?
          And who commanded, (and the silence came,)
          "Here let the billows stiffen, and have rest?"--
          Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
          Adown enormous ravines slope amain!
          Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
          And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge!
          Motionless torrents! silent cataracts!
          Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
          Beneath the keen full moon? Who bade the sun
          Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers
          Of loveliest hue, spread garlands at your feet?
          God! Let the torrents, like a shout of nations,
          Answer, and the ice-plains echo, God!--
          God! sing ye meadow-streams with gladsome voice!
          Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
          And they too have a voice, yon piles of snow,
          And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!--
          Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost,
          Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest,
          Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain storm,
          Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds,
          Ye signs and wonders of the element,
          Utter forth, God! and fill the hills with praise.--
          Once more, hoar mount, with thy sky-pointing peaks,
          Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard,
          Shoots downward glittering through the pure serene,
          Into the depth of clouds that veil thy breast.--
          Thou too, again, stupendous mountain thou
          That, as I raise my head, awhile bowed low
          In adoration upward from thy base,
          Slow travelling, with dim eyes suffused with tears,
          Solemnly seemest, like a vapory cloud,
          To rise before me,--rise, O! ever rise,
          Rise like a cloud of incense, from the earth!
          Thou kingly spirit throned among the hills,
          Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven.
          Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
          And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun,
          Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.


                              CHAPTER XII.


A good House--Prisoner of Chillon--Calvin--Dr. Malan--Dr. Gaussen--Col.
   Tronchin--The Cemetery.

The _Hotel des Bergues_ stands on the Lake of Geneva, just where the
"arrowy Rhone" shoots out from its bosom. This is one of the finest
hotels in Europe, and with the _Trois Couronnes_ at Vevay, may fairly
challenge comparison with any other. I brought up at this house from the
Vale of Chamouni. The dismal rain through which I had been riding on a
chill autumn day, had increased to a storm, and the old town, that is
gloomy enough at any time, was peculiarly uninviting on its first
appearance. But this city I had longed to visit, even from the time that
I read in Cæsar's Commentaries, "the farthest town of the Allobroges and
the nearest to the frontier of the Helvetii, is Geneva." Julius Cæsar
took possession of it, and the remains of his erections are to be seen
at the present day.

The Christian religion was introduced in the fifth century, and bishops
appointed by the Pope by degrees became lords temporal as well as
spiritual, which they are very apt to do as fast and as far as they can
get the power. The right of naming the Bishops, about the year 1400,
fell into the hands of the ducal house of Savoy, and their creatures
became despots of the reddest dye. Their oppressions grew to be so
intolerable that the citizens rebelled. A bloody persecution ensued. The
chapter of its history is among the darkest of the records of popery.
The deeds of patriotic heroism which were brought out have scarcely a
parallel. One citizen cut his own tongue out with a razor, lest the
torture should compel him to betray his friends. Bonnivard became the
chained prisoner of Chillon. But his story is not to be passed over
without being told.

  "In 1530, _Francois Bonnivard, Prior of Saint Victor_, was seized on
  the Jorat by a band of marauders, whose chief was the Sieur de
  Beaufort, Governor of Chillon, for his bitter enemy, the Duke of
  Savoy. As a punishment for his heroic defence of the liberty of
  Geneva, he was condemned by the petty tyrant to perpetual captivity
  in the castle. Here he remained during seven years, buried alive in
  a dungeon on a level with the waters of the lake, and fastened by a
  chain round his body to a ring still remaining on one of the
  pillars. Irritated to agony by sad reflections on his own and his
  adopted country's slavery, he wore away the stone floor beneath his
  feet, by constantly pacing to and fro, like a wild beast, from end
  to end of its cage. At length, in 1536, the Bernese, with their
  allies of Geneva, effected the conquest of the Pays du Vaud. Chillon
  was the last place which held out for Duke Charles V. of Savoy, but
  the Bernese having laid siege to it by land, while the Genevese gave
  an assault by water, the garrison was forced to a surrender, and
  Bonnivard, with several other prisoners, was restored to liberty. He
  had left Geneva a Roman Catholic state, under the domination of the
  House of Savoy, he found her a free republic, openly professing the
  reformed religion. The citizens were by no means backward in
  recompensing him for past sufferings; in June, 1536, he was admitted
  to the highest privileges of the State, and presented with the house
  previously inhabited by the Roman Catholic Vice-General, besides an
  annual pension of two hundred crowns of gold, so long as he chose to
  dwell there."

Then came the Reformation. The people, long sick of Roman despotism and
disgusted with Romish wickedness, embraced the doctrines of the
Reformers, and Geneva became doubly free. John Calvin came in 1536, and
Protestants from other countries fled to Geneva as an asylum from
persecution. His genius and austere morals, contrasted with the
dissoluteness of the Romish Clergy, gave him unbounded influence in the
state. He was called the Pope, and Geneva the Rome of Protestantism.
John Knox was here with him, and hundreds of distinguished men whose
principles made it necessary for them to fly from England, France, Spain
and Italy. Through the seventeenth century the city had rest, and made
great progress in arts and science; the resort of men of learning, and
distinguished for the industry and thrift of its inhabitants. The
eighteenth century was marked with insurrections, distractions, civil
wars and revolution. The scenes of Paris were performed in Geneva. The
blood of her best citizens was shed by the hands of the mob, in the name
of liberty. Then the city was grafted upon France, and so remained till
1813, when with the aid of Austria, it became once more a Genevan
Republic. The next year it became one of the Cantons of Switzerland, but
the city held on to its aristocratic constitution. Still it flourished
in peace and progress, till the contest between the radical and
conservative parties broke out in 1841, and resulted in the revision of
the constitution, but not in the establishment of confidence and quiet.
In 1846 a fierce struggle occurred, still fresh in every memory, which
ended in the establishment of the present constitution, on a democratic
basis, and in giving an impulse to the attempt to overturn the thrones
of despotism in Europe; a noble but abortive effort, which failed in
1848. Geneva, under John Calvin, called Europe to religious liberty in
1536, and the people heard the call. If another John Calvin had been in
Geneva in 1848, we should not have been compelled to deplore the
miscarriage of that struggle in Europe for Constitutional liberty, which
shook every government, but eventuated in giving a charter to the people
of but a single State.

I had been wandering a month among the mountains of Switzerland, and had
not had a line from home. The bankers closed their offices at four
o'clock and it was nearly five when we arrived. Disappointed and grieved
I returned to the Hotel, the more sad as to-morrow is to be the Sabbath,
and I shall not be able to get my letters till Monday. It occurred to me
that something might have been sent for me to the care of a venerable
and well-known clergyman of Geneva, whom I should not fail to see, and I
would therefore call at once upon him, without ceremony. I soon found
his gate. A woman at the lodge answered the bell and took my card up to
the house with a message to ask if anything had been left for me; for it
was late and Saturday evening, and I would not intrude upon the pastor
at such an hour. In a few moments the good man stood on the walk, under
the trees, with a lantern in his hand; a tall old man, with long grey
hair hanging in curls, and a countenance shining with love. He put out
his hands and throwing one arm around me drew me to him, as if I were
his only son, and kissed me. It was the Rev. Dr. Cæsar Malan, and a
welcome such as a pilgrim in a strange land can feel. Many pleasant
hours I had with his interesting family, now reduced by the frequent
inroads which my countrymen have made upon it. No less than three of
them have repaid this good man's hospitality by carrying off his
daughters; and the last but one had been taken but a few days before I
arrived. These deeds were done by clergymen from America, and when I was
asked in a social gathering of Genevan ladies, if my countrymen were
obliged to go abroad for their wives, I could only say that no one would
blame them for taking a wife at a venture when they come to Geneva.

The gentle Gaussen, author of an excellent work on the Inspiration of
the Scriptures, charmed me with his sweet Christian spirit, and his
broad-hearted charity, so happily in contrast with much of the foreign
half-reformed religion, which in England and France still abounds.
D'Aubigne was not at home.

Col. Tronchin has a lovely residence out of town and overlooking the
lake. He sustains at his own charges an asylum for convalescing
invalids, one of the most interesting charities I have ever seen. He
took me through the establishment, and I felt, as I never did before,
what a blessedness it is to have wealth and a heart to use it for the
sake of those who are suffering. A young woman sitting at the door and
enjoying the sunshine, pale and thin, but smiling with the prospect of
returning health, rose, when he stopped and asked her if she was getting
well, and blessed him for her comforts, with looks and words of
gratitude that must have been a rich reward. This home for the poor is
charmingly situated in the midst of shade-trees, with walks and beds of
flowers, and furnished with everything to promote the health and comfort
of the patients, who come here when discharged from the hospitals as no
longer requiring medical aid, and are yet unable to labor. In the pure
air of this rural abode, and surrounded with all the good things which
this benevolent man has provided, twenty-five invalids are supported at
his expense, and as soon as one departs, another is ready and waiting to
come in. Indeed it occurred to me that many of them would be slow to get
well if they must be banished from this lovely spot to a cellar or
garret in a crowded street, to toil and sicken again.

Begging in the streets is forbidden, and in the whole of Switzerland you
may distinguish between the Protestant and Catholic cantons, by the fact
that few beggars are in the former, compared with the crowds that infest
the latter, annoying and often disgusting the traveller. The morals of
the two religions are as strikingly contrasted. The Catholics accuse the
Genevese females of prudery, and Sismondi tells us that the young women
are "pious, well brought up, prudent and good managers."

In the cemetery I found the grave of Sir Humphrey Davy and Pictet and
other distinguished men, foreigners and citizens, but no man knows where
Calvin is buried. He forbade any monument to be erected to mark the
spot, and so it has passed from the knowledge of man. But in the old
cathedral, standing on the spot where once stood a pagan temple of
Apollo, is the pulpit in which Calvin and Knox and Beza, Farel and
Viret, and a long line of glorious men, have preached: and this noble
building, presenting many fine specimens of architecture and sculpture
of the middle ages, now wrested from the hands of Popery, is a fitting
monument to the memory of the Reformers. In the public library founded
by _Bonnivard_, the Prisoner of Chillon, I saw the manuscripts and
portraits of all the Genevan Reformers, four hundred of the MSS. being
Calvin's, and a collection of literary curiosities of unrivalled
interest. There is little else to see in Geneva. Its attraction lies in
its historic interest, its delightful situation, and good society. In
and around it, all along the borders of Lake Leman, are sites made
famous by the residence of men and women of taste and letters.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                      PICTURES IN SWITZERLAND.[1]

Waterfalls--Constance--Zurich--William Tell--Glaciers--the Monarch.

The waterfalls of Switzerland are among its crowning glories; and of
these the falls of Schaffhausen are altogether the most imposing. The
European, who has never worshiped at the foot of our own great cataract,
looks down from the base of the Castle of Lauffen, after paying a franc
for the privilege of getting to a standing-place; or he looks up from
the opposite shore, where is reared the Castle of Worth, and he
pronounces it magnificent. Mrs. Bull does not hesitate to declare it
charming! Mr. Murray, in that everlasting Red book, without which no
Englishman could _do_ Europe--as this is the authority on which alone he
ventures to admire any thing in art or nature, just as he swears only by
the _Times_--Mr. Murray, in his never-to-be-dispensed-with Hand-book,
informs him that this is "the finest cataract in Europe," and, of
course, in his opinion, it is the finest in the world. He leads the
trembling traveller to the verge of the awful precipice, where, covered
with spray, he may enjoy the full grandeur of this "hell of waters," and
then he adds, "It is only by this close proximity, amidst the tremendous
roar and the uninterrupted rush of the river, that a true notion can be
formed of the stupendous nature of this cataract!" The Rhine here leaps
over the rocks into an abyss of fifty feet. The river is cloven in twain
by a tower of rock in the centre of the stream, and the spray rises from
its base in an eternal cloud. Picturesque and beautiful the falls
certainly are, but grandeur can hardly be affirmed of them.

It was my first day of travel in Switzerland when I reached them--a warm
day in the summer of last year. A month of hot weather in Dresden and
Munich had been too much for the restoring powers of the waters of
Baden-Baden, and it was like waking up in a new world of beauty, with a
new soul to love it, to find myself in the midst of this Swiss
scenery--the breezes of its snow hills and glaciers fanning me, and its
peaks pointing skyward, where there are temples and palaces whose every
dome is a sun and every pinnacle a star. But I could not be satisfied
till, with the aid of two stout fellows, I made my way through the
boiling waters nearly to the foot of the central tower, and there, in
the toppling skiff which threatened to tip over on very gentle
occasions, I looked up at the mass of waters tumbling from above. The
rocks were partially covered with green shrubbery, and a scraggy tree
stretched its frightful arms into the spray; but I was not disposed to
climb, as some have done, to the top of the cliff, for the sake of
enjoying the scene.

A curious old town is Schaffhausen, so named from the boat-houses, or
skiff-houses, which were here erected, for the falls made this the great
terminus of navigation on the Rhine. We had come by diligence from
Basle, and after passing a night in Weber's excellent hotel at the
falls, we came on in the morning, and spent an hour or two looking at
the ancient architecture of the town, whose buildings are adorned with
such fanciful and extravagant carvings as would hardly be deemed
ornamental in the Fifth Avenue.

A very small specimen of a steamer received us now, and bore us up
against a strong current. The banks on either side were green with
vineyards, now loaded with unripe fruit, and in the midst of the vines
the dressers were at their work. On the sloping hillsides the neat
cottages of the Swiss peasantry were scattered, making a picture of
constant beauty through which we were passing. Among our passengers were
a dozen German students, with their knapsacks on their backs, making a
tour of Switzerland, the most of which they would perform on foot,
gathering health and strength as they trudged on through the mountain
passes, and studied the glacier theories on the spot.

It was noon when we arrived at Constance, on the lake of the same name,
and a city to be forever associated with the trial and martyrdom of John
Huss and Jerome of Prague--a city on which the curse of shedding
innocent blood seems resting to this day. In the loft of a long
building, now standing near the water's edge, was gathered a Council, in
the year of our Lord 1414, over which the Emperor Sigismund presided,
and attended by some five hundred princes, cardinals, bishops,
archbishops and professors, who deposed two popes and set up another,
and crowned their four years' labor of love by condemning to the flames
those martyr men of God, whose names are this day fragrant in the
churches of a land that was not known when Huss was burning. In the
midst of a cabbage garden outside the gate, yet called the Huss Gate, we
were led to the spot where he suffered; and returning, we called at the
house in which he was lodged before he was brought to trial. But the
streets of the city had grass growing in them; for of the forty thousand
inhabitants who once filled these houses but seven thousand remain!
Tenements are now tenantless that once were thronged with life. It was
sad to wander by daylight through the streets without meeting a living
being; and this was my experience here, and afterward in the island city
of Rhodes. A chain stretched across the street sustained a lantern in
the centre--a very convenient substitute for lamp-posts, if there are no
carriages to pass, but a very awkward arrangement for a city infested
with omnibuses.

Another day and the diligence brought us to Zurich, on the lake of the
same name--the most thriving town in Switzerland. Here the lion-hearted
reformer, Zwingle--the soldier of the cross, who perished on the field
of battle--preached in the Cathedral, and dwelt in a house which is
still standing and known as his. Here Lavater, the physiognomist, had a
home and found a grave, over which the flowers are blooming. His was a
lovely and loving spirit. Switzerland, strange to say, has not given
birth to poets, but she is the mother of many noble sons, and her
scenery has inspired the souls of the sons of song from other climes,
who have wandered here and meditated among her lakes and hills.

Coming into Zurich, as we descended into the vale that holds the city
and the lake, I had been charmed with the view; and now at the close of
the next day, we were led to the height of one of the old ramparts, to
behold a Swiss sunset, and certified to be "one of the finest scenes in
Switzerland." The elevation, no longer needed for purposes of defence,
has been tastefully transformed into a flower-garden. Enormous shade
trees are crowning the summit, and on rude benches the
romantically-disposed people, citizens and strangers, are seated. As we
came to the top of the hill, the god of day was coming down from the
midst of a dense cloud, like a mass of molten gold distilled into a
transparent globe. His liquid face was trembling; but the world below
sent back a smile of gladness as the king in his glory looked down upon
it. The nearer summits seemed to catch the brightness first, and then in
the distance others, invisible before, stood forth in their majesty, as
if called into being by his quickening beams. At our feet was the lake,
like a sea of glass. The spires of the city and the sloping hills were
reflected from the mirror; and all over the country side, as far as the
eye could reach, were thousands of white cottages and villas, the abode
of wealth and peace and love--sweet Swiss homes, rejoicing in the
sunshine as they send up their evening psalm of praise. It was a scene
to make its impress on the memory, and to come up again and again in the
far-off dreams of other lands and years.

To climb the Rigi, to spend the night on the top, to see the sun go down
and get up in the morning, these are among the things to be done in a
tour of Switzerland, and all these we set off to do, taking the steamer
at Zurich and touching at Horgen, crossing over to Zug, and by steamer
again to the little village of Arth, which lies at the foot of the hill
we are to ascend. As we were approaching the shore, the reflection of
the Rigi from the lake was so vivid and perfect that we could study the
mountain in the water with as much satisfaction as a good-looking man
contemplates his own person in a glass. Every particular cliff and crag,
individual trees, and winding paths, and torrent beds, which we could
see above, were defined with marvelous precision below. On landing, we
dispatched a fleet mountain-boy ahead of us to engage beds at the house
on the summit; for so many were with us on board the steamer, and so
many more were doubtless climbing from the other side at the same time,
that we were likely to have a bed on the floor unless we stole a march
on our fellow-travellers. Most of them pushed upward from Arth, while we
kept upon the plain for a mile or more to the village of Goldau, once
the scene of a terrible catastrophe, the gloom of which still seems to
be hanging over the ill-fated spot. The Rossberg Mountain is on the east
of it, five thousand feet high, and in the year 1806 a mighty mass of
it, some three miles long and a thousand feet thick, came sliding down
into the valley, burying four hundred and fifty human beings in one
untimely, dreadful grave. Travellers, like ourselves, who were making
their way among these romantic regions, were suddenly overwhelmed in the
deluge of earth and stones, and the places of their burial are unknown
to this day. This event happened fifty years ago; but the broad, bare
strip on the mountain side, which no verdure has since clad, is an
ever-present record of the awful fall; and the great rocks that are
lying on the opposite side of the valley, and away up the Rigi, are
present witnesses of the messengers of death that came down in their
wrath on that memorable day. The village church was then buried with the
people who had been wont to frequent its courts, and nothing of it was
ever found but the bell, which was carried a mile or more and now hangs
in the steeple of another little temple filled with memorials of the
ancient calamity.

Here we began the ascent of the Rigi. Some on horses, some on mules,
more on foot, two or three ladies in sedan chairs, each borne by four
stout men--a very lazy way of getting up hill, where health as well as
pleasure is sought in travel; but every one choosing his own mode of
ascent, and none having wings, we set off, as motley a party of
mountain-climbers as ever undertook to scale a fortress. Four hours'
steady travel, pausing only to look in occasionally at the chapels in
which the Catholic pilgrims perform their prayers as they ascend to the
church of "Mary in the Snow," which is about half-way up, brought us to
the top where as yet the sun was half an hour high. And now, for the
first time, did we know that we were in Switzerland. Not because we are
on a very lofty mountain top--for the Rigi is not quite six thousand
feet high--but we are on a mountain which stands so isolated that it
affords us a better view than any other point, however elevated, of the
mountains, the lakes, valleys, and villages, that make this land so
peculiar for its beauty and grandeur. On the west, where we gazed with
the deepest emotion as soon as we planted our feet on the summit, we saw
the hoary Mount Pilatus, and at its base the Lake Lucerne, the most
romantic of the Swiss lakes, and not exceeded by the scenery of any lake
in the world. The city of Lucerne sends up its towers and battlements,
and the whole canton of that name is spread out, with the River Reuss
flowing over its bosom. At our feet, nestling under the Rigi and on the
borders of the lake, is the village of Kussnacht, and the chapel of
William Tell, marking the spot where the intrepid patriot pierced the
tyrant's heart with his unerring arrow. And now the descending sun is
pouring a flood of golden glory over all this broad expanse of lake and
forest, plain and towering hills, whose peaks are touching the blue
skies, gilded with last rays of declining day. Far southward we look
away upon the mountains of Unterwalden, of Berne, and of Uri, whose
snow-clad summits and blue glaciers are in full view, the beautiful
Jungfrau rising, queen-like, in the midst of the magnificent group of
sisters in white raiment. The eastern horizon is supported by the snowy
peaks of the Sentis, the Glarnisch, and the Dodi; and the two Mitres
start up from the midst of that region where Tell and his compatriots
conspired to give liberty to their native land. All around us are lakes,
so strangely nestled among the mountains that they seem to be
innumerable, peeping from behind the hills and forests. And now the
sound of the village bells, and the Alpine horn, and the evening psalm,
comes stealing up the rugged sides of the Rigi, and we are assured that,
in this world of ice, and snow, and eternal rocks, there are human
hearts all warm and musical with the love of Him whose is the strength
of the hills.

We had a short night's sleep, for what with a late supper and a crowd of
people who had no beds, our rest was broken; and just as the dawn began,
a monster, with a long wooden horn, marched through the halls, startling
the sleepers with its blast, and forbidding sleep to come again. We had
been warned over night that, at this signal, we must wrap up and run if
we would see the sun rise; and as a posted notice in French forbade the
use of the bed-blankets, we hurried on our clothes, and in a few moments
stood, with a hundred others, like the Persian fire-worshippers, gazing
eastward to catch the first glimpse of the coming king! Not long had we
to wait. Another blast of the wooden trump gave notice of his approach,
and presently a coal of fire seemed to be glowing in the crown of the
mountain directly in front of us. It grew till the whole peak was ruddy
with the glow, and then the great globe rose and rested on the summit!
From this, as from a fount of light new-created and rejoicing in the
first morning of its being, the streams of glory were poured out upon
the world below and around us. Peak after peak, and long mountain ranges
and ridges, domes and sky-piercing needles, and fields of fresh snow,
and forests of living green, began to smile in the sunlight. In the
space of a brief half hour the world was lighted up for the business of
another day, and when we had had a cup of wretched coffee and a bit of
sour bread, we "marched down again."

The steamer from Lucerne, on its daily trip from that city, touches at
Weggis, where we awaited its coming, and were soon in the midst of the
most romantic scenery in Europe. From the water's edge the mountains
rise perpendicularly. Broken into ridges, clothed with green forests or
smooth pastures, and now and then sheltering a hamlet in the openings,
the mountains stand around this lake with a majesty too impressive for
words. We have come into the heart of a land of heroes. The waters of
this lake are like the life-blood of martyrs. This little village of
Gersau, on a sloping hillside, shut out from the rest of the world by
these mountain ramparts, was an independent democracy of four hundred
years, though its domains were only three miles by two! Here, at
Brunnen, are painted, on the outer walls of a building on the waterside,
the effigies of the three great men who, with William Tell, achieved the
independence of Switzerland in 1815. Across the lake, away up among the
ledges of the rocks, there lies a little plain, an _oasis_ in the
wilderness, where, in the dead of night, the three confederates met and
laid their plans for the deliverance of their country from the yoke of a
foreign oppressor. That spot is Grutli. It is a holy place, for liberty
was there conceived, and every patriot, from whatever land he comes, is
thrilled when his eye looks on it. Yet not so sacred is Grutli as the
land upon the opposite side of the lake, where the steamer slackens its
speed as we are passing a little chapel that is built upon the margin of
the lake. This chapel marks the spot where William Tell escaped from the
boat in which he was a prisoner on his way to Gessler's prison at
Kussnacht. It does savage violence to one's better feelings to be told
that no such man as Tell was ever living in this land we are now
exploring. He has been our ideal of a patriot chieftain from childhood,
and we are not to be cheated out of him without a struggle. Skeptical
critics may tell us, as they do, that Tell is a myth; but we have
history for our faith to lean upon, and tradition tells us that this
chapel was built in 1388, thirty-one years after the hero's death, and
in presence of one hundred and fourteen persons who had known him when
he was living. Such is our faith, and as we are passing by the chapel,
to which, even unto this day, the Swiss make an annual pilgrimage and
have a solemn mass performed within its narrow walls, and a sermon
preached, we will tell the story of Tell.

When the year 1300 was coming in, Albert of Austria was ruling with a
rod of iron over the dwellers in these mountains. He sent magistrates
among them who exacted heavy taxes which they were unable to pay, and
imposed arbitrary and cruel punishments upon them on slight occasions.
Arnold, a peasant of Uterwalden, was condemned for some insignificant
offence to give up a yoke of fine oxen, and the servant of the bailiff
seized them while Arnold was plowing with them, and said, as he drove
them off, "Peasants may draw the plow themselves." Arnold smote the
servant, breaking two of his fingers, and fled. The tyrant seized the
father of Arnold and put out both his eyes! Such cruelties became too
many and too grievous to be borne. Even the women--brave souls!--refused
to submit, and the wife of Werner Stauffacher said to her husband:
"Shall foreigners be masters of this soil and of our property? What are
the men of the mountain good for? Must we mothers nurse beggars at our
breasts, and bring up our daughters to be maid-servants to foreign
lords? We must put an end to this!" Her husband was roused, and went to
Arnold, whose father's eyes had been put out, and Walter Furst. These
three held their meetings for counsel at Grutli. Afterward each of them
brought ten men there, who bound themselves by a great oath to deliver
their land from the oppressor. This oath was taken in the night of
November 17, 1307. Not long afterward the bailiff, Herman Gessler, when
he saw the people more restless and bold, resolved to humble them. He
placed the ducal hat of Austria upon a pole, and ordered every one who
passed by to bow down in reverence before it. William Tell, one of the
men who had taken the oath at Grutli, held his head proudly erect as he
passed, and when warned of the danger of such disobedience stoutly
refused to bow. He was seized and carried before the bailiff, who was
told that Tell, the most skillful archer of Uri, had refused to pay
homage to the emblem of Austrian power. Enraged at Tell's audacity,
Gessler exclaimed,

"Presumptuous archer, I will humble thee by the display of thine own
skill. I will put an apple on the top of the head of thy little son;
shoot it off, and you shall be pardoned!"

In vain did the wretched father plead against such cruelty. He could
pierce the eagle on the wing, and bring down the fleet chamois from the
lofty rocks, but his arm would tremble and his eyesight fail him when he
took aim at the head of his noble boy. But his remonstrances were all in
vain. The boy was bound to a tree, and the apple set upon his head. The
strong-hearted father took leave of his son, scarce hoping that he could
spare him, and rather believing that his arrow would in another moment
be rushing through his brain. With a prayer for help from Him who holds
the stars in his hand, and without whose providence not a sparrow falls,
the wretched father drew his bow. The unerring arrow pierced the apple,
and the child was saved. Another arrow fell from underneath the garment
of the archer as the shout of the people proclaimed the father's

"What means this?" demanded the tyrant.

"To pierce thy heart," replied Tell, "if the other had slain my son!"

Gessler ordered the man to be seized and bound, and hurried off to the
dungeon he had built at Kussnacht. Fearing to trust the guards with
their prisoner--for he knew not how far the spirit of rebellion might
have spread--Gessler embarked in the boat with them, and hastened off
lest the people should rise to the rescue of their countryman. The lake
was subject then, as it is now, to sudden and fearful tempests. The wind
rose and swept the waves over the boat, defying the skill of the
boatmen, and threatening their speedy destruction. Tell was known for
his skill with a boat as well as with a bow. Tyrants are always cowards,
and when the tyrant saw that his own men were not able to manage the
craft, he ordered Tell's bonds to be removed that he might take the helm
in his hand. Steering the boat as near to the projecting rock of
Axenberg as she could run, he suddenly leaped from it to the ledge, and
the force of his leap sent the boat backward upon the lake. The prisoner
was free. Pursuit was hopeless. He was at home among the mountains.
Every path was familiar to him. But vengeance would be taken on those
dearer than his own life. He resolved to preserve them by the death of
the monster who had sought to make him slay his own son. With the speed
of the chamois he sped his way across the mountains to the very place
where he was to have been carried in chains, and there awaited the
coming of Gessler. The tyrant came but to die. The arrow of the patriot
drank his heart's blood. Then the inhabitants of the mountain fastnesses
flew to arms. The minions of Austria were seized, and with a wonderful
forbearance were not slain, but sent out of the country under an oath
never to return. The King Albert came to subdue the rebels. On his way
he was murdered by his nephew and a band of conspirators, whom he had
thought his friends. He expired at the wayside, his head being supported
by a peasant woman who found him lying in his blood. The children of the
murdered man and his widow, and Agnes the Queen of Hungary, took
terrible vengeance on the murderers, and, confounding the innocent with
the guilty, shed blood like water. Agnes was a woman-fiend. As the blood
of sixty-three guiltless knights was flowing at her feet, she said:
"See, now I am bathing in May-dew!" One of the most distinguished of the
enemies of the King, the Knight Rudolf, was, at her orders, broken on
the rack, and while yet living was exposed to the birds of prey. While
dying, he consoled his faithful wife, who alone knelt near him, and had
in vain prostrated herself in the dust at the feet of Agnes, imploring
her husband's pardon. But the war of oppression went on. An army marched
into Switzerland, and to the many thousands of their invaders the men of
Grutli could oppose only thirteen thousand. But they were all true men,
and at Morgarten, on a rosy morning in 1315, they met the enemy and
routed them utterly, after such deeds of valor as history scarcely
elsewhere has recorded. This gave freedom to Switzerland. Of that
struggle the first blow was struck by William Tell when he smote Gessler
to the earth.

At the head of the Lake of Lucerne, and a few miles above the chapel of
Tell, is the village of Fluelen, at which we rest only long enough to
get away, for the low grounds, where the River Reuss comes down into the
lake, breeds pestilence, and the inhabitants give proofs of the
unhealthiness of the place by the number of cretins and goitred cases
that are found among them. Two miles beyond is the old town of Altorf.
Lapped in the midst of rugged mountains, which shut down closely on
every side, it is secluded from the world that is familiar with its
name. Here, on this village green, in front of the old tower, a
fountain, surmounted by a statue, marks the spot where William Tell shot
the apple from the head of his son. The tree on which the ducal hat was
hung by Gessler, and the same to which the boy was bound, is said to
have remained there three hundred years after the event. The _tower_
dates back of that time, as records still in existence prove it to be
more than five hundred and fifty years old. To this day the hunters of
Uri come down to Altorf to try their skill with the rifle, which has now
taken the place of the bow and arrow.

A few miles further on we came to the River Reuss, in which William Tell
was drowned while attempting to save the life of a boy. There was
something sublime in the thought that a man whose name is now identified
with the patriots and heroes of the world should finally lose his life
in the performance of a deed that requires more of the self-sacrificing
spirit than to scale the walls of a fortress and perish in the midst of
a nation's praise.

The men of this region are spoken of as the finest race in Switzerland.
We had no reason to think them remarkable; but the women, who were
making hay in the meadows while the men were off hunting, were certainly
very good-looking for women who work in the fields in all weathers,
braving the storms of rain and snow, tending the sheep and cattle on the
hillsides, and carrying the hay on their backs to the barns.

As we pressed our way up the great Saint Gothard road, frowning
precipices rise a thousand feet high, black, jagged rocks, almost bare
of vegetation, shutting out the sunlight, and making a solitude fearful
and solemn, its silence rarely disturbed but by the passing traveller
and the ceaseless dashing of the river, which, instead of flowing,
tumbles from ledge to ledge. In the spring of the year the avalanches
make the passage still more fearful.

Twenty or thirty thousand persons travel over this pass every year; and
to keep the current in this direction, the cantons of Uri and Tessin
built this splendid carriage-path, as smooth as a floor, and so firm in
its substructures as to resist the violence of the storms and the
swollen torrents that so often rush frightfully down these gorges. Twice
was the work swept away before this road was completed, which, it is
believed, will stand while the mountains stand. So rapid is the ascent,
that the road often doubles upon itself, and we are going half the time
backward on our route. Sometimes the road is hewn out of the solid rock
in the side of the precipice, which hangs over it as a roof, and again
it is carried over the roaring stream that is boiling in a gulf four
hundred feet below. Toiling up the gorge, with the savage wildness of
the scenery becoming every moment more savage still, we reach the
Devil's Bridge. More than five hundred years ago, an old abbot of
Einsiedeln built a bridge over an awful chasm here; but such is the fury
of the descending stream, the whole mass of waters being beaten into
foam among the rocks that lift their heads through the cataracts--such
is the horrid ruggedness of the surrounding scenery, and so unlikely
does it appear that human power could ever have reared a bridge over
such a fearful chasm, it has been called, from time immemorial, the
Devil's Bridge. A Christian traveller would much prefer to ascribe its
origin to a better source; for whatever miracle it required, we might
refer it to the skill and goodness of Him who hung the earth upon
nothing, and holds the stars in his hand. We were quite cold when we
reached the bridge, and, quitting the carriage, walked over it to study
its structure, and enjoy the grandeur of a scene that has hardly an
equal even in this land of the sublime and terrible. At this spot the
River Reuss makes a tremendous plunge at the very moment that it bends
nearly in a semicircle, and a world of rocks has been hurled and heaped
in the midst of the torrent, to increase the rage and roar of the
waters, arrested for a moment only to gather strength for a more
terrific rush into the abysses below. We approach the parapet, and look
calmly over, and there, far below us, is another bridge, which, becoming
useless by age and the violence of the elements, was superseded by this
new and costly structure.

We crossed the bridge and soon entered the long _Gallery of Uri_--a
tunnel cut through the solid rock--a hard but the only passage, as the
torrent usurps the whole of the gorge, and the precipice above admits no
possible path overhead. A hundred and fifty years ago this hole was
bored, and before that time the only passage was made on a shelf
supported by chains let down from above, on which a single traveller
could creep, if he had the nerve, in the midst of the roar and the spray
of the torrent in the yawning gulf below him. To add to the gloom and
terror of the scene about us, a storm, with thunder and lightning broke
upon us as we emerged from this den, and right speedily set in while as
yet we had no shelter. We had come into an upper valley, a vale five
thousand feet above the level of the sea, where no corn grows, though
the land flows with milk and honey. The cows and goats find pasture at
the foot of the glaciers, and the bees, who find flowers even in these
realms of eternal snow, make their nests in the stunted trees and the
holes in the rocks. At Andermatt, a village among the mountains, we come
upon an inn whose many lighted windows invited us to seek refuge from
the increasing storm, and we entered a room already thronged with
travellers who had reached it before us, many of them coming down, and
they were now rejoicing over a smoking supper. They made us welcome, and
in the good cheer we soon forgot the fatigues and the perils of the most
exciting and exhausting day we had had in Switzerland.

"Blessed be he who first invented sleep," the weary traveller says, with
Sancho, whenever night comes, and wherever, if he is so happy as to have
a place wherein and on to lay his head. Sleep, that will not come for
wooing to him who wastes his hours in idleness at home, now folds her
soft arms lovingly about him, kisses his eyelids, whispers gentle
memories in his soul, and dreams of the loved and the distant are his as
the swift night-hours steal away. The nights are not long enough; for
when the first nap is past the sun of another day is struggling to get
over the hill-top and look down into the vale of Andermatt!

We might pursue this St. Gothard highway over into Italy, but we have
not yet seen Switzerland.--Hitherto we have been traversing only the
great roads of travel. Now we will strike off into the regions where
wheel carriages have never yet been seen. The Furca Pass leads off from
the St. Gothard road, and with a guide to pilot us, we struck into a
narrow defile. Away above us the blue glacier of St. Anne was shining in
the morning sun, and now we are at the foot of a beautiful waterfall
that leaps from its bosom into the vale below. Here are the remains of
an awful avalanche of rocks and earth that came down a few years since,
on a little hamlet clustering on the hillside. The inhabitants fled as
they heard it coming, but a maiden, tending a babe, refused to leave her
precious charge, and could not fly with it as rapidly as the rest. She
perished with it in her arms. Soon we came to a mountain stream which
crossed our path, and the bridge had been swept away by an avalanche
only the very night before. There were no signs of danger now, and we
could scarcely believe the stories that were told us of the sudden
destruction wrought by these thunderbolts of snow, and ice, and earth,
which are the terror of these regions. The village we slept in last
night is protected by a forest of trees so arranged as to receive and
ward off the slides; but they come at times with such force as to cut
off the trees, and bury everything in undistinguished ruin.

This _pedestrianism_ is very well to boast of at home, and for those who
are used to it and fond of it, it may be a very agreeable mode of
travel; I confess I was tired of it the first day, and took to the horse
as decidedly a better, as it certainly is an easier method of transit.
It was just about as much as I could do to _walk_, and think of the
number of miles we had gone, and had yet to go, with scarcely any spirit
to enjoy the romance of the scenery, the glaciers and waterfalls, the
precipices and snowy summits that were around me; and groaning all the
while with the burden of locomotion. It was another thing altogether to
sit on a horse, and folding one's arms, to look upward and around
rejoicing in the wonders of God's world, and breathing in with the
mountain air, the rich inspirations of the scene.

We are now so far up in the world that the snow, though the month of
August is closing, is lying by the side of the pathway, while the wild
flowers, in bright and beautiful colors, are blooming in the sun, and
close to the edges of these chilling banks. On our right hand the
Galenstoch glacier lies among the peaks of naked rock that, like the
battlements of some thunder-riven castle, shoot upward eleven thousand
feet into the clear blue sky. We are among the ice-palaces of the earth.
I hug my great coat closely, as the cold winds from these eternal
icebergs search me, and in a few minutes reached the inn at the summit
of the Furca Pass. Snow-clad summits of distant mountains glistened in
the noonday sun, and blue glaciers wound along and down the gorges, and
so far above the valleys were we now that it seemed like a world without
inhabitants, desolate, cold, and majestic, in its solitude and icy

The descent was too rapid for safe riding, and, giving the horse to the
guide, who would lead him around, I leaped down the steep declivity, and
soon found myself in a lovely vale. Turning suddenly around a
promontory, a scene of such grandeur and beauty burst upon our sight as
we had not yet encountered, even in this land of wonders. An ocean
lashed into ridges and covered with foam, then suddenly congealed, would
not be the spectacle! Freeze the cataract of Niagara and the rapids
above it, and let them rise a thousand feet into the air; congeal the
clouds of spray, the falling jewelry; pile up pyramids and minarets, and
columns, and battlements of ice, and then, at each side of this
magnificent scene, set a tall mountain, with green pasturage on its
sides, and its head crowned with everlasting snow, and you have some
faint image of the Glacier of the Rhone! Travellers have called it the
Frozen Ocean of Switzerland. But it is more than this. And yet out of
its bosom, its cold but melting heart, the River Rhone is flowing. This
is its source. The daring adventurer may follow it up, beneath the blue
arches and between the polished walls, till he finds himself far away in
these caverns of ice, where no living thing abides. And here he learns
the great design of a beneficent Creator in forming these glaciers. The
snows of winter are here stored up, and, instead of being suddenly
melted in the spring, and then sent down in torrents to devastate the
lands through which the overwhelming currents would be borne, they are
melted by degrees, and led by channels through these mountain passes
into the river beds that water all the countries of Europe! For this
great purpose Switzerland was built! It has been lightly said that this
Swiss country looks as if it had been the leavings of the world when
creation was finished, and the refuse material that could not be
conveniently worked in had been thrown in dire confusion, heaps on
heaps, into this wilderness of jagged rocks, and shapeless mountains,
and disordered ranges of hill and vale--impracticable for man or
beast--a rude, wild land, doomed to perpetual poverty, and existing only
to be an object of curiosity to the traveller. But we find it to be the
great fountain of living waters, pouring its inexhaustible streams into
the wide and many lands below, carrying fertility and beauty over
millions of acres, and food and gladness to countless homes.

A hard hill to climb was the Grimsel. Sometimes I rode, but more
frequently I was content to toil upward on my own feet, without taxing
the jaded horse with my weight to be added to his own. But when we
reached the summit, and overtook other parties who were before us, and
were overtaken by yet others coming up behind, we formed a picturesque
procession of some forty or fifty pilgrims, who wound slowly along the
banks of the _Dead Sea_--a lake that lies away up among these frozen
heights, and derives its name from the fact that it was once the grave
of a multitude of soldiers who perished in the fight in these mountain

The vale of the Grimsel is beneath us, and just before the sun sets we
reach the Hospice, and eagerly ask for lodgings. On the borders of a
little lake, in the bottom of a narrow valley, surrounded by almost
perpendicular rocks, stands this solitary house, in former years
inhabited by friendly monks who made it their pious care to entertain
the traveller and furnish free hospitality to the poor. Now it is a
hotel, and a very poor one at that, where you may get a supper, and a
bed, and a large bill in the morning. This is a dreary spot now, and in
the winter more fearful it must be.

In the morning we found the path that led us out of the valley to the
Glaciers of the Aar. The mountain of earth, rocks, ice and snow that we
encountered put to flight all ideas we had formed of a glacier. We
seemed to have come to a vast heap of sand, or to the _debris_ brought
down by an avalanche, but from the base of it a torrent was rushing of a
dirty milky hue, and out of its front we could see rocks of blue ice
projecting. Now and then a mass of earth or a huge boulder would be
hurled along down the precipice.

And this mighty mass of ice, decaying at the front and pressed down from
above, is slowly moving onward at the rate of some twelve inches a day.
If a stream of water running across it cuts a wide seam, so that the
mass is suddenly brought down, the shock will throw up the ice in
ridges, and in various fantastic shapes, as if some great explosion had
upheaved the frozen ocean, and the fragments had come down in wild
confusion, like the ruins of a crystal city. Then the sun gradually
melts the towers, and they assume shapes of dazzling beauty, palaces of
glass, silver domes, and shining battlements--making us to wonder that
so much beauty and magnificence are seemingly wasted in these dreary

Nestled charmingly among the hills is the sweet village of Interlaken.
The plain which it adorns stretches from Lake Thun to Lake Brienz, and
the quiet retreat it furnishes is improved by hundreds of English
people, who make it a summer residence. It combines two advantages, very
rarely blended in this world--it is _cheap_ and _genteel_. A large
number of neat boarding-houses, some of them aspiring to the rank of
first-class hotels, are scattered along the main street of the village;
and at the _Hotel des Alpen_, the largest establishment and admirably
kept, the traveller may find good rooms and board for a dollar a day,
and at even less than that if he is disposed to be very economical. We
had crossed the Wengern Alp and passed the vale of Grindelwald; had seen
an avalanche come down from the side of the Jungfrau, and been amused
with the little cascade called the Staubach, about which poets and
printers have gone into ecstasies; and we were glad to find so quiet,
beautiful, and civilized a spot in which to sit down for a few days and

While we were at Interlaken we made a beautiful excursion on Lake Brienz
to the Giesbach Fall. It has some peculiarities that claim for it the
very first rank among the falls of Switzerland. See the little stream
that issues as from a cleft in the rock, nearly a thousand feet above
the waters of the lake. Then among the dark evergreens the white flood
comes swelling and plunging into secret abysses where the eye can not
search its hidings, but it rises again with a widened torrent, and now
spreads a broad bosom of waters over a mighty precipice; and here a
bridge has been thrown across in front of the falls, and a gallery cut
away behind it, so that it may be circumvented by the visitor who is
provided with an overcoat of India rubber, or is willing to take a
thorough sponging for sake of the submarine excursion. When I had
completed the circuit, a lady was regretting that she could not venture
on the tour, but her scruples were instantly removed when I offered her
my water-proof, and in a few minutes she returned "charmed" with her
trip. Once more the swollen mass of waters plunges over the rocks and
shoots out into the lake, in one of the most romantic and beautiful
regions that is to be found in this wildly beautiful land.

I pass over the experiences of a few days' travel, and come suddenly to
the summit of the Col de Balm.

Mont Blanc is in sight! Not a faint and doubtful view of a peak among a
hundred peaks, but the monarch of the Alps stands there--a king in his
glory, revealed from his summit to the base. A cloud is gathered like a
halo on his head; but it rises and vanishes as we look upon it with
silent admiration and awe. Around him are the Aiguilles or Needles, bare
pinnacles of rock stretching up like guards into the heavens, and
between are the glaciers--reflecting now the rays of the noonday sun,
and among them the _Mer de Glace_--winding along down the gorges, and
resting their cold feet in the vale below.


Afterward I saw Mont Blanc from its base, and sought other heights from
which it might be surveyed, but I could find nothing comparable to the
view from the _Col de Balm_. There it stands, towering fifteen thousand
eight hundred and ten feet toward the sky, the loftiest summit in
Europe, with thirty-four glaciers around it; and as I gazed, it was a
strange question to discuss--but one that might well be argued till
sundown--is old Ocean, or Niagara, a sublimer sight?

It seems so near the sky that the blue firmament kisses its brow. It is
so far off, yet so near, so bright and pure, that the angels might be
sporting on its summit and be safe from the intrusion of men. It is a
_solemn_ mountain. Even the hills of Syria and Palestine, on which I
afterward gazed, Lebanon and Hermon, Carmel and Horeb, with their
hallowed memories clustering on them, were not more impressive than this
hoary hill--forever clothed in white raiment, standing there like an
ivory throne for the King of Kings!

We went down into the vale of Chamouni, and at evening saw the stars
like diamonds sparkling in the crown of the monarch, and then the
moonbeams fell all cold upon his crest. We rose the next morning early,
and saw the summit of Mont Blanc in a blaze of glory long before the
dwellers in the vale had seen the rays of the rising sun.

And then we left Switzerland.


Footnote 1:

  The preceding letters were originally addressed to the New York
  Observer. This chapter, embracing a general view of the country, with
  pictures of scenes already noticed, was contributed to Harper's
  Monthly Magazine.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

                              SAXON SWYTZ.

A model guide--The Bastei--Banditti of old--A cataract to order--Scaling a
   Rampart--Konigstein--the Kuhstall--the Great Winterberg--Prebisch
   Thor--Looking Back.

In a corner of Saxony is a miniature Switzerland. They call it Saxon
Switzerland; perhaps the name is not well chosen, for it has one feature
only of Swiss scenery--exceeding beauty. Only three days are required to
see it, and two will give a good traveller all the more prominent
points, in a series of views, the romantic loveliness of which will
linger a lifetime in the memory of one who has seen them. The Elbe is
now navigated by little steamboats, which English enterprise introduced,
but a better way to reach Saxon Swytz, if you are pressed for time, is
to go with us by rail to Rathen, and there strike off into the
mountains. A local guide must be had at once, before you take a step. It
was now the height of the travelling season, and on a fine morning in
July we found ourselves at a small tavern on the banks of the Elbe, with
half a dozen men about us pressing their claims to be employed as guides
among the mountains. "Do you speak English?" we inquired of one: to
which he answered "Yes," and this with the frequent exclamation "look
here" proved to be the Alpha and Omega of our German's knowledge of
English. He had a book of certificates which former travellers had given
him, and as they were sure he could not read one of them, they had very
freely commended him as ignorant, stupid, temperate and faithful,
acquainted with the country, and probably no worse a guide than the
rest. He was our man. We could get out of him all that was necessary,
and as he pleaded hard for employment, and knew three words of English
more than the rest, we took him, and in five minutes he took us into a
small boat to pull us over the Elbe. Instantly the bewitching scenery
began to surround us. The river was here so winding that we could see a
little way only, either up or down, but the lofty banks rose so abruptly
from the water and the rocks, in the midst of which evergreens were
growing, hung so fearfully above us, that we seemed to be suddenly borne
into a land of enchantment. We landed on the other side, a "house of
refreshment," where German ladies and gentlemen were recruiting
themselves with beer, which like an overflowing stream appears to come
from some exhaustless fountain. Now we are to decide between a
pedestrian tour and mules. We were not long in making up our minds, and
soon we were off on the beasts; sorry beasts they were; better men than
Balaam might have wished for a sword, or some more fitting weapon to
make them go. They were indifferent to all minor arguments, such as
words and kicks, and only conscious of the _a posteriori_ mode of
reasoning, to which the muleteer in the rear continually resorted. We
left the common road, and by a narrow path commenced the ascent to one
of the most celebrated and splendid points of observation, the Bastei.
On either side of us as we are ascending, huge precipices frown and deep
grottoes in which the fairy spirits of these forests may be supposed to
dwell, invite us to rest as weary of the upward way. Now a waterfall,
beautiful as water in motion always is, and picturesque as a cascade in
the green woods must be, tempts us to linger and take the spray on our
heated brows. Through dense shades of evergreen forests, by a path so
steep, at times, that it is difficult to keep your seat in the saddle,
we toil on, and in the course of an hour have triumphed over the
hardships of the hill, and have reached the summit of the loftiest
bastion in the world. It is as perpendicular as a wall that has been
reared for defence. The rock on which we were standing projects from the
front of the precipice, and we are hanging six hundred feet above the
Elbe. The river winds round the base of the mountain, and both up and
down the stream for many miles the eye rests on similar heights on the
same side that we are standing. Behind us, Ossa upon Pelion seems to be
piled. Giant rocks stand up there in solemn and solitary grandeur, as if
by some great convulsion of nature the earth had been torn from their
sides, and they were left to brave earthquakes and thunderbolts with
their naked heads and sides exposed to perpetual storms. Yet the bravery
of man has bridged the horrid chasms that yawn between these separated
cliffs, and they have in times past, been the hiding places of banditti,
who from these heights could watch the Elbe, and make their descent upon
the hapless navigator of the peaceful stream. On one of the rocks is a
huge boulder so evenly balanced on the very pinnacle that it has been
called "Napoleon's Crown," and another from a fancied resemblance, "the
Turk's head," and all of them have titles more or less fitting. Across
the river, and in front of us, the plain spreads wide and rises as it
recedes from the shore till it meets a range of wooded mountains. From
the midst of this plain there rise immense cones, suddenly and
remarkably, strange formations, a study for the geologist, probably left
there when all the surrounding masses were worn away by the Elbe in
making its way through this mountainous region. The country is full of
legends connected with each and all of these strange columns, the
summits of which are sometimes crowned with castles, and one of them,
the Lilienstein, is so perpendicular and lofty, that the Elector of
Saxony and King of Poland, when he had scaled its heights, left a record
of his memorable exploit. In the hiding places of this wild and rugged
rock, the spirits of the woods are supposed to hover over concealed
treasures. "A holy nun miraculously transported from the irregularities
of her convent to the summit of the Normenstein, that she might spend
her days in prayer and purity in its caverns, is commemorated in the
name of the rock, and the '_Jungfernsprung_,' or leap of the Virgin,
perpetuates the memory of the Saxon maid who when pursued by a brutal
lustling threw herself from the brink of its hideous precipice to die

_Konigstein_, nearly a thousand feet high, with its impregnable
fortress, we shall attempt this afternoon, and enter it with a flag of
truce, as it was never taken by force. We came up here for the sake of
view, and fully repaid for the toil of the ride, we are now prepared to
descend by another route, when we are told for the first time that the
mules are not for us to ride down, we must foot it, and the mules be
driven by the same road they came up. Through the wildest of all wild
gorges our winding way led us, at the base of jagged rocks of fearful
height, out of the broken breasts of which huge trees were growing,
threatening to fall, yet clinging for life to the crevices in which
their roots were fastened. Now and then a scared eagle would scream and
soar away from his nest, but rarely did a sound except the murmur of
water, and the sighing of the air through the narrow defile disturb the
deep stillness of that solitude. That projecting rock, with its adjacent
pillars of stone, is called the Devil's Pulpit, and that, the Throne,
and so other points of peculiar configuration have names more or less
fanciful, which a lively imagination has given them. Suddenly, we came
upon a family of peasants, who have a hut under the shelter of the
rocks, and a few articles of refreshment for weary travellers; sweet
milk, and bread and cheese, and a bottle or two of liquor--but they are
chiefly and decidedly in the cold water line; they are in the cataract
business! The little stream that takes this gorge in its way to the
Elbe, at this point would make a leap of some twenty feet among the
rocks. With an economy that would do honor to American foresight, these
people have made a dam across the rivulet before it falls, and thus
accumulating the waters, have them ready for a grand splurge, when a
party come along who are willing to pay a few pence for the pleasure of
seeing the performance. One of our people gave the word of command in
German, of which a free translation would be "Let her slide," and down
came the young Niagara. But for the ludicrous idea of an artificial
cataract in the mountains, the sight would have been very pretty. The
gorge hitherto had been so narrow and deep, that the sun never shines to
the bottom, and no flowers ever cheer its gloom; but now the sun lighted
up the falling drops, making them like great diamonds, as we from behind
the sheet looked out upon the extempore waterfall. It was a walk of four
or five miles, through such scenes, to the place from which we had
started, and here we awaited the coming of a little steamer which was
creeping along the banks to pick up passengers. It picked us up, and
dropped us in a few minutes at Konigstein, or the _King's Stone_. The
little town with a thousand people in it, would not deserve a call, but
it is in our way to the fortress on the summit of the rocky height
behind. The road is paved all the way with large square stones, making a
carriage path, up which enormous guns are dragged for its defence. To
this day it boasts of never having fallen into the hands of the enemy.
Napoleon, with incredible toil, carried some of his heaviest pieces of
ordnance to the top of _Lilienstein_, but could not reach it with his
balls. Much of the distance up which we toiled, the road is cut through
a living rock, which rises a solid wall on either side, and winds around
the hill, till we come to a wooden bridge over an awful chasm, which
separates the passage from the cliff on which the fortress stands, on a
platform two miles in circuit, inaccessible except to friends, or to
foes with wings. One portcullis passed, and we have only come to the
gate. Iron spikes projecting from the stonework threaten us as we
approach. At the gate, soldiers are looking through the port-holes, and
challenge us to stand. They take our cards and passports to the
commander, and soon return with permission for us to enter. But once
admitted within the massive gate, we have still a long bridge across the
moat to pass, and then by a covered passage at an angle of forty-five
degrees, over a stone road, up which cannon are drawn by a windlass, we
come out on the summit of the hill to a scene of transcendent beauty,
and of the richest historic interest. The ground is neatly laid out in
walks and gardens; there are fields of pasture for herds of cattle and
of grain raised for the support of the garrison. Their unfailing supply
of water is drawn from a well _eighteen hundred feet deep_! We held a
mirror to the sun, and sent the reflected light away down into that
mysterious depth, and watched it sporting on the waters. Then we poured
a glass of water into the well, and in _thirty seconds_ by the watch,
the sound returned to our listening ears. Sound travels eleven hundred
and forty-two feet in a second, and would therefore be less than two
seconds in coming up; so that if our measure of time was correct, it
must have taken the water nearly half a minute to travel down to the
surface from which it had been drawn. We drank of that well and found
the water cool and delightful. Standing on the ramparts, which are
defended by enormous guns, we overlooked the plains on one hand, the
river and the romantic hills of Saxon Switzerland on the other. Again
the columnal rocks arrested our attention, more peculiar now that we are
nearer. Far, very far higher than the loftiest cathedral spire, and not
broader at the base, they rise in solitary grandeur, where the Great
Architect of the earth first placed them, and where they will stand till
all the cathedrals and fortresses and pyramids of man's building have
crumbled into dust.

We bought a few pieces of Bohemian glass ware as souvenirs of this
visit, and then reluctantly turning away from the scene, which seemed
more beautiful the longer we dwelt upon it--so it is with beauty
ever--we reluctantly came down.

A German full of humor, a rare sort of German, for they are not addicted
to the humorous at home or abroad, had joined us in our pedestrian tour
to Konigstein; and having just come down the river as we were going up,
he gave us the information we asked for of the upper country. He spoke a
"leetel English," and that made his answers more amusing.

"Which is the best hotel for us in Ichandau?" we inquired.

"They is dree hotels, one is so bad as de toder," said he.

"And what shall we find at Winterberg?"

"Noding but gray sand-stone and sheating strangers."

With this very unpromising prospect, we waited for the steamer to come
along to take us to Ichandau and Winterberg.

Steaming on the Elbe is a very small affair; a narrow boat with a long
nose, moves on at the rate of four or five miles an hour, and stops at
the end of a plank or two put out from the shore for a wharf. One of
these filled with pleasure travellers in the aft and the long bows
covered with peasantry, touched at Konigstein, and received us. It was
near sunset. We were often in the deep shadows of the mountains, and
then through the openings, or as the circuitous river brought us into
the day again, the declining sun streamed upon us with exceeding beauty.
Tired with the hard day's work, having mounted the Bastei on one side of
the Elbe, and Konigstein on the other, I was glad to lie off upon a
bench and enjoy the luxury of this cool delicious hour. Ichandau
charmingly dropped down among the mountains, is an old town, but only
remarkable as the point from which to set off on exploring expeditions
into the interior of Saxon Switzerland. The three hotels were filled
with company, who were spending their evening in eating and drinking at
small tables on the piazzas, or under the shade trees, a practice of
which the Germans are more fond than any other people I have met. We
found beds in a great ball-room, with low partitions running between
them, so that when the room was needed for dancing, these could be
readily removed. I was in want of some refreshments after the fatigues
of the day, and when the various drinks that I called for were not to be
had, the waiter asked me if I would have "Yahmah Kah rhoom," which I
declined after finding that he meant Jamaica rum. Without any night-cap
of the sort, and spite of more noise than would have been agreeable if
we had not been so weary, we had a good night of it, and rose with the
sun to continue our pilgrimage. A carriage was ready for us, to convey
us six miles from Ichandau, through a romantic glen, wide enough to
afford beautiful meadows on both sides of a stream, by the side of which
a good road was leading us into the mountains. The women were at work
making hay, scores of them, and not a man to be seen. The brightest of
Cole's landscapes among the Kaatskill mountains came to my mind as we
rode on, and admired the green hill sides; then, as we advanced, gnarled
trees stood out upon the rocks, immense piles, jagged, riven, blasted
and heaped one upon another in such orderly confusion, that it seemed as
if architecture had done its worst to make towers for giants here.

Our ride terminated at _Peishll Swarl_, where we were surrounded by a
troop of men who had horses to let, and in their German tongue, they
clamored most importunately for us to engage them. Our friend, the Rev.
Dr. K., being of German origin, and better skilled in the language than
the rest of us, we left to make the bargain, while we selected the best
horses for ourselves with that beautiful selfishness so common to the
human species. As we deserved, and as he deserved, we got the worst of
the lot, and he was soon mounted on a handsome pony, that easily led the
party, the whole day. Now it may be known to some who read this, that
Dr. K. is not a very tall divine, but what he lacks of being gigantic in
height, he makes up in breadth, so that seated upon this little animal
about four feet high, and riding up a steep mountain pass, when seen
from before, he looked like a horse with a man's head, but when we gazed
upward at him from behind, we saw a man with a horse's tail. I had
selected a good looking beast, but it had a lady's saddle to which I
objected, as it was "Fur damen," for women: but the owner promptly met
the objection by pulling away the _rest_, and crying out with a laugh
"Fur herren," for men. Immediately on mounting we struck into the woods,
and soon into a narrow pass where the rocks had been cleft asunder just
far enough for a path for a single horseman; a hundred steps lead up to
the summit of a lofty hill whence a fine view is had of the columnal
rocks and numerous peaks of mountains, whose hard names would not be
remembered if we were to repeat them. On this height is the famous
_Kuhstall_, or in English _Cow-stall_, a cave in the rock, to which in
the Thirty Years' war, the peasants in the plains below were in the
habit of driving their cattle for safety, and in these all but
inaccessible solitudes, the Protestant Christians fled from persecution,
and hid themselves as their primitive brethren did, in dens and caves of
the earth. One of these recesses, more retired and better sheltered than
the rest, had the name of the "Woman's bed." Who can tell the
sufferings, who can tell the joys that the people of God have known in
these high places? No cathedral service could be more sublime than
prayer and praise on the mountain tops, and in the grottoes of these
rocky heights, where now the weary traveller from a land on the other
side of the sea, sits down and recalls the story of those times that
"tried men's souls." Through a narrow fissure in the rock we ascended to
a platform that makes the roof of the Kuhstall. Before us was a valley
surrounded by mighty rocks and pine-covered hills, an amphitheatre in
which the present population of the earth could stand, and it required
but little stretch of the imagination to believe that a strong voice
could be heard by the multitude so assembled. My servant led my horse to
the edge of the precipice, many hundred feet high, and he planted his
feet firmly on the edge, as if he were accustomed to the spot, and there
stood for me to enjoy the glorious scene. On this lofty and far away
height, some women had a stand for the sale of strawberries and cream,
the taste of which did not interfere with the beauties of the prospect,
as I sat on my horse eating, and gazing, and making these notes. But we
cannot be on the mount always. We crossed the valley, and on the narrow
road met parties of German travellers smoking as they trudged along,
women and some children, making the tour of the mountains on foot, and
in the course of a couple of hours we commenced the ascent of the Great
Winterberg, and climbed it to the summit.

Here at the height of one thousand seven hundred feet above the sea we
found a good hotel, with every comfort for the entertainment of
travellers and a fine lookout from which may be had the grandest sight
in Saxon Switzerland. I wrote the names of sixteen noble peaks that
stood up around me, with their thick green foliage, the intervening
valleys dense with forest, the beautiful Elbe silently circling the base
of the mountains, and the pillars of stone rising like sentinels away
off in the plains beyond. Our way lay through the thick forest, as we
came down to the _Prebisch Thor_ or Gate, a mighty arch, a hundred feet
broad, and sixty-five feet high, a wonderful freak of nature, not so
lofty as the Natural Bridge of Virginia, but more impressive from the
position it occupies, away up in these mountains, more than a thousand
feet above the river. It might be the gate of the world! How mean the
splendid arches of Conquerors, compared with this which the King of
Kings had reared. I exclaimed with reverence as I saw it, "Lift up your
heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the
King of glory shall come in." A score of visitors were here before us. A
row of romantic cottages, clinging like eagles' nests, to the ledges of
the rocks, furnish rest and refreshment to the pilgrims, and we sat down
in sight of this stupendous wonder of nature, and dined, while we sought
to take in at the same time, an image of it which we should never lose.
Underneath the arch ambitious travellers have vied with each other in
seeing how high they could inscribe their names, and some have made the
records so as to resemble tombstones, rows of which are cut into the
solid rock. Visitors from many different lands, have in their several
languages left their impressions in the book which is kept here for the
purpose, and we added our names and a faint transcript of our feelings
to the records of the Prebisch Thor. The descent was by several hundred
steps, sometimes of wood, then of stone, and again of earth, which we
made on foot, while the horses were led by a longer road around. As we
came down into the valley, we met--for we were now in Bohemia, under
Austrian rule--numerous beggars with various claims upon our charity.
Among them was an old woman who stretched out a pair of naked arms dried
to the bone and the color of bronze, her feet and the lower part of her
legs, her head and breast were bare, and all so dried and dark, so
unlike a woman that it made me sick to look at her. "Can a woman come to
that?" I asked myself, as I gave my servant some money for the old
crone, and hurried on for fear she would get before me again to thank
me. In the stream which comes leaping down from the mountain, were women
and children wading, with hooks in their hands to catch the floating
bits of wood, and bring them ashore for fuel. The narrow defile through
which we passed was picturesque, and the great mountains behind us often
called us back to look at the heights where we had stood, and so now
looking back, and now plunging on and down, into the regions of human
dwellings, by little mills on the leaping stream, and by the side of
cottages where some taste appeared in vines and flowers, we arrived at
_Hirniskretchen_, on the Elbe. Here we crossed the river, and by the
railroad which comes along on the other side, we reached in a few
moments the station at _Bodenbach_ the frontier town of _Austria_. The
train is detained an hour, while the passports, and luggage of all the
passengers are examined with that minuteness which is always suffered in
small towns more inconveniently than in cities. Some of the ladies'
trunks made such revelations of articles of dress and jewelry, that no
protestations of their being designed only for personal use were of any
avail. It was impossible in the eyes of these simple officers, that
women could need so many gloves, and laces and bracelets, and they were
all examined even to the smallest boxes of "_bijouterie_" which could be
found. We had no difficulty whatever, being very slightly loaded with
baggage of any sort, especially of that sort which custom houses, those
pests of nations, are so apt to challenge. At last we were pronounced
all right, and the train set off, through a beautiful country, a massive
church standing on one side of the river, a towering castle on the
other; now rushing by Aussig, a precipice and gorge of frightful height,
where the road hugs the rock into the side of which it is cut, and so
through numerous pleasing villages, we are hurried on to the ancient
city of Prague.


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