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Title: John L. Stoddard's Lectures - Volume 1: Norway, Switzerland, Athens, Venice
Author: Stoddard, John L. (John Lawson)
Language: English
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     Norwood Press J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
     Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

     Boston Bookbinding Co., Cambridge, Mass.

  [Illustration: John L. Stoddard.]

  [Illustration: CASTLE OF CHILLON.]






     COPYRIGHT, 1897


John L. Stoddard was born in Brookline, Mass., April 24, 1850. He
graduated at Williams College, as valedictorian of his class, in 1871,
and then studied theology for two years at Yale Divinity School. Next
he taught Latin and French in the Boston Latin School. In 1874 he was
able to gratify a long cherished desire to travel in foreign lands,
and not only made the customary tour of Europe, but visited Greece,
Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt as well. He then studied in Germany,
and upon his return to America, began his career as a lecturer, which
for about twenty years has known no interruptions save those due to his
repeated visits to remote countries. His travels embrace nearly all the
habitable parts of the globe.


A witty French abbé was once asked why he kept up a country-seat which
he never visited. "Do you not know," he answered, "that I must have
some place, where, though I never go to it, I can always imagine that
I might be happier than where I am?" The world is like the abbé. Most
of us are not living, we are anticipating life. We are always "going to
our country seats." It is the land we have not visited that is to give
to us our greatest happiness. If we have not yet found it in America,
it is awaiting us in Europe; if not in Europe, surely in Japan. As the
Germans say, "Da wo ich nicht bin, da ist das Glück." Hence travel
is attractive, if only as a means of acquiring that happiness which
here seems so elusive. All of us hope to some day visit Europe and the
Orient, and for that reason everything pertaining to their beauty,
art, and history seems alluring. But when these have been seen, the
wished-for goal of the untraveled world again recedes, and the desire
is just as strong to visit other and more distant lands.

This love of travel is not caused by ordinary restlessness. It springs
originally from the universal craving of the soul for something
different from its usual environment.

It also comes from a legitimate longing for that broader education
which only personal study of other races, civilizations and religions
can bestow. And, finally, it arises from a yearning for the joy and
benefit of _realizing history_ by visiting the ancient shrines of art,
the homes or sepulchres of heroes, and the arenas of heroic deeds.
When such desires are once awakened, to travel is to live, to remain
continually in one place is to stagnate.

Thousands of books of travel have been written, but notwithstanding
that the scenes described in them are practically the same, and
though the streets and buildings which adorn their text are perfectly
familiar to their readers, such works are usually welcome, and always
in proportion to the degree in which mere figures and statistics are
subordinated to the _ideas_ suggested by such travel to the writer's
mind, which, of course, vary infinitely according to the culture,
sympathy and enthusiasm of the individual. Thus, in a similar way,
the keys of all pianos are the same; yet it is not the bits of ivory
themselves that hold us spell-bound, but the magnetic fingers that move
over them, and the musical interpretation and expression given by the

If only accurate statistics and detailed descriptions were desired,
guide-books would be sufficient; but who ever reads a guide-book for

Such thoughts have encouraged the author of these volumes to present in
printed form lectures which for eighteen years have been received with
never-failing kindness by an indulgent public. _Verba volant; Scripta
manent_ (Words are fleeting, but what is written remains). The voice
of the speaker dies away, and what he says is soon forgotten, but on
these printed pages, that which has really caused whatever success the
"Stoddard Lectures" have achieved, may be recalled precisely as the
lectures were heard, accompanied too by even more embellishment than
illustrated them at the time of their delivery. It has always given the
writer a singular sensation to meet his audiences season after season
after the separation of a year. Were they the same individuals whom he
had last addressed? He could not tell. They could be absolutely sure of
his identity, but he was quite unable to determine theirs. Beyond the
curve of platform or of stage, he could not distinguish the auditors
of former years from those who were seated there for the first time.
Sometimes they seemed to him scarcely more real and tangible than were
the views that came and went so noiselessly upon the screen. He looked
for a few moments at an amphitheatre of expectant faces, then darkness
would transform them into rows of phantoms, and at the end he saw them
rise and disappear, like a great fleet of ships that separates and
scatters on a trackless sea.

In these volumes, however, he hopes to meet his audiences more
frequently, and for a longer time than ever before. If, then, the oral
lectures may have given the public some enjoyment in the past, it is
the author's hope that when he himself no longer greets his former
listeners, year by year, these souvenirs of travel may in this form
find a more enduring place among the pleasures of their memories.

In that case he will not be utterly forgotten, for pleasant memories
can never be taken from us; they are the only joys of which we can be
absolutely sure.

John L. Stoddard.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN YOUTH.]


Of all the countries on our globe, Norway, in some respects, must rank
as the most wonderful. From the North Cape to its most southern limit
the distance is about eleven hundred miles. Nearly one-third of this
great area lies within the Arctic circle. One would expect its climate
to be that of Greenland; but Nature saves it, as a habitation for the
race, by sending thither the mysterious Gulf Stream, which crosses
the Atlantic for five thousand miles, and, although far spent on that
distant shore, fulfills its mission, transforming, by its still warm
breath, an otherwise barren region to a fertile land. But this is
only the beginning of Norway's wonders. Exposed to all the fury of
the North Sea, Arctic and Atlantic, the navigation of its coast would
be well-nigh impossible had not indulgent Nature made here countless
breakwaters, by means of a vast fringe of islands more than a thousand
miles in length, behind which are smooth, sheltered channels for the
largest ships.

  [Illustration: KING OSCAR II.]

Again, Norwegian mountains come directly to the sea. On this account,
one might suppose that the interior would be inaccessible. But Nature
does here one more act of kindness, and penetrates these mountain walls
at many points with ocean avenues, sometimes a hundred miles in length,
and with such depth that, at their farthest limits, steamers may come
directly to the shore. Moreover, to enhance its mystery and beauty,
Nature bestows on this, her favorite, a day that is a summer long,—a
light that never elsewhere was on land or sea,—and makes its splendid
vistas still more glorious by a midnight sun.


There have been few experiences in my life more joyous and exhilarating
than my arrival in Christiania. It was six o'clock in the morning as
our steamer glided up its noble harbor. The sky was cloudless; the
water of the deepest blue; a few white sails rose here and there,
like sea-gulls, from the waves. The forest-covered islands, emerald
to the water's edge, seemed gems upon the bosom of the bay. Beyond,
were mountains glistening in an atmosphere, the like of which, for
clearness, I had never seen: while the first breath of that crisp,
aromatic air (a most delicious blending of the odors of mountain, sea,
and forest) can never be forgotten.

"This, this is Norway!" we exclaimed, "and it is all before us; first,
in the joy of exploration; then in the calmer, though perpetual,
pleasure of its retrospection."

  [Illustration: THE VICTORIA HOTEL.]

Excited by our anticipations, we disembarked as speedily as possible,
and hastened to the Hotel Victoria. It is a well-kept, comfortable
hostelry, whose chief peculiarity is a spacious courtyard, where
frequently, in summer, _table d'hôte_ is served beneath a mammoth
tent of gorgeous colors. Moreover, it is a pleasant rendezvous for
travelers; for while some tourists are here setting forth upon their
inland journey, others have just completed it, and with bronzed faces
tell strange stories of the North, which sound like tales invented by


Impatient to arrange our route, after a breakfast in the hotel
courtyard we went directly to the individual known as "Bennett."
"Bennett? Who is Bennett?" the reader perhaps exclaims. My friend,
there is but one Norway, and Bennett is its prophet. Bennett is the
living encyclopædia of Norway; its animated map; its peripatetic
guide-book. Nor is this all. He is the traveler's guide, philosopher,
and friend. He sketches lengthy tours back and forth as easily as
sailors box the compass; tells him which roads to take and which to
avoid; sends word ahead for carriages and horses; engages rooms for him
within the Arctic circle; forwards his letters, so that he may read
them by the midnight sun; gives him a list of carriage-coupons which
the coachmen cry for; and (more important still) so plans his numerous
arrivals and departures on the coast that he may always find a train or
steamer there awaiting him. This is a most essential thing in Norway.

  [Illustration: A NORTHERN LANDSCAPE.]

  [Illustration: IN NORWAY.]

As a rule, Norwegian time-tables are about as difficult to decipher
as the inscriptions on a Chinese tea-caddy. Even Bradshaw, the author
of that English railway guide which is the cause of so much apoplexy,
came here to Norway a few years ago, and died in trying to make out its
post-road and railway system. Some think that it was a judgment upon
him. At all events, his grave is near Christiania, and he sleeps, while
the "globe-trotter," whom he long befriended, still rushes to and fro.

Although an Englishman by birth, "Bennett" has been for fifty years a
resident of Norway, and is a blessing to all travelers in that country.
At first he gave his services gratuitously; but as the tourists began
to multiply, he found that such disinterestedness was impossible.
He at length made a business of it, and year by year it has steadily

A new edition of his guide-book comes out every season; and to still
further help the public, he has begotten four young Bennetts, who
act as courteous agents for their father, in Bergen, Trondhjem, and
Christiania. He has no "personally conducted parties." He has no wish
to go outside of Norway. But here, on account of the peculiar style of
traveling, and the difficulty of the language, it certainly is a great
convenience to employ him.

  [Illustration: CHRISTIANIA FJORD.]

Our arrangements with this guardian of Norwegian tourists having at
length been concluded, we strolled for some time through Christiania's
streets. It is a clean and cheerful city, though it can boast of
little architectural beauty. The Royal Palace is its finest building,
but even this, on close inspection, proves to be more useful than
ornamental, and well suited to a nation forced to practice strict
economy. In inspecting the structure it is interesting to remember how
independent Norway is of Sweden, although both countries are governed
by one King. The Parliament in Christiania is wholly separate from that
of Stockholm. No Swede may hold political office here. Even the power
of the King is limited; for if a bill is passed three times in the
Norwegian Parliament, then, notwithstanding the royal veto, it becomes


  [Illustration: A VIEW NEAR CHRISTIANIA.]

Moreover, in accordance with the Constitution, the King of Sweden
and Norway must be crowned in Norway; he must reside here three
months in the year; here, also, he must open Parliament in person,
and hold receptions, for no Norwegian wishes to go to Stockholm for a
presentation to his sovereign. In this portion of his realm, also, he
must be addressed as "King of Norway and Sweden," not of "Sweden and
Norway." A certain rivalry still exists between these two nations.
Norwegians sometimes say: "We love the English, and drink tea; the
Swedes love the French, and drink coffee!"

  [Illustration: AN AMBIGUOUS SIGN.]

One of the first things that attracted my attention in my walks
through Christiania was the peculiar sign, "Rum för Resande." Judge
not, however, from appearances in this strange language of the north.
It is said that not long ago an English-speaking traveler of strong
prohibition principles was horrified at seeing this announcement
frequently displayed.

"What does that last word 'Resande' mean?" he asked suspiciously.

"Travelers," was the reply.

"Rum for travelers!" he exclaimed. "Oh, this is terrible! What an
insult to the traveling public! Now I, for one, protest against such
misrepresentation. I am a traveler, but I never take a drop of rum."

  [Illustration: A BIT OF NORWAY.]

  [Illustration: LAKE MJÖSEN.]

  [Illustration: A WISE CAPTAIN.]

"Not quite so fast," rejoined a Norwegian, who was laughing heartily;
"that first word means, not _rum_, but _rooms_; the whole sentence,
therefore, merely signifies, 'lodging for travelers.'" Eager to
start upon our northward journey, we left some interesting features
in Christiania for a later visit, and on a beautiful June morning
set out for the coast. The train conveyed us in two hours to Lake
Mjösen, where we embarked upon a little steamer. From that time on,
although continually traveling, we saw no more railways for a month.
This lovely sheet of water has a marvelous depth, its bed, in places,
being one thousand feet below the level of the sea. This fact grows
more mysterious when we remember that on the occasion of the Lisbon
earthquake, in 1755, the waters of this lake, although so remote from
Portugal, were so terribly disturbed, that they rose suddenly to the
height of twenty feet, and then as suddenly subsided.

  [Illustration: A LANDING PIER.]

  [Illustration: IN THE HEART OF NORWAY.]

It was while sailing on the waters of Lake Mjösen that we had another
curious linguistic experience. Next to Norwegian or Swedish, English
is best understood and spoken by the natives, especially among the
seafaring population. We did not know this fact at first, and as we had
just come from Germany, it seemed more natural to address the people
in the Teutonic tongue. You know the German word for bright or clear is
"hell." Accordingly, desiring to ask the captain if he thought that the
weather would be fine, my friend stepped up to him, and pointing to the
sky, said interrogatively, "Hell?"

"No," replied the captain, in perfectly good English, "hell doesn't lie
in that direction!"

A sail of several hours here through charming scenery brought us at
last to the place where we were to disembark. Hardly had I set foot
upon the pier, when a man accosted me in good, familiar English:

"Just step this way, sir, if you please," he said; "the carriage
ordered for you by Mr. Bennett is all ready."

This surely was a pleasant introduction. There was no trouble
whatsoever—no bargaining, no delay. In fifteen minutes we had started
on our four days' journey to the sea.

  [Illustration: A LOVELY DRIVE.]

Between Christiania and the western coast is a broad mountain range
extending hundreds of miles north and south. No railroad crosses
that gigantic barrier. True, the town of Trondhjem, in the north, can
now be reached circuitously by rail. But all the great southwestern
coast, including the towns of Bergen and Molde, and the large fjords,
can only be approached by several magnificent highways, of which the
finest here awaited us, the one extending for a hundred and sixty
miles from Lake Mjösen to the Songe fjord. And here one naturally asks,
"What is the mode of traveling in Norway? Where do you eat? Where do
you sleep? Do you take horses for the entire journey, or from day to
day?" It is easily explained. All these Norwegian highways are divided
into sections, each about ten miles long. These sections have at one
extremity a "station" (usually a farm-house), the owner of which is
obliged by law to give to travelers food and lodging, and also to
supply them with fresh horses to the next station.

  [Illustration: SÆTERSDALEN]


These Norwegian post-houses are invariably made of wood, sometimes
elaborately carved and decorated. As you approach the door, some member
of the family greets you, frequently in English, since many of these
people have been in America. If you desire to spend the night, you ask
for rooms. If you merely require dinner, you can be quickly served; or
if your purpose is to drive on still farther, you simply order fresh
horses. For these we never waited more than fifteen minutes, though
sometimes, in the height of the season, serious delays take place. On
this account it is better to precede the crowd of tourists, and visit
Norway early in the summer. Such has been my experience, at least;
and judging from some stories I have heard of tourists sleeping on the
floor and dressing on the back piazza, I should emphatically recommend
this rule to all adventurers in the land of Thor.

  [Illustration: A CARIOLE.]

But speaking of Norwegian post-stations reminds one of the
characteristic vehicle of Norway,—the cariole. This is by no means a
"carry-all." It is a little gig, intended for only one person. True,
the boy (or, in some instances, the girl) who takes the horse back
after you have done with it, rides behind. His seat is your valise, and
his weight determines the subsequent condition of its contents! There
is a charming lightness in these carioles. The springs are good, and
the seat is easy. A leather apron reaches to your waist to shield you
from the dust or rain; and, drawn by a Norwegian pony, such a drive is
wonderfully exhilarating.

  [Illustration: THE NATIONAL VEHICLE.]

These little carriages have, however, one great fault,—their want
of sociability. The linguistic powers of a Norwegian post-boy are
extremely limited; and when you have ridden ten hours a day, unable to
exchange a word with your friends except by shouting, the drive becomes
a trifle wearisome. But the reader may ask: "Is there not sometimes
great discomfort in traveling by carioles in rainy weather?" Assuredly
there is. But in such weather one is not obliged to take a cariole.
Norway has other vehicles. We drove, for example, about a hundred and
thirty miles in a sort of victoria, the rear of which could be entirely
covered in case of rain. This, all in all, I hold to be the best
conveyance for the tourist in Norway, especially when ladies are of the
party. I know that such a carriage is considered too luxurious by the
English; but I am sure that American ladies will gain more pleasure and
profit from Norwegian travel if they do not attempt to drive all day in
carioles; and if beneath the canopy provided they keep their clothing

  [Illustration: LUXURY IN NORWAY.]

  [Illustration: A PEASANT GIRL.]

At home we would not think of driving forty miles a day in an open
wagon through the rain; why, then, should we do it unnecessarily in
Norway, where showers are proverbially both frequent and copious? As
for the fun and novelty of cariole-riding, these can always be had, for
several hours at a time, between one station and another, even if one
has engaged a larger carriage for the entire journey, for the cost of
a cariole and pony for half a day is ludicrously small, and the change
to it, occasionally, well repays the slight expenditure.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN PONY.]

  [Illustration: A FARM SCENE.]

But in thus speaking of the cariole, I have unwittingly put the cart
before the horse. A word of praise must certainly be given to the
usual Norwegian steed. Of all the ponies I have ever seen, these of
Norway are at once the strongest, prettiest, and most lovable. They
are usually of a delicate cream color, with one dark line along the
back, the mane being always closely cut. These ponies are employed in
Norway almost universally, being not only less expensive but really
more enduring than the larger horses. For weeks we drove behind these
little animals, till we had tested certainly seventy-five of them, and
never once did we observe in any of them the slightest ugliness or a
vicious trait. They are, moreover, wonderfully sure-footed. I never
saw one stumble or go lame. Possibly, later in the season, when much
over-worked, they may not have the spirit which we found in them; but
in our drives of more than two hundred miles there was not one which
did not cheerfully respond to any call.

  [Illustration: A MAUD MULLER]

This being premised, let us really begin our journey. At first we
found the scenery more beautiful than grand. In many places I could
have believed myself in portions of either of the American states
of New Hampshire or Vermont. Across the fields I often noticed long,
dark lines which, in the distance, looked like hedges. On examination,
however, these proved to be wooden fences, covered with new-mown grass;
for, in this way, Norwegian farmers "make hay while the sun shines."
Some of these fences are very low, but others have considerable height.
Norwegian farmers claim that grass hung thus, and thoroughly exposed
to wind and sun, will shed the rain and dry more quickly than if left
upon the ground. Their theory seems reasonable, and the extent of the
hay crop, which is very important, further justifies it. There is one
other argument in favor of these hay-racks,—during all other seasons
of the year they serve as clothes-lines for the family washing. But
even more peculiar than the fences were the vehicles used for hauling
the hay into Norwegian barns. We laughed at first sight of these rustic
carts. They are only a trifle larger than a good-sized cradle, and are
perched upon the smallest wheels I ever saw on anything except a toy.
Yet there is good reason for their use, for on Norwegian farms the
loads are drawn, not by stout oxen, but by little ponies. Moreover, the
grass is often cut from the edge of precipices, or in deep ravines, and
these low carts are certainly better adapted than high and heavy ones
for locomotion in such regions.

  [Illustration: A HAY CART.]

  [Illustration: AT A FARM HOUSE.]

While thus absorbed in agricultural reflections, we drove up to the
house where we were to take supper. A pleasant-featured girl, with a
baby in her arms, invited us to enter. She spoke English perfectly,
having been born, as we learned, in Minneapolis. I shall never forget
that first Norwegian supper. The name for the evening meal in Norway is
"aftenmad," but _often-mad_ would better express it in English. First,
there were placed before us five different kinds of cheese, the most
remarkable of which was a tall monument of chocolate-colored substance
made from goat's milk. This, by Norwegians, is considered perfectly
delicious; but for a month I shuddered at it regularly three times
a day. Next was brought in a jar containing fish. At this my friend
smiled joyfully.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN HAY-FIELD.]

"Ah," he exclaimed, "here is fish! Anything in the line of fish I can
eat with a relish."

He drew a specimen from the jar, and put a portion of it in his mouth.
A look of horror instantly overspread his face, and, covering his
features with a napkin, he left the room in haste. I quickly followed
him, and found him in the back yard gazing mournfully at some Norwegian

"What is the matter?" I asked, "do you prefer pork to fish?"

"I believe I do," he rejoined. Then turning to the girl, who had
followed us, he inquired, "What is the Norwegian word for pork?"

"Griss,"[A] was the reply.

     [A] Pronounced as is our English word _grease_.

"Thank you," he faltered, "I don't think I will take any to-day."

"Eh" (in an aside to me), "hadn't we better drive on?"

"Drive on?" I cried. "Drive on, when there is plenty of fish, which you
always eat with so much relish?"

  [Illustration: "DO YOU PREFER PORK TO FISH?"]

"Great heavens!" he groaned, "that was too much even for me. It was a
raw anchovy dipped in vinegar."

  [Illustration: NORWEGIAN PEASANTS.]

While this colloquy was taking place, we re-entered the dining-room and
asked for bread. We were amazed to see what this request brought forth.
Upon a plate almost as large as the wheel of a Norwegian hay-cart
was brought to us a mound of circular wafers nearly three feet in
circumference, and each about as thick as one of our buckwheat cakes.
They were made of rye meal and water (chiefly water), and were so crisp
that they would break to pieces at a touch. This is called "flatbrod,"
and it is certainly in every sense the flattest article ever invented
for the human stomach. The people, however, are fond of it, and I saw
horses eat it frequently, mistaking it (quite naturally, I am sure) for
tablets of compressed hay.

  [Illustration: NORWAY SCENERY.]

But here I shall probably be asked, "Is this the usual state of things
in Norway?" No, this first station was unusually poor. The staple
article of food in Norway (always fresh and good) is salmon. Milk
and sweet butter can also be had, and eggs _ad libitum_. In fact,
the abundance of eggs here is probably responsible for the atrocious
witticism often perpetrated by Norwegian tourists, to the effect
that "if the sun does not set in Norway, hens do." Mutton and beef
are not obtainable, save at the large hotels, their places being
usually supplied by veal, sausage meat, or reindeer hash. I met,
while traveling here, an Englishman, who said to me, "I did intend to
drive on to Christiania; but I really can't, you know; another month
of this would kill me. In the last two weeks I have eaten so many of
these 'blasted eggs' that I'm ashamed to look a hen in the face!" Yet,
notwithstanding the hardships which the traveler meets in Norway in
regard to food, he will find all discomforts easily outweighed by the
enjoyment of the trip. The constant exercise in the open air gives
powers of digestion hitherto unknown, preceded by an appetite which
laughs at everything, ... save cheese. Of course, being so far from any
city, one cannot look for luxuries at these small stations; indeed, I
was surprised to find that the peasants knew enough to give us, during
a meal, several knives and forks, hot plates, and other features of
a well-served table. And as far as prices are concerned, they are so
moderate as to provoke a smile from any one accustomed to travel in
other parts of Europe.

  [Illustration: A TRAVELER'S PARADISE.]

Yes, all ordinary discomforts sink into insignificance, as I recall
those memorable drives, day after day and hour after hour, over
lofty mountains, through noble forests, and beside stupendous cliffs,
the only sounds about us being the songs of birds and the perpetual
melody of numberless cascades. Moreover, this mode of travel gave
us the energy of athletes. For how can I describe the invigoration
and sweetness of the air of Norway,—pure from its miles of
mountains,—rich with the fragrance of a billion pines, and freshened
by its passage over northern glaciers and the Arctic sea?

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN HIGHWAY.]

As for Norwegian roads, they are among the finest in the world. The
majority of them are flanked with telegraph-poles; for not only are
these routes magnificent specimens of man's triumph over nature, but
the lightning also is controlled here, and, swift as light, thought
wings its way upon a metal wire through this inland waste,—a marvel
always wonderful and ever new. Nature has given to these scenes the
trees and rocks which yield to nothing but the wintry blasts. Man
has suspended here a thread of steel, which thrills responsive to the
thoughts of thousands, transmitting through the gloomiest gorges the
messages of love, hope, exultation, or despair. Hence one can never
feel completely isolated here. That little wire enables him at any
point to vanquish space, and by placing, as it were, a finger on the
pulse of life, to feel the heart-beats of the world.

In 1888, two American gentlemen were traveling in Norway, one of whom
grew depressed at his apparent isolation from humanity. His comrade, to
astonish and console him, telegraphed from one of the post-houses where
they had stopped for dinner, to the American consul at Christiania. The
message which he sent was this:

"Who was the Democratic nominee for President yesterday in Chicago?"

Before the meal was finished, the answer had arrived:

"Grover Cleveland."

  [Illustration: APPARENT ISOLATION.]


Some of the roads on which we traveled here are cut directly through
the mountains. We found such tunnels quite agreeable, since they
furnished the only genuine darkness to be found. So far as light is
concerned, one may drive through Norway in the summer just as well by
night as by day. Early and late indeed are words which in this region
grow meaningless. I could not keep a diary in Norway, so difficult
was it to tell when yesterday ended and to-day began. At first this
seemed a great economy of time. We felt that we were getting some
advantage over Mother Nature. "Why not drive on another twenty miles?"
we asked; "we can enjoy the scenery just as well;" or, "Why not write
a few letters now? It is still light. In fact, why go to bed at all?"
But after a time this everlasting daylight grew a trifle wearisome.
It thoroughly demoralized both our brains and our stomachs, from the
unheard of hours it occasioned for eating and sleeping. Steamers will
start in Norway at five o'clock in the morning, or even at midnight.
I once sat down to a _table d'hôte_ dinner at half-past nine, and
on another occasion ate a lunch in broad daylight at two o'clock in
the morning. Moreover, even when we went to bed the sun's rays stole
between our eyelids, and dispelled that darkness which induces slumber.
For, strangely enough, there are rarely any blinds or shutters to
Norwegian windows. Only a thin, white curtain screened us usually from
the glare of day. After a while, therefore, I could sympathize with an
American lady, whom I heard exclaim, "O, I would give anything for a
good, pitch-dark night twenty-four hours long!"

  [Illustration: NORWEGIAN BOULDERS.]


  [Illustration: A NORWAY PRECIPICE.]

One characteristic of these roads made on my mind a profound
impression, namely, the boulders that have been split off from
overhanging peaks by frost and avalanche. This is a feature of
Norwegian scenery that I have never seen equaled in the world.
Sometimes we drove through such _débris_ for half an hour. Nor is
there the least exaggeration in the statement that these boulders are
in many instances as large as a house; yet, when compared with the
gigantic cliffs from which they came, even such monsters seemed like
pebbles. Some of these cliffs were frightful in appearance. Again
and again, when we had passed beneath some precipice, one third of
whose mass seemed only waiting for a thunder-peal to bring it down, my
friend and I would draw a long, deep breath, and exchange glances of
congratulation when we had escaped its terrors.


A still more wonderful feature of Norwegian scenery is found in its
imposing waterfalls. Nothing in Norway so astonished me as the unending
number and variety of its cascades,—ribbons of silver, usually, in the
distance, but foaming torrents close at hand. On any of these roads,
halt for a moment and listen, and you will often hear a sound like that
of the surf upon the shore. It is the voice of falling water.

  [Illustration: A THING OF BEAUTY.]

On our journey toward the coast, during a drive of three days we
counted one hundred and sixty separate falls, and eighty-six in the
previous ten hours. This was an average of more than two in every
fifteen minutes. True, we saw these cascades in the month of June, when
snow was melting rapidly on the heights; but even in midsummer they
must far outnumber those in any other part of Europe.

  [Illustration: VIEW NEAR BORGUND.]

In fact, although familiar with the Alps, and having driven twice
through all the valleys of the Pyrenees, I never knew how many
waterfalls one country could possess until I went to Norway. There are,
of course, magnificent falls in Switzerland, and a great number of them
in the Pyrenees; but where you there see one cascade, in Norway you
see twenty; and many a Norwegian cataract which would in Switzerland
draw thousands of admiring tourists, and make the fortune of hotel
proprietors, is here, perhaps, without a name, and certainly without

  [Illustration: BORGUND CHURCH.]

On our last day's journey toward the sea, we came in sight of an
extraordinary building, on which we gazed in great astonishment, for
it seemed more appropriate to China than to Norway, and was apparently
completely out of place in this wild, desolate ravine. It was the
famous Borgund Church, a place of early Christian worship, built
about eight hundred years ago. It therefore ranks (unless one other
similar church be excepted) as the oldest structure in all Norway. It
is so small that one could almost fancy it a church for dwarfs. Around
the base is a kind of cloister, from which the dim interior receives
its only light. Within is one small room, scarcely forty feet long,
containing now no furniture save a rough-hewn altar. As for its various
roofs and pinnacles, marked now by crosses, now by dragons' heads,
nothing could be more weirdly picturesque, especially as the entire
edifice is black,—in part from age, but chiefly from the coats of tar
with which it has been painted for protection.

  [Illustration: A GIRL OF NORWAY.]

  [Illustration: AN OPEN-AIR BOUDOIR.]


Leaving this ancient church, we soon found ourselves in one of the
most stupendous of Norwegian gorges. It is hardly possible for any
view to do it justice. But for awe-inspiring grandeur I have never
seen its magnificence surpassed, even in the Via Mala. For miles the
river Laerdal makes its way here through gigantic cliffs, which rise
on either side to a height of from four thousand to five thousand
feet. The space, however, between these mountain sides is barely wide
enough for the river, which writhes and struggles with obstructing
boulders, lashing itself to creamy foam, and filling the chasm with a
deafening roar. Yet, above the river, a roadway has been hewn out of
the mountain-side itself, which is lined with parapets of boulders.
When marking out the route the engineers were often lowered over the
precipice by ropes. One can imagine nothing more exciting than this
drive. When mountains did not actually overshadow us, in looking aloft
we could discern only a narrow rift of sky, like a blue river, curbed
by granite banks. Below us was the seething flood, at once terrible
and glorious to look upon. Shut in by these huge, somber walls, we
followed all the windings of the stream, whirling about their corners
at a speed which seemed the more terrific from our wild surroundings.
There are few things in life that have affected me so powerfully as the
Laerdal gorge, and I would once more go to Norway for that drive alone.
Certain it is that at the end of it we found ourselves exhausted,
not physically, but nervously, from the tremendous tension and
excitement of the last few hours in this wild ravine. Finally, leaving
this sublime mountain scenery, we saw between us and the coast our
destination—the little town of Laerdalsören. Thrilled though we were
with memories of what we had just seen, and grateful, too, that our
long drive from sea to sea had been successfully completed, our serious
reflections vanished at the threshold of this village. My companion had
found it hard to be so long deprived of news from home. Accordingly, he
remarked to me as we came in sight of Laerdalsören:

"I somehow feel to-day a great anxiety about my boys, William and
Henry. I am not superstitious, but I have a presentiment that they need
me. Hark!" he said suddenly, "what's that?"

  [Illustration: A LANDING PLACE.]

  [Illustration: LAERDALSÖREN.]

We stopped the vehicle and listened. It was the music of an English
hand-organ; and I am speaking only the literal truth when I say that
the tune which we then heard it play was that of "Father, dear father,
come home with me now."

  [Illustration: WAITING FOR TOURISTS.]

Early next morning we left our good hotel and hastened to the steamer
which awaited us upon the fjord. "What, precisely, is a fjord?" some
may inquire. In briefest terms, it is a mountain gorge connected with
the ocean, a narrow arm of the sea extending inland, sometimes for one
hundred miles. Moreover, to carry out the simile, at the extremity of
every such long arm are "fingers;" that is, still narrower extensions,
which wind about the bases of the mountains till they seem like
glittering serpents lying in the shadow of tremendous cliffs.

  [Illustration: A FJORD.]

Thus in one sense, here at Laerdalsören, we had reached the sea,
but in another, it was still eighty-five miles away. Yet we were now
to embark on a large ocean steamer, lying but a few yards from the
shore, for these mysterious fjords are sometimes quite as deep as
the mountains over them are high. They open thus the very heart of
Norway to the commerce of the world. And as our steamer glided from
one mountain-girdled basin into another, I realized why this western
coast of Norway is one of the most remarkable land-formations on the
globe. If we were able to look down upon it from an elevation, we
should perceive that from the mountain chain, which forms, as it were,
the backbone of the country, a multitude of grooves stretch downward
to the shore between the elevations, like spaces between the teeth of
a comb. Into these mountain crevices, formed in the misty ages of the
past, the sea now makes its way, continually growing narrower, until
at last it winds between frowning cliffs of fearful height, down which
stream numerous waterfalls, the spray from which at times sweeps over
the steamer as it glides along. Traveling, therefore, on these ocean
avenues is like sailing through Switzerland.

  [Illustration: AN ARM OF THE SEA.]


Delighted beyond measure with this new experience, some two or three
hours after leaving Laerdalsören, we gradually approached the most
sublime of all these ocean highways,—the Naerofjord. No general view
can possibly portray its grandeur. The only way to appreciate the
vastness of its well-nigh perpendicular cliffs is to compare them with
some objects on the banks. In many places, for example, cattle grazing
on the shore, compared with their giant environment, seemed like mice,
and a church steeple appeared no larger than a pine-cone.

  [Illustration: THE NAEROFJORD.]

As we sailed further up this beautiful expanse, it was difficult to
realize that we were floating on an arm of the Atlantic. It had the
appearance rather of a gloomy lake shut in by mountains never trodden
by the foot of man. On either side was a solemn array of stupendous
precipices—sheer, awful cliffs—refusing even the companionship of
pines and hemlocks, and frequently resembling a long chain of icebergs
turned to stone. The silence, too, was most impressive. There was, at
times, no sign of life on sea or shore. The influence of this was felt
upon the boat, for if any of us spoke, it was in a tone subdued by the
solemnity of our surroundings.


As we pursued our way, sometimes we could discern no outlet whatever;
then, suddenly, our course would turn, and another glorious vista
would appear before us. We sat at the prow of the boat; and there,
with nothing but the awe-inspiring prospect to contemplate, we sailed
along in silence through this liquid labyrinth. So close together were
the cliffs, that when, for the sake of the experiment, I lay down on
the deck and looked directly upward, I could at the same instant see
both sides of the fjord cutting their outlines sharply on the sky!
Mile after mile, these grim, divided mountains stood gazing into each
other's scowling faces, yet kept apart by this enchanting barrier of
the sea, as some fair woman intervenes between two opposing rivals,
each thirsting for the other's blood. It is such scenery as Dante might
describe and Doré illustrate. We wondered what such ravines would look
like without water. They would be terrible to gaze upon. They would
resemble gashes in a dead man's face, or chasms on the surface of the
moon, devoid of atmosphere and life. But water gives to them vitality,
and lights up all their gloomy gorges with a silvery flood, much as a
smile illumines, while it softens, a furrowed face.

  [Illustration: WALLS OF A FJORD.]

  [Illustration: NÆRÖ VALLEY.]

  [Illustration: HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS.]

  [Illustration: AN OCEAN AVENUE.]

Nor is the water in these fjords less marvelous than the land.
Its depth, in places, is estimated at three thousand feet. When we
sailed up the Naerofjord, its color was so green, and its surface so
completely motionless, that we seemed to be gliding over a highway
paved with malachite. Whether the coloring of these ocean avenues is
due to their great depth, to the crystal clearness of the atmosphere,
or to the reflection of the forests on their banks, certain it is that
I have nowhere else (save in the blue grotto at Capri) seen water
tinted with such shades of robin's-egg blue and emerald green. In
confirmation of this fact, we noticed with astonishment that whenever
the white seagulls, wheeling round our boat, would sink breast downward
toward the waves, the color of the sea was so intense, that their white
wings distinctly changed their hue in the reflected light, assuming a
most delicate tint, which gradually vanished as they rose again!

  [Illustration: A SUBLIME WATERFALL.]

After a sail of several hours, we approached the terminus of the
Naerofjord, at which is located the little hamlet of Gudvangen. So
narrow is the valley here, that through the winter months no ray of
sunlight falls directly on the town, and even in the longest day in
summer it can receive the sunshine only for a few hours. It seemed
depressing to remain in such eternal shadow. Accordingly, we halted
only a few moments at the place, and taking a carriage which awaited
us, we drove beyond the village into the ravine so celebrated for
its grandeur—the Naerodal. One sees at once that this is really a
continuation of the Naerofjord without the water. There can be little
doubt that, formerly, the ocean entered it, and one could then have
sailed where we now had to drive. And what is true of the Naerodal is
also true of other such ravines. In every case the grooved hollows
continue inland and upward, but the gradual elevation of the coast
has caused the ocean to retreat. This is a place of great sublimity.
On either side rise mountains from four to five thousand feet in
height—sometimes without a vestige of vegetation on their precipitous
sides—which are, however, seamed with numberless cascades, apparently
hung upon the cliffs like silver chains.

  [Illustration: FJORD SCENERY.]

  [Illustration: THE NAERODAL.]

The most remarkable object in the valley we found to be a peculiarly
shaped mountain, called the Jordalsnut. Its form is that of a gigantic
thimble, and as its composition is a silvery feldspar, it fairly
glitters in the sun, or glows resplendent in the evening light,—an
object never to be forgotten. Those who have looked upon this dome by
moonlight say that the effect is indescribable; and, in fact, moonlight
in these awful gorges and fjords must give to them a beauty even more
weird and startling than that of day. Of this, however, I cannot speak
from experience, since moonlight is in summer very faint in Norway, and
it is only earlier or later in the year that one can see this wonderful
country thus transfigured.

In driving up the Naerodal, one sees, at the head of the valley, what
looks like an irregular chalk-line on a blackboard. It is a famous
carriage-road, which has been blasted out of the mountain-side, and
built up everywhere with solid masonry. Even now it is so difficult of
ascent for horses that every traveler who is able usually climbs that
curving road on foot.

  [Illustration: THE JORDALSNUT.]

In doing so, we stopped at intervals to enjoy the marvelous scenery,
and especially to behold the two attractive features of the mountain.
For this grand terminus of the Naerodal is flanked on either side by a
magnificent waterfall; and since the path continually curves, one or
the other of these torrents is constantly visible. Either of them is
the equal of any Swiss cascade I ever saw, and makes even the famous
Giessbach sink into insignificance, and yet these are not ranked among
the best Norwegian specimens. We could not, however, appreciate them
as we should have done if they had been the first that we had seen;
for when a tourist has counted eighty-six cascades in one day's drive,
and has just run the gauntlet of some twenty more, in sailing through
the Naerofjord, he becomes surfeited with such splendor, and cannot
properly realize what a glorious wealth in this respect Norwegian
scenery possesses.

  [Illustration: STALHEIM.]

Upon the summit of the wooded cliff toward which this driveway leads,
is a speck which at a distance resembles a white flag outlined on the
forest background. It is the Hotel Stalheim. As we approached it, a man
stepped up to us and exclaimed: "Hullo, strangers; are you Americans?"

"I am glad to say that we are," was my reply.

He instantly stretched out his hand and said "Shake!"—"What kind of
business are you in?" he presently inquired.

  [Illustration: THE VIEW FROM STALHEIM.]

  [Illustration: THE KAISER AT STALHEIM.]

We told him.

"Well," he remarked, "I'm a manufacturer of barrel hoops. Norway's all
right. I took an order for forty thousand yesterday."

At the dinner table, where he had greatly amused every one by his
stories, he suddenly called out: "Waiter, is there anything worth
seeing on that 'ere road down there?"

"It is one of the finest drives in Norway, sir," replied the waiter.

"Well, I reckon I'll have to do it, then," he ejaculated: and soon
after dinner he departed in a cariole. An hour later, as I was sitting
on the piazza gazing on the glorious prospect, I saw him coming back.
"How is this?" I exclaimed; "I thought you were going to Gudvangen."

  [Illustration: A SCENE NEAR STALHEIM.]

  [Illustration: A LOVELY CASCADE.]

"No," he replied; "I got down here a piece, and met a boy. 'Bub,' says
I, 'what is there to see down here, anyway?'

"'Waterfalls,' said he.

"'Waterfalls!' says I, 'I don't want any more waterfalls. I've seen
ten thousand of them already. Why, our Niagara wouldn't roar one mite
louder, if the whole lot of these Norwegian falls were chucked right
into it.'"

I must not fail to add that there was an extremely pretty girl at
the hotel, to whom our eccentric compatriot paid much attention. Some
English travelers, therefore, looked greatly puzzled when they heard
him say to her on taking leave: "Good-by! I hope _I'll strike you_
again somewhere on the road!"

  [Illustration: "GATES AJAR."]

After supper that evening we took an extended walk. It was eleven
o'clock, and yet the snow-capped mountains which surrounded us were
radiant with the sunset glow. We presently encountered two young
peasants returning from their work. To them we spoke a few Norsk words
that we had learned since coming to Norway, whereupon one of the lads
drew from his pocket a pamphlet and presented it to me with a polite
bow. It proved to be a book of phrases, half-English and half-Norsk,
designed to help Norwegian emigrants on landing in America. Not
knowing, however, what it was at first, I opened it and could hardly
believe my eyes, when, in this lonely valley in the heart of Norway,
and by the light of a midnight sun, I read these words: "Wake up! Here
we are in Chicago!" "Change cars for Omaha and the West!" "Don't lean
out of the window, or you'll have your head knocked off!"

  [Illustration: ALL READY TO "SHAKE HANDS."]

Both of these bright boys hoped the next summer to "wake up in
Chicago." It is, in fact, the great desire of Norwegian youths to
go to America, and some are brave enough to do so with a capital of
only twenty-five dollars. Their knowledge of the United States is, of
course, limited, but one place there is known to all of them. Again and
again we were subjected to the following questions: "Are you English?"





That was the place for them, evidently. New York is better than
nothing, but Chicago is the El Dorado of the Scandinavians, for to that
place they usually buy through-tickets, as to the doorway of the great

Leaving the Hotel Stalheim, after a short stay, a glorious drive
awaited us down to the Hardanger Fjord. At frequent intervals along
this route we encountered gates designed to keep the cattle within
certain limits. Women and children usually stood near-by to open them,
expecting in return a trifling payment. Yet when I offered them a coin,
I was sometimes surprised to see their hands still lingering near my
own. At first I thought that they, like Oliver Twist, were asking for
more, but presently I discovered that they merely wished to shake hands
and say good-by, for hand-shaking in Norway is universal. If you bestow
a fee upon your cariole-boy, your boot-black, or your chambermaid,
each will offer his or her hand to you and wish you a happy journey.
A pleasant custom, truly, but, on the whole, it is advisable for
travelers in Norway to wear gloves. I usually responded cheerfully to
this mode of salutation, though sometimes, when I saw what kind of a
hand the peasant "held,"—I "passed!"

  [Illustration: A PEASANT'S COTTAGE.]

As we drove on, we noticed here and there the houses of the poorer
farmers. They are invariably made of wood, and some, constructed out
of huge spruce logs, look as enduring as the hills that surround them.
The roofs are covered first with pieces of birch-bark, laid on the logs
like shingles. On these are placed two layers of sod—the upper one
with its grassy surface toward the sky. This grass is sometimes mown
for hay. Occasionally a homœopathic crop of grain will grow here. In
almost every case the top of the house looks like a flower-garden; and
I once saw a bearded goat getting his breakfast on his master's roof.

  [Illustration: RURAL LIFE.]

Occasionally, a little distance from the house, we saw another smaller
structure, built beside a river; for the water-power of Norway is
made use of in some simple way by almost all the country people. Many
a peasant has a tiny water-wheel which turns a grindstone, or even a
mill, and thus his scythes are sharpened and his grain is ground on
his own premises. Such farmers, therefore, are their own millers, and
frequently their own blacksmiths, too, and they can shoe their ponies
with considerable skill.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN YOUTH.]

In traveling through Norway it is most interesting to observe how the
people utilize every available portion of the land. Wire ropes extend
from the valleys up the mountain sides, and are used for letting down
bundles of compressed hay, after it has been reaped, gathered, and
packed on some almost inaccessible plateau. On elevations, where it
seems well-nigh impossible for man to gain a foothold, people will
scramble, at the hazard of their lives, to win a living from the
little earth that has there found lodgment. Seeing with our own eyes
these habitable eyries, we could well believe what we were told, that
goats, and even children, are often tied for safety to the door-posts,
and that the members of a family who die on such elevated farms are
sometimes lowered by ropes a thousand feet down to the valley or fjord.

  [Illustration: A BEAST OF BURDEN.]

  [Illustration: A FISHING STATION.]

It was on this journey that I took my first and never-to-be-forgotten
cariole-ride in Norway. On this occasion, my driver was a small boy,
ten years old, just young and mischievous enough to laugh at danger and
be reckless. I noticed that his mother cautioned him before we started.
She evidently understood him. I did not. Accordingly, while I took
the reins, I gave him the whip. Springing like a monkey into his place
behind me, he cracked his whip and off we went. The road was good, and
for half an hour I thoroughly enjoyed it. Then we began to descend, and
suddenly dashed across a bridge beneath which was a foaming cataract. I
naturally reined the pony in. But, to my surprise, the more I pulled,
the faster went the pony. "Whoa!" I exclaimed; "whoa!" but whether
prolonged or uttered with staccato emphasis that word made no apparent
difference in the pony's gait. "Whoa," was evidently not in its
vocabulary. My hair began to stand on end. Perceiving this, the demon
of a boy commenced to utter the most unearthly yells, and to crack his
whip until he made the pony actually seem to fly.

  [Illustration: THE SCENE OF AN ADVENTURE.]

"Go slowly," I exclaimed. Crack, crack, went the whip.

"Stop that, you young rascal." Crack, crack, crack! I tried to seize
the whip, but my tormentor held it far behind him. I sought to turn and
petrify him with a look, but it was like trying to see a fly between my
shoulder-blades. I saw that I was only making faces at the mountains.


  [Illustration: ENGINEERING SKILL.]

To appreciate my feelings, one should perceive the winding road along
which I was traveling. It was a splendid specimen of engineering
skill, but after twenty-seven of these curves, I felt that I was
getting cross-eyed. Fancy me perched, as it were, upon a good-sized
salad-spoon, flying around the mountain side, with one wheel in the
air at every turn, at the rate of the Chicago Limited going round the
Horse-shoe Bend. I looked back at my companion, whose horse, excited
by my own, was just behind me. His face was deathly pale. Anxiety was
stamped on every feature. His lips moved as if entreating me to slacken
this terrific speed. Finally, he faintly cried: "If you escape, ...
give my love ... to my children, ... William and Henry!"

  [Illustration: A VIKING SHIP.]

At last I saw, some little way ahead, a cart half-blocking the road.
"Great heavens!" I thought, "here comes a collision! Well, it might
as well end this way as any other. No more lectures for me!" But,
lo! there issued from the small boy's lips the sound, "Purr-r-r!" The
effect was instantaneous. The horse at once relaxed his speed, and in
a moment came to a full stop. For "purring" is to a Norwegian pony what
the Westinghouse air-brake is to an express train. This secret learned,
we had no further trouble. For "purr," when uttered by American lips,
proved always as effectual as by Norwegian.

  [Illustration: A LONELY POINT.]

A few hours after that eventful ride, we found ourselves upon the great
Hardangerfjord, which, with its branches, has a length of one hundred
and forty miles. These ocean avenues possess not merely natural beauty:
they also have historic interest. This part of Norway, for example,
is old Viking ground. Not far from here lived Rollo, conqueror of
Normandy; and from these fjords a thousand years ago went forth those
dauntless warriors of the north, who for two hundred years not only
ravaged England, France, and Ireland, but even crossed the Atlantic to
America hundreds of years before Columbus sailed from Spain.


  [Illustration: AN ANCIENT BOAT OF NORWAY.]

In this connection, therefore, let me say that, to me, the most
interesting object in Christiania was its Viking ship. This most
impressive relic of the past was found some fourteen years ago
within an ancient mound beside the sea. It had reposed there for ten
centuries, owing its preservation to the hard, blue clay in which it
was entombed. It was made entirely of oak, and was propelled sometimes
by oars, sometimes by a sail. Within it was discovered a well-carved
wooden chair, in which, no doubt, the chieftain sat. Some kettles,
too, were here, and plates and drinking-cups, used by the Vikings when
they landed to prepare a meal. But, more remarkable still, this boat
contained some human bones. For in those early days such boats were
often used as funeral barges for their brave commanders. The vessel,
even when buried, was always headed toward the sea, so that when called
by Odin once more into life, the chief whose body was thus sepulchered
might be ready to start at once and sail again the ocean he had loved
so well.

Occasionally, however, a Viking had a grander form of burial.
Sometimes, when an old Norwegian chieftain felt that he was dying, he
ordered that his body, when lifeless, should be placed within his boat,
which was then filled with light materials and set on fire. The large
sail was then spread, and the dead warrior drifted out before the wind,
his gallant vessel for a funeral pyre, and for his liturgy the chanting
of the waves. As for the Viking himself, he doubtless had faced death,
sustained by an unfaltering belief which, had he been more cultivated,
might have thus expressed itself:

"If my bark sink, 'tis to another sea."

  [Illustration: THE LAND OF THE VIKINGS.]

At the extremity of one of the branches of the Hardangerfjord is the
little town of Odde. This was the only place in Norway where we had any
difficulty in securing rooms. As the boat neared the wharf, I heard a
dozen ladies whisper to their husbands: "Now, dear, you stay and look
after the luggage, and I'll run on and get the rooms." Accordingly, I
used the same words to my friend, with the exception of the endearing
epithet. I was afraid that might make him homesick. Then I took my
position near the gang-plank.

  [Illustration: A STREET IN BERGEN.]

When we arrived, I was the first to step ashore, and I started at a
brisk walk toward the hotel. Behind me I could hear the rustling of
many skirts, but, hardening my heart like Pharaoh, I kept on. At last,
forgetting drapery and dignity, the ladies passed me on the run. This
time I gallantly gave way, and when, a moment later, I reached the
hotel office, I could have fancied myself on the floor of the Stock
Exchange, since every lady there was fighting nobly for her children
and her absent lord.

"I want two beds," cried one.

"I wish for five beds," screamed another.

"Give me a room with blinds," exclaimed a third.

The female clerk, meantime, having completely lost her head, was
calling off numbers like an auctioneer. Suddenly she turned to me, who
had not yet opened my mouth, and almost paralyzed me with these words:

"Number 20 will do for you, _three beds and one cradle_!"

When I recovered from my swoon, I found that my friend had come up
quietly after the battle, and had secured two single rooms.

  [Illustration: THE BERGEN FISH MARKET.]

  [Illustration: ODDE.]

Saying farewell to Odde, a day's delightful sail between majestic
mountains brought us to one of Norway's most important cities—Bergen.
Although we lingered here three days, we had the wonderful experience
of continual sunshine. I rightly call it wonderful; for Bergen is the
rainiest city in the world and is sarcastically called "The fatherland
of drizzle." The people in Christiania claim that in Bergen when a
horse sees a man _without_ an umbrella, he shies! It is also said that
a sea-captain, who was born in Bergen, and all his life had sailed
between his native city and the outer world, came one day into its
harbor when by chance the sun was shining. At once he put about and
set forth to sea again, believing that he had made a mistake in his
port. As we approached the pier at Bergen, I saw what, in the distance,
appeared to be a mob. It proved, however, to be the usual crowd which
gathers round the Bergen Fish Market.

This is not, after all, so strange if we reflect that fish is the great
commodity of Bergen, and that this city is the chief distributing
station for Norwegian fish to the entire world. Several centuries
ago, a company of German merchants, who formed the famous Hanseatic
League, established themselves here and held for years within their
hands the monopoly of all the fishing trade of Norway, compelling
even the Norwegian fishermen to send their catch of fish to Bergen for
reshipment to other ports of Europe. It is true the league exists no
longer, but its influence still survives, and nothing can divert the
trade from following in its ancient channel. Over the hills that rise
above the city a splendid driveway has been made. A Bergen resident
spoke of it to me as "The Drink Road."

  [Illustration: MONSTERS OF THE DEEP.]

"What is the meaning of so strange a title?" I inquired.

"It is so called," he said, "because it is constructed wholly out of
the profits derived from the sale of ardent spirits." Observing my
astonishment, he added: "Do you not understand our famous liquor law in

I confessed my ignorance.

  [Illustration: BERGEN'S "DRINK ROAD."]

"Then let me explain it to you," he exclaimed. "Perhaps I can best do
this," he added, "by pointing out to you that melancholy individual
standing by the gang-plank. He used to be a liquor-seller here, but
he has lost his 'spirits,' for our municipal government now has the
sale of liquors entirely in its own hands. It first decides how many
licenses are needed, and then, instead of giving them to private
individuals, it grants them only to a responsible stock company. The
books of this company must be at all times open to inspection, and
all its rules are strictly under government control. Moreover, the
company is not allowed to make more than five per cent. on its invested
capital. All profits over that amount are given to public improvements,
roads, parks, schools, or hospitals."

I asked if the law gave general satisfaction.

  [Illustration: CURING FISH.]

"We are delighted with it," was the answer. "It is now thirteen years
since it was started, and all the prominent towns in Norway, except
three, have followed our example. The liquors, in the first place,
are all carefully selected. Secondly, the bars are not attractive
gin-palaces, but plain rooms, with no seats for customers. No loitering
on the premises is allowed. Only a small amount is sold at any one
time. Children are not allowed to serve as messengers. Even the
bartenders are appointed by the government, and wear a uniform and a
number, by which they can be easily identified in case of complaint;
and as a practical result," he added, "by taking the liquor traffic
out of the hands of irresponsible agents the annual amount of ardent
spirits sold has been reduced from twelve and a half to five and a half
million quarts; and yet our Bergen company has earned each year a net
profit of one hundred and twenty-five per cent., one hundred and twenty
of which is, as I have said, applied to public charities!"

  [Illustration: A BUSY DAY IN BERGEN.]

But to me the most interesting sight in Bergen was the grave of the
Norwegian violinist, Ole Bull. His last appearance in America was in
1879—too long ago perhaps for many to recollect him—for, alas! even
those who entertain the public best are soon forgotten. But some of
my readers no doubt recall that Paganini of the North, tall and erect,
with large blue eyes and flaxen hair—the personification of a valiant
Norseman, whose fire and magnetism in this nineteenth century displayed
themselves in music rather than in maritime adventure. As his old
Viking ancestors had no doubt wielded sword and battle-ax, so his bow
was of such unusual length that no one of inferior strength and stature
could have used it advantageously.

  [Illustration: THE GRAVE OF OLE BULL.]

From this musician's grave one looks off over the lovely bay of Bergen.
This peaceful view, which he so loved, produced upon my mind, in the
soft evening light, the same effect as did the music of that skillful
hand which now reposed beneath the flowers. To me his playing was
enchanting, and unlike that of any other violinist I have ever heard.
There was a quality in the tones that he would call forth from his
violin, which seemed as weird and fascinating as the poetry of the
sagas, and as mysterious as the light which lingered on his mountains
and fjords. What wonder that his death in 1880 was deplored in Norway
as a national calamity?

  [Illustration: OLE BULL.]

Taking our leave reluctantly of Bergen, we entered on what proved to
be one of the most delightful features of our tour in Norway, a sail
of twenty-four hours along the coast to the town of Molde. How can I
adequately describe that most unique and memorable journey? Our entire
course lay through a labyrinth of islands, beyond which, every now
and then, we gained a glimpse of the Atlantic rolling away toward the
horizon. The proximity and number of these islands astonished me. For,
hour after hour, they would come into sight, wheel by us slowly, and
then disappear, to be succeeded by their counterparts. We went down to
dinner or to our staterooms, yet when we came on deck again, islands
still surrounded us. We saw them glittering in the sunset ere we went
to sleep, and in the morning we were once more environed by them.
Sometimes I could have fancied that they were sailing with us, like a
vast convoy of protecting gunboats, moving when we moved, halting when
we halted, patient and motionless till we resumed our voyage.

  [Illustration: THE NORWEGIAN COAST.]

Meantime, just opposite these islands, is the coast,—a grand
succession of bold headlands and dark, gloomy mountains, beyond which
always are still higher summits capped with snow. At frequent intervals
some beautiful fjord leads inward, like the entrance to a citadel; and
here and there, within a sheltered nook, we see some fishing hamlet
crouching on the sand. This is surely the perfection of ocean travel.
For, though this mountain-bordered channel is hundreds of miles in
length, the sea within it is as smooth as a canal. Once only throughout
the day was the great swell of the Atlantic felt, when for a little
space the island breakwater was gone.

  [Illustration: A WONDERFUL PANORAMA.]

Our sail along the coast had, late at night, a most appropriate
ending in our arrival at Molde. There are few places in the world
more beautiful. It lies upon the bank of a fjord, on the opposite side
of which is an array of snowy mountains forty miles in length. Molde
is sometimes called the "Interlaken of Norway," but that does not by
any means describe it. For here there is no single mountain, like the
Jungfrau, to compel our homage, but rather a long series of majestic
peaks, resembling a line of icebergs drifting in crystal splendor from
the polar sea.

Filled with enthusiasm over this splendid spectacle, we left the
steamer, and soon found ourselves within a comfortable hotel. It was
the hour of midnight, but, far from being dark, the eastern sky was
even then brightening with the coming dawn. A party of excursionists
was just returning from a mountain climb. Some passengers were
embarking on the steamer we had left. Supper or breakfast (I know not
which to call it) was awaiting us. Under such circumstances it seemed
ridiculous to go to bed. Accordingly, we laughed and chatted on the
balcony, until a wretched man thrust out his head from an adjoining
window, and remarked:

"My friends, I am glad to see you happy, but I have just returned from
the North Cape. I haven't slept for eight nights. It seems quite dark
here by comparison, and I was hopeful of a good night's rest. Would you
just as lief postpone your fun until you get inside the Arctic circle?"

This pathetic appeal could not be resisted, and asking his forgiveness,
we retired.

Taking leave of Molde one pleasant afternoon, we sailed across its
beautiful fjord to explore the snow-capped mountains opposite. It was
upon this voyage that I was taught the bitter lesson never to trust my
baggage to a Norwegian, merely because he claims to be able to speak
English. Upon the deck of our little steamer stood that day a man, upon
whose hatband I read the legend that he was the proprietor of a hotel
at Veblungsnäs, where we proposed to spend the night. Approaching him,
therefore, I inquired:

"Can you speak English?"

He smiled upon me sweetly, and replied, "O, yes."

Innocent of the awful fact that this was the whole extent of his
vocabulary, I continued:

"When we arrive, will you bring my valise ashore, while I go at once to
the hotel to secure rooms?"

"O, yes."

  [Illustration: MOLDE.]

Ten minutes later we reached our landing pier. I left the boat, as
I had said, and hurried on to the hotel. I presently beheld the old
proprietor coming from the wharf, but without my satchel.

"What does this mean?" I cried; "did you not bring my valise off the

"O, yes."

"Where is it, then? Is it not on there still?"

"O, yes."

  [Illustration: VIEW FROM MOLDE.]

"Mercy on me! Is not that the steamer going off with my valise on

"O, yes!"

"Well, are you not a monumental idiot, then?"

"O, yes!"

It took me three days to recover that valise; and the important lesson
of "_O, yes_," was effectually learned.

Early next morning we took leave of Veblungsnäs, and drove directly
towards the Romsdal, one of the finest valleys in all Norway. Before
us, like a mighty sentinel, the imposing Romsdalhorn rose, dark with
somber shadows, to an altitude of five thousand and ninety feet. The
peak itself, five hundred feet in height, is said to be almost as
dangerous to ascend as the appalling Matterhorn, not only on account
of its perpendicular sides, but also from the crumbling nature of the
rock, which renders it impossible to fasten iron bars in its surface.

Some years ago, an English tourist, after a number of unsuccessful
efforts, finally reached the summit of this mountain. He was, of
course, exultant. The inhabitants of the valley had told him that the
conquest of the Romsdalhorn was hopeless, and no tradition existed
among them that its ascent had ever been made. Nevertheless, when the
successful climber finally stood upon the mountain's crest, he found
to his astonishment and regret that he was not the first man who had
gained this victory. A mound of stones, heaped up there as a monument,
proved beyond doubt that at some unknown epoch some one had been there
before him.

  [Illustration: THE ROMSDALHORN.]

Driving around the base of this majestic mountain, we found ourselves
within a narrow gorge shut in by savage cliffs, with barely space
enough between them for the carriage-road and a wild torrent rushing
toward the sea. One wall of this ravine is singularly weird and
awe-inspiring. A multitude of crags and pinnacles, splintered and
shattered by the lightning's bolts, stand out in sharp relief against
the sky, as if some monsters, hidden on the other side, were raising
o'er the brink of these stupendous precipices their outstretched hands
and tapering fingers in warning or in supplication. These strange,
fantastic forms are in the evening light so ghostly and uncanny, that
they appear to the Norwegian peasants like demons dancing gleefully
upon the mountain tops. Hence the pinnacles are called the "Witches'

  [Illustration: THE WITCHES' PEAKS.]

It was while riding through this gorge that I heard a tourist
complaining that Norway had no ruins. In one sense this is true, for,
owing to the fact that the feudal system never existed here, castles
and strongholds are nowhere to be found. But Norway surely can dispense
with any crumbling works of man. Amidst the ruins of her everlasting
mountains and stupendous fjords, grooved by the glaciers when the earth
was young, all remnants of man's handiwork would seem like ant-hills
made but an hour ago.

Toward evening, at the head of the Romsdal Valley, we reached the
station of Stuflaaten, where we were to sleep. Our spirits sank as
we approached it. Nothing, apparently, could be less inviting. But
here, as in so many other instances, we found the accommodations
excellent. It is true, the beds possessed the usual Norwegian fault—an
insufficient length. Tall travelers, who object to having their limbs
closed under them at night, like the blades of a jack-knife, frequently
sleep on the floor in Norway.

  [Illustration: STUFLAATEN.]

"I cannot lie in one of these beds," exclaimed my friend; which, for a
lawyer, seemed to me a remarkable admission!

  [Illustration: A NEW ENGLAND SOUVENIR.]

Never shall I forget the dining-room at Stuflaaten. Here we were first
attracted by the fireplace. It was a chimney built out from the corner,
with space behind for a warm cupboard. The opening for fuel was so
narrow that sticks were placed upright upon the hearth. Beside this
were two rocking-chairs (almost unheard of luxuries in any part of
Europe), and sinking into these, we thought of home. The influence of
that American article of furniture was, I fear, depressing, for soon my
friend remarked:

"How far we are from dear New England! If I could only see one object
here which really came from there, how happy I should be!"

"Look at that clock upon the wall," I responded; "that has a familiar
look. Perhaps that came from 'dear New England!'"

  [Illustration: TRONDHJEM.]

"Nonsense," he answered; "how could anything made in New England find
its way here almost within the Arctic circle?"

"Well," I exclaimed, "where is the land that Yankee inventions have
not entered? Let us put it to the test." Accordingly, stepping to the
clock, I opened it and read these words: "Made by Jerome & Co., New
Haven, Conn."

Returning once more through the Romsdal, Veblungsnäs, and Molde, we
sailed again, for twelve hours, along the Norway coast to reach the
city of Trondhjem. Although less beautifully situated than Bergen,
Molde, or Christiania, in point of historic interest, Trondhjem is
superior to them all. For here lived the old Norwegian kings, and
the town can boast of a continuous existence for a thousand years. It
also enjoys the proud distinction of having the most northern railway
station in the world, for from this city, which is in the latitude of
Iceland, a railroad now extends three hundred and fifty miles southward
to Christiania.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN RAILWAY.]

  [Illustration: A RAILWAY STATION.]

Upon this road are run some cars which are facetiously called
"sleepers"; but they are such as Mr. George M. Pullman would see only
in an acute attack of nightmare. The road being a narrow-gauge one, the
car is not much wider than an omnibus. The berth (if the name can be
applied to such a coffin-like contrivance) is formed by pulling narrow
cushion-seats together. On these is placed one pillow, but no blanket
and no mattress,—simply a pillow,—nothing more! From the feeling,
I should say that my pillow consisted of a small boulder covered with
cotton. But what, think you, is the upper berth? It is a hammock, swung
on hooks, and sagging down to within a foot of the lower couch. Now, it
requires some skill to get into a hammock anywhere; but to climb into
one that is hung four feet above the floor of a moving railroad car,
calls for the agility of an acrobat. After my experience that night, I
feel perfectly qualified to perform on the trapeze, for since I weighed
but one hundred and forty pounds, while my friend tipped the scales
at two hundred and fifty, I thought it was safer for me to occupy the
upper story.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN HARBOR.]

Another difficulty met with in that memorable journey was to keep
covered up. There was no heat in the car. At every respiration, we
could see our breath. This was, however, a consolation, since it
assured us that we were still alive. Wraps of all kinds were needed,
but the space was limited. There was, for example, in my hammock, room
for myself alone; or without me, for my traveling-rug, overcoat, and
pillow. But when we were all in together, the hammock was continually
overflowing. Accordingly, every fifteen minutes during that awful
night, my friend would start up in abject terror, dreaming that he was
being buried beneath a Norway avalanche.

I never think of Trondhjem without recalling, also, an experience in a
Norwegian barber-shop. I knew that it was tempting Providence to enter
it, for shaving in Norway is still a kind of surgical operation. But
for some time a coldness had existed between my razors and myself.
The edge of our friendship had become dulled. Accordingly, I made the
venture. Before me, as I entered, stood a man with a head of hair like
Rubenstein's, and a mouth like a miniature fjord.

  [Illustration: TOURING ON FOOT.]

"Do you speak English?" I began.


"Sprechen sie Deutsch?"


"Parlez-vous Français?"


"Parlate Italiano?"


"Well, one thing is sure, then," I said; "you will not talk me to
death, anyway!"

Having made the most graceful gestures of which I was capable
to indicate what I wanted, I settled myself in a hard chair and
laid my head against a rest resembling the vise furnished by a
photographer when he asks you "to look pleasant." The preliminaries
being over, the Norwegian Figaro took his razor and made one awful
never-to-be-forgotten swoop at my cheek as if he were mowing grain with
a scythe! I gave a roar like a Norwegian waterfall and bounded from the
chair in agony! When I had fully wiped away my blood and tears, I asked
him faintly:

"Have you any ether?"


"Any laughing-gas?"


"Any cocaine?"


"Well, then," I exclaimed, "will you please go over there and 'nay' by
yourself while I finish this operation with my own hands?"

  [Illustration: A VILLAGE MAIDEN.]

  [Illustration: ENTRANCE TO A FJORD.]

He seemed to understand me, and retreated to a corner. When all was
over, he pointed to a bowl at which I saw my friend gazing with that
peculiarly sad expression which he invariably assumed when thinking of
his family. I soon discovered the cause, for from the centre of this
wash-bowl rose a little fountain about a foot in height, which seemed
to him a facsimile of the one on Boston Common. I comprehended that I
was to wash in this fountain; but how to do it was a mystery. At last I
cautiously thrust one side of my face into it, and instantly the water
shot up over my ear and fell upon the other side. I turned my face, and
the ascending current carromed on my nose, ran down my neck, and made
a change of toilet absolutely necessary. When, therefore, my friend had
called a cab to take me home, I asked the barber what I should pay him.
By gestures he expressed to me the sum equivalent to three cents.

"What," I exclaimed, "nothing extra for the court-plaster?"


"And nothing for the privilege of shaving myself?"


"And you don't charge for the fountain, either?"


"Well," I exclaimed as I rode away, "I can truly say that never before
have I received so much for my money."

This city of the north has one extremely interesting building—its
cathedral. As a rule, Scandinavian churches are not worth a visit;
but this is a notable exception. More than three hundred years before
Columbus landed on San Salvador this building held a proud position.
Its finest carving dates from the eleventh century. At one time
pilgrims came here from all northern Europe, and laid their gold and
jewels on its shrines. But at the period of the Reformation all this
was changed. Iconoclasts defaced its carving, cast down its statues,
sacked the church, and packed its treasures in a ship, which, as if
cursed by an offended Deity, foundered at sea.

  [Illustration: TRONDHJEM CATHEDRAL.]

On entering the ancient edifice, we were delighted with its delicate
stone-tracing. The material is a bluish slate, which gives to the whole
church a softness and a beauty difficult to equal, and blends most
admirably with its columns of white marble. A part of the cathedral
was, however, closed to us, for all the ruin once wrought here is being
carefully effaced by systematic restoration. The government contributes
for this purpose a certain sum every year, and private individuals
help on the work from genuine love of art, as well as from patriotic
motives. The old designs are being followed, and hence, in time, this
old cathedral will in every feature come to be a reproduction of the
original structure.


A few days after reaching Trondhjem, we found ourselves embarking for
another ocean journey. This time our destination was the northern limit
of the continent. For a Norwegian tour naturally divides itself into
three parts. The first consists of driving through the mountainous
interior; the second is the exploration of its noble fjords; the third
is the voyage from Trondhjem to the North Cape.

  [Illustration: AN EXCURSION STEAMER.]

This voyage, in fast excursion steamers, is now made in about four
days, an equal number being occupied in returning. "Eight days?"
the reader will perhaps exclaim; "why, that is longer than a voyage
across the Atlantic." In actual duration, yes; but otherwise the two
excursions are entirely different. For almost all the way you follow
so closely the fringe of islands that there is little danger of rough
weather, while the mainland is constantly in sight.

  [Illustration: ONE OF THE LOFFODENS.]

Some twenty-four hours after leaving Trondhjem, our steamer halted at
an island, up whose precipitous side we climbed five hundred feet to
view a natural tunnel perforating an entire mountain. Through this
we gained a charming telescopic vista of the ocean and its island
belt. The tunnel is six hundred feet in length, and in some places two
hundred feet in height. So smooth and perpendicular are its walls, that
it appears almost incredible that human agency has not assisted in this
strange formation. But scientists say that it was accomplished entirely
by the waves, when all this rock-bound coast was covered by the sea.
Leaving this curious freak of nature, another memorable feature of our
northern voyage soon greeted us,—the Loffoden Islands. These form a
broken chain one hundred and thirty miles in length. The scenery in
their vicinity is perhaps the finest on the Norway coast, and as we
watched it with delight, the captain told us of his voyages here in
winter, and I now learned, to my astonishment that freight-steamers
make their regular trips, all winter long, round the North Cape to
Vadso, on the Arctic coast. They encounter fearful storms at times, but
rarely any icebergs. We have, it seems, a monopoly of these floating
monsters on our side of the Atlantic, borne west and south by the
current off the coast of Greenland.

  [Illustration: FISHING ON THE COAST.]


Of course, these wintry voyages are performed in darkness, for Night
then reigns here with as much supremacy as Day in summer. The lights
on the steamers are, therefore, kept constantly burning. Yet, strange
to say, this is the period of greatest activity among these islands.
Winter is the Norwegian fisherman's harvest-time. The only light
necessary to carry on the work is that of the Aurora Borealis and
the brilliant stars. From twenty to twenty-five millions of cod are
captured here each winter, and twenty-five thousand people are employed
in the trade.

  [Illustration: TROMSÖ.]

Soon after leaving the Loffodens we arrived at Tromsö, the city of
the Lapps. It had the appearance of a pretty village as we viewed it
from a distance; but soon the sense of sight was wholly lost in the
prominence given to another of our senses. The carcass of a whale was
floating in the harbor. It had been speared and towed in hither to be
cut in pieces. The blubber was being boiled in kettles on the shore.
The impression which this made on my olfactory nerves is something for
which language is inadequate. The odor was as colossal as the fish
itself. I never sympathized sufficiently with Jonah till I went to

  [Illustration: LAPLANDERS.]

Soon after landing here, a walk of an hour brought us to a settlement
of Lapps, consisting of some very primitive tents. My first impression
of these people was, and still is, that any one of them could have
effectually concealed his identity by taking a bath. They all have
dirty, wizened faces, high cheekbones, flat noses, and mouths that yawn
like caverns. Their beards are so peculiarly tufted that they look
like worn-out Astrachan fur. I could almost suppose that in rigorous
winters the reindeer, while their masters slept, had nibbled at their
cheeks. The men are about five feet high, the women four; but they are
tough and hardy, like most dwarfs. Dickens could have found among them
countless models for his hideous Quilp.

  [Illustration: REINDEER AND SLEDGE.]

  [Illustration: A LITTLE LAPP.]

Advancing to one of their huts, we peered into the interior. Upon
the ground was smoldering a small fire, part of the smoke from which
escaped through an opening in the roof. The inmates scarcely noticed
us, until my artist produced his camera. Then there was instantly a
general stampede. One woman seized her baby and rushed forth, as if a
demon had molested her. The cause of this confusion, however, was not
fear, nor even modesty, but avarice, pure and simple. They understood
perfectly what the camera was, and wanted a good price for being
photographed. Three shillings was at first demanded for a picture, but
finally we compromised by giving half that sum.

  [Illustration: LIFE IN LAPLAND.]

Among these Laplanders, the clothing of both men and women is made
of reindeer skin, worn with the hardened pelt outside. These garments
last indefinitely, and are sometimes bequeathed from one generation to
another. The Lapp complexion looks like leather. Even the babies have
a shriveled look, resembling that of monkeys. This is not strange,
however, for both men and women are great consumers of tobacco.
Their huts are always full of smoke, till finally the inmates become
smoke-dried within and without. This, in turn, produces thirst. Hence
we were not surprised to learn that they are inordinately fond of
ardent spirits. In fact, when a Norwegian wishes to remonstrate with
a friend who is inclined to drink to excess, he will often say to him,
"Don't make a Lapp of yourself!"

Bidding farewell to Tromsö and the Laplanders, the next day brought
us to the most northern town in the world—Hammerfest. It was a great
surprise to me to see, in such proximity to the North Pole, a town of
about three thousand inhabitants, with schools, a church, a telegraph
station, and a weekly newspaper! The snow-streaked mountains in the
distance gave me the only hint of winter that I had; and I could hardly
realize that I was here two hundred miles farther north than Bering's
Strait, and in about the same latitude in which, on our side of the
Atlantic, the gallant Sir John Franklin perished in the ice. The cause
of this, however, is not difficult to trace.

  [Illustration: HAMMERFEST.]

The influence of the Gulf Stream is felt powerfully even here. For here
it is that the great ocean current practically dies, bequeathing to
these fishermen of Hammerfest, for their firewood, the treasures it has
so long carried on its bosom, such as the trunks of palm-trees, and the
vegetation of the tropics. It is an extraordinary fact that while the
harbor of Christiania, one thousand miles farther south, is frozen over
three months every winter, this bay of Hammerfest, only sixty miles
from the North Cape, is never closed on account of ice.


  [Illustration: THE MERIDIAN SHAFT.]

An interesting object in Hammerfest is the meridian shaft, which marks
the number of degrees between this town and the mouth of the Danube, on
the Black Sea. The mention made upon this column of that other terminus
of measurement, so far distant in the South of Europe, reminded us by
contrast of one more advantage which this high latitude possesses—the
greater rapidity of its vegetation. When the sun once appears within
this polar region, it comes to stay. Nature immediately makes amends
for her long seclusion. For three months the sunshine is well-nigh
incessant. There is no loss of time at night. The flowers do not close
in sleep. All vegetation rushes to maturity. Thus vegetables in the
Arctic circle will sometimes grow three inches in a single day, and
although planted six weeks later than those in Christiania, they are
ready for the table at the same time.

  [Illustration: NORWEGIAN FLORA.]

Sailing finally from Hammerfest, a voyage of seven hours brought us to
our destination—the North Cape. I looked upon it with that passionate
eagerness born of long years of anticipation, and felt at once a thrill
of satisfaction, in the absence of all disappointment. For my ideal
of that famous promontory could not be more perfectly realized than in
this dark-browed, majestic headland, rising with perpendicular cliffs,
one thousand feet in height, from the still darker ocean at its base.
It is, in reality, an island, divided from the mainland by a narrow
strait, like a gigantic sentinel stationed in advance to guard the
coast of Europe from the Arctic storms.

  [Illustration: HARBOR OF HAMMERFEST.]

Embarking here in boats, we drew still nearer to this monstrous cliff.
From this point it resembles a stupendous fortress surmounted by
an esplanade. For in that prehistoric age, when northern Europe was
enveloped in an icy mantle, huge glaciers in their southward march
planed down its summit to a level surface. The climbing of the cliff,
though safe, is quite exhausting. Ropes are, however, hung at different
points, and, holding on to these, we slowly crept up to its southern
parapet. Thence a laborious walk of fifteen minutes brought us at
last to the highest elevation, marked by a granite monument erected to
commemorate King Oscar's visit to the place in 1873.

It is a wonderfully impressive moment when one stands thus on the
northern boundary of Europe, so near and yet so far from the North
Pole. It seemed to me as if the outermost limit of our planet had been
reached. Nowhere, not even in the desert, have I felt so utterly remote
from civilization, or so near to the infinitude of space.

  [Illustration: NORTH CAPE.]

But presently from our steamer, anchored near the base, some rockets
rose and burst in fiery showers far below us. It was a signal for us
to be on our guard. I looked at my watch. It was exactly five minutes
before midnight. Advancing, therefore, to the edge of the cliff, I
looked upon a unique and never-to-be-forgotten scene. Below, beyond me,
and on either side, lay in sublime and awful solitude the Arctic sea,
stretching away to that still undiscovered region of the north, which,
with its fatal charm, has lured so many brave explorers to their doom.

  [Illustration: STUPENDOUS CLIFFS.]

Straight from the polar sea, apparently, the wondrous northern light
(an opalescent radiance born of the twilight and the dawn) came
stealing o'er the waters like a benediction; and to enhance its mystery
and beauty, when I looked northward over the rounded shoulder of the
globe, I saw the MIDNIGHT SUN.

  [Illustration: THE MIDNIGHT SUN.]

At this great height and northern latitude it did not sink to the
horizon, but merely paused, apparently some twenty feet above the
waves, then gradually rose again. It was the last of countless sunsets
which had that day been following each other round the globe. It was
the first of countless sunrises which, hour after hour, in so many
continents would wake to life again a sleeping world. I have seen many
impressive sights in many lands, but nothing, until Time for me shall
be no more, can equal in solemnity the hour when, standing on this
threshold of a continent, and on the edge of this immeasurable sea, I
watched, without one moment's interval of darkness, the Past transform
itself into the Present, and Yesterday become To-day.




The Parsees say that mountains are the heads of the long pins that bind
the world together. Geologists assure us that they are merely wrinkles
on the face of Mother Earth, while we all know that, relatively to
the world's diameter, the highest elevation of our planet is but the
thickness of a hair laid on an ordinary globe.


But these comparisons do not affect the grandeur of the peaks
themselves, when we behold them face to face, crowned with unmeasured
miles of snow, girded with glaciers as with coats of mail, and towering
up among the clouds as though to storm the very heights of Heaven.
If it be true, as some have claimed, that travel blunts the edge of
enjoyment, and renders one indifferent and _blasé_, it is true only
of those artificial charms which form the attraction of great cities
and the pleasure-haunts of men. These may at last grow wearisome. But
Nature wears a freshness and a glory that can never fade. Continual
worship at her shrine increases our desire for that happiness which
only Nature gives, and adds to our capacity for its appreciation.

  [Illustration: INTERLAKEN.]

Switzerland, then, of all countries in the world, is the one of which
the traveler is likely to tire least. The vision of its kingly Alps
must always thrill the heart with exultation. Its noble roads and
unsurpassed hotels make rest or travel on its heights delightful;
while the keen tonic of its mountain air restores the jaded frame, as
ancients dreamed a draught would do from the pure fountain of perpetual

One of the most attractive gateways to this land of mountains is
Interlaken. All tourists in Switzerland come hither, almost of
necessity. No other point is quite so central for excursions. None
is more easy of approach. As its name indicates, it lies between two
famous lakes which rival one another in respect to beauty. Before it,
also, are the charming vales of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, which
lead one into the very heart of the Bernese Oberland. Moreover, from
sixty to eighty thousand people come here every year to render homage
to the peerless sovereign who holds court at Interlaken. There is
no need to name the peak to which I thus allude, for everywhere in
Interlaken we discern the crowning glory of the place—beside which all
others fade—the lovely Jungfrau, queen of Alpine heights. Her grand,
resplendent form fills the entire space between the encircling peaks,
and forms a dazzling centre-piece of ice and snow, nearly fourteen
thousand feet in height. It is a never-ending pleasure to rest upon
the broad piazzas of Interlaken's palatial hotels, and gaze upon this
radiant mount. It sometimes looks like a great white cloud forever
anchored in one place, but oftener sparkles as if covered with a robe
of diamonds; mantled, as it is, with snows of virgin purity from base
to heaven-piercing summit.



Yet were we to examine closely a single section of the Jungfrau,
we should discover that its shoulders are covered with enormous
snow-fields, the origin of stupendous avalanches. For amid all this
beauty there is much here that is harsh and terrible. Appalling
precipices, dangerous crevasses, and well-nigh constant falls of
hundreds of tons of rock and ice, render the wooing of this "Maiden
of the Alps" a difficult undertaking. In fact, the name Jungfrau,
or Maiden, was given to the mountain, because its pure summit seemed
destined to remain forever virgin to the tread of man. Many had sought
to make her conquest, but in vain. At last, however, in 1811 (nearly
thirty years after the subjugation of Mont Blanc), two brothers gained
the crest; and since that time its icy slopes have reflected the forms
of many ambitious and courageous travelers.

No tourist who has been at Interlaken on a pleasant evening can
possibly forget the vision which presents itself as day reluctantly
retires from the Jungfrau at the approach of night.

  [Illustration: THE HIGH BRIDGE AT BERNE.]



         The sun is low;
         Yon peak of snow
     Is purpling 'neath the sunset glow;
         The rosy light
         Makes richly bright
     The Jungfrau's veil of snowy white.

         From vales that sleep
         Night's shadows creep
     To take possession of the steep;
         While, as they rise,
         The western skies
     Seem loth to leave so fair a prize.

         The light of Day
         Still loves to stay
     And round that pearly summit play;
         How fair a sight,
         That plain of light
     Contended for by Day and Night!

           Now fainter shines.
           As Day declines,
     The lustrous height which he resigns;
           The shadows gain
           Th' illumined plain;
     The Jungfrau pales, as if in pain.

           When daylight dies,
           The azure skies
     Seem sparkling with a thousand eyes,
           Which watch with grace
           From depths of space
     The sleeping Jungfrau's lovely face.

           And when is born
           The ruddy Dawn,
     Forerunner of the coming Morn,
           Along the skies
           It quickly flies
     To kiss the Maiden's opening eyes.

           The timid flush,
           The rosy blush,
     Which then o'er brow and face do rush.
           Are pure and fair
           Beyond compare,
     Resplendent in the illumined air.

         And thus alway,
         By night or day,
     Her varying suitors homage pay;
         And tinged with rose,
         Or white with snows,
     The same fair radiant form she shows.

  [Illustration: ON LAKE THUN.]

I have said that Interlaken was an admirable place from which to make
excursions. Shall we not put this to the proof by entering now the
charming and romantic vale of Lauterbrunnen, dainty and lovely as a
dimple in the cheek of Nature? It is only half a mile in width, and is
bounded on both sides by lofty mountains, over which the winter's sun
can hardly climb till midday. And yet luxuriant vegetation covers it,
as with an emerald carpet. The bases of these mountains seem to rest
on flowers. The awful scenery which surrounds it makes it seem doubly
sweet and fair; and one can hardly imagine a more striking picture than
that of this peaceful valley, looking smilingly up into the stern and
savage faces of the monsters which environ it, as if unconscious of its
helplessness, or trusting confidently in their mercy.

  [Illustration: THE STAUBBACH.]

A little distance up the valley, we note its most remarkable feature,
the Fall of the Staubbach, or "Dust-brook," which here leaps boldly
over the brow of the mountain, nine hundred and eighty feet above
us. Long before it reaches the ground, it is converted into a vast,
diaphanous cloud of spray, which the breeze scatters into thousands
of fantastic wreaths. Whenever the sunlight streams directly through
this, the effect is marvelous. It then resembles a transparent veil
of silvery lace, woven with all the colors of the rainbow, fluttering
from the fir-clad rocks. Byron compared it to the tail of a white
horse, streaming in the wind; but Goethe's description is best, when he

     "In clouds of spray,
     Like silver dust,
     It veils the rock
     In rainbow hues;
     And dancing down
     With music soft,
     Is lost in air."


But the ambitious traveler will ascend far higher than the summit of
this waterfall to stand upon the mighty cliffs which line the valley
like gigantic walls.

  [Illustration: GOING TO MÜRREN]

  [Illustration: ZÜRICH.]


The task is easily accomplished now. Ten years ago it was an arduous
climb, on horseback or on foot; but now an electric railroad winds for
miles along the edge of frightful precipices, and (where a vertical
ascent is absolutely necessary) another kind of car lifts one a
thousand feet or so toward heaven, as smoothly and as swiftly as a
hotel elevator.


Truly the visitor of a dozen years ago perceives amazing changes
to-day among the Alps. Where, formerly, a man would hardly dare to go
on foot, trains now ascend with myriads of travelers! Hotels and even
railroad stations up among the clouds have driven from the lofty crags
the eagle and the chamois. This to the genuine Alpine climber seems
like sacrilege; but, after all, what contributors to the happiness of
mankind these mountain railroads are! Without them, few would venture
here; and all the pageantry of Nature in these upper regions would
unfold itself through the revolving years with scarce an eye to note
its beauty or voice to tell its glories to the world.

  [Illustration: MÜRREN.]

In startling contrast to my first ascent to the place, now many years
ago, it was by this luxurious mode of travel that I recently approached
the little village known as Mürren. It is the loftiest hamlet in all
Switzerland, consisting of a cluster of Swiss cottages, whose roofs,
heavily freighted with protecting stones, project beyond the walls like
broad-brimmed hats. So singular is the appearance of a village at this
dizzy height, that one is tempted to believe that the houses had been
blown up from the valley by some reckless blast, and dropped at random
on the lonely tableland.

Yet here, to our astonishment, we find hotels, which somehow year by
year outlive the horrors of the Alpine winter, and in the summer season
welcome their hundreds of adventurous guests. But, after all, where in
Switzerland is there not a hotel? Fast as the arteries of travel are
extended, on every prominent point commanding a fine view is planted
a hotel, a forerunner of the world of travel. This is, in fact, one of
the charms of Switzerland. The Andes and Himalayas may possess higher
peaks and grander glaciers; but there one cannot (as among the Alps)
ride all day long on perfect roads, and in the evening sit down to a
well-cooked dinner, hear music on a broad veranda, consult the latest
newspapers, and sleep in a comfortable bed.

Even before the advent of the railroad, I was a thousandfold repaid for
climbing up to Mürren; for here so closely do the Alpine Titans press
on every side, that if Mohammed had ever found his way hither, he might
well have believed that the mountains were coming to him, and not he to
the mountains.

  [Illustration: A HOTEL AT MÜRREN.]

The surrounding summits reveal to the astonished sight heights,
lengths, and depths which overwhelm one with sublimity. What seemed an
hour ago mere glistening mounds are now transformed by the grandeur of
this Olympian elevation into vast snowfields, miles in length, or into
seas of ice, which pour down through the valleys in slow-moving floods.
In early summer, too, one hears at frequent intervals the roar of some
tremendous avalanche on the great mountains opposite, from which the
tourist is separated only by a yawning gulf.

Never shall I forget the morning when I stood here waiting for the
sunrise view. There was none of that crowd of jabbering tourists who
often profane the summit of the Rigi, and seem to measure the extent
of their pleasure by the noise they make. I was well-nigh alone. When
I emerged from the hotel, a purple line was visible in the east, but
clouds and mists half veiled the mountains from my sight. At length,
however, noiselessly but steadily, a hidden hand seemed to draw
back the misty curtain of the night. Slowly the giant forms molded
themselves from darkness into light, until their foreheads first,
and then each fold and outline of their dazzling shapes, stood forth
in bold relief against the sky. The glaciers sparkled with the first
bright beams like jeweled highways of the gods,—till, finally, as the
sun's disk came fairly into view, the whole vast range glowed like
a wall of tinted porcelain. It seemed as if a thousand sacred fires
had been kindled on these mountain altars, in glad response to the
triumphant greeting of the god of day.

On descending from Mürren, the tourist is attracted to another famous
object, only a few miles from Interlaken,—the glacier of Grindelwald.

  [Illustration: A VIEW FROM MÜRREN.]

  [Illustration: MÜRREN—HOTEL DES ALPES.]

It was while visiting this sea of ice that my guide suddenly turned and
asked me with a smile, "Are you a clergyman?"

I answered that I could not claim that flattering distinction,
but begged to know the reason of his question. "Because," he said,
"clergymen seem to be unlucky in Grindelwald; all the accidents that
take place here somehow happen to them."

  [Illustration: A GLACIER.]

As we were at that moment just about to venture on the ice, I naturally
recalled Charles Lamb's reply when he was requested to say grace at
dinner. "What," he exclaimed, "are there no clergymen present? Then I
will say, the Lord be thanked!"

A moment or two later we entered the well-known cavern in this
glacier—a strange and chilling passageway, two hundred feet in length,
cut in the solid ice, whose gleaming walls and roof seemed to be made
of polished silver.

  [Illustration: A CHILLING PASSAGEWAY.]

  [Illustration: GHOSTLY FINGERS.]

As I was picking my way safely, though shiveringly, through this huge
refrigerator, I asked my guide to tell me about one of the clerical
misfortunes which had made him suspicious of gentlemen of the cloth.
He turned and looked at me curiously. "You know, of course, the fate
of our pastor, M. Mouron?" he exclaimed. I confessed my ignorance.
"Then come with me," he said. Accordingly, emerging from the cavern,
we climbed for nearly an hour over great blocks of ice, until we
came to a profound abyss. Suspended from the frozen parapet a mass of
icicles pointed mysteriously down like ghostly fingers. Then all was
dark. "It was by falling down this," said the guide, "that the pastor
of Grindelwald lost his life. He was seeking one day to ascertain its
depth by casting stones into its cavernous maw and counting till he
heard the sound of their arrival at the bottom of the abyss. Once, in
his eagerness, he placed his staff against the opposite edge, leaned
over and listened. Suddenly the ice gave way, and he fell headlong into
the crevasse. His guide ran breathless to the village and informed the
people of their loss. But, to his horror, he found that he himself was
looked upon with suspicion. In fact, some went so far as to say that he
must have murdered their pastor, and robbed him of his watch and purse.

  [Illustration: LAUSANNE.]

"The guides of Grindelwald, however, who felt themselves insulted at
this accusation, united and agreed that one of their number (chosen
by lot) should, at the peril of his life, descend into this crevasse
to establish the innocence of the accused. The lot was drawn by one
of the bravest of them all, a man named Bergenen. The whole village
assembled on the flood of ice to witness the result of the search.
After partaking of the sacrament, Bergenen fastened a rope around his
waist and a lantern to his neck. In one hand he took a bell. In the
other he grasped his iron-pointed staff to keep himself from the sharp
edges. Four men then carefully lowered him down. Twice, on the point
of suffocation, he rang the bell and was drawn up. Finally a heavier
weight was felt upon the rope, and Bergenen reappeared, bringing the
body of the pastor from a depth of seven hundred and fifty feet. A
mighty shout went up from the guides and populace as well. The man was
innocent. Both watch and purse were found upon the corpse!"

  [Illustration: HAY-MAKING.]

  [Illustration: UPON THE HEIGHTS.]

As we returned from Grindelwald to Interlaken, we often paused to
note the peasants toiling in the fields. So far as their appearance
was concerned, we might have supposed them laborers on a Vermont
farm; but their low carts were quite unlike our country hayracks;
and the appearance of a single ox, harnessed with ropes around his
horns, presented an amusing contrast to the sturdy beasts which, bound
together by the yoke, drag to our barns their loads of fragrant hay.
Women, of course, were working with the men; but female laborers in
Switzerland are not in the majority. In many instances the ratio is but
one to three.

  [Illustration: A SWISS FARM-HOUSE.]

These peasants look up curiously as we drive along, and no doubt
think that we are favored beings, to whom our luxuries give perfect
happiness. And yet the very tourists whom they thus envy may, in
a single hour, endure more misery and heartache than they in their
simplicity and moderate poverty will ever know. Among these people
are not found the framers of those hopeless questions: "Is life worth
living?" and "Does death end all?" The real destroyers of life's
happiness are not a lowly home and manual labor. They are the constant
worriments and cares of artificial life,—satiety of pleasures, the
overwork of mental powers, and the disenchantment of satisfied desires.

Filled with such thoughts, as we beheld the humble but well-kept and
ever picturesque dwellings of the farmers of this valley, I called
to mind, as a consoling antidote to one's first natural sympathy with
poverty, the story of the sultan who, despite all his wealth and power,
was always melancholy. He had been told by his physician that, if he
would be cured of all his real or fancied ailments, he must exchange
shirts with the first perfectly happy man he could find. Out went his
officers in search of such a person.

  [Illustration: THE GIESSBACH.]

The hunt was long and arduous, but finally the fortunate being was
found. When he was brought to the sultan, however, it was discovered,
alas! that this perfectly happy individual was not the possessor of a


From Interlaken, every tourist makes a short excursion to one of the
best known of Alpine waterfalls,—the Giessbach. Set in a glorious
framework of dark trees, it leaves the cliff, one thousand feet
above, and in a series of cascades leaps downward to the lake. If
this descending torrent were endowed with consciousness, I fancy it
would be as wretched in its present state as a captive lion in a cage,
continually stared at by a curious multitude. For never was a cascade
so completely robbed of liberty and privacy as this. A pathway crosses
it repeatedly by means of bridges, and seems to bind it to the mountain
as with a winding chain. Behind it are numerous galleries where
visitors may view it from the rear. Arbors and seats are also placed on
either side; and thus, through every hour of the day, people to right
of it, people to left of it, people in rear of it, people in front
of it, look on and wonder. Even at night it has but little rest; for
hardly have the shadows shrouded it, when it is torn from its obscurity
by torches, calcium lights, and fireworks, which all along its course
reveal it to the admiring crowd in a kaleidoscope of colors.

  [Illustration: THE REICHENBACH.]

Far happier, therefore, seems another waterfall of Switzerland,—the
Reichenbach; for this is left comparatively undisturbed within its
mountain solitude. Far off, upon a mountain crest, a blue lake, set
like a sapphire amid surrounding glaciers, serves as a cradle for this
new-born river. Thence it emerges, timidly at first, to make its way
down to the outer world. With each descent, however, it gains fresh
impetus and courage. Return is now impossible. The die is cast. Its
fate is now decided. We almost wish that we could check its course
amid this beautiful environment. It will not find a sweeter or a safer
place. Too soon it will be forced to bear great burdens, turn countless
wheels, and minister to thousands. Then, at the last, will come old
Ocean's cold and passionless embrace, in which all its individuality
will disappear.

  [Illustration: THE PROMENADE.]

Another portal to this land of mountains, rivaling Interlaken in
attractiveness, is Lucerne, reclining peacefully beside its noble lake.
I do not know a resting-place in Switzerland which is in all respects
so satisfying as this.

  [Illustration: THE QUAY, LUCERNE.]

Its hotels are among the finest in the world; the town itself is pretty
and attractive; and in the foreground is a panorama too varied to
become monotonous, too beautiful ever to lose its charm. Mount Pilate
and the Rigi guard Lucerne like sentinels, the one on the east, the
other on the west, like halting-places for the morning and the evening
stars. Directly opposite, upon the southern boundary of the lake, miles
upon miles of snow-capped mountains rise against the sky, as if to
indicate the limit of the world.


One of the sentinels of Lucerne, as I have said, is Mount Pilate.
Toward this the faces of all tourists turn, as to a huge barometer; for
by its cap of clouds Pilate foretells the weather which excursionists
must look for. There is hardly need to recall the popular derivation
of the mountain's name. It was in olden times believed that Pontius
Pilate, in his wanderings through the world, impelled at last by horror
and remorse, committed suicide upon its summit. On this account the
mountain was considered haunted. At one time the town authorities even
forbade people to ascend it on a Friday! But now there is a hotel on
the top, and every day in the week, Friday included, a railway train
climbs resolutely to the summit, enabling thousands to enjoy every
summer a view scarcely to be surpassed in grandeur or extent at any
point among the Alps. No allusion to Lucerne would be complete without
reference to that noble product of Thorwaldsen's genius, which, in
more respects than one, is the lion of the place. It is difficult
to imagine a more appropriate memorial than this, of the fidelity
and valor exhibited one hundred years ago by the Swiss guard, who
in defense of Louis XVI laid down their lives at the opening of the
French Revolution. No view does justice to this famous statue. Within a
monstrous niche, which has been hollowed out of a perpendicular cliff,
reclines, as in some mountain cave, the prostrate figure of a lion,
thirty feet in length. It is evident that the animal has received a
mortal wound. The handle of a spear protrudes from his side. Yet even
in the agony of death he guards the Bourbon shield and lily, which
he has given his life to defend. One paw protects them; his drooping
head caresses them, and gives to them a mute farewell. Beneath the
figure, chiseled in the rock, are the names of the officers murdered
by the mob; while above is the brief but eloquent inscription: "To the
fidelity and bravery of the Swiss." In the whole world I do not know of
a monument more simple yet impressive.


  [Illustration: THE LION OF LUCERNE.]

  [Illustration: BRUNNEN, ON LAKE LUCERNE.]

One of the greatest pleasures of the tourist in Lucerne is to sail
out, as he may do at almost any hour of the day, upon its lovely
lake. This, in respect to scenery, surpasses all its Alpine rivals.
Twenty-three miles in length, it has the form of a gigantic cross, each
arm of which (when looked upon in the glow of sunset from a neighboring
height) seems like a plain of gold and lapis-lazuli set in a frame-work
of majestic mountains. No tour in Switzerland is complete without a
sail upon this fair expanse of water. Hence more than half a million
travelers cross it every year during the summer months alone, and tiny
steamers are continually visible, cutting their furrows on its smooth,
transparent surface, as sharply as a diamond marks a pane of glass.

  [Illustration: MAKING A LANDING.]

  [Illustration: TELL'S CHAPEL.]

  [Illustration: MONTREUX.]

Moreover, when the boat glides inward toward the shore, one sees that
other elements of beauty are not wanting here. Pretty chalets with
overhanging roofs; rich pastures, orchards, and gardens,—all these,
with numerous villages, succeed each other here for miles, between the
lake and the bold cliffs that rise toward Heaven. Nor is this all. The
villages possess a history, since these romantic shores were formerly
the stage on which Swiss patriots performed those thrilling scenes
immortalized by Schiller in his drama of "William Tell."

  [Illustration: ALTAR IN TELL'S CHAPEL.]

In fact, at one point half concealed among the trees is the well-known
structure, called Tell's Chapel. It stands upon the spot where, it is
said, the hero, springing from the tyrant's boat, escaped the clutches
of the Austrian governor. As is well known, doubts have been cast on
even the existence of this national chieftain; and yet it is beyond
peradventure that a chapel was erected here to his memory as early
as the fifteenth century, and only eleven years ago this structure
was restored at government expense. Moreover, once a year at least,
the people of the neighboring cantons gather here in great numbers
to celebrate a festival which has been held by their ancestors for

The little building is certainly well calculated to awaken patriotism.
Appropriate frescoes, representing exploits ascribed to William
Tell, adorn the walls; while opposite the doorway is an altar at
which religious services are held. How solemn and impressive must the
ceremony be, when religious rites are performed in such a historic and
picturesque locality in the presence of a reverent multitude! At such a
time this tiny shrine may be considered part of the sublime cathedral
of the mountains, whose columns are majestic trees, whose stained
glass is autumnal foliage, whose anthems are the songs of birds, whose
requiems are the moaning of the pines, and whose grand roof is the
stupendous arch of the unmeasured sky, beneath which the snow-clad
mountains rise like jeweled altars, lighted at night, as if with lofty
tapers, by the glittering stars.

  [Illustration: LAKE LUCERNE BY NIGHT.]

But to appreciate the beauty of this sheet of water, one should
behold it when its surface is unruffled by a breeze. Enamoured of
their own beauty, the mountains then look down into the lake as into
an incomparable mirror. It is an inverted world. The water is as
transparent as the sky. The very breezes hold their breath, lest they
should mar the exquisite reflection. The neighboring peaks display
their rugged features in this limpid flood, as if unconscious of the
wrinkles which betray their age. The pine trees stand so motionless
upon the shore that they appear like slender ferns. Instinctively we
call to mind those graceful lines, supposed to be addressed by such a
lake to an adjoining mountain:

     "I lie forever at thy feet,
       Dear hill with lofty crown;
     My waters smile thy crags to greet,
       As they look proudly down.

     The odor of thy wind-tossed pines
       Is message sweet to me;
     It makes me dimple with delight,
       Because it comes from thee.

     Thou, lofty, grand, above the world;
       Its lowly servant, I;
     Yet see, within my sunny depths
       Is smiling thy blue sky.

     Thou art so far, and yet how near!
       For though we are apart,
     I make myself a mirror clear,
       And hold thee in my heart."

  [Illustration: FLUELEN, ON LAKE LUCERNE.]

  [Illustration: THE AXENSTRASSE.]

  [Illustration: IN THE ENGADINE.]

Above this lake itself extends for miles the famous Axenstrasse,—a
splendid specimen of engineering skill, cut in the solid rock,
hundreds of feet above the waves. Yet this is no exceptional thing in
Switzerland, and nothing stamps itself more forcibly upon the tourist's
mind within this region of the Alps than man's triumphant victory over
obstacles, in the formation of its roads. Despite their great cost
of construction these prove profitable investments; for the better
the roads, the more people will travel over them. Referring to them,
some one has prettily said, that by such means the Swiss transform the
silver of their mountain peaks into five franc pieces, and change the
golden glow of their sunrises and sunsets into napoleons.

  [Illustration: MOUNTAIN GALLERIES.]

How great the difference between the Switzerland of to-day and that
of fifty years ago! Where formerly the solitary peasant and his mule
picked their precarious way through mud or snow, luxurious landaus
now roll easily along, on thoroughfares of rock, without a stone or
obstruction of any kind to mar their surfaces. Nor is there danger
of disaster. Walled in by massive parapets, an accident is here
impossible; and in these mighty galleries, hewn from the mountain side
itself, the traveler is perfectly secure, although an avalanche may
fall or cyclones rage above him.

  [Illustration: ENGINEERING SKILL.]

The Axenstrasse may be said to form a part of that magnificent route
from Switzerland to Italy, known as the St. Gotthard. It is, in truth,
the king of Alpine roads; resembling a mighty chain which man, the
victor, has imposed upon the vanquished Alps,—one end sunk deep in the
Italian Lakes, the other guarded by the Lion of Lucerne,—and all the
intervening links kept burnished brightly by the hands of trade. True,
within the last few years, the carriage-road across the St. Gotthard
has been comparatively neglected, since the longest tunnel in the
world has to a great extent replaced it. Tranquil enough this tunnel
frequently appears, but I have seen it when great clouds of smoke were
pouring out of its huge throat, as from the crater of a great volcano.
A strong wind blowing from the south was then, no doubt, clearing
this subterranean flue; and I was glad that I had not to breathe
its stifling atmosphere, but, on the contrary, seated in a carriage,
could lose no portion of the glorious scenery, while drinking in great
draughts of the pure mountain air.

  [Illustration: ST. GOTTHARD TUNNEL.]

  [Illustration: VITZNAU ON LAKE LUCERNE.]

Still, whether we travel by the railroad of the St. Gotthard or not, we
must not underrate its usefulness, nor belittle the great engineering
triumphs here displayed. Its length, too, amazes one, for not only
is the principal tunnel nine and a half miles long, but there are
fifty-five others on the line, the total length of which, cut inch by
inch out of the solid granite, is more than twenty-five miles. When
one drives over the mountain by the carriage-road, hour after hour,
bewildered by its cliffs and gorges, it seems impossible that the
engineer's calculations could have been made so perfectly as to enable
labor on the tunnel to be carried on from both ends of it at the same
time. Yet all was planned so well that, on the 28th of February, 1880,
the Italian workmen and the Swiss both met at the designated spot, six
thousand feet below the summit, and there pierced the last thin barrier
that remained between the north and south.

  [Illustration: A PORTION OF THE ST. GOTTHARD.]

  [Illustration: THE ST. GOTTHARD RAILWAY.]

  [Illustration: AMSTEG.]

The number of railroad bridges on the St. Gotthard astonished me. Their
name is legion. Across them long trains make their way among the clouds
like monster centipedes, creeping along the mountain-sides, or over
lofty viaducts.

Here man's triumph over nature is complete. How puny seems at first his
strength when measured with the wind and avalanche! But mind has proved
superior to matter. The ax was made, and at its sturdy stroke the
forest yielded up its tribute for the construction of this pathway. The
caverns of the earth were also forced to surrender the iron treasured
there for ages, and rails were made, along whose glittering lines a
crowded train now glides as smoothly as a boat upon the waves. And yet
these awful cliffs still scowl so savagely on either side, that the
steel rail, which rests upon their shelves of rock, seems often like a
thread of fate, by which a thousand lives are held suspended over the

  [Illustration: THE DEVIL'S BRIDGE.]


The volume of freight transported along this route must be enormous.
But why should tourists (unless compelled by lack of time) consent
to be carried through this scenery like a bale of goods, in darkness
rather than in daylight? The best way still to cross the Alps is to
cross them, not to burrow through them. I should certainly advise the
traveler to drive from Lake Lucerne over the St. Gotthard Pass, and
then to take the train, if he desires to do so, on the Italian side,
as it emerges from the tunnel. Thence, in a few brief hours one can
embark upon Lake Como, or see the sunset gild the statue-laden spires
of Milan's cathedral.

The finest scenery on the carriage-road of the St. Gotthard is in a
wild ravine, through which the river Reuss rushes madly. Spanning the
torrent in a single arch, is what is popularly called "The Devil's
Bridge." Perhaps I should say bridges, for there are surely two of
them, and though only the smaller one is attributed to his Satanic
Majesty, it is probably by the newer, safer, and more orthodox one that
Satan nowadays, like a prudent devil, prefers to cross. The legend of
this celebrated bridge is extraordinary.

  [Illustration: DRIVING OVER THE ALPS.]

Some centuries ago, the mayor of the canton was one day in despair
because the mountain torrent had swept off every bridge he had
constructed here. In his vexation he was rash enough to use the name of
the Devil, as some people will. Hardly had he uttered the word, when
his door-bell rang, and his servant brought him a card, on which he
read the words, "Monsieur Satan."

  [Illustration: PEASANT GIRL.]

  [Illustration: ONE OF THE MANY.]

"Show him in," said the mayor. A gentleman in black made his
appearance, and seated himself in an armchair. The mayor placed his
boots upon the fender; the Devil rested his upon the burning coals.
The subject of the bridge was broached, and the mayor finally offered
the Devil any sum that the canton could raise, if he would build them
a bridge which would last one hundred years. "Bah!" said Satan, "What
need have I of money?" And taking with his fingers a red-hot coal from
the fire, he offered it to his companion. The mayor drew back aghast.
"Don't be afraid," said Satan; and putting the coal in the mayor's
hand, it instantly became a lump of gold. "Take it back," said the
mayor sadly; "we are not talking now of politics!" "You see," said the
Devil, with a smile, "my price must be something else than money. If
I build this bridge, I demand that the first living being that passes
over it shall be mine." "Agreed!" said the mayor. The contract was soon
signed. "Au revoir!" said the Devil. "Au plaisir!" said the mayor; and
Satan went his way.


Early next morning the mayor himself hurried to the spot, eager to
see if Satan had fulfilled his contract. The bridge was completed, and
there sat Satan, swinging his legs over the stream and waiting for his
promised soul. "What," he exclaimed, as he espied the mayor, "do you
unselfishly resign _your_ soul to me?" "Not much," replied the mayor,
proceeding to untie a bag which he had brought. "What's that?" cried
Satan. There was a wild yell, and instantly a big black cat, with a tin
pan tied to its tail, rushed over the bridge as if ten thousand dogs
were after it. "There is your 'first living being,'" cried the mayor.
"Catch him!" Satan was furious, but acknowledged that he had been
outwitted and retired,—contenting himself with making the air of the
ravine quite sulphurous with his remarks about home!

  [Illustration: A SWISS VILLAGE.]

  [Illustration: WHERE AVALANCHES FALL.]

Although the St. Gotthard may be the grandest of all Alpine passes, the
most historic of them is that of Mount St. Bernard. Some years ago, on
the last day of October, I left the village of Martigny, which is the
starting-point for the ascent, and, several hours later, as night came
creeping up the Alps, found myself upon the famous pass, at a place
already higher than our own Mt. Washington, but still two thousand feet
below my destination,—the monastery. Through various causes our party
had been delayed, and now with the approach of night a snow-storm swept
our path with fearful violence. Those who have never seen a genuine
Alpine storm can hardly comprehend its reckless fury. The light snow
was whirled and scattered, like an ocean of spray, over all things. A
thousand needles of ice seemed to pierce our skin. Drifts sprang up
in our path, as if by magic. The winds howled like unchained demons
through the jagged gorges, and a horrible feeling of isolation made our
hearts falter with a sickening sense of helplessness. As mine was an
October experience, I shudder to think of what a genuine winter's storm
must be. For, as it was, we were all speedily numb with cold, blinded
by the whirling snow, and deafened by the roaring wind, which sometimes
drowned our loudest shouts to one another.

Up and still up we rode, our poor mules plunging through the snow,
our fingers mechanically holding the reins, which felt like icicles
within our grasp, our guides rubbing their well-nigh frozen hands, but,
fortunately—most fortunately—never becoming confused as to the way.

  [Illustration: A SWISS OSSUARY.]

At length I saw, or thought I saw, through the blinding snow, one
of a group of buildings. I chanced to be the foremost in our file of
snow-bound travelers, and shouting, "Here it is at last," I hastened
toward the structure. No light was visible. No voice responded to my
call for help. I pounded on the door and called again. No answer came;
but at that moment I felt my arm grasped roughly by my guide. "In
Heaven's name," he said, "do not jest on such a night as this."

"Jest!" I rejoined, with chattering teeth, "I have no wish to jest—I
am freezing. Where is the boasted hospitality of your lazy monks?
Shout! Wake them up!"

"They will not wake," replied the guide. "Why not?" I cried; and
beating the door again, I called at the top of my voice: "Au secours!
Réveillez-vous! Are you all dead in here?"

"Yes," replied the guide.

  [Illustration: A CORRIDOR IN THE HOSPICE.]

It was now my turn to stare at him. "What do you mean?" I faltered.
"What—what does this house contain?" "Corpses," was the reply.

It was clear to me in a moment. I had mistaken the dead-house for the
house of shelter! In fancy I could see the ghastly spectacle within,
where bones of travelers whiten on through centuries in an atmosphere
whose purity defies decay.

But, almost simultaneously with his other words, I heard my guide
exclaim: "If you too would not join their number, _en avant, en avant,
vite, vite_!" Then, seizing the bridle of my mule, he urged me toward
the monastery. A few moments more and we arrived within its sheltering
walls. One of the brothers helped me to dismount, and led me up the
stone steps of the Hospice. And then, how blessed was our reception!
How warm the fire blazing on the ample hearth! How good the hot soup
and wine instantly brought us by the kind friars! How comforting the
thought of our surroundings, as the baffled storm beat against the
frost-covered windows, and seemed to shriek with rage at being cheated
of its victims!

  [Illustration: DOGS OF ST. BERNARD.]

Never, while memory lasts, shall I cease to remember with love and
gratitude those noble-hearted brothers of the St. Bernard.

  [Illustration: BROTHERS OF ST. BERNARD.]

Next morning the storm had cleared away; yet even in pleasant weather
it is difficult to imagine anything more dreary than the situation of
this monastery, locked thus in snow and ice, and sentineled by savage
peaks, eight thousand feet above the sea. Even the pond adjoining it
is gloomy from its contrast to all other lakes. Its waters are too cold
for any kind of fish, and therefore fail to attract hither any kind of
bird. Animal life has fallen off in making the ascent. Man and the dog
alone have reached the summit.

  [Illustration: OLD CITY GATE, BASLE.]

It was with admiration that I looked upon the self-sacrificing heroes
who reside here. What praise can be too high for these devoted men,
who say farewell to parents and to friends, and leave the smiling
vales of Switzerland and Italy to live upon this glacial height? Few
of them can endure the hardship and exposure of the situation longer
than eight years, and then, with broken health, they return (perhaps
to die) to the milder climate of the valleys. During the long winter
which binds them here with icy chains for nine months of the year, they
give themselves to the noble work of rescuing, often amid terrible
exposure, those who are then obliged to cross the pass. In this they
are aided by their famous dogs, which, like themselves, shrink from no
danger, and in their courage and intelligence rival the masters they so
bravely serve. The travelers whom they receive in winter are not the
rich, whose heavy purses might recompense them for their toil. They
are mostly humble peasants, unable to give more compensation than the
outpouring of a grateful heart. But there will come a day when these
brave men will have their full reward; when He, who with unerring
wisdom weighs all motives and all deeds, will say to them: "Inasmuch
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have
done it unto Me."



One of the most attractive of all the pleasure resorts in Switzerland
is the lovely Vale of Chamonix. The first view one obtains of it, in
coming over the mountains from Martigny, is superb. Three monstrous
glaciers, creeping out from their icy lairs, lie beneath ice-fringed
buttresses of snow, like glittering serpents watching for a favorable
chance to seize and swallow their prey. Looking across the valley
at them, it is true, they seem quite harmless; but in reality, such
glaciers are the mighty wedges which have for ages carved these
mountains into shape, and are still keeping them apart in solitary
grandeur. What from a distance seems a little bank of snow is probably
a wall of ice, one hundred feet in height. What look like wrinkles are
crevasses of an unknown depth; and the seeming puff of smoke which one
at times discerns upon them, is really a tremendous avalanche of snow
and ice. Of the three glaciers which descend into the Vale of Chamonix,
the one most frequently visited by tourists is the Mer de Glace. It is
well called the "Sea of Ice," for its irregular surface looks precisely
like a mass of tossing waves which have been crystallized when in
their wildest agitation. To right and left, the ice is partially
concealed by rocks and earth, which have been ground off from the
adjacent mountain-sides, or which have fallen there, as the result of
avalanches. Sometimes huge boulders are discernible, tossed here and
there like nut-shells, the rocky _débris_ of ages.


  [Illustration: ZÜRICH, WITH DISTANT ALPS.]

What is there more suggestive of mysterious power than a frozen
cataract like this? Apparently as cold and motionless as death, it
nevertheless is moving downward with a slow, resistless march, whose
progress can be accurately traced from day to day; so accurately,
indeed, that objects lost to-day in one of these crevasses may be
confidently looked for at the glacier's terminus after a certain number
of years. Forever nourished on the heights, forever wasting in the
valleys, these glaciers are the moving mysteries of the upper world;
vast, irresistible, congealed processions,—the frozen reservoirs of
rivers that glide at last from their reluctant arms in a mad haste to
reach the sea.

  [Illustration: FROZEN CATARACTS.]

     "Perennial snow, perennial stream,
     Perennial motion, all things seem;
     Nor time, nor space will ever show
     The world that was an hour ago."

When we examine any portion of a glacier's surface, we find abundant
evidence of its motion. It has been forced into a million strange,
distorted shapes, many of which are larger than the grandest cathedrals
man has ever framed. Between them are vast chasms of unknown depth. As
it descends thus, inch by inch, obedient to the pressure from above, it
flings its frigid waves to the right and left, close to the orchards
and the homes of man. It is the ghastly synonym of death in life; for
here a man may swing the scythe or gather flowers, while a hundred
yards away his brother may be perishing in a crevasse!

  [Illustration: CROSSING A GLACIER.]

  [Illustration: A PERILOUS SEAT.]

To really understand a glacier one must venture out upon its icy flood.
One day while on the Mer de Glace, I was (as usual in such expeditions)
preceded and followed by a guide, to both of whom I was attached by a
stout rope. On that occasion one thing impressed me greatly. It was a
strange sound, called by the guides "brullen," or growling, which is
in reality the mysterious moaning of the glacier, caused by the rending
asunder of huge blocks of ice in its slow, grinding descent.


At times it seemed to me impossible to proceed, but the experienced
guide who led the way laughed at my fears; and finally, to increase
my confidence, actually entered one of the appalling caverns of the
glacier, which like the jaws of some huge polar bear, seemed capable
of closing with dire consequences. For a few minutes he remained
seated beneath a mass of overhanging ice, apparently as calm as I was
apprehensive for his safety. No accident occurred, and yet my fears
were not unfounded. For though there is a fascination in thus venturing
beneath the frozen billows of a glacier, there may be treachery in
its siren loveliness. Huge blocks of ice frequently fall without the
slightest warning, and many a reckless tourist has thus been killed, or
perhaps maimed for life.

  [Illustration: CHAMONIX AND MONT BLANC.]


On entering the little town of Chamonix, the tourist sees in front
of one of the hotels a group in bronze that rivets his attention and
awakens thought. It represents the famous guide, Balmat, who first
ascended Mont Blanc in 1786, enthusiastically pointing out the path of
victory to the Swiss scientist, De Saussure, who had for years been
offering a reward to any one who should discover a way to reach the
summit. The face of the brave conqueror of Mont Blanc and that of the
distinguished scholar are both turned toward the monarch of the Alps.
Instinctively the traveler also looks in that direction.

It is a memorable moment when one gazes for the first time upon
Mont Blanc. We understand at once the reason for its being called
preëminently the "White Mountain." The title was bestowed upon it
because of the magnificent snow-white mantle which it wears, at a
height of almost sixteen thousand feet. Probably no other mountain in
the world has so towered up on the horizon of our imaginations. Long
before we have actually seen it, we have repeated Byron's words:

     "Mount Blanc is the monarch of mountains;
       They crowned him long ago,
     On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
       With a diadem of snow."

At once a strong desire seizes us to explore those boundless fields of
crystal clearness, and yet we shrink from all the toil and danger thus
involved. But, suddenly, as our gaze returns to earth, we find a means
of making the ascent without fatigue—the telescope!

  [Illustration: A MOUNTAIN MAUSOLEUM.]

The placard suspended from it tells us that some tourists are actually
struggling toward the summit. The chances are that they will return
in safety; for the ascent of Mont Blanc, which Balmat made with so
much difficulty, has now been reduced to a system. Yet after all, this
Alpine climbing is a dangerous business. It is pathetic, for example,
to recall the fate of poor Balmat himself. Despite his long experience,
even _he_ lost his life at last by falling over a precipice. Only his
statue is in Chamonix; his body lies in an immense abyss, four hundred
feet in depth, where falling masses of rock and ice are constantly
increasing his vast mausoleum, and the continual thunder of the
avalanche seems like the mountain's exultation at its conqueror's

  [Illustration: CLIMBERS IN SIGHT.]

Availing ourselves of the telescope, we watch with ease and comfort
the actual climbers on Mont Blanc. By this time they have bound
themselves together with a rope, which in positions of peril is the
first requisite of safety. For one must always think of safety on these
mountains. With all their beauty and grandeur, they have sufficient
capability for cruelty to make the blood run cold. They have no
mercy in them; no sympathy for the warm hearts beating so near their
surfaces. They submit passively to conquest, so long as man preserves
a cool head and sure footing. But let him make one false step; let his
brain swim, his heart fail, his hand falter, and they will hurl him
from their icy slopes, or tear him to pieces on their jagged tusks,
while in the roar of the avalanche is heard their demoniac laughter.

But following the tourists still farther up the mountain, we look
with dismay at one of the icy crests along which they must presently
advance. Not a charming place for a promenade, truly! Here it would
seem that one should use an alpen-stock rather as a balancing-pole than
as a staff. It is enough to make even a Blondin falter and retire.
For, coated with a glare of ice, and bordered on either side by an
abyss, the slightest misstep would inevitably send one shooting down
this glittering slope to certain death in one of the vast folds of Mont
Blanc's royal mantle.

  [Illustration: ALPINE PERILS.]

  [Illustration: THE WEISSBACH.]

Lifting now the telescope a little higher, we note another difficulty
which mountain-climbers frequently encounter. For here they have come
face to face with a perpendicular wall of ice which they must climb, or
else acknowledge a defeat. The bravest, therefore, or the strongest,
cuts with his ax a sort of stairway in this crystal barrier, and,
making his way upward by this perilous route, lowers a rope and is
rejoined by his companions. Imagine doing this in the teeth of such
wind and cold as must often be met with on these crests! Think of it,
when a gale is tearing off the upper snow, and driving it straight into
the face in freezing spray like a shower of needles; when the gloves
are coated with ice, and alpen-stocks slide through them, slippery
as eels; and when the ice-bound rocks tear off the skin from the
half-frozen fingers of the man who clings to them for life!

  [Illustration: AN ICE WALL.]

I know it is customary now to laugh at any dangers on Mont Blanc; and
yet a terrible disaster took place there no longer ago than 1870.

In the month of September of that year, a party of eleven (including
two Americans) started to climb the mountain. Near the summit a
frightful tempest burst upon them. The guides no longer recognized the
way, and, unable to return or find shelter, the entire party perished.
The bodies of five were recovered. In the pocket of one of them (an
American from Baltimore) were found these words, written to his wife:
"7th of September, evening. We have been for two days on Mont Blanc in
a terrific hurricane. We have lost our way, and are now at an altitude
of fifteen thousand feet. I have no longer any hope. We have nothing
to eat. My feet are already frozen, and I have strength enough only
to write these words. Perhaps they will be found and given to you.
Farewell; I trust that we shall meet in heaven!"



But such a mountain as Mont Blanc can rarely be ascended in a single
day. Two days are generally given to the task. On the evening of
the first day its would-be conquerors reach, at a height of ten
thousand feet, a desolate region called the Grands Mulets. Here on
some savage-looking rocks are two small cabins. One is intended for a
kitchen, the other for a sleeping-room; that is, if one can sleep in
such a place; for what an excitement there must be in passing a night
at this great altitude! The distant stars gleam in the frosty air
with an unwonted brilliancy and splendor. The wind surges against the
cliffs with the full, deep boom of the sea; while the silence in the
unmeasurable space above is awe-inspiring.

  [Illustration: A SEA OF CLOUDS.]

  [Illustration: CAVERNOUS JAWS.]

But, on the morrow, the glorious view repays one for a night of
sleeplessness. At first one looks apparently upon a shoreless ocean,
whose rolling billows seem now white, now opalescent, in the light of
dawn. Then, one by one, the various mountain peaks appear like islands
rising from the sea. At last, these waves of vapor sink slowly downward
through the valleys, and disappear in full retreat before the god of
day. But till they vanish, the traveler could suppose that he had here
survived the deluge of the world, and was watching its huge shrouded
corpse at his feet.


Between the Grands Mulets and the summit, Mont Blanc makes three
tremendous steps, from eight hundred to one thousand feet in height,
and between these are several frightful chasms, so perilous that on
beholding them we catch our breath. There is something peculiarly
horrible in these crevasses, yawning gloomily, day and night, as if
with a never-satisfied hunger. A thousand—nay ten thousand—men in
their cavernous jaws would not constitute a mouthful. They are even
more to be dreaded than the avalanche; for the path of the avalanche
is usually known; but these crevasses frequently hide their black
abysses under deceitful coverlets of snow, luring unwary travelers
to destruction. Nevertheless the avalanche is in certain places an
ever-present danger. Mountains of snow stand toppling on the edge of
some stupendous cliff, apparently waiting merely for the provocation of
a human voice, intruding on their solitude, to start upon their awful
plunge. The world well knows the fate of those who have been caught in
such a torrent of destruction.

  [Illustration: A BRIDGE OF ICE.]

     "No breath for words! no time for thought! no play
     For eager muscle! guides, companions, all
     O'ermastered in the unconquerable drift,
     In Nature's grasp held powerless, atoms
     Of her insensate frame, they fared as leaves
     In the dark rapid of November gales,
     Or sands sucked whirling into fell simooms;
     One gasp for breath, one strangled, bitter cry,
     And the cold, wild snow closed smothering in,
     And cast their forms about with icy shrouds,
     And crushed the life out, and entombed them there,—
     Nobler than kings Egyptian in their pyramids,
     Embalmèd in the mountain mausoleum,
     And part of all its grand unconsciousness
             Its still dream resumed the Mount;
     The sun his brightness kept; for unto them
     The living men are naught, and naught the dead,
     No more than snows that slide or stones that roll."


Finally, these and all other dangers being past, the wearied but
exultant climbers reach the summit of Mont Blanc,—that strangely
silent, white, majestic dome, so pure and spotless in its lofty
elevation beneath the stars. To watch this scene from the Vale of
Chamonix, when the great sovereign of our solar system sinks from
sight, leaving upon Mont Blanc his crown of gold, is an experience that
will leave one only with one's life. The concentrated refulgence on
that solitary dome is so intense that one is tempted to believe that
the glory of a million sunsets, fading from all other summits of the
Alps, has been caught and imprisoned here. We know that sun will rise
again; but who, in such a place, can contemplate unmoved the death of

     "The night has a thousand eyes,
       And the day but one;
     Yet the light of the bright world dies,
       With the dying sun!

     The mind has a thousand eyes,
       And the heart but one;
     Yet the light of a whole life dies,
       When love is done."

  [Illustration: MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS.]


  [Illustration: MOUNTAIN MULES.]

One singular experience of Alpine travel is indelibly impressed upon my
memory. It occurred on my passage of the Gemmi into the valley of the
Rhone. The Gemmi Pass is no magnificent highway like the St. Gotthard,
macadamized and smooth and carefully walled in by parapets of stone.
It is for miles a rough and dangerous bridle-path, the edge of which
is sometimes decorated with a flimsy rail, but often has not even that
apology for safety. One can thus readily believe that, like the Jordan,
the Gemmi is emphatically "a hard road to travel." At all events I
found it so, especially as I crossed it early in the season, before the
winter's ravages had been repaired. Since I was at the time suffering
from a temporary lameness, I could walk but little. With this road
dates my first acquaintance with a mule,—an intimacy that will never
be forgotten! All day long that memorable beast would never for one
instant change his gait, nor was the monotony of his dreadful walk once
broken by a trot. My only consolation was in the thought that if the
beast did change it, my neck, as well as the monotony, would probably
be broken. Thus, hour after hour, I kept moving on and up, my knees
forced wide apart by this great, lumbering wedge, until I felt like a
colossal wish-bone, and as though I should be bow-legged for the rest
of my life.

  [Illustration: A FRAIL PARAPET.]

Nor was this all; for, as the day wore on, the mule took special pains
to make my blood run cold by a variety of acrobatic feats, which might
have made a chamois faint with vertigo. For example, wherever a rail
was lacking in the crazy fence, he would deliberately fill the space
with his own body and mine, walking so dangerously near the brink, that
half my form would be suspended over the abyss! Of course, the moment
it was passed, I laughed or scolded, as most travelers do; yet, after
all, in such cases we never know how great the peril may have been. A
little stone, a clod of earth, a movement in the nick of time—these
are sometimes the only things which lie between one and the great
Unknown, and hinder one from prematurely solving the mysterious problem
of existence.

  [Illustration: UP AMONG THE CLOUDS.]

  [Illustration: ON THE GEMMI.]

Nevertheless, on the fearful precipices for which the Gemmi is noted,
one may be pardoned for being a trifle nervous. At certain points the
bridle-path so skirts the chasm that one false step would land the
fragments of your body on the rocks a thousand feet below; while, on
the other side, the mountain towers up abrupt and bare, with scarce
a shrub or tree to cling to or console the dizzy traveler. My flesh
creeps now to think of some of these places; and in the same space of
time I think I never repented of so many sins, as during that passage
of the Gemmi. At length, however, the climax seemed reached; for at the
brink of one abyss the path appeared to end. I cautiously advanced to
the edge and looked over. It was a fearful sight, for here the mountain
falls away to a sheer depth of sixteen hundred feet, and the plumb-line
might drop to that full length without encountering any obstacle.

  [Illustration: LEUK.]

When Alexander Dumas came to this place, and (unprepared for what he
was to see) looked down from the brink of the stupendous precipice,
he fell back unconscious; and afterward, while making the descent,
his teeth so chattered with nervousness, that he placed his folded
handkerchief between them. Yet when, on reaching the valley, he removed
it, he found it had been cut through and through as with a razor. I
cannot, certainly, lay claim to nervousness like that; but I could
sympathize with one of our fellow-countrymen, against whose name on the
hotel register I next day saw these words: "Thank God, we don't raise
such hills as these in the State of New York!"

At the other side of the Gemmi, and almost at the base of these
gigantic cliffs, there lies a little village. When I stood on the
precipice above it, I thought that a pebble hurled thence from my hand
would fall directly on its roofs; but in reality their distance from
the cliffs was greater than it seemed. This village is the celebrated
Leuk, whose baths have now acquired a world-wide reputation. Leuk has,
however, this misfortune: so many strangers come here now to bathe,
that many of the inhabitants themselves think that they can dispense
with the luxury.

  [Illustration: PARBOILED PATIENTS.]

  [Illustration: A LOW BRIDGE.]

I never shall forget the baths of Leuk. Shades of the Mermaids! what
a sight they presented. In a somewhat shabby hall, containing great
compartments of hot water, I saw a multitude of heads—long-haired
and short-haired, light and dark, male and female—bobbing about like
buoys adorned with sea-weed. A fine chance this to study physiognomy,
pure and simple. In front of these amphibious creatures were floating
tables, upon which they could eat, drink, knit, read, and even play
cards to pass away the time. As these waters are chiefly used for skin
diseases, one might suppose that each bather would prefer a separate
room; but no, in this case "misery loves company." The length of
time which one must remain soaking in these tanks of hot water makes
solitary bathing unendurable.

I asked one of these heads how long it had to float here daily. The
mouth opened just above the water's edge and answered: "Eight hours,
Monsieur; four before luncheon, and four before dinner; and, as after
each bath we have to spend an hour in bed, ten hours a day are thus

It may seem incredible, but I assure the reader that some of these
parboiled bathers actually sleep while in these tanks. I, myself, saw
a head drooped backward as though severed from the body. Its eyes were
closed; its mouth was slightly open; and from the nose a mournful sound
came forth at intervals, which told me that the man was snoring. Before
him, half-supported by the little table, half-bedraggled in the flood,
was a newspaper. Bending over the rail, I read the title. Poor man!
I no longer wondered that he slept. Those who have read the ponderous
sheet will understand its soporific effect. It was a copy of the London

  [Illustration: A WAITRESS AT LEUK.]


After the baths of Leuk and the stupendous precipices of the Gemmi,
it is a pleasure to approach a less imposing but more beautiful
part of Switzerland,—Geneva and its lake. The bright, cream-colored
buildings of the one present a beautiful contrast to the other's deep
blue waves. Next to Stockholm and Naples, Geneva has, I think, the
loveliest situation of any city in Europe. Curved, crescent-like,
around the southwest corner of the lake, the river Rhone with arrowy
swiftness cleaves it into two parts, thus furnishing the site for all
the handsome quays and bridges which unite the various sections of the

  [Illustration: THE RHONE AT GENEVA.]


What a surprising change has taken place in the appearance of the
river Rhone since it first poured its waters into Lake Geneva at its
other extremity, forty-five miles away! There it is muddy, dark, and
travel-stained from its long journey down the valley. But here it has
become once more as pure as when it left its cradle in the glaciers.
Its sojourn in the lake has given it both beauty and increased
vitality; and as it starts again upon its course and darts out from
Geneva with renewed strength and speed, its waters are superbly blue
and clear as crystal.

  [Illustration: ROUSSEAU'S ISLAND.]

As it emerges from the lake, a sharp-pointed island confronts the rapid
stream, as if awaiting its advance. Its station here before the city
resembles that of some fair maid of honor who precedes a queen. It is
called Rousseau's Island, in honor of the famous man whose birth the
city claims. Geneva certainly should be grateful to him, for it was
he who first made this fair lake renowned in literature, and called
to it the attention of the world. In fact, he did almost as much to
render famous this enchanting spot, as Scott did for the region of the
Trosachs. Appropriately, therefore, a fine bronze statue of Rousseau
has been erected on the island, the figure looking up the lake, like
the presiding genius of the place.

  [Illustration: GENEVA—RUE DE MONT BLANC.]

One can with both pleasure and profit spend a fortnight in Geneva. Its
well-kept and luxurious hotels all front upon the quays, and from your
windows there (as from the Grand Hotel in Stockholm) you look upon
an ever-varying panorama—a charming combination of metropolitan and
aquatic life. Boats come and go at frequent intervals, accompanied by
the sound of music. The long perspectives of the different bridges,
full of animated life, afford perpetual entertainment; while, in
dull weather, the attractive shops, in some respects unrivaled in the
whole of Europe, tempt you, beyond your power to resist, to purchase
music-boxes or enameled jewelry. After all, one's greatest pleasure
here is to embark upon the lake itself. This famous body of water forms
a beautiful blue crescent, forty-five miles in length and eight in
breadth. Tyndall declared that it had the purest natural water ever
analyzed; Voltaire called it the "First of Lakes;" Alexander Dumas
compared it to the Bay of Naples; while Victor Hugo, Lamartine, and
Byron have given it boundless praise in their glowing verse. It has
been estimated that should the lake henceforth receive no further
increase, while having still the river Rhone for its outlet, it
would require ten years to exhaust its volume. It might be likened,
therefore, to a little inland sea. In fact, a pretty legend says
that the ocean-deity, Neptune, came one day to see Lake Leman, and,
enraptured with its fresh young beauty, gave to it, on departing,
his likeness in miniature. Moreover, it has another charm—that of
historical association. Its shores have been the residence of men of
genius. Both history and poetry have adorned its banks with fadeless
wreaths of love and fame. Each hill that rises softly from its waves is
crowned with some distinguished memory. Byron has often floated on its
surface; and here he wrote some portions of "Childe Harold," which will
be treasured to the end of time.

  [Illustration: DOGS AT WORK—GENEVA.]

  [Illustration: LAKE GENEVA.]

  [Illustration: CASTLE OF CHILLON.]

  [Illustration: LAUSANNE, ON LAKE GENEVA.]

The poet Shelley narrowly escaped drowning in its waters. At one
point Madame de Staël lived in exile; another saw Voltaire for years
maintaining here his intellectual court; while at Lausanne, upon
the memorable night which he has well described, Gibbon concluded
his immortal work, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." But
of all portions of Lake Leman, that which charms one most is the
neighborhood of Montreux and Vevey, and the historic Castle of Chillon.
A poet's inspiration has made this place familiar to the world. No
English-speaking traveler, at least, can look upon these towers, rising
from the waves, without recalling Byron's "Prisoner of Chillon," and
reciting its well-known lines:

       "Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls:
     A thousand feet in depth below
     Its massy waters meet and flow;
     Thus much the fathom-line was sent
     From Chillon's snow-white battlement."

  [Illustration: WHILE THE STEAMER WAITS.]


This time-worn structure boasts a thousand years of story and romance.
In fact, more than a thousand years ago, Louis le Débonnaire imprisoned
here a traitor to his king. Here, also, five centuries ago, hundreds of
Jews were tortured, and then buried alive, on the infamous suspicion of
poisoning the wells of Europe. But of all the memories which cluster
round its walls the most familiar is that of Bonnivard, the Swiss
patriot, who languished for six years in its dark dungeon, till he was
released by the efforts of his enthusiastic countrymen. During those
gloomy years of captivity his jailers heard from him no cry and no
complaint, save when some tempest swept the lake. Then, when the wind
moaned, as if in sympathy, around the towers, and waves dashed high
against the walls, they could distinguish sobs and cries, proving that,
when apparently alone with God, the captive sought to give his burdened
soul relief.

  [Illustration: ON THE SHORE.]

     "Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
       And thy sad floor an altar—for 't was trod
     Until his very steps have left a trace
       Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
     By Bonnivard!—May none those marks efface!
       For they appeal from tyranny to God."

When finally his liberators burst into his cell, they found him pale
and shadow-like, still chained to the column around which he had walked
so many years. A hundred voices cried to him at once: "Bonnivard, you
are free!" The prisoner slowly rose, and his first question was: "And
Geneva?" "Free, also!" was the answer.

One night, some eighty years ago, a little boat came toward this
castle, leaving behind it in its course a furrow silvered by the moon.
As it reached the shore, there sprang from it a man enveloped in a
long black cloak, which almost hid his feet from view. A close observer
would have seen, however, that he limped slightly. He asked to see the
historic dungeon, and lingered there an hour alone. When he had gone,
they found on the stone column to which Bonnivard had been chained a
new name carved. The traveler sees it there to-day. It is the name of

  [Illustration: CASTLE OF CHILLON.]

  [Illustration: THE DUNGEON OF CHILLON.]


  [Illustration: HISTORIC WATERS.]

  [Illustration: ZERMATT.]

There is in Switzerland a village superior even to Chamonix in grandeur
of location, dominated by a mountain more imposing even than Mont
Blanc. The town is Zermatt; the mountain is the Matterhorn. As we
approach it, we discern only a tiny part of its environment; but could
we soar aloft with the eagle, and take a bird's-eye view of it, the
little village would appear to have been caught in a colossal trap of
rock and ice. There is, in fact, no path to it, save over dangerous
passes, or through a narrow cleft in the encircling mountains, down
which a river rushes with impetuous fury; while, watching over it,
like some divinely-stationed sentinel, rises the awful Matterhorn, the
most unique and imposing mountain of the Alps. No view can possibly do
it justice; yet, anticipate what you will, it is here impossible to
be disappointed. Though every other object of the world should fail,
the Matterhorn must stir the heart of the most unimpressive traveler.
Not only does its icy wedge pierce the blue air at a height of fifteen
thousand feet above the sea, but its gaunt, tusk-like form emerges from
the surrounding glaciers with almost perpendicular sides, four thousand
feet in height. It is a manifestation of the power of the Deity, beside
which all the works of man dwindle to insignificance. I never grew
accustomed to this, as to other mountains. No matter when I gazed upon
its sharp-cut edges and its ice-bound rocks, I felt, as when I first
beheld it, completely overpowered by its magnitude. The history of this
colossal pyramid is as tragic as its grim form is awe-inspiring. The
mountain is known as the "Fiend of the Alps." Year after year it had
been luring to itself, with fearful fascination, scores of brave men
who longed to scale its appalling cliffs. Over its icy pedestal,—up
its precipitous sides,—yes, even to its naked shoulders, baffled and
wistful mountaineers struggled in vain. Upon its perpendicular rocks
several men had all but perished; but the warnings were unheeded. At
length, after persistent efforts for eleven years, the famous English
mountain-climber, Whymper, gained the summit. But in return for the
humiliation of this conquest the Matterhorn exacted speedy vengeance.



  [Illustration: THE FIEND OF THE ALPS.]


As the successful party, consisting of four Englishmen and three
guides, elated by their victory, were just beginning their descent, one
of them slipped, knocking a guide completely off his feet and dragging
his companions after him, since all were bound together by a rope. Four
of them hung an instant there, head downward, between earth and heaven.
The other three clung desperately to the icy crags, and would have
rescued them, had not the rope between them broken. There was a fearful
cry—a rush of falling bodies. Then Whymper and two guides found
themselves clinging to the rocks, and looking into each other's haggard
faces, pale as death. The others had fallen over the precipice—nearly
four thousand feet—to the ice below!

  [Illustration: BERNE.]

     "One moment stood they, as the angels stand,
       High in the stainless eminence of air;
     The next, they were not;—to their Fatherland
             Translated unaware!"

  [Illustration: THE MATTERHORN.]

On my last evening at Zermatt, I lingered in the deepening twilight to
say farewell to this unrivaled peak. At first its clear-cut silhouette
stood forth against the sky, unutterably grand, while darkness shrouded
its giant form. So overwhelming appeared its tapering height, that I no
longer wondered at the belief of the peasants that the gate of Paradise
was situated on its summit; because it seemed but a step thence to

  [Illustration: THE BERNESE OBERLAND.]

At last there came a change, for which I had been waiting with
impatience. In the blue vault of heaven the full-orbed moon came
forth to sheathe the Matterhorn in silver. In that refulgent light its
icy edges looked like crystal ropes; and its sharp, glistening rocks
resembled silver steps leading to the stupendous pinnacle above. Never,
this side the shore of Eternity, do I expect to see a vision so sublime
as that of moonlight on the Matterhorn. For from the gleaming parapets
of this Alpine pyramid, not "forty centuries," but forty thousand
ages look down on us as frivolous pygmies of a day. Yes, as I gazed on
this illumined obelisk, rising from out its glittering sea of ice, to
where—four thousand feet above—the moving stars flashed round its
summit like resplendent gems, it seemed a fitting emblem of creative
majesty—the scepter of Almighty God.

  [Illustration: A SWISS HERO.]



A nation's influence is not dependent on its size. Its glory is not
measured by square miles. Greece is the smallest of all European
countries, being not larger than the State of Massachusetts. Yet, in
the light of what a few Athenians accomplished in the days of Phidias,
China's four hundred millions seem like shadows cast by moving clouds.
China compared to Athens! The enlightened world could better lose
the entire continent of Asia from its history than that little area.
Better fifty years of Athens than a cycle of Cathay. In the historic
catalogue of earth's great cities Athens stands alone. The debt which
civilization owes her is incalculable. For centuries Athens was the
school of Rome, and through Rome's conquests she became the teacher
of the world. If most of her art treasures had not been torn from
her, first to embellish Rome, and subsequently to enrich the various
museums of the world, Athens would now be visited by thousands instead
of hundreds. But even in her desolation Athens repays a pilgrimage.
Were absolutely nothing of her glory left, it would still remain a
privilege merely to stand amid the scenes where human intellect reached
a height which our material progress has not equaled. They err who say
that Greece is dead. She cannot die. The Language of Demosthenes is
still extant. Not only are its accents heard within the shadow of the
Parthenon; it is so interwoven with our own, that we unconsciously make
use of its old words, as one walks on a pavement of mosaic, unmindful
whence its pieces came. The Greek Religion lives in every statue of
the gods, in every classical allusion, in every myth which poets weave
into the garland of their song. What could a sculptor do without the
gods and heroes of old Greek mythology? Hellenic Architecture lives
in every reproduction of Doric column or Corinthian capital. The Art
of the Acropolis remains the standard for all time. The History of
Greece still gives to us as models of heroic patriotism, Thermopylæ and
Marathon. Even her ideas live,—the thoughts of Phidias in marble; of
Plato in philosophy; of Socrates in morals; of Euripides and Sophocles
in tragedy.

  [Illustration: ATHENE.]

  [Illustration: OLD AND NEW.]


What, then, if it be true that Greece has greatly changed in twenty
centuries? The influence of ancient Greece comes down the ages to us
like the light from a fixed star. The star itself may have gone out
in darkness years ago; but waves of brilliancy which left it previous
to its destruction are traveling toward us still, and fall in silvery
pulsations on our earth to-day. The best way to approach the shores
of Greece is over the classic Mediterranean and Ægean seas. Around
these oceans gather more thrilling and inspiring associations than
cluster about any others on the globe. Upon no equal area of the
earth's surface have so many mighty events happened or deeds been
enacted as around these inland seas. Every keel that now cleaves their
waters traverses the scene of some maritime struggle or adventure of
ancient times, or glides by shores forever hallowed to the scholar and
historian by the memories of the genius and grandeur that have passed
away. To sail on Grecian waters is to float through history. The seas
of other countries gleam with phosphorescence; hers sparkle with the
scintillations of a deathless fame. The very islands they caress have
been the cradles of fable, poesy and history. From each has sprung a
temple, a statue, a poem, or at least a myth, which still exists to
furnish joy and inspiration to the world.


It is with the liveliest anticipations of pleasure that one who is
inspired by these memories, arrives at the port of Athens, which
still retains its ancient title,—The Piræus. Its appearance is not
especially attractive, and yet I gazed upon it with profound emotion.
Still are its waves as blue as when Athenian vessels rode at anchor
here, or swept hence to the island of Salamis to aid in the destruction
of the Persian fleet and cause the mad flight of the terror-stricken
Xerxes. Around them History and Poetry have woven an immortal charm,
for in their limpid depths have been reflected the forms of almost
every famous Greek and Roman of antiquity.

But the Piræus, after all, is merely a doorway to glories beyond. Hence
one quickly leaves the steamer here, and hastens to the capital itself,
six miles away. A train of street-cars, drawn by a steam-engine, was
one of the first objects that confronted us in the streets of Athens,
but even this reminder of the nineteenth century could not dispel the
fascination of antiquity. It all swept back upon me. The locomotive
and the tram-cars faded from my view, and in their place I saw again my
school-room, with its rows of well-worn desks. Once more was felt the
summer breeze, as it stole through the open window, and lured me from
my lexicon to the fair fields. Xenophon's graphic prose and Homer's
matchless verse at last seemed real to me; for over the shop-doors were
the Greek characters that I had learned in boyhood, and on the corners
of the streets were words once uttered by the lips of Socrates.

  [Illustration: THE DISTANT CITADEL.]

Even before the tourist reaches the outskirts of the city of Minerva,
he plainly sees rising in bold relief against the sky, what was in
ancient times the gem of Athens, the casket of the rarest architectural
jewels in the world,—the temple-crowned Acropolis. It is a memorable
moment when one first beholds it. No other citadel in the world has
embraced so much beauty and splendor within its walls. Not one has
witnessed such startling changes in the fortunes of its possessors. Its
history reaches back over a period of two thousand four hundred years.
Wave after wave of war and conquest have beaten against it. It has
been plundered by the Persian, the Spartan, the Macedonian, the Roman,
the Venetian and the Turk. Yet there is now a modern city at its base,
astonishingly new and fresh, compared with its historic background. The
buildings of to-day and those of two thousand years ago seem gazing
at each other with surprise. Yet there is no hostility between them.
Despite her tattered robes of royalty, Old Athens sits enthroned as
the acknowledged sovereign. New Athens kneels in reverence before
her. For the modern Greeks still cling with pride to the memories of
Pericles and Phidias, and sigh when they think of the glory that once
was theirs.


A walk around the Acropolis reveals the fact that it is a natural mass
of rock, built up in places by substantial masonry. On three sides it
is practically perpendicular. Two thousand years ago its summit rose
toward heaven, like a magnificent altar consecrated to the gods. There,
elevated in the sight of all, and overlooking the adoring city on the
one side and the blue Ægean on the other, stood those incomparable
specimens of architectural beauty, grace and majesty, which have made
Athens immortal. Even now, although its temples are in ruins, the few
remaining columns of the Parthenon stand out in delicate relief against
the sky, like strings of an abandoned harp, which even the most skilful
hand can never wake again to melody.

  [Illustration: THE PROPYLÆA.]

In making the ascent of this historic eminence by the only avenue of
approach, the traveler soon finds himself before the ruined entrance to
the Acropolis,—the Propylæa. This was originally a majestic gateway of
Pentelic marble, crowning a marble staircase seventy feet in breadth,
which led up from the city to the brow of the Acropolis. Its cost
was two and a half millions of dollars. It was considered, in its
prime, equal, if not superior, to the Parthenon. Nor is this strange,
for this portal was a veritable gallery of art. Along its steps were
arranged those chiseled forms that almost lived and breathed in their
transcendent beauty,—the masterpieces of Praxiteles and Phidias, the
mutilated fragments of which we now cherish as our most perfect models
of the beautiful.


Yet there was nothing effeminate in this magnificence. Solidity and
splendor here went hand in hand. When the Propylæa was finished, under
Pericles, more than four centuries were still to pass before the birth
of Christ; yet so much strength was here combined with beauty, that, if
no human hands had striven to deface it, its splendid shafts would, no
doubt, still be perfect. The columns that remain appear to stand like
sentinels, guarding their illustrious past. It thrills one to reflect
that these identical pillars have cast their shadows on the forms of
Phidias, Pericles, Demosthenes, and indeed every Greek whose name has
been preserved in history.


When I passed on beyond the Propylæa, and gained a broader view of the
Acropolis, I looked around me with astonishment. The whole plateau is
literally covered with headless statues, fallen columns and disjointed
capitals. Some of them bear unfinished sentences, as though these
blocks would speak, if they were properly restored. Their power of
speech, however, has been forever paralyzed by the destructive blows
they have received. This rugged rock is nevertheless an illustrated
volume of Greek history bound in stone. Its letters are disfigured,
its binding is defaced, but the old volume is still legible; and it
assures us that this tiny platform, scarcely one thousand feet in
length and four hundred in breadth, is richer in some respects than any
other portion of the globe, for in the golden crucible of memory, Art,
History and Poetry transmute each particle of its sacred dust into a
precious stone.

  [Illustration: THE ACROPOLIS.]

It is, however, to the highest point of the plateau that the tourist's
gaze turns with keenest interest, for there stood what was formerly
the crown of the Acropolis, the architectural glory of the world,—The

  [Illustration: A PORTION OF THE FRIEZE.]

No photographic view can do it justice. Pictures invariably represent
its marble columns as dark and dingy, like the sooty architecture of
London. But such is not the case. The discolorations are so slight as
hardly to be blemishes. The general appearance of the edifice is one
of snowy whiteness, softly defined against the clear, blue sky, and I
have seen its columns in the glow of sunset gleam like shafts of gold.
But on approaching it more closely, one sees that nothing can conceal
the ravages of time and man. Yet, only two hundred years ago it stood
comparatively unchanged in its unrivaled beauty. The Turks were then
the masters of this classic land. They showed their appreciation of
the Parthenon by using it as a powder-magazine! In 1687 an army of
Venetians recklessly bombarded Athens, and one of their shells exploded
in this shrine. Instantly, with a wild roar, as though Nature herself
shrieked at the sacrilege, the Parthenon was ruined. Columns on either
side were blown to atoms, the front was severed from the rear, and
the entire hill was strewn with marble fragments, mute witnesses of
countless forms of beauty lost to us forever.


One of these fragments is a portion of the frieze that once surrounded
the entire edifice like a long garland of rare beauty. How careful were
the old Greek artists of their reputation; how conscientious in their
art! The figures in this frieze were fifty feet above the ground, where
small defects would never have been noticed, yet every part of each
was finished with the utmost care. While they remained there for two
thousand years, this trait of old Greek character was unperceived; but,
with their downfall and removal, the sculptor's grand fidelity to truth
was brought to light,—as death sometimes reveals the noble qualities
which we in life, alas! have not observed.

Enough of the Parthenon remains to show the literal perfection of
its masonry. It has, for example, in its steps, walls, and columns,
curves so minute as to be hardly visible, yet true to the one-hundredth
part of an inch. They show alike the splendid genius of the architect
and the wonderful skill of the workmen. For all the curves are
mathematical. The reasons for them can be demonstrated like a problem
in geometry. Once fifty life-size statues stood upon its pediments.
Around it ran a sculptured frieze, five hundred and twenty feet in
length, carved mainly by the hand of Phidias; while the especial
treasure of the temple was the famous statue of Athene Parthenos, made
of ivory and gold. The value of the precious metal used in this one
figure was seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

  [Illustration: FRAGMENTS.]

It is a marvel that any fragments can be gathered on the top of the
Acropolis, after the persistent spoliation which Greece has undergone
for more than eighteen centuries. From the one city of Delphi alone
Nero is said to have carried off to Rome five hundred bronze statues.
How many beautiful works in marble, gold and ivory he removed, we
cannot tell. And when the Roman conqueror, Æmilius Paulus, was borne in
triumph up the Appian Way, exhibiting the spoils of conquered Greece,
there preceded him two hundred and fifty wagons filled with the rarest
pictures and statues of Greek artists, after which came three thousand
men, each bearing some gold or silver ornament taken from Hellenic
cities. Yet this was merely the beginning of the plundering, which
practically ended only fifty years ago, when Lord Elgin carried off to
London over two hundred and fifty feet of the beautifully sculptured
frieze of the Parthenon. Opinions differ in regard to the propriety
of this act on the part of Lord Elgin. Defenders of his conduct urge
that, had this not been done, these works of art would have been ruined
by the Turks. Others maintain that they would have remained intact,
and point to some of the comparatively uninjured decorations of the
shrines of the Acropolis, such as the Caryatides of the Erectheum,
which have at least never been injured by the Turks, though one of
them was removed to England by Lord Elgin. At all events, it would be
a noble and graceful act on the part of England particularly, and of
many other countries also, to restore some of her lost art-treasures
to Greece,—now that she has risen again to the rank of a well-governed
and progressive nation. It is sad indeed to see in Athens only plaster
casts of the incomparable works of her old sculptors, the originals of
which enrich so many European capitals.

  [Illustration: SOME OF THE SPOILS.]

One of the most beautiful of the ruined shrines of the Acropolis
is the "Temple of Wingless Victory;" so-called because the statue
of the goddess was represented without wings, in the fond hope that
Victory would never fly away from the Athenian capital. Most of the
beautiful statues which adorned this building were carried off to
the British Museum seventy years ago, and some were ruined in the
process of removal. One exquisite portion of the frieze, which had
for twenty centuries stood forth resplendent over the historic city,
was carelessly dropped and broken into atoms. A Greek who was standing
near, watching this shameful devastation, brushed away a tear, and with
a sob exclaimed pathetically: "Telos!" (That is the end of it!) and
turned away.

No one has condemned the plunder of the Acropolis more trenchantly than
Byron, in the lines:

     "Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
     Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they loved;
     Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
     Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
     By British hands, which it had best behooved
     To guard those relics ne'er to be restored.
     Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
     And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
     And snatch'd thy shrinking Gods to northern climes abhorr'd!"


Before the mental vision of the traveler, who muses thus upon the crest
of the Acropolis, there naturally rises the form of the goddess Athene
(or, as the Romans called her, Minerva), who gave the name Athens to
the city which she specially protected. Who can forget how this old
classic citadel, within whose shrines this goddess was adored, remained
for many centuries, even in its ruin, a beacon light of history? Its
radiance pierced even the darkness of the Middle Ages, when, over-run
by conquerors, pillaged by barbarians, assailed by fanatics, the world
of art lay buried beneath the rubbish of brutality and ignorance. Under
the blows of the iconoclasts, the pulse of artistic life had almost
ceased to beat. But, though the fire of genius seemed extinct, there
was still vitality in its dying embers. The light which came from the
Acropolis gave its illumination to the Renaissance. Without an Athens
there had been no Florence; without a Phidias no Michael Angelo.

  [Illustration: PORTAL OF THE ERECTHEUM.]

Almost as interesting as a visit to the summit of the Acropolis is a
walk around its base. A part of it is lined with ruins, many of them
being demolished theatres. Upon the hill the drama of the gods went
on: below it were performed the tragedy and comedy of man. One of
these theatres, called the Odeon, was of Roman origin, built by the
conquerors of Greece when they were masters of the world. Its rows of
massive arches, climbing one above another up the cliff, remind us of
the Colosseum. Above them was the classic Parthenon, which Phidias
had built five hundred years before. This theatre could accommodate
eight thousand people, and doubtless was magnificent and imposing; but
amid such surroundings it must have seemed to the Athenians like an
interloper and intruder,—a gilded fetter on a lovely slave.


Vastly more interesting, however, than the Odeon is the edifice which
adjoins it,—the ancient theatre of Bacchus,—built by the Greeks two
thousand four hundred years ago. It was excavated from the side of
the Acropolis, just below the Parthenon. Its rows of seats were partly
sculptured from the solid rock and partly built up of Pentelic marble,
and thirty thousand people could be seated here. Its form was a perfect
amphitheatre, a model for all others in the world. How grand was its
simplicity! Its light was furnished by the sun. God was the painter
of its drop-curtain, which was the sunset sky; the scenery was that of
mountains and the sea; its only roof was the blue dome of heaven.

  [Illustration: ATHENE.]

  [Illustration: MERCURY.]

  [Illustration: AN ANCIENT CHAIR.]

  [Illustration: THE ODEON.]

A portion of the front of the old stage is still intact. If the old
Greeks had needed footlights, they would have placed them on this
marble parapet. It sends the blood in a swift current to the heart to
think that all its kneeling or supporting statues have listened to
the plays of Aristophanes or Sophocles, and have beheld innumerable
audiences occupying the marble seats which still confront them. Alas!
What have they not beheld here since those glorious days! In this,
the earliest home of tragedy, how many tragedies have been enacted!
Directly opposite this parapet is one of the ancient marble seats.
It was occupied by an Athenian magistrate more than two thousand
years ago. His name is still inscribed upon it,—perfectly legible,
and defiant of the touch of Time. Standing in this amphitheatre, one
realizes as never before, how, in an epoch of great intellectual
activity, genius does not confine itself to one particular line.
Whether it be the age of Pericles, the Renaissance, the era of
Elizabeth, or the magnificent century of the Moors, a wave of mental
energy rolls over an entire nation. Thus here, at Athens, it was not
only sculpture that attained such excellence, but painting; not only
painting but architecture; not only architecture but oratory; not only
oratory but philosophy; and in addition to all these, this wonderful
city gave mankind the drama, so perfect at the start that even the
modern world, with all its literary culture and experience, regards
the old Greek dramatists as its masters. Filled with such thoughts, one
seems to see, while lingering here, the form of Sophocles, the greatest
of Greek tragic poets. For more than two thousand three hundred years
his plays have been admired as almost perfect models of dramatic
composition. There is hardly a university in the world that has not
one of his magnificent tragedies in its curriculum of study. His play
of "Œdipus the King," which is so well interpreted by the French
actor, Mounet Sully, is still a masterpiece of strength and majesty;
and all his other plays, together with those of Æschylus, Euripides,
and Aristophanes, have in their lofty sentiments never been surpassed,
unless, indeed, by those of Shakespeare. Inspired by the memory of
these Hellenic heroes, I approached (still almost in the shadow of the
Acropolis) a rocky ledge, known as the "Platform of Demosthenes." Rough
and unshapely though it be, in view of all that has transpired on its
summit it is of greater value to the world than if the entire hill were
paved with gold and studded with the rarest gems. From this rock the
orators of Athens spoke to the assembled people. Before it then was the
Athenian market-place,—the forum of the city. The site is perfectly
identified, and one can look upon the very spot from which Demosthenes
delivered his orations, still unsurpassed in ancient or in modern times
even by those of Cicero and Burke.

  [Illustration: INTERIOR OF THE ODEON.]

  [Illustration: SOPHOCLES.]

  [Illustration: THE THEATRE OF BACCHUS.]

Truly, as Byron says, in Athens

     "Where'er we tread 'tis haunted holy ground,
     No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould,
     But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,
     And all the Muse's tales seem truly told,
     Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
     The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon."

Leaving this noble relic of the past, I presently stood before a
solitary gate, known as "The Arch of Hadrian." It was, in fact, erected
here by that Roman emperor in the second century after Christ, when
Greece was but a province of the Cæsars. In Italy this would seem to
us of great antiquity; but amid objects such as I had just beheld,
it appeared comparatively modern. On one side of this portal is the
inscription, "This is Athens, the old City of Theseus." On the other
are the words, "This is the new City of Hadrian, not that of Theseus."
In fact this gateway was a barrier, yet a connecting link, between
the Grecian and the Roman Athens,—the cities of the conquered and the

  [Illustration: THE FRONT OF THE STAGE.]

Looking through this historic arch, I saw a group of stately columns
in the distance. They are the only relics that remain of the great
Temple of Olympian Jove. Even the writers of antiquity, familiar
though they were with splendid structures, speak of that shrine as
being awe-inspiring in its grandeur. With the exception of the Temple
of Diana at Ephesus, it was the largest Grecian temple ever built.
There were, originally, at least one hundred and twenty-six of these
Corinthian columns. They formed almost a marble forest. Within it
was a veritable maze of statues, including one of Jupiter, which was
world-renowned; but these, as well as nearly all the columns, have long
since been abstracted or destroyed.


  [Illustration: DEPARTED GLORY.]

These marble giants do not form a single group. Two of them stand
apart, like sentries stationed to give warning of the fresh approach of
the despoiler. Between them one column lies prostrate; a sad reminder
of the fate that has overtaken so many of its brethren. However, unlike
most other ruins in the world, this was not caused by the maliciousness
of man. On the night of the 26th of October, 1852, a heavy rainstorm
undermined the soil at its base, and the huge column, overcome at last,
fell its full length of sixty feet upon the sand. It is interesting
to observe how evenly its massive sections still rest upon the ground,
like bricks set up in rows to push each other over in their fall.

It is said that the prostrate column could be restored, but perhaps it
is more eloquent as it lies. The shaft above it, with its beautiful
Corinthian capital, presents a striking contrast. One seems proudly
to say, "See what this noble temple was!" the other to murmur
pathetically, "See what it is to-day!"

  [Illustration: TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN JOVE.]

Continuing my way still farther round the base of the Acropolis,
I presently perceived a low-browed hill, partially covered with a
rocky ledge. It was the ancient Areopagus, or Hill of Mars. Here the
Supreme Court of Athens held its sessions. Such was the simple grandeur
of the old Athenians that the only covering of this court-room was
the canopy of heaven. For the immortal gods no temple could be too
magnificent; but for the serious business of deciding life and death
the Greeks would have no sumptuous decoration. The sessions of the
court were always held at night, so that no face or gesture could
exert the slightest influence. It must have been a scene of wonderful
solemnity, for here accusers and accused stood, as it were, between
their venerable judges and the gods, while in the dome of night a cloud
of glittering witnesses looked down upon them from illimitable space.

  [Illustration: THE ARCH OF HADRIAN.]

  [Illustration: THE SENTINELS.]


A flight of sixteen rough-hewn steps leads to the summit, where the
judges sat. They are the ancient steps. By them St. Paul ascended to
address the Athenian audience which gathered before him. Above him, as
he spoke, rose the whole glory of the Acropolis, with its magnificent
temples and bewildering array of statues. And yet this stranger dared
to utter the impressive words, "God dwelleth not in temples made with
hands." This in the shadow of the Parthenon! "We ought not to think
that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone graven by art
and man's device." This in the presence of the works of Phidias!

  [Illustration: MARS HILL.]

  [Illustration: IN THE TIME OF PAUL.]

When we remember how the Acropolis must then have looked, we cannot
wonder that the Athenians who heard these words spoken within its
shadow smiled, and ironically answered, "We will hear thee again of
this matter!" Well, Athens has heard him again, and so has the entire
world. Paul discoursed here for possibly an hour, but what he said has
ever since been echoing down the ages. None knew him then; but in a few
short years, to the church founded by him in the Greek town of Corinth,
he wrote his two epistles to the Corinthians, which may be read in
every language of the civilized world; and now there is hardly a city
in all Christendom that has not a cathedral or church bearing the great
Apostle's name.

  [Illustration: PRISON OF SOCRATES.]

Not far from this historic spot is another ledge of great antiquity.
Here dungeons have been excavated in the solid rock, one of them
being called the "Prison of Socrates." Opinions differ as to its
authenticity; just as men still dispute about the exact locality where
Jesus hung upon the Cross. But of the general situation in each case
there is no doubt. In Athens, as in Jerusalem, one stands in close
proximity to where the purest souls this earth has ever known were
put to death by those who hated them; and somewhere on this hill,
four hundred years before the scene of Calvary, Socrates drank the
poisoned cup forced upon him by his enemies, and in that draught found

The lineaments of Christ's face are not surely known to us, but
those of Socrates have been preserved in marble. His was a plain and
homely visage. The playwright, Aristophanes, caricatured him on the
stage, and moved the audience to shouts of laughter; but, with the
exception of the Nazarene, no man ever spoke like Socrates. He was a
natural teacher of men. He walked daily among the temples or in the
market-place, talking with every one who cared to listen to him. His
method was unique. It was, by asking searching questions, to force
men to think,—to know themselves. If he could make an astonished man
give utterance to an original thought, he was contented for that day.
He had sown the seed; it would bear fruit. He had no notes, nor did he
ever write a line; yet his incomparable thoughts, expressed in purest
speech, were faithfully recorded by his pupils, Xenophon and Plato, and
will be treasured to the end of time.

  [Illustration: SOCRATES.]


Another memorial of Athens which well repays a visit is the Temple
of Theseus,—that legendary hero of old Greece, half-man, half-god,
whose exploits glimmer through the dawn of history, much as a mountain
partially reveals itself through morning mists. Fortune has treated
this old temple kindly. There is hardly an ancient structure extant
that has so perfectly resisted the disintegrating touch of time or the
destroying hand of man. For the Theseum was built nearly five hundred
years before the birth of Christ, in commemoration of the glorious
battle of Marathon, where Theseus was believed to have appeared to aid
the Greeks in driving from their shores the invading Persians.

  [Illustration: TEMPLE OF THESEUS.]

When in 1824 Lord Byron died upon Greek soil, striving to free the
Hellenic nation from the Turkish yoke, the Athenians wished his body to
be buried in this temple. No wonder they were grateful to him, for the
action of that ardent admirer of the Greeks in hastening to their land
to consecrate his life and fortune to the cause of liberty, was not,
as some have thought, unpractical and sentimental. Byron, unlike many
other poets, was no mere dreamer. He could, when he desired, descend
from Poesy's empyrean to the practical realities of life; and during
his short stay in Greece, whether he was securing loans, conciliating
angry chiefs, or giving counsel to the government, he showed the tact
and firmness of an able statesman.

As if, then, this classic temple were a Greek sarcophagus, within which
was enshrined the form of the immortal dead, I seemed to see among its
marble columns that noble statue representing Byron at Missolonghi,
the little town where, with such fatal haste, his life was sacrificed.
It would be difficult to imagine anything more distressing than
Byron's last illness. He was in a wretched, malarial district, utterly
devoid of comforts. No woman's hand was there to smooth his brow or
give to him the thousand little comforts which only woman's tender
thoughtfulness can understand. Convinced at last by the distress of
his servants that his death was near, he called his faithful valet,
Fletcher, to his side, and spoke with great earnestness, but very
indistinctly, for nearly twenty minutes. Finally he said, with relief,
"Now I have told you all."

  [Illustration: BYRON AT MISSOLONGHI.]

  [Illustration: A RUINED CAPITAL.]

"My lord," replied Fletcher, "I have not understood a word you have
been saying."

"Not understood me?" exclaimed Lord Byron, with a look of the utmost
distress. "What a pity! for it is too late; all is over!"

"I hope not," answered Fletcher, "but the Lord's will be done."

"Yes, not mine," said the poet; and soon after murmured, "Now I shall
go to sleep." These were the last words of Byron, for, with a weary
sigh, he then sank into that peaceful slumber in which his spirit
gradually loosed its hold on earth, and drifted outward into the

  [Illustration: MAID OF ATHENS.]

The more modern part of Athens recalls happier recollections of Byron.
When he came here in his youth, he not only wrote those magnificent
stanzas in "Childe Harold," which are among the choicest treasures
of our English tongue, but also composed that graceful poem, "Maid of
Athens," each verse of which ends with Greek words that signify, "My
Life, I love thee!" It was addressed to the eldest daughter of the
Greek lady in whose house he lodged. Little did that fair Athenian
girl imagine that his verses would make her known throughout the world.
Yet so it was. No actual likeness of her can be given, but we may well
believe that she, in some respects, resembled a typical Grecian maiden
of to-day.

     "By those tresses unconfined,
     Woo'd by each Ægean wind;
     By those lids whose jetty fringe
     Kiss thy soft cheeks' blooming tinge;
     By those wild eyes like the roe,
     Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.

     By that lip I long to taste;
     By that zone-encircled waist;
     By all the token-flowers that tell
     What words can never speak so well;
     By love's alternate joy and woe,
     Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ.

     Maid of Athens! I am gone:
     Think of me, sweet! when alone.
     Though I fly to Istambol,
     Athens holds my heart and soul:
     Can I cease to love thee? No!
     Ζωή μου, σᾶς ἀγαπῶ."

The tourist who visits Greece to-day finds much to admire in the modern
city which ancient Athens wears now like a jewel on her withered
breast. It is a bright, attractive place. When I revisited it a few
years ago, it seemed to me by contrast with the Orient a miniature
Paris. Yet this is all of very recent growth. Half a century ago the
devastation wrought here by the Turks had left the city desolate.
Hardly a house in the whole town was habitable. But now we find a city
of one hundred and thirty thousand people, with handsome residences,
public squares, clean streets, and several public buildings that would
adorn any capital in the world.

  [Illustration: THE BYZANTINE CHURCH.]

One of the finest private residences in Athens is the home of the
late Doctor Schliemann, the world-renowned explorer of the plain of
Troy and other sites of Greek antiquity. It is constructed of pure
Pentelic marble. Around its roof beautiful groups of statuary gleam
white against the blue of the Athenian sky. Anywhere else this style of
decoration would perhaps seem out of place; not so in Athens. It simply
serves as a reminder of the fact that once the wealth of art here was
so great that half the galleries of the world are filled to-day with
the fragments of it that remain. So many statues once existed here,
that an Athenian wit declared that it was easier to find a god in
Athens than a man!



Perhaps the finest of the public buildings in Athens is its Academy
of Science. It is a noble structure, composed entirely of Pentelic
marble and built in imitation of the classic style, with rows of grand
Ionic columns, while in the pediment are sculptures resembling those
with which the Greeks two thousand years ago adorned the shrines of
the Acropolis. The lofty marble columns in the foreground are crowned
with figures of Minerva and Apollo. Below them are the seated statues
of Socrates and Plato. What more appropriate combination could be made
than this: the wisdom of the gods above, the wisdom of humanity below,
expressed by the greatest names which in religion and philosophy have
given Athens an immortal fame? In the spring of 1896 modern Athens
seemed suddenly to surpass the ancient city in interest, through the
revival of the Olympian games. The mention of these famous contests
suggests at once the old Greek statue of the Disk-Thrower, whose arm
has been uplifted for the admiration of the world for more than two
thousand years. Although this national festival of the Greeks had
its origin nearly eight hundred years before the birth of Christ, and
though the last one was celebrated fifteen hundred years ago, the games
were renewed in 1896 as the first of a series of international athletic
contests, which will hereafter take place every four years in various
portions of the world. The first was given, of course, to Greece, the
mother of athletics as she was of art. The next will be seen at Paris
in 1900, during the Exposition there.

  [Illustration: THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.]

For the great occasion referred to, the old Greek Stadium was partially
re-excavated and furnished with hundreds of new marble seats. This
was done not alone at the expense of a few rich Athenians, but also
through the generosity of wealthy Greeks in Alexandria, Smyrna, London,
and Marseilles. The Stadium, as it now exists, can accommodate about
sixty thousand people; and on the closing day of the recently revived
festival, fully that number were assembled in it, while forty thousand
more were grouped outside the walls or on the road between Athens and
the battlefield of Marathon. Among the contesting athletes were several
manly specimens of "Young America." In every way they did us honor.
Those with whom we talked on the subject spoke in the highest terms of
the courtesy and kindness shown them by every one in Athens, from king
to peasant. Nor was this strange. It was due, first, to their own fine
qualities; second, to the popularity which America enjoys in Greece,
and third, to the fact that they themselves soon proved the heroes of
the Stadium.

  [Illustration: THE DISK-THROWER.]

  [Illustration: AN ATHLETE.]

After each contest, the flag of the victorious country was displayed
above the arena, and the American emblem was the first to go up. And
it kept going up! The first three races were all won by Americans.
Then came the "long jump," which Americans also gained. Then Garrett,
of Princeton, beat the Greeks themselves at their old classic sport of
"throwing the disk." Even on the second day "Old Glory" shook out its
starry folds three times, till presently Denmark gained a victory, and
then England.

  [Illustration: THE STADIUM.]

It is hard to single out for special notice any one individual among
these heroes; but no American gained more popularity on the historic
race-course, than the man who for swift running carried off so many
prizes in Old Athens,—that lithe citizen of the "Athens of America,"
Thomas Burke. Over his speed and skill the Greeks were wildly
enthusiastic. Some of them showed him proofs of personal affection. One
asked him, through an interpreter, on what food he had been trained.
Burke, like a true Bostonian, replied, "Beans!" After one of his
brilliant victories, when the Americans had gained in swift succession
four first prizes, one old Athenian stood up in the Stadium, and
raising his hands in mock despair, exclaimed: "O, why did Columbus ever
discover that country!"

Finally, on the last day, there came a contest which the Greeks had
been awaiting with alternating hope and fear. It was the long run
from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens,—a distance of twenty-five


Besides the Greeks, there entered for this race Americans, Australians,
Frenchmen, Germans, and Hungarians. Secretly, however, almost every one
of the spectators hoped that a Greek would win. History and sentiment
alike seemed to demand that the coveted honor should be gained by a
descendant of the men of Marathon, for this was the same road traversed
by the historic Greek, who ran to announce to the Athenians the triumph
of the Greeks over the Persians at Marathon, and as he entered the
Arena, dropped dead, gasping the word, "Victory!"

  [Illustration: THOMAS BURKE.]

  [Illustration: THE SOLDIER OF MARATHON.]

Instinctively that scene rises before the reader's imagination, as
it must have done before the minds of the thousands gathered on the
course to witness the issue of the race. It was half-past four in the
afternoon when a cannon-shot announced that the leading runner was in
sight. Two or three minutes passed in breathless silence. No one moved
or spoke. Suddenly, a far-off cry was heard, "It is a Greek—a Greek!"
These words were taken up and ran the whole length of the Stadium as
electricity leaps from point to point. A moment more, and a hundred
thousand voices rent the air with cheers and acclamations. The king
himself almost tore the visor from his cap, waving it frantically round
his head; for, in truth, the victor _was a Greek_,—a young peasant
named Loues, twenty-four years of age. Before entering the contest,
he had partaken of the sacrament and had invoked the aid of Heaven;
and apparently the gods had come to his assistance, for he had made
the run of twenty-five miles over a hard, rough country in _two hours
and forty-five minutes_! To show the feeling the victor entertained
for the American athletes, it may be said that when Loues crossed the
line, notwithstanding the tremendous excitement and enthusiasm that
prevailed, he ran to Tom Burke, and, throwing his arms around him,
kissed the American flag which the Bostonian was holding in his hand.

  [Illustration: LOUES.]


At the king's palace, Loues and the other competing athletes were
entertained in royal style by the crowned head of the kingdom. The joy
and pride of the young peasant's father, as he saw him universally
fêted and admired, is said to have been extremely beautiful and
touching; for Loues was treated almost as a demigod by his delighted
countrymen. The strangest gifts were showered upon him. A café, for
example, offered him _carte blanche_ at its hospitable table for the
rest of his life; a barber-shop promised him free shaves so long as he
lived; and even a boot-black coveted the honor of polishing his shoes
for an indefinite period, expecting nothing in return. Large sums of
money also were offered him; but these, with the true spirit of the
athlete, Loues declined. "The only reward I crave," he exclaimed, "is
the wreath of laurel from Olympia, such as my ancestors received two
thousand years ago. I am poor, but I ran, not for money, but for the
glory of my native land."

  [Illustration: VENUS OF MELOS.]

The pleasantest route in taking leave of the Hellenic kingdom is to
embark upon a steamer and sail through the Grecian Archipelago. It is
the same route taken by the old Greek colonists when they went forth to
civilize the world,—the same path followed by the Trojan exiles when
they sailed to Italy to build upon her seven hills the walls of Rome.
To coast along the shores of the Ægean, after a tour in Athens, is one
of the most exquisite enjoyments this life can give. To the student of
history in particular, the scene recalls events so glorious that he
is lost in admiration, not only of the marvelous country as a whole,
but of what the ancient Greeks accomplished for humanity. In what
department did they not excel?

Is it their sculpture that we question? At once the incomparable Venus
of Melos makes reply; that statue found (alas! in partial ruin) on one
of the islands that are scattered broadcast on this classic sea, like
disentangled pearls, and hence a fitting emblem of those treasures
of antiquity cast on the shores of time after a long-continued and
disastrous storm.

Is it their language? It was the most perfect and elastic tongue
in which men's lips have ever fashioned speech. It seems more than
chance that caused it, at the birth of Christ, to be the leading
literary language of the world, that it might thus receive, embody, and
perpetuate the truths of the New Testament. Even now we turn to that
old tongue to find exact expression for our terms of science, and in it
we name all our new inventions such as heliotypes and photographs, the
telegraph and the telephone.

  [Illustration: HOMER.]

Is it poetry? At once there seems to rise before us from these waters,
which encircled him at birth and death, the face of Homer,—the father
of poetry. To whom has he not been a joy and inspiration? Virgil was
but the pupil and imitator of Homer. And the Iliad and Odyssey are
still such storehouses of eloquence and beauty, that such statesmen as
Gladstone and the Earl of Derby have sharpened their keen intellects in
making their translations.

Is it philosophy? "Out of Plato," says Emerson, "come all things that
are still written and debated among men of thought."

  [Illustration: PLATO.]

The lesson, then, which Athens teaches us is this: not to regard past
men, past deeds, and ruined shrines as dead and useless limbs upon
the Tree of Time. The Past has made the Present, just as the Present
is now fashioning Futurity. Moreover, since one lofty sentiment
begets another; one valiant deed inspires a second; and one sublime
achievement is a stepping-stone to loftier heights; what portion of
our earth can give to us more inspiration than Athens,—birthplace of
the earliest masterpieces of the human race, the mother of imperishable
memories, and of an art that conquers time.

  [Illustration: THE BAY OF VENICE.]



Venice is still victorious over Time. Despite her age, the City of
the Sea is fascinating still. She has successfully defied a dozen
centuries; she may perhaps defy as many more. All other cities in
the world resemble one another. Venice remains unique. She is the
City of Romance—the only place on earth to-day where Poetry conquers
Prose. The marriage of the Adriatic and its bride has never been
dissolved. She is to-day, as she has been for fourteen hundred years,
a capital whose streets are water and whose vehicles are boats. She
is an incomparable illustration of the poetical and the picturesque;
and, were she nothing else, would still attract the world. But she is
infinitely more. The hands of Titian and Tintoretto have embellished
her. She wears upon her breast some architectural jewels unsurpassed in
Italy. And, finally, the splendor of her history enfolds her like the
glory of her golden sunsets, and she emerges from the waves of Time,
that have repeatedly endeavored to engulf her, as do her marble palaces
from the encircling sea.

  [Illustration: THE RAILWAY STATION.]

The charm of Venice begins even at what is usually the most prosaic
of places—a railway station. For, to a city where there are no living
horses, the iron horse at least has made its way; and by a bridge, two
miles in length, Venice is now connected with the outer world by rail.
A quick, delicious feeling of surprise comes over one to see awaiting
him in the place of carriages a multitude of boats. The pleasing sense
of novelty (so rare now in the world) appeals to us at once, and, with
the joyful consciousness of entering on a long-anticipated pleasure, we
seat ourselves within a gondola, and noiselessly and swiftly glide out
into the unknown.

  [Illustration: THE BAY OF VENICE.]

  [Illustration: A LIQUID LABYRINTH.]

  [Illustration: "LIKE A HUGE SEA-WALL."]

The first surprise awaiting almost every visitor to Venice is that
of seeing all its buildings rise directly from the sea. He knows,
of course, that Venice rests upon a hundred islands, linked by four
hundred and fifty bridges. Hence, he expects to see between the
houses and the liquid streets some fringe of earth, some terrace or
embankment. But no:—the stately mansions emerge from the ocean like
a huge sea-wall, and, when the surface of the water is disturbed by a
light breeze or passing boat, it overflows their marble steps as softly
as the ultimate ripple of the surf spreads its white foam along the
beach. As, then, our gondolier takes us farther through this liquid
labyrinth, we naturally ask in astonishment, "What was the origin of
this mysterious city? How came it to be founded thus within the sea?"
The wonder is easily explained. In the fifth century after Christ, when
the old Roman empire had well-nigh perished under the deadly inroads
of barbarians, another devastating army entered Italy, led by a man who
was regarded as the "scourge of God." This man was Attila. Such was the
ruin always left behind him, that he could boast with truth that the
grass grew not where his horse had trod. A few men seeking to escape
this vandal, fled to a group of uninhabited islands in the Adriatic.
Exiled from land, they cast themselves in desperation on the sea.

  [Illustration: THE OCEAN CITY.]

But no one can behold this ocean-city without perceiving that
those exiles were rewarded for their courage. The sea became their
mother,—their divinity. She sheltered them with her encircling waves.
She nourished them from her abundant life. She forced them to build
boats in which to transport merchandise from land to land. And they,
obeying her, grew from a feeble colony of refugees to be a powerful
republic, and made their city a nucleus of vast wealth and commerce,—a
swinging door between the Orient and Occident, through which there
ebbed and flowed for centuries a tide of golden wealth, of which her
glorious sunsets seemed but the reflection.

  [Illustration: THE GRAND CANAL.]

  [Illustration: VENETIAN PALACES.]

Who can forget his first glimpse of the Grand Canal? Seen at a
favorable hour, the famous thoroughfare delights the senses as it
thrills the heart. For two miles it winds through the city in such
graceful lines that every section of its course reveals a stately
curve. Upon this beautiful expanse the sun of Venice, like a cunning
necromancer, displays most marvelous effects of light and shade,
transforming it at different hours of the day into an avenue of
lapis-lazuli, or emerald, or gold,—an eloquent reminder of the time
when Venice was a paradise of pleasure, when life upon its liquid
streets was a perpetual pageant, and this incomparable avenue its
splendid promenade. Its curving banks are lined with palaces. They seem
to be standing hand in hand, saluting one another gravely, as though
both shores were executing here the movements of some courtly dance.
These were originally the homes of men whose names were written in
that record of Venetian nobility, called "The Book of Gold." Once they
were marvels of magnificence; and viewed in the sunset light, or by
the moon, they are so still. Under that enchanting spell their massive
columns, marble balconies, and elegantly sculptured arches, seem as
imposing as when the Adriatic's Bride was still a queen and wore her
robes of purple and of gold.

  [Illustration: A MARINE PORTE COCHÈRE.]

To build such structures on the shifting sands was a stupendous
undertaking; and what we cannot see of these Venetian palaces has
cost much more than that which rises now above the waves. From
every door broad marble steps descend to the canal, and tall posts,
painted with the colors of the family, serve as a mooring place for
gondolas, a kind of marine _porte cochère_. Each of these structures
has its legend,—poetic, tragic or artistic; and these our gondolier
successively murmurs to us in his soft Venetian dialect as we glide
along the glittering highway.

  [Illustration: BROWNING PALACE.]

  [Illustration: HOME OF DESDEMONA.]

Thus, in the Palazzo Vendramini, the composer Wagner died in 1883. Not
far from this stately mansion is the home of Desdemona. Within another
of these palaces the old Doge Foscari died of a broken heart at the
ill-treatment of his countrymen. In one lived Byron; in another Robert
Browning; in a third George Sand; a fourth was once the home of Titian.

  [Illustration: IN THE DAYS OF SHYLOCK.]

But now our winding course reveals to us, suspended over this noble
thoroughfare, a structure which we recognize at once—"The Bridge of
the Rialto." For centuries this was the only bridge that crossed the
Grand Canal. An ugly one of iron has been constructed near the railway
station; but this Rialto remains a relic of Venice in her glory, for
its huge arch is entirely of marble, and has a length of over a hundred
and fifty feet. Its cost exceeded half a million dollars; and the
foundations, which for three hundred and twenty years have faithfully
supported it, are twelve thousand trunks of elm trees, each ten feet
in length. To-day, little shops are built along the bridge, leaving a
passageway between them in the centre and one without on either side.

  [Illustration: THE RIALTO.]

  [Illustration: THE CITY OF SILENCE.]

The Rialto seems prosaic in the glare of noon. But wave before it,
for an instant, the magic wands of fancy and historical association,
and we can picture to ourselves how it must have looked when on this
Rivo-Alto, or "High Bank," which gives the bridge its name, Venetian
ladies saw outspread before them the treasures of the Orient; when at
this point the laws of the Republic were proclaimed; when merchants
congregated here as to a vast Exchange; and when, on this same bridge,
the forms of Shylock and Othello may have stood out in sharp relief
against the sky; when, in a word, Venice, like Venus, had been born
of the blue sea, possessing all the fascinating languor of the East,
and yet belonging to the restless West. But to acquire that mental
state in which these visions of Venetian splendor will recur to one,
certain conditions are essential for the tourist: first, he must choose
the moon for his companion; and, second, he must manage to arrive in
the City of the Sea by night. Venice, though beautiful, shows marks
of age. The glare of day is far too strong for her pathetically fair,
but wrinkled, face. Pay her the compliment to see her at her best. In
Venice make your nights and days exchange places. Sleep through the
morning hours, and spend the afternoons reading books that tell of old
Venetian glory. Then, when the daylight wanes, and the moon turns these
streets into paths of shimmering gold, go forth to woo _Venezia_, and
she will give you of her best.

  [Illustration: VENICE BY MOONLIGHT.]

  [Illustration: ON THE GRAND CANAL.]

  [Illustration: THE RIALTO.]

The form of the Grand Canal is that of a huge letter "S." Whenever it
is looked upon from an elevation, this "S" is suggestive of the Italian
word _Silenzio_, for Venice is pre-eminently the City of Silence.
No roar of wheels disturbs one here; no strident gongs; no tramp of
horses' feet. Reclining on the cushions of a gondola, one floats in
absolute tranquility upon a noiseless sea.

To go to another city after Venice is like removing from one's ears
the fingers which for a little time had closed them to all sounds.
No place is better for a weary brain-worker than Venice. His nerves
relax in its restful stillness. The hand of Nature gently lifts the
veil from his hot, wearied eyes; and he perceives at last that when a
comfortable livelihood has been secured, to keep on toiling feverishly
in the modern world, beneath a pall of soot and in the midst of noisy,
heartless crowds, is not to live: it is merely preparing to die.

  [Illustration: A FAMILIAR SCENE.]

Upon a moonlit night these liquid corridors present a scene too
beautiful for words. It is the Venice of one's dreams. According to
the light or shade, we glide through alternating paths of glory and of
gloom. All the defects which day reveals are, by moonlight, totally
concealed or softened into indistinctness, like features hidden by
a silvery veil. Here and there some lights are gleaming through the
casements; but, as a rule, the city seems to sleep.

Occasionally, it may be, a boat full of musicians will appear, and,
to the passionate throbbing of the harp or guitar, a score of voices
chant the songs of Italy. Meanwhile, a dozen gondolas, with listening
occupants, float in the shadows of the marble palaces. These, when
the music ceases, approach the expectant singers, and silver coins
fall into outstretched hands, which glisten phantom-like for a moment
in the moonlight. Then each gondola, with swan-like grace, in silence
disappears, leaving behind it a long furrow like a chain of gold.

  [Illustration: THE HEART OF VENICE.]

When the visitor to Venice prepares to leave for a time his gondola,
there is no need to say where he will land. There is one little area
more important than all others, which every tourist longs to see and
explore. It is a perfectly familiar scene, yet I have often noticed,
with a thrill of sympathy, a tremor in the voice of the enthusiastic
traveler who sees it for the first time, as he exclaims: "That building
on the right is surely the Ducal Palace, and on the left is the
entrance to the Piazzetta."

"That lofty tower is, of course, the Campanile. But where is St.

"It is just behind the Ducal Palace, and invisible from this point."

"And the famous Piazza?"

"That, too, is hidden behind the building on the left, but it is at
right angles with the Piazzetta, and lies within the shadow of the

As one draws nearer to the spot, how marvelously beautiful it all
appears! Now one begins to appreciate the splendor of the Doge's
Palace. Above it, like a constellation rising from the sea, glitter the
domes of the Cathedral of San Marco. Presently the long landing-pier
and the attractive Piazzetta are distinctly visible; and, turning one's
astonished vision heavenward, one looks with admiration on the splendid
bell-tower, three hundred and fifty feet in height, its pointed summit
piercing the light clouds and its aerial balcony hung like a gilded
cage against the sky. The traveler who beholds these scenes may have
had many delightful moments in his life, but that in which he looks for
the first time upon this glorious combination of the historic and the
beautiful can hardly be surpassed. Like the names of the old Venetian
nobles, it should be written in a "Book of Gold."

  [Illustration: THE EDGE OF THE PIAZZETTA.]

  [Illustration: THE DOGE'S PALACE.]

On the border of the Piazzetta are two stately columns. On landing,
therefore, one naturally gives to them one's first attention. It is
difficult to realize that these granite monoliths have been standing
here for more than seven hundred years, but such is the fact, as they
were erected in the year 1187. They were a portion of the spoils
brought back by the Venetians from the treasure-laden East. Each
upholds the emblem of a patron saint: one, a statue of St. Theodore,
the other, the famous winged lion of St. Mark. Formerly, on a scaffold
reared between these columns, state criminals were put to death—their
backs turned toward the land which casts them from her, their faces
toward the sea, symbol of eternity. But now the shadows of these
ancient shafts fall on a multitude of pleasure-boats, and echo to
the voices of the gondoliers. Close by these columns is the Ducal
Palace,—that splendid symbol of Venetian glory,—a record of the
city's brilliant history preserved in stone. This spot, for more than a
thousand years, was the residence of the Doges, Five palaces preceded
this, each in turn having been destroyed by fire. But every time a
more magnificent building rose from the ashes of its predecessor. The
present structure has been standing for nearly five hundred years,
and from the variety of architectural styles mingled here from North,
South, East and West, Ruskin called it, "The Central Building of the


  [Illustration: ALONG THE SHORE.]

Around it, on two sides, are long arcades of marble columns, the
lower ones adorned with sculptures in relief, the upper ones ending in
graceful circles pierced with quatrefoils. Above them is the crowning
glory of the building,—a beautiful expanse of variegated marble, with
intricate designs running diagonally over its surface. At every corner
the twisted column of Byzantine architecture is observed, and on the
border of the roof a fringe of pinnacles and pointed arches cuts its
keen silhouette against the sky. The lower columns seem perhaps a
trifle short, but this is because the building has gradually settled
toward the sea, as if unable to support the burden of its years and

By day this palace is superbly beautiful; but, in the evening, when
illumined by the moon, or flooded with electric light, it is, perhaps,
the most imposing structure in the whole of Europe. At such a time
it looks like an immense sarcophagus of precious stone, in which the
glories of old Venice lie entombed. The colonnades around the Ducal
Palace give perfect shelter from the sun or rain, and hundreds stroll
here through the day, having the somber palace on the one side, and, on
the other, all the gaiety of the Grand Canal. But in the evening, when
the adjoining St. Mark's Square is thronged with promenaders, and music
floats upon the air, the arcade is to the Piazza what a conservatory is
to a ball-room. Lovers invariably find such places, for not even the
moonbeams can penetrate these shadows. At such a time the promenades
seem shadowy lanes of love conducting from the gay Piazza to the
waiting gondola.


To know the past of the Ducal Palace thoroughly would be to know the
entire history of Venice, from its transcendent glories to its darkest
crimes. For this was not alone the residence of the Doges; it was at
different epochs the Senate-House, the Court of Justice, a prison, and
even a place of execution. Fronting upon the courtyard, just beneath
the roof, the tourist sees some small, round windows. They admit a
little light to a few cells, known as the Piombi, or Leads, because
they were located just beneath the lead roof of the palace. In summer
the heat in them is almost unendurable. And yet in one of them the
Italian patriot and poet, Silvio Pellico, seventy years ago, was kept
a wretched captive, and he has related the sad story of his sufferings
in his famous book, _Le mie Prigioni_, or "My Prisons."

  [Illustration: A DUCAL PORTAL.]

It is but a step from the outer corridors into the courtyard of the
palace. Four elegantly decorated marble walls enclose this, and one
instinctively looks up to see the splendid robes of Senators light
up the sculptured colonnades, and the rich toilettes of the Venetian
ladies trail upon the marble stairways. But no! This square, whose
walls have echoed to the footsteps of the Doges, now guards a solemn
silence. In its pathetic, voiceless beauty, it is perhaps the saddest
spot in Venice.

  [Illustration: THE COLONNADES.]

Two beautiful bronze well-curbs glitter in the foreground; but though
the wells which they enclose contain good water, almost no life
surrounds them, and to the modern visitor they now resemble gorgeous
jewel-caskets, which years ago were rifled of their precious gems.

  [Illustration: A WELL-CURB.]


  [Illustration: THE GIANTS' STEPS.]


Beyond these, one observes a marble staircase leading to the second
story. It is imposing when one stands before it. Above it frowns the
winged lion of St. Mark, as if to challenge all who dare set foot
upon these steps. Stationed like sentinels to the right and left are
two colossal statues representing Mars and Neptune, which have indeed
given the name, "The Giants' Staircase," to this thoroughfare of
marble. Their stony silence is almost oppressive. Think of the splendid
pageants and historic scenes which they have looked upon, but which
their unimpassioned lips will ne'er describe! Between these figures,
on the topmost stair, amid a scene of splendor which even the greatest
of Venetian artists could only faintly represent, the Doges were
inaugurated into sovereignty. Here they pronounced their solemn oath of
office; and one of them, Marino Faliero, having betrayed his trust, was
here beheaded for his crime. It will be remembered that Byron's tragedy
of Marino Faliero closes with the line:

     "The gory head rolls down the Giants' Steps."


When one has passed these marble giants and entered the state
apartments of the palace, despite the intimation given by the outer
walls, one is astonished at the splendor here revealed. As the bright
sunlight falls on the mosaic pavement, it is easy to imagine that one
is walking on a beach whose glittering sands are grains of gold. The
roof and walls are covered with enormous masterpieces set in golden
frames. All of them have one theme—the glorification of Venice. One
of them, finished by Tintoretto when he was more than three score
years and ten, is seventy feet in length, and is the largest painting
known to art. One trembles to think what fire could accomplish
here in a single night, not only in this Ducal Palace, but in the
equally marvelous buildings which adjoin it; for they could never be
reproduced. They are unique in the world.


Each of these gold-enameled halls is like a gorgeous vase, in which
are blooming fadelessly the flowers of Venetian history. What scenes
have been enacted here, when on these benches sat the Councilors of
the Republic wearing their scarlet robes! Upon their votes depended
life and death; and here the die was cast for peace or war. Close by
the door was placed a lion's head of marble, into the mouth of which
(the famous _Bocca di Lione_) secret denunciations were cast. These
were examined by the Council of Ten, all of whose acts were shrouded
in profoundest secrecy; and such at last was their despotic power that
even the Doge himself came to be nothing but the slave and mouthpiece
of that group of tyrants, and was as little safe from them as those
whose sentences he automatically signed.


  [Illustration: THE WINGED LION.]

While standing here, there naturally presents itself to one's
imagination a scene in the old days when, as the Doge descended from
his palace, he met some lowly suppliant presenting to him an appeal
for mercy. Ah, what a glorious age was that for Venice!—when her
victorious flag rolled out its purple folds over the richest islands
of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic; when she possessed the largest
armory and the most extensive dock-yards in the world (in which ten
thousand beams of oak were always ready for the construction of new
ships); when she could boast of having the first bank of deposit ever
founded in Europe; when (Rome excepted) she was the first to print
books in Italy; and when she sold in St. Mark's Square the first
newspaper ever known to the world, demanding for it a little coin
called _gazetta_, which has given us the word "gazette."

  [Illustration: THE GOLDEN AGE OF VENICE.]

Recalling these Venetian exploits, I stood one evening in one of the
most delightful places in all Venice,—the upper balcony of the Ducal
Palace. Lingering here and looking out between the sculptured columns
toward the island of San Giorgio, I thought of the old times when every
year, upon Ascension Day, the Doge descended from this balcony and
stepped upon a barge adorned with canopies of gold and velvet, and with
a deck inlaid with ebony and mother-of-pearl. Then, to the sound of
martial music, that splendid vessel swept out toward the sea, propelled
by eighty gilded oars; till, finally, amidst the roar of cannon and the
shouts of the assembled populace, the Doge cast into the blue waves a
ring of gold, exclaiming solemnly: "We wed thee, O Sea, with this ring,
emblem of our rightful and perpetual dominion."

  [Illustration: ISLAND OF SAN GIORGIO.]

But there was another side to this magnificent picture, which dimmed
the splendor of Venetian palaces. For just behind the residence of
the Doges, suspended over the canal,—"a palace and a prison on each
hand,"—is one of the best known structures in the world,—the Bridge
of Sighs. This is indeed a sad memorial of tyranny. True, recent
scoffers at sentiment sneer at the associations of this bridge, and
one has even called it a "pathetic swindle." But, whether or not
the prisoners of Venice breathed through these grated windows a last
sigh, as they relinquished life and liberty, certain it is that in
the building on the right, far down below the water's edge, are some
of the most horrible dungeons that human cruelty has ever designed;
and any visitor to Venice may cross this bridge and grope his way down
moldering flights of stone steps to behold them.

  [Illustration: A VENETIAN FISHER BOY.]

All who have done so will recollect those fetid cells, slimy with
dampness, shrouded in darkness, and stifling from the exhausted air
which filters to them through the narrow corridors. They will remember
the iron grating through which was passed the scanty food that for a
time prolonged the prisoner's life; the grooves of the old guillotine,
by means of which, after excruciating torture, he was put to death; and
then the narrow opening through which the body was removed at night and
rowed out to a distant spot, where it was death to cast a net. Here,
unillumined even by a torch, it sank, freighted with heavy stones,
into the sea, whose gloomy depths will guard all secrets hidden in its
breast until its waters shall give up their dead.

  [Illustration: BRIDGE OF SIGHS.]

  [Illustration: ST. MARK'S CATHEDRAL.]

Connected with the Ducal residence is the world-renowned St. Mark's
Cathedral. The old Venetians built not only palaces for men; they made
their shrines to God palatial. I looked on this one with bewilderment.
There is no structure like it in the world. Its bulbous domes and
minaret-like belfries remind one of the Orient. It seems more like a
Mohammedan than a Christian temple. If the phrase be permitted, it is
a kind of Christian mosque. The truth is, the Venetians brought back
from their victories in the East ideas of Oriental architecture which
had pleased them, and were thus able to produce a wonderful blending of
Moorish, Arabic, and Gothic art.

  [Illustration: ST. MARK'S CATHEDRAL.]

What a façade is this! Here, massed in serried ranks, are scores
of variously colored marble columns, each one a monolith, and all
possessing an eventful history. Some are from Ephesus, others from
Smyrna, while others still are from Constantinople, and more than one
even from Jerusalem. On one, the hand of Cleopatra may have rested;
another may have cast its shadow on St. Paul; a third may have been
looked upon by Jesus. St. Mark's is the treasure-house of Venice,—a
place of pride as well as of prayer. Here was heaped up the booty which
she gained from her repeated conquests. The Doge's Palace was the brain
of Venice; the Grand Piazza was its heart; but this Cathedral was its

  [Illustration: THE BRONZE HORSES.]

  [Illustration: THE PORTAL OF ST. MARK'S.]

  [Illustration: CORNER OF THE CATHEDRAL.]

The work of beautifying this old church was carried on enthusiastically
for five hundred years. Each generation tried to outdo all that had
preceded it. Again and again Venetian fleets swept proudly up the
Adriatic, laden with spoils destined for this glorious shrine. _Viva
San Marco!_ was the watchword alike of her armies and her navies; and
when the captains of Venetian fleets came homeward from the Orient,
the first inquiry put to them was this: "What new and splendid
offering bring you for San Marco?" The dust of ages, therefore, may
have gathered on this building, but it is, at least, the dust of gold.
Its domes and spires glisten with the yellow lustre. It even gilds
the four bronze horses which surmount its portal. These are among the
most interesting statues in the world. We know not who the sculptor
was that gave them their apparent life; but it is certain that they
were carried to Rome and there attached to Nero's golden chariot.
In the fourth century after Christ the emperor Constantine, when he
transferred the seat of empire from the Tiber to the Bosphorus, took
them to Constantinople, where for nine hundred years they proudly stood
beside the Golden Horn. Then, when that capital was plundered by the
Venetians, they were brought hither, and for five hundred years they
adorned the entrance to St. Mark's. Even here their travels had not
ended; for, a century ago, Napoleon, when conqueror of Italy, caused
them to be conveyed to Paris, where, in the shadow of the Tuileries,
they watched the triumph of the modern Cæsar. But after Waterloo,
Venice once more claimed them for her own.

  [Illustration: A VENETIAN LANE.]

It is an impressive moment when one passes beneath these gilded steeds
and enters the interior of the cathedral. A twilight gloom pervades it,
well suited to its age and the mysterious origin of all it contains.
The walls and roof are so profusely covered with mosaics and precious
marbles that it is easy to understand why St. Mark's has been called
the "Church of Gold," and likened to a cavern hung with stalactites of
precious stones. Some of these ornaments are of pagan origin; others
have come from Christian shrines. All, however, have had to pay their
contribution to St. Mark's. Thus Santa Sophia at Constantinople, though
still a Christian church and dedicated to the Saviour, was plundered
to embellish the Venetian shrine named after His apostle. Hence, it is
the literal truth that, overflowing with the spoils of other cities
and sanctuaries, St. Mark's is a magnificent repository of booty—a
veritable den of thieves. In the most prominent position in the church
is the receptacle guarded by the statues of the twelve apostles,
where is kept, as the most precious of its treasures, the body of St.
Mark. On one side is the pulpit from which the old Doge, Dandolo, when
ninety-three years of age, urged his people to undertake the fourth

  [Illustration: A VIEW ON THE GRAND CANAL.]



"Men of Venice!" he exclaimed, "I am old and weak, and I need rest,
but I will go with you to rescue from the infidel the Holy Sepulchre,
and I will be victorious or lose my life." Hearing these words, the
assembled people made these walls resound with the cry: "So be it!
Lead us on! For God's sake go with us!" Then the old Doge descended
from the pulpit, and standing on the steps between the jasper columns,
received the badge of the Crusaders, the Cross of Christ, a miniature
reproduction of the colossal crucifix, which glittered then, as it
still gleams to-day, above the place on which he stood.

  [Illustration: A TYPE OF GONDOLIER.]

On leaving this marvelous structure, one steps directly into the
adjoining St. Mark's Square. If it be the hour of siesta, it will
appear deserted. Yet this has been for centuries the Forum of Venetian
life; the favorite place for her festivities; the beautiful, historic
stage on which have been enacted most of the scenes connected with
her glorious past. Around it are fine marble structures, which even
now are used for offices of State. Within these long arcades are the
most attractive shops in Venice, and, were there only a garden in the
centre, the place would remind one of the Palais Royal at Paris, which
was, in fact, built in imitation of this square. To-day the popularity
of the Parisian square is waning, since many of its gorgeous shops
have migrated to the Rue de la Paix. But owing to its situation, the
attractiveness of the Venetian court can hardly be diminished. While
Venice lasts, its glory must remain undimmed by Time.

  [Illustration: A FISHERMAN.]

On summer evenings, when the city wakes to life and music, the famous
square bursts into the gaiety of a ball-room, and is the favorite
rendezvous of all lovers and pleasure-seekers, whether natives or
foreigners. Here, several times a week, fine military music floats
upon the air, and hundreds of men and women stroll along these marble
blocks, which in the moonlight seem as white as snow. Others, meantime,
are seated beneath the neighboring arches, sipping coffee or sherbet,
laughing and talking in the soft Venetian dialect, and, like the
Japanese, seeming to appreciate the mere joy of living, an art which
many of us, alas, have lost.

  [Illustration: THE PIAZZA DI SAN MARCO.]

One pretty feature of this historic area is its pigeons. Their homes
are in the marble arches of the adjoining buildings; and shortly after
midday, every afternoon, they suddenly appear in great numbers; now
rising in a pretty cloud of fluttering wings; now grouped together like
an undulating wave of eider-down. Foreigners, in particular, love to
feed them; and in return for the kindness they receive, the pigeons at
times alight upon the shoulders of a stranger or courageously pick up
crumbs from outstretched hands. It is not strange that Venice should
guard these birds so tenderly. Six centuries ago, when the Venetians
were blockading the island of Candia, the Doge's officers observed
that pigeons frequently flew above their heads. Suspecting something,
they contrived to shoot a few, and each was found to have beneath its
wing a message to the enemy. Acting on information thus acquired, the
Venetian admiral made his attack at once and captured the island in
twelve hours. The carrier-pigeons which they found there were therefore
taken home to Venice and treated with the utmost kindness, and their
descendants have ever since been favorites of the people.

  [Illustration: FEEDING THE PIGEONS.]

On walking from the Piazza toward the Grand Canal, one always finds
at the extremity of the Piazzetta a line of waiting gondolas. At
once a shower of soft Italian syllables falls musically on the air:
"Una gondola, Signore! Commanda una gondola; Una barca, Signore;
Una bellissima barca; Vuol' andare? Eccomi pronto!" The speakers
are Venetian coachmen, and the contrast is a startling one between
the liquid vowels of their speech and the rasping cries of our
American drivers: "Want a cow-pay, lady?" "Want a kerridge?" "Want a
hack—hack—hack?" As for the gondoliers themselves, how picturesque
they look with their white suits and colored scarfs! Who can resist
the impulse to enter one of these pretty barges and give oneself to the
enjoyment of the hour?

  [Illustration: WAITING GONDOLAS.]

Few things are more delightful than floating here in a gondola
after the heat of a summer day. We say summer, for Venice should, if
possible, be always visited in warm weather—the healthiest season
here. Then only can one thoroughly enjoy its outdoor life. However
sultry it may be on land, in Venice it is reasonably cool, and the
broad bosom of the Adriatic, as it swells and falls, breathes through
the streets of Venice the delicious freshness of the sea. At such a
time, to idly float upon this beautiful expanse, dreaming of art and
history (perchance of love), through the sweet, tranquil hours which
bear upon their noiseless wings the hint of a repose still held in
the unfolded hands of Night,—that is happiness,—that is rest! At
such a time one loves to call to mind the scenes which must have often
taken place upon the surface of this siren sea, when Venice had no
less than thirty thousand gondolas, of which at least one-third were
richly decorated, and vied with one another in their gilded draperies
and carvings. To such an extent, indeed, did reckless competition
in them go, that the Doge finally issued a decree that they should
thenceforth have black awnings only. Since then Venetian gondolas have
been prosaic in appearance, though their dark awnings have increased
the opportunities for crime or intrigue, and they have often been the
rendezvous of hate or love,—ideal vehicles for murder or elopement.

  [Illustration: IN A GONDOLA.]

     "In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
     And silent rows the songless gondolier:
     Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
     And music meets not always now the ear:
     Those days are gone—but Beauty still is here.
     States fall, arts fade,—but Nature doth not die,
     Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
     The pleasant place of all festivity,
     The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!"

To the lover of the beautiful in Nature the most enchanting
characteristic of this City of the Sea is its sunset glow. Italian
sunsets are all beautiful; but those of Venice are the loveliest of
all. Their softness, brilliancy and splendor cannot be described. The
last which I beheld here, on a night in June, surpassed all others I
had ever seen. The shadows were falling to the eastward; the hush of
night was stealing on the world. The cares of life seemed disappearing
down the radiant west together with the God of Day. Between us and
the setting sun there seemed to fall a shower of powdered gold. The
entire city was pervaded by a golden light, which yet was perfectly
transparent, like the purest ether.

  [Illustration: LIKE A BEAUTIFUL MIRAGE.]

As we drew nearer to the Grand Canal the scene grew even more
enchanting. In the refulgent light the city lay before us like a
beautiful mirage, enthroned upon a golden bank between two seas,—the
ocean and the sky. Her streets seemed filled with liquid sunshine.
The steps of her patrician palaces appeared entangled in the
meshes of a golden net. The neighboring islands looked like jeweled
wreckage floating from a barge of gold. The whole effect was that
of a poem without words, illustrated by Titian, and having for a
soft accompaniment the ripple of the radiant waves. I have seen
many impressive sights in many climes; but for triumphant beauty,
crystallized in stone and glorified by the setting sun, I can recall
no scene more matchless in its loveliness than that which I enjoyed,
when, on this richly-tinted sea, I watched the Bride and Sovereign of
the Adriatic pass to the curtained chamber of the night enveloped in a
veil of gold.

  [Illustration: IN VENICE AT SUNSET.]

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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.