Infomotions, Inc.Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland, part 2 / Various

Author: Various
Title: Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland, part 2
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Project Gutenberg's Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume VI, by Various

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Title: Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume VI

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Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland

Part Two

VI. HUNGARY--(_Continued_)


THE GIPSIES--By H. Tornai de Koever


TRIESTE AND POLA--By Edward A. Freeman

SPALATO--By Edward A. Freeman

RAGUSA--By Harry De Windt

CATTARO--By Edward A. Freeman


CRACOW--By Menie Muriel Dowie


THE CAVE OF ADELSBERG--By George Stillman Hillard

THE MONASTERY OF MOeLK--By Thomas Frognall Dibdin

THROUGH THE TYROL--By William Cullen Bryant

IN THE DOLOMITES--By Archibald Campbell Knowles

CORTINA--By Amelia B. Edwards


THE CALL OF THE MOUNTAINS--By Frederick Harrison

INTERLAKEN AND THE JUNGFRAU--By Archibald Campbell Knowles


LUCERNE--By Victor Tissot

ZURICH--By W.D. M'Crackan

THE RIGI--By W.D. M'Crackan

CHAMOUNI--AN AVALANCHE--By Percy Bysshe Shelley

ZERMATT--By Archibald Campbell Knowles


GENEVA--By Francis H. Gribble

THE CASTLE OF CHILLON--By Harriet Beecher Stowe

BY RAIL UP THE GORNER-GRAT--By Archibald Campbell Knowles






AN ASCENT OF MONTE ROSA (1858)--By John Tyndall


THE JUNGFRAU-JOCH--By Sir Leslie Stephen


THE GREAT ST. BERNARD HOSPICE--By Archibald Campbell Knowles

AVALANCHES--By Victor Tissot







































  [Illustration: MARIENBAD, AUSTRIA]








  [Illustration: STREET IN BUDAPEST]

  Burial-place of the Emperor Diocletian]

  [Illustration: REGUSA, DALMATIA]

  [Illustration: MIRAMAR
  Long the home of the ex-Empress Carlotta of Mexico]

  [Illustration: GENEVA]









In Hungary there are great quantities of unearthed riches, and not only
in the form of gold. These riches are the mineral waters that abound in
the country and have been the natural medicine of the people for many
years. Water in itself was always worshiped by the Hungarians in the
earliest ages, and they have found out through experience for which
ailment the different waters may be used. There are numbers of small
watering-places in the most primitive state, which are visited by the
peasants from far and wide, more especially those that are good for

Like all people that work much in the open, the Hungarian in old age
feels the aching of his limbs. The Carpathians are full of such baths,
some of them quite primitive; others are used more as summer resorts,
where the well-to-do town people build their villas; others, again,
like Tatra Fuered, Tatra Lomnicz, Csorba, and many others, have every
accommodation and are visited by people from all over Europe. In former
times Germans and Poles were the chief visitors, but now people come
from all parts to look at the wonderful ice-caves (where one can skate
in the hottest summer), the waterfalls, and the great pine forests, and
make walking, driving, and riding tours right up to the snow-capped
mountains, preferring the comparative quiet of this Alpine district to
that of Switzerland. Almost every place has some special mineral water,
and among the greatest wonders of Hungary are the hot mud-baths of

This place is situated at the foot of the lesser Carpathians, and is
easily reached from the main line of the railway. The scenery is lovely
and the air healthy, but this is nothing compared to the wondrous waters
and hot mire which oozes out of the earth in the vicinity of the river
Vag. Hot sulfuric water, which contains radium, bubbles up in all parts
of Poestyen, and even the bed of the cold river is full of steaming
hot mud. As far back as 1551 we know of the existence of Poestyen as a
natural cure, and Sir Spencer Wells, the great English doctor, wrote
about these waters in 1888. They are chiefly good for rheumatism, gout,
neuralgia, the strengthening of broken bones, strains, and also for

On the premises there is a quaint museum with crutches and all sort of
sticks and invalid chairs left there by their former owners in grateful
acknowledgment of the wonderful waters and mire that had healed them. Of
late there has been much comfort added; great new baths have been built,
villas and new hotels added, so that there is accommodation for rich
and poor alike. The natural heat of the mire is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plenty of amusements are supplied for those who are not great
sufferers--tennis, shooting, fishing, boating, and swimming being all
obtainable. The bathing-place and all the adjoining land belongs to
Count Erdoedy.

Another place of the greatest importance is the little bath "Parad,"
hardly three hours from Budapest, situated in the heart of the mountains
of the "Matra." It is the private property of Count Karolyi. The place
is primitive and has not even electric light. Its waters are a wonderful
combination of iron and alkaline, but this is not the most important
feature. Besides the baths there is a strong spring of arsenic water
which, through a fortunate combination, is stronger and more digestible
than Roncegno and all the other first-rate waters of that kind in the

Not only in northern Hungary does one find wondrous cures, it is the
same in Transylvania. There are healing and splendid mineral waters for
common use all over the country lying idle and awaiting the days when
its owners will be possest by the spirit of enterprise. Borszek,
Szovata, and many others are all wonders in their way, waters that would
bring in millions to their owners if only worked properly. Szovata,
boasts of a lake containing such an enormous proportion of salt that not
even the human body can sink into its depths.

In the south there is Herkulesfuerdoe, renowned as much for the beauty of
its scenery as for its waters. Besides those mentioned there are all
the summer pleasure resorts; the best of these are situated along Lake
Balaton. The tepid water, long sandbanks, and splendid air from the
forests make them specially healthy for delicate children. But not only
have the bathing-places beautiful scenery from north to south and from
east to west, in general the country abounds in Alpine districts,
waterfalls, caves, and other wonders of nature. The most beautiful
tour is along the river Vag, starting from the most northerly point in
Hungary near the beautiful old stronghold of Arva in the county of Arva.

All those that care to see a country as it really is, and do not mind
going out of the usual beaten track of the globe-trotter, should go down
the river Vag. It can not be done by steamer, or any other comfortable
contrivance, one must do it on a raft, as the rapids of the river are
not to be passed by any other means. The wood is transported in this
way from the mountain regions to the south, and for two days one passes
through the most beautiful scenery. Fantastic castles loom at the top of
mountain peaks, and to each castle is attached a page of the history of
the Middle Ages, when the great noblemen were also the greatest robbers
of the land, and the people were miserable serfs, who did all the work
and were taxed and robbed by their masters. Castles, wild mountain
districts, rugged passes, villages, and ruins are passed like a
beautiful panorama. The river rushes along, foaming and dashing over
sharp rocks. The people are reliable and very clever in handling the
raft, which requires great skill, especially when conducted over the
falls at low water. Sometimes there is only one little spot where the
raft can pass, and to conduct it over those rapids requires absolute
knowledge of every rock hidden under the shallow falls. If notice is
given in time, a rude hut will be built on the raft to give shelter
and make it possible to have meals cooked, altho in the simplest way
(consisting of baked potatoes and stew), by the Slavs who are in charge
of the raft. If anything better is wanted it must be ordered by stopping
at the larger towns; but to have it done in the simple way is entering
into the true spirit of the voyage.



Gipsies! Music! Dancing! These are words of magic to the rich and poor,
noblemen and peasant alike, if he be a true Hungarian. There are two
kinds of gipsies. The wandering thief, who can not be made to take up
any occupation. These are a terribly lawless and immoral people, and
there seems to be no way of altering their life and habits, altho much
has been written on the subject to improve matters; but the Government
has shown itself to be helpless as yet. These people live here and
there, in fact everywhere, leading a wandering life in carts, and camp
wherever night overtakes them. After some special evil-doing they will
wander into Rumania or Russia and come back after some years when the
deed of crime has been forgotten. Their movements are so quick and
silent that they outwit the best detectives of the police force. They
speak the gipsy language, but often a half-dozen other languages
besides, in their peculiar chanting voice. Their only occupation is
stealing, drinking, smoking, and being a nuisance to the country in
every way.

The other sort of gipsies consist of those that have squatted down in
the villages some hundreds of years ago. They live in a separate part of
the village, usually at the end, are dirty and untidy and even an unruly
people, but for the most part have taken up some honest occupation.
They make the rough, unbaked earth bricks that the peasant cottages are
mostly made of, are tinkers and blacksmiths, but they do the lowest kind
of work too. Besides these, however, there are the talented ones. The
musical gipsy begins to handle his fiddle as soon as he can toddle.
The Hungarians brought their love of music with them from Asia. Old
parchments have been found which denote that they had their songs and
war-chants at the time of the "home-making," and church and folk-songs
from their earliest Christian period. Peasant and nobleman are musical
alike--it runs in the race. The gipsies that have settled among them
caught up the love of music and are now the best interpreters of the
Hungarian songs. The people have got so used to their "blackies," as
they call them, that no lesser or greater fete day can pass without
the gipsy band having ample work to do in the form of playing for the
people. Their instruments are the fiddle, 'cello, viola, clarinet,
tarogato (a Hungarian specialty), and, above all, the cymbal. The
tarogato looks like a grand piano with the top off. It stands on four
legs like a table and has wires drawn across it; on these wires the
player performs with two little sticks, that are padded at the ends
with cotton-wool. The sound is wild and weird, but if well played very
beautiful indeed. The gipsies seldom compose music. The songs come into
life mostly on the spur of the moment. In the olden days war-songs and
long ballads were the most usual form of music. The seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries were specially rich in the production of songs that
live even now. At that time the greatest gipsy musician was a woman: her
name was "Czinka Panna," and she was called the Gipsy Queen. With the
change of times the songs are altered too, and now they are mostly
lyric. Csardas is the quick form of music, and tho' of different
melodies it must always be kept to the same rhythm. This is not much
sung to, but is the music for the national dance. The peasants play on
a little wooden flute which is called the "Tilinko," or "Furulya," and
they know hundreds of sad folk-songs and lively Csardas. While living
their isolated lives in the great plains they compose many a beautiful

It is generally from the peasants and the musical country gentry that
the gipsy gets his music. He learns the songs after a single hearing,
and plays them exactly according to the singer's wish. The Hungarian
noble when singing with the gipsies is capable of giving the dark-faced
boys every penny he has. In this manner many a young nobleman has been
ruined, and the gipsies make nothing of it, because they are just like
their masters and "spend easily earned money easily," as the saying
goes. Where there is much music there is much dancing. Every Sunday
afternoon after church the villages are lively with the sound of the
gipsy band, and the young peasant boys and girls dance.

The Slovaks of the north play a kind of bagpipe, which reminds one of
the Scotch ones; but the songs of the Slovak have got very much mixed
with the Hungarian. The Rumanian music is of a distinct type, but the
dances all resemble the Csardas, with the difference that the quick
figures in the Slav and Rumanian dances are much more grotesque and
verging on acrobatism.





Trieste stands forth as a rival of Venice, which has, in a low practical
view of things, outstript her. Italian zeal naturally cries for the
recovery of a great city, once part of the old Italian kingdom, and
whose speech is largely, perhaps chiefly, Italian to this day. But, a
cry of "Italia Irredenta," however far it may go, must not go so far
as this. Trieste, a cosmopolitan city on a Slavonic shore, can not be
called Italian in the same sense as the lands and towns so near Verona
which yearn to be as Verona is. Let Trieste be the rival, even the
eyesore, of Venice, still Southern Germany must have a mouth.

We might, indeed, be better pleased to see Trieste a free city, the
southern fellow of Luebeck, Bremen and Hamburg; but it must not be
forgotten that the Archduke of Austria and Lord of Trieste reigns at
Trieste by a far better right than that by which he reigns at Cattaro
and Spizza. The present people of Trieste did not choose him, but the
people of Trieste five hundred years back did choose the forefather of
his great-grandmother. Compared with the grounds of which kingdoms,
duchies, counties, and lordships, are commonly held in that
neighborhood, such a claim as this must be allowed to be respectable

The great haven of Trieste may almost at pleasure be quoted as either
confirming or contradicting the rule that it is not in the great
commercial cities of Europe that we are to look for the choicest or the
most plentiful remains of antiquity. Sometimes the cities themselves
are of modern foundation; in other cases the cities themselves, as
habitations of men and seats of commerce, are of the hoariest antiquity,
but the remains of their early days have perished through their very
prosperity. Massalia,[4] with her long history, with her double wreath
of freedom, the city which withstood Caesar and which withstood Charles
of Anjou, is bare of monuments of her early days. She has been the
victim of her abiding good fortune. We can look down from the height on
the Phokaian harbor; but for actual memorials of the men who fled from
the Persian, of the men who defied the Roman and the Angevin, we might
look as well at Liverpool or at Havre.

Genoa, Venice herself, are hardly real exceptions; they were indeed
commercial cities, but they were ruling cities also, and, as ruling
cities, they reared monuments which could hardly pass away. What are we
to say to the modern rival of Venice, the upstart rebel, one is tempted
to say, against the supremacy of the Hadriatic Queen? Trieste, at the
head of her gulf, with the hills looking down to her haven, with the
snowy mountains which seem to guard the approach from the other side of
her inland sea, with her harbor full of the ships of every nation, her
streets echoing with every tongue, is she to be reckoned as an example
of the rule or an exception to it?

No city at first sight seems more thoroughly modern; old town and
new, wide streets and narrow, we search them in vain for any of those
vestiges of past times which in some cities meet us at every step.
Compare Trieste with Ancona;[5] we miss the arch of Trajan on the haven;
we miss the cupola of Saint Cyriacus soaring in triumph above the
triumphal monument of the heathen. We pass through the stately streets
of the newer town, we thread the steep ascents which lead us to the
older town above, and we nowhere light on any of those little scraps of
ornamental architecture, a window, a doorway, a column, which meet us at
every step in so many of the cities of Italy.

Yet the monumental wealth of Trieste is all but equal to the monumental
wealth of Ancona. At Ancona we have the cathedral church and the
triumphal arch; so we have at Trieste; tho' at Trieste we have nothing
to set against the grand front of the lower and smaller church of
Ancona. But at Ancona arch and duomo both stand out before all eyes;
at Trieste both have to be looked for. The church of Saint Justus at
Trieste crowns the hill as well as the church of Saint Cyriacus at
Ancona; but it does not in the same way proclaim its presence. The
castle, with its ugly modern fortifications, rises again above the
church; and the duomo of Trieste, with its shapeless outline and its
low, heavy, unsightly campanile, does not catch the eyes like the Greek
cross and cupola of Ancona.

Again at Trieste the arch could never, in its best days, have been a
rival to the arch at Ancona; and now either we have to hunt it out by an
effort, or else it comes upon us suddenly, standing, as it does, at the
head of a mean street on the ascent to the upper town. Of a truth it can
not compete with Ancona or with Rimini, with Orange[6] or with Aosta.
But the duomo, utterly unsightly as it is in a general view, puts on
quite a new character when we first see the remains of pagan times
imprisoned in the lower stage of the heavy campanile, still more so when
we take our first glance of its wonderful interior. At the first glimpse
we see that here there is a mystery to be unraveled; and as we gradually
find the clue to the marvelous changes which it has undergone, we
feel that outside show is not everything, and that, in point both
of antiquity and of interest, tho' not of actual beauty, the double
basilica of Trieste may claim no mean place among buildings of its own
type. Even after the glories of Rome and Ravenna, the Tergestine church
may be studied with no small pleasure and profit, as an example of a
kind of transformation of which neither Rome nor Ravenna can supply
another example....

The other ancient relic at Trieste is the small triumphal arch. On one
side it keeps its Corinthian pilasters; on the other they are imbedded
in a house. The arch is in a certain sense double; but the two are close
together, and touch in the keystone. The Roman date of this arch can not
be doubted; but legends connect it both with Charles the Great and with
Richard of Poitou and of England, a prince about whom Tergestine fancy
has been very busy. The popular name of the arch is Arco Riccardo.

Such, beside some fragments in the museum, are all the remains that the
antiquary will find in Trieste; not much in point of number, but, in the
case of the duomo at least, of surpassing interest in their own way. But
the true merit of Trieste is not in anything that it has itself, its
church, its arch, its noble site. Placed there at the head of the gulf,
on the borders of two great portions of the Empire, it leads to the land
which produced that line of famous Illyrian Emperors who for a while
checked the advance of our own race in the world's history, and it leads
specially to the chosen home of the greatest among them.[7] The chief
glory of Trieste, after all, is that it is the way to Spalato....

At Pola the monuments of Pietas Julia claim the first place; the
basilica, tho' not without a certain special interest, comes long after
them. The character of the place is fixt by the first sight of it; we
see the present and we see the more distant past; the Austrian navy is
to be seen, and the amphitheater is to be seen. But intermediate times
have little to show; if the duomo strikes the eye at all, it strikes it
only by the extreme ugliness of its outside, nor is there anything very
taking, nothing like the picturesque castle of Pirano, in the works
which occupy the site of the colonial capitol. The duomo should not be
forgotten; even the church of Saint Francis is worth a glance; but it is
in the remains of the Roman colony, in the amphitheater, the arches,
the temples, the fragments preserved in that temple which serves, as
at Nimes,[8] for a museum, that the real antiquarian wealth of Pola

The known history of Pola begins with the Roman conquest of Istria
in 178 B.C. The town became a Roman colony and a flourishing seat of
commerce. Its action on the republican side in the civil war brought
on it the vengeance of the second Caesar. But the destroyer became
the restorer, and Pietas Julia, in the height of its greatness, far
surpassed the extent either of the elder or the younger Pola. Like all
cities of this region, Pola kept up its importance down to the days of
the Carlovingian Empire, the specially flourishing time of the whole
district being that of Gothic and Byzantine dominion at Ravenna. A
barbarian king, the Roxolan Rasparasanus, is said to have withdrawn to
Pola after the submission of his nation to Hadrian; and the panegyrists
of the Flavian house rank Pola along with Trier and Autun among the
cities which the princes of that house had adorned or strengthened. But
in the history of their dynasty the name of the city chiefly stands out
as the chosen place for the execution of princes whom it was convenient
to put out of the way.

Here Crispus died at the bidding of Constantine, and Gallus at the
bidding of Constantius. Under Theodoric, Pola doubtless shared that
general prosperity of the Istrian land on which Cassiodorus grows
eloquent when writing to its inhabitants. In the next generation Pola
appears in somewhat of the same character which has come back to it in
our own times; it was there that Belisarius gathered the Imperial fleet
for his second and less prosperous expedition against the Gothic lords
of Italy. But, after the break up of the Frankish Empire, the history of
medieval Pola is but a history of decline. It was, in the geography of
Dante, the furthest city of Italy; but, like most of the other cities of
its own neighborhood, its day of greatness had passed away when Dante

Tossed to and fro between the temporal and spiritual lords who claimed
to be marquesses of Istria, torn by the dissensions of aristocratic and
popular parties among its own citizens, Pola found rest, the rest of
bondage, in submission to the dominion of Saint Mark in 1331.[9] Since
then, till its new birth in our own times, Pola has been a failing city.
Like the other Istrian and Dalmatian towns, modern revolutions have
handed it over from Venice to Austria, from Austria to France, from
France to Austria again. It is under its newest masters that Pola has
at last begun to live a fresh life, and the haven whence Belisarius[10]
sailed forth has again become a haven in more than name, the cradle of
the rising navy of the united Austrian and Hungarian realm.

That haven is indeed a noble one. Few sights are more striking than to
see the huge mass of the amphitheater at Pola seeming to rise at once
out of the land-locked sea. As Pola is seen now, the amphitheater is the
one monument of its older days, which strikes the eye in the general
view, and which divides attention with signs that show how heartily the
once forsaken city has entered on its new career. But in the old time
Pola could show all the buildings which befitted its rank as a colony
of Rome. The amphitheater, of course, stood without the walls; the city
itself stood at the foot and on the slope of the hill which was crowned
by the capitol of the colony, where the modern fortress rises above the
Franciscan church. Parts of the Roman wall still stand; one of its gates
is left; another has left a neighbor and a memory....

Travelers are sometimes apt to complain, and that not wholly without
reason, that all amphitheaters are very like one another. At Pola this
remark is less true than elsewhere, as the amphitheater there has
several marked peculiarities of its own. We do not pretend to expound
all its details scientifically; but this we may say, that those who
dispute--if the dispute still goes on--about various points as regards
the Coliseum at Rome will do well to go and look for some further light
in the amphitheater of Pola. The outer range, which is wonderfully
perfect, while the inner arrangements are fearfully ruined, consists, on
the side toward the town, of two rows of arches, with a third story with
square-headed openings above them.

But the main peculiarity in the outside is to be found in four
tower-like projections, not, as at Arles and Nimes, signs of Saracenic
occupation, but clearly parts of the original design. Many conjectures
have been made about them; they look as if they were means of approach
to the upper part of the building; but it is wisest not to be positive.
But the main peculiarity of this amphitheater is that it lies on the
slope of a hill, which thus supplied a natural basement for the seats on
one side only. But this same position swallowed up the lower arcade on
this side, and it hindered the usual works underneath the seats from
being carried into this part of the building.



The main object and center of all historical and architectural inquiries
on the Dalmatian coast is, of course, the home of Diocletian, the still
abiding palace of Spalato. From a local point of view, it is the spot
which the greatest of the long line of renowned Illyrian Emperors chose
as his resting-place from the toils of warfare and government, and
where he reared the vastest and noblest dwelling that ever arose at the
bidding of a single man. From an ecumenical point of view, Spalato is
yet more. If it does not rank with Rome, Old and New, with Ravenna and
with Trier, it is because it never was, like them, an actual seat of
empire. But it not the less marks a stage, and one of the greatest
stages, in the history of the Empire.

On his own Dalmatian soil, Docles of Salone, Diocletian of Rome, was the
man who had won fame for his own land, and who, on the throne of the
world, did not forget his provincial birthplace. In the sight of Rome
and of the world Jovius Augustus was more than this. Alike in the
history of politics and in the history of art, he has left his mark on
all time that has come after him, and it is on his own Spalato that
his mark has been most deeply stamped. The polity of Rome and the
architecture of Rome alike received a new life at his hands. In each
alike he cast away shams and pretenses, and made the true construction
of the fabric stand out before men's eyes. Master of the Rome world, if
not King, yet more than King, he let the true nature of his power be
seen, and, first among the Caesars, arrayed himself with the outward pomp
of sovereignty.

In a smaller man we might have deemed the change a mark of weakness, a
sign of childish delight in gewgaws, titles, and trappings. Such could
hardly have been the motive in the man who, when he deemed that his work
was done, could cast away both the form and the substance of power, and
could so steadily withstand all temptations to take them up again. It
was simply that the change was fully wrought; that the chief magistrate
of the commonwealth had gradually changed into the sovereign of the
Empire; that Imperator, Caesar, and Augustus, once titles lowlier than
that of King, had now become, as they have ever since remained, titles
far loftier. The change was wrought, and all that Diocletian did was to
announce the fact of the change to the world.

Nor did the organizing hand of Jovius confine its sphere to the polity
of the Empire only. He built himself a house, and, above all builders,
he might boast himself of the house that he had builded. Fast by his
own birthplace--a meaner soul might have chosen some distant
spot--Diocletian reared the palace which marks a still greater epoch in
Roman art than his political changes mark in Roman polity. On the inmost
shore of one of the lake-like inlets of the Hadriatic, an inlet guarded
almost from sight by the great island of Bua at its mouth, lay his own
Salona, now desolate, then one of the great cities of the Roman world.
But it was not in the city, it was not close under its walls, that
Diocletian fixt his home. An isthmus between the bay of Salona and the
outer sea cuts off a peninsula, which again throws out two horns into
the water to form the harbor which has for ages supplanted Salona.

There, not on any hill-top, but on a level spot by the coast, with the
sea in front, with a background of more distant mountains, and with
one peaked hill rising between the two seas like a watch-tower, did
Diocletian build the house to which he withdrew when he deemed that his
work of empire was over. And in building that house, he won for himself,
or for the nameless genius whom he set at work, a place in the history
of art worthy to rank alongside of Iktinos of Athens and Anthemios of
Byzantium, of William of Durham and of Hugh of Lincoln.

And now the birthplace of Jovius is forsaken, but his house still
abides, and abides in a shape marvelously little shorn of its ancient
greatness. The name which it still bears comes straight from the name of
the elder home of the Caesars. The fates of the two spots have been in a
strange way the converse of one another. By the banks of the Tiber the
city of Romulus became the house of a single man: by the shores of the
Hadriatic the house of a single man became a city. The Palatine hill
became the Palatium of the Caesars, and Palatium was the name which was
borne by the house of Caesar by the Dalmatian shore. The house became a
city; but its name still clave to it, and the house of Jovius still,
at least in the mouths of its own inhabitants, keeps its name in the
slightly altered form of Spalato....

We land with the moon lighting up the water, with the stars above us,
the northern wain shining on the Hadriatic, as if, while Diocletian was
seeking rest by Salona, the star of Constantine was rising over York
and Trier. Dimly rising above us we see, disfigured indeed, but not
destroyed, the pillared front of the palace, reminding us of the
Tabularium of Rome's own capitol. We pass under gloomy arches, through
dark passages and presently we find ourselves in the center of palace
and city, between those two renowned rows of arches which mark the
greatest of all epochs in the history of the building art. We think how
the man who reorganized the Empire of Rome was also the man who first
put harmony and consistency into the architecture of Rome. We think
that, if it was in truth the crown of Diocletian which passed to every
Caesar from the first Constantius to the last Francis, it was no less in
the pile which rose into being at his word that the germ was planted
which grew into Pisa and Durham, into Westminster and Saint Ouen.

There is light enough to mark the columns put for the first time to
their true Roman use, and to think how strange was the fate which called
up on this spot the happy arrangement which had entered the brain of no
earlier artist--the arrangement which, but a few years later, was to be
applied to another use in the basilica of the Lateran and in Saint Paul
Without the Walls. Yes, it is in the court of the persecutor, the man
who boasted that he had wiped out the Christian superstition from the
world, that we see the noblest forestalling of the long arcades of the
Christian basilica.

It is with thoughts like these, thoughts pressing all the more upon us
where every outline is clear and every detail is visible, that we tread
for the first time the Court of Jovius--the columns with their arches on
either side of us, the vast bell-tower rising to the sky, as if to mock
the art of those whose mightiest works might still seem only to grovel
upon earth. Nowhere within the compass of the Roman world do we find
ourselves more distinctly in the presence of one of the great minds
of the world's history; we see that, alike in politics and in art,
Diocletian breathed a living soul into a lifeless body. In the bitter
irony of the triumphant faith, his mausoleum has become a church, his
temple has become a baptistery, the great bell-tower rises proudly over
his own work; his immediate dwelling-place is broken down and crowded
with paltry houses; but the sea-front and the Golden Gate are still
there amid all disfigurements, and the great peristyle stands almost
unhurt, to remind us of the greatest advance that a single mind ever
made in the progress of the building art.

At the present time the city into which the house of Diocletian has
grown is the largest and most growing town of the Dalmatian coast. It
has had to yield both spiritual and temporal precedence to Zara, but,
both in actual population and all that forms the life of a city, Spalato
greatly surpasses Zara and all its other neighbors. The youngest
Dalmatian towns, which could boast neither of any mythical origin nor of
any Imperial foundation, the city which, as it were, became a city by
mere chance, has outstript the colonies of Epidauros, of Corinth, and of

The palace of Diocletian had but one occupant; after the founder no
Emperor had dwelled in it, unless we hold that this was the villa near
Salona where the deposed Emperor Nepos was slain, during the patriciate
of Odoacer. The forsaken palace seems, while still almost new, to have
become a cloth factory, where women worked, and which therefore appears
in the "Notitia" as a Gynaecium. But when Salona was overthrown, the
palace stood ready to afford shelter to those who were driven from their
homes. The palace, in the widest sense of the word--for of course its
vast circuit took in quarters for soldiers and officials of various
kinds, as well as the rooms actually occupied by the Emperor--stood
ready to become a city.

It was a chester ready made, with its four streets, its four gates, all
but that toward the sea flanked with octagonal towers, and with four
greater square towers at the corners. To this day the circuit of the
walls is nearly perfect; and the space contained within them must be as
large as that contained within some of the oldest chesters in our own
island. The walls, the towers, the gates, are those of a city rather
than of a house. Two of the gates, tho' their towers are gone, are
nearly perfect; the "porta aurea," with its graceful ornaments; the
"porta ferrea" in its stern plainness, strangely crowned with its small
campanile of later days perched on its top. Within the walls, besides
the splendid buildings which still remain, besides the broken-down walls
and chambers which formed the immediate dwelling-place of the founder,
the main streets were lined with massive arcades, large parts of which
still remain.

Diocletian, in short, in building a house, had built a city. In the days
of Constantine Porphyrogenitus it was a "Kaotpov"--Greek and English had
by his day alike borrowed the Latin name; but it was a "Kaotpov" which
Diocletian had built as his own house, and within which was his hall
and palace. In his day the city bore the name of Aspalathon, which he
explains to mean "little palace." When the palace had thus become a
common habitation of men, it is not wonderful that all the more private
buildings whose use had passed away were broken down, disfigured, and
put to mean uses.

The work of building over the site must have gone on from that day to
this. The view in Wheeler shows several parts of the enclosure occupied
by ruins which are now covered with houses. The real wonder is that so
much has been spared and has survived to our own days. And we are rather
surprised to find Constantine saying that in his time the greater part
had been destroyed. For the parts which must always have been the
stateliest remain still. The great open court, the peristyle, with its
arcades, have become the public plaza of the town; the mausoleum on
one side of it and the temple on the other were preserved and put to
Christian uses.

We say the mausoleum, for we fully accept the suggestion made by
Professor Glavinich, the curator of the museum of Spalato, that the
present duomo, traditionally called the Temple of Jupiter, was not a
temple, but a mausoleum. These must have been the great public buildings
of the palace, and, with the addition of the bell-tower, they remain the
chief public buildings of the modern city. But, tho' the ancient square
of the palace remains wonderfully perfect, the modern city, with its
Venetian defenses, its Venetian and later buildings, has spread itself
far beyond the walls of Diocletian. But those walls have made the
history of Spalato, and it is the great buildings which stand within
them that give Spalato its special place in the history of architecture.



Viewed from the sea, and at first sight, the place somewhat resembles
Monte Carlo with its white villas, palms, and background of rugged,
gray hills. But this is the modern portion of the town, outside the
fortifications, erected many centuries ago. Within them lies the
real Ragusa--a wonderful old city which teems with interest, for its
time-worn buildings and picturesque streets recall, at every turn, the
faded glories of this "South Slavonic Athens." A bridge across the moat
which protects the old city is the link between the present and past.
In new Ragusa you may sit on the crowded esplanade of a fashionable
watering place; but pass through a frowning archway into the old
town, and, save in the main street, which has modern shops and other
up-to-date surroundings, you might be living in the dark ages. For as
far back as in the ninth century Ragusa was the capital of Dalmatia
and an independent republic, and since that period her literary and
commercial triumphs, and the tragedies she has survived in the shape
of sieges, earthquakes, and pestilence, render the records of this
little-known state almost as engrossing as those of ancient Rome.

Until I came here I had pictured a squalid Eastern place, devoid of
ancient or modern interest; most of my fellow-countrymen probably do
likewise, notwithstanding the fact that when London was
a small and obscure town Ragusa was already an important center of
commerce and civilization. The republic was always a peaceful one, and
its people excelled in trade and the fine arts. Thus, as early as the
fourteenth century the Ragusan fleet was the envy of the world; its
vessels were then known as Argusas to British mariners, and the English
word "Argosy" is probably derived from the name. These tiny ships went
far afield--to the Levant and Northern Europe, and even to the Indies--a
voyage frought, in those days, with much peril. At this epoch Ragusa had
achieved a mercantile prosperity unequalled throughout Europe, but in
later years the greater part of the fleet joined and perished with the
Spanish Armada.

And this catastrophe was the precursor of a series of national
disasters. In 1667 the city was laid waste by an earthquake which
killed over twenty thousand people, and this was followed by a terrible
visitation of the plague, which further decimated the population.
Ragusa, however, was never a large city, and even at its zenith, in
the sixteenth century, it numbered under forty thousand souls, and now
contains only about a third of that number.

In 1814 the Vienna Congress finally deprived the republic of its
independence, and it became (with Dalmatia) an Austrian possession.
Trade has not increased here of recent years, as in Herzegovina and
Bosnia. The harbor, at one time one of the most important ports in
Europe, is too small and shallow for modern shipping, and the oil
industry, once the backbone of the place, has sadly dwindled of late

Ragusa itself now having no harbor worthy of the name, the traveler by
sea must land at Gravosa about a mile north of the old city. Gravosa is
merely a suburb of warehouses, shipping, and sailor-men, as unattractive
as the London Docks, and the Hotel Petko swarmed with mosquitoes and
an animal which seems to thrive and flourish throughout the Balkan
States--the rat.

The old Custom House is perhaps the most beautiful building in Ragusa,
and is one of the few which survived the terrible earthquake of 1667.
The structure bears the letters "I.H.S." over the principal entrance in
commemoration of this fact. Its courtyard is a dream of beauty, and the
stone galleries around it are surrounded with inscriptions of great age.

Ragusa is a Slav town, but altho' the name of streets appear in Slavonic
characters, Italian is also spoken on every side and the "Stradone,"
with its arcades and narrow precipitous alleys at right angles, is not
unlike a street in Naples. The houses are built in small blocks, as
a protection against earthquakes--the terror of every Ragusan (only
mention the word and he will cross himself)--and here on a fine Sunday
morning you may see Dalmatians, Albanians, and Herzegovinians in their
gaudiest finery, while here and there a wild-eyed Montenegrin, armed to
the teeth, surveys the gay scene with a scowl, of shyness rather than

Outside the cafe, on the Square (where flocks of pigeons whirl around as
at St. Mark's in Venice), every little table is occupied; but here the
women are gowned in the latest Vienna fashions, and Austrian uniforms
predominate. And the sun shines as warmly as in June (on this 25th day
of March), and the cathedral bells chime a merry accompaniment to a
military band; a sky of the brightest blue gladdens the eye, fragrant
flowers the senses, and the traveler sips his bock or mazagran, and
thanks his stars he is not spending the winter in cold, foggy England.
Refreshments are served by a white-aproned garcon, and street boys
are selling the "Daily Mail" and "Gil Blas," just as they are on the
far-away boulevards of Paris.



The end of a purely Dalmatian pilgrimage will be Cattaro. He who goes
further along the coast will pass into lands that have a history, past
and present, which is wholly distinct from that of the coast which he
has hitherto traced from Zara--we might say from Capo d'Istria--onward.
We have not reached the end of the old Venetian dominion--for that we
must carry our voyage to Crete and Cyprus. But we have reached the end
of the nearly continuous Venetian dominion--the end of the coast which,
save at two small points, was either Venetian or Regusan--the end of
that territory of the two maritime commonwealths which they kept down to
their fall in modern times, and in which they have been succeeded by the
modern Dalmatian kingdom....

The city stands at the end of an inlet of the sea fifteen or twenty
miles long, and it has mountains around it so high that it is only in
fair summer weather that the sun can be seen; in winter Cattaro never
enjoys his presence. There certainly is no place where it is harder to
believe that the smooth waters of the narrow, lake-like inlet, with
mountains on each side which it seems as if one could put out one's hand
and touch, are really part of the same sea which dashes against the
rocks of Ragusa. They end in a meadow-like coast which makes one think
of Bourget or Trasimenus rather than of Hadria. The Dalmatian voyage is
well ended by the sail along the Bocche, the loveliest piece of inland
sea which can be conceived, and whose shores are as rich in curious bits
of political history as they are in scenes of surpassing natural beauty.

The general history of the district consists in the usual tossing to and
fro between the various powers which have at different times been strong
in the neighborhood. Cattaro was in the reign of Basil the Macedonian
besieged and taken by Saracens, who presently went on unsuccessfully to
besiege Ragusa. And, as under Byzantine rule it was taken by Saracens,
so under Venetian rule it was more than once besieged by Turks. In the
intermediate stages we get the usual alternations of independence and of
subjection to all the neighboring powers in turn, till in 1419 Cattaro
finally became Venetian. At the fall of the republic it became part of
the Austrian share of the spoil. When the spoilers quarreled, it fell
to France. When England, Russia, and Montenegro were allies, the city
joined the land of which it naturally forms the head, and Cattaro became
the Montenegrin haven and capital. When France was no longer dangerous,
and the powers of Europe came together to parcel out other men's goods,
Austria calmly asked for Cattaro back again, and easily got it.

In the city of Cattaro the Orthodox Church is still in a minority, but
it is a minority not far short of a majority. Outside its walls, the
Orthodox outnumber the Catholics. In short, when we reach Cattaro, we
have very little temptation to fancy ourselves in Italy or in any part
of Western Christendom. We not only know, but feel, that we are on the
Byzantine side of the Hadriatic; that we have, in fact, made our way
into Eastern Europe.

And East and West, Slav and Italian, New Rome and Old, might well
struggle for the possession of the land and of the water through which
we pass from Ragusa to our final goal at Cattaro. The strait leads us
into a gulf; another narrow strait leads us into an inner gulf; and on
an inlet again branching out of that inner gulf lies the furthest of
Dalmatian cities. The lower city, Cattaro itself, seems to lie so
quietly, so peacefully, as if in a world of its own from which nothing
beyond the shores of its own Bocche could enter, that we are tempted to
forget, not only that the spot has been the scene of so many revolutions
through so many ages, but that it is even now a border city, a city on
the marchland of contending powers, creeds, and races....

The city of Cattaro itself is small, standing on a narrow ledge between
the gulf and the base of the mountain. It carries the features of the
Dalmatian cities to what any one who has not seen Traue will call their
extreme point. But, tho' the streets of Cattaro are narrow, yet they are
civilized and airy-looking compared with those of Traue, and the little
paved squares, as so often along this coast, suggest the memory of the
ruling city.

The memory of Venice is again called up by the graceful little scraps of
its characteristic architecture which catch the eye ever and anon among
the houses of Cattaro. The landing-place, the marina, the space between
the coast and the Venetian wall, where we pass for the last time under
the winged lion over the gate, has put on the air of a boulevard. But
the forms and costume of Bocchesi and Montenegrins, the men of the gulf,
with their arms in their girdles, no less than the men of the black
mountain, banish all thought that we are anywhere but where we really
are, at one of the border points of Christian and civilized Europe. If
in the sons of the mountains we see the men who have in all ages held
out against the invading Turk, we see in their brethren of the coast the
men who, but a few years back, brought Imperial, Royal, and Apostolic
Majesty to its knees ...

At Cattaro the Orthodox Church is on its own ground, standing side by
side on equal terms with its Latin rival, pointing to lands where the
Filioque[14] is unknown and where the Bishop of the Old Rome has even
been deemed an intruder. The building itself is a small Byzantine
church, less Byzantine in fact in its outline than the small churches of
the Byzantine type at Zara, Spalato, and Traue. The single dome rises,
not from the intersection of a Greek cross, but from the middle of a
single body, and, resting as it does on pointed arches, it suggests
the thought of Perigueux and Angouleme. But this arrangement, which is
shared by a neighboring Latin church, is well known throughout the East.

The Latin duomo, which has been minutely described by Mr. Neale,[15] is
of quite another type, and is by no means Dalmatian in its general look.
A modern west front with two western towers does not go for much; but it
reminds us that a design of the same kind was begun at Traue in better
times. The inside is quite unlike anything of later Italian work.

The traveler whose objects are of a more general kind turns away from
this border church of Christendom as the last stage of a pilgrimage
unsurpassed either for natural beauty or for historic interest. And, as
he looks up at the mountain which rises almost close above the east end
of the duomo of Cattaro, and thinks of the land[16] and the men to which
the path over that mountain leads, he feels that, on this frontier at
least, the spirit still lives which led English warriors to the side of
Manuel Komnenos, and which steeled the heart of the last Constantine to
die in the breach for the Roman name and the faith of Christendom.





Cracow, old, tired and dispirited, speaks and thinks only of the ruinous
past. When you drive into Cracow from the station for the first time,
you are breathless, smiling, and tearful all at once; in the great
Ring-platz--a mass of old buildings--Cracow seems to hold out her arms
to you--those long sides that open from the corner where the cab drives
in. You do not have time to notice separately the row of small trees
down on one side, beneath which bright-colored women-figures control
their weekly market; you do not notice the sort of court-house in the
middle with its red roof, cream-colored galleries and shops beneath; you
do not notice the great tall church at one side of brick and stone most
perfectly time-reconciled, or the houses, or the crazed paving, or the
innocent little groups of cabs--you only see Cracow holding out her arms
to you, and you may lean down your head and weep from pure instinctive
sympathy. Suddenly a choir of trumpets breaks out into a chorale from
the big church tower; the melancholy of it I shall never forget--the
very melody seemed so old and tired, so worn and sweet and patient, like
Cracow. Those trumpet notes have mourned in that tower for hundreds of
years. It is the Hymn of Timeless Sorrow that they play, and the key
to which they are attuned in Cracow's long despair. Hush! That is her
voice, the old town's voice, high and sad--she is speaking to you.

Dear Cracow! Never again it seems to me, shall I come so near to the
deathless hidden sentiment of Poland as in those first moments. It would
be no use to tell her to take heart, that there may be brighter days
coming, and so forth. Lemberg may feel so, Lemberg that has the feelings
of any other big new town, the strength and the determination; but
Cracow's day was in the long ago, as a gay capital, a brilliant
university town full of princes, of daring, of culture, of wit. She has
outlived her day, and can only mourn over what has been and the times
that she has seen; she may be always proud of her character, of the
brave blood that has made scarlet her streets, but she can never be
happy remodeled as an Austrian garrison town, and in the new Poland--the
Poland whose foundation stones are laid in the hearts of her people,
and that may yet be built some day--in that new Poland there will be no
place for aristocratic, high-bred Cracow.

During my stay in the beautiful butter-colored palace that is now a
hotel, I went round the museums, galleries, and universities, most if
not all of which are free to the public. It would be unfair to give the
idea that Cracow has completely fallen to decay. This is not the case.
Austria has erected some very handsome buildings; and a town with such
fine pictures, good museums, and two universities, can not be complained
of as moribund. At the same time, I can only record faithfully my
impression, and that was that everything new, everything modern, was
hopelessly out of tone in Cracow; progress, which, tho' desirable, may
be a vulgar thing, would not suit her, and does not seem at home in her

About the Florian's Thor, with its round towers of old, sorrel-colored
brick, and the Czartoryski Museum, there is nothing to say that the
guide-book would not say better. In the museum, a tattered Polish flag
of red silk, with the white eagle, a cheerful bird with curled tail,
opened mouth, chirping defiantly to the left, imprest me, and a portrait
of Szopen (Chopin) in fine profile when laid out dead. For amusement,
there was a Paul Potter bull beside a Paul Potter willow, delightfully
unconscious of a coming Paul Potter thunderstorm, and a miniature of
Shakespeare which did not resemble any of the portraits of him that I
am familiar with. Any amount of Turkish trappings and reminiscences of
Potocki and Kosciuszko, of course. As I had no guide-book, I am quite
prepared to learn that I overlooked the most important relics.

In the cathedral, away up on the hill of Wawel, above the river Vistula
(Wisla) I prowled about among the crypts with a curious specimen of
beadledom who ran off long unintelligible histories in atrocious
Viennese patois about every solemn tomb by which we stood. So far as I
was concerned it might just as well have been the functionary who herds
small droves of visitors in Westminster Abbey. I never listen to these
people, because (i) I do not care to be informed; and (ii) since I
should never remember what they said, it is useless my even letting it
in at one ear. The kindly, cobwebby old person who piloted me
among those wonderful kings' graves in Cracow was personally not
uninteresting, indeed a fine study, and his rigmaroles brought up
infallibly upon three words which I could not fail to notice: these
were "silberner Sarg vergoldet" (silver coffin, gilded). It had an odd
fascination for me this phrase, as I stood always waiting for it; why, I
wondered, should anybody want to gild a good solid silver coffin?

At the time of my first visit, the excavation necessary to form the
crypt for the resting-place of Mickiewicz[18] was in progress, and I
went in among the limey, dusty workmen, with their tallow candles,
and looked round. In return for my gulden, the beadle gave me a
few immortelles from Sobieski's tomb, and some laurel leaves from
Kosciuszko's; and remembering friends at home of refinedly ghoulish
tastes, I determined to preserve those poor moldering fragments for

Most of my days and evenings I spent wandering by the Vistula and in and
out of the hundred churches. My plan was to sight a spire, and then walk
to the root of it, so to speak. In this manner I saw the town very well.
The houses were of brick and plaster, the rich carmine-red brick that
has made Cracow so beautiful. On each was a beautiful facade, and
pediments in renaissance, bas-relief work of cupids, and classic figures
with ribands and roses tying among them, seeming to speak, somehow, of
the dead princes and the mighty aristocracy which had cost Cracow so

In the Jews' quarter that loud lifelong market of theirs was going
forward, which required seemingly only some small basinfuls of sour
Gurken and a few spoonfuls of beans of its stock-in-trade. Mingling
among the Jews were the peasants, of course; the men in tightly fitting
trousers of white blanket cloth, rich embroidered on the upper part and
down the seams in blue and red; the women wearing pink printed muslin
skirts, often with a pale blue muslin apron and a lemon-colored fine
wool cloth, spotted in pink, upon the head. They manifested a great
appreciation of color, but none of form, and after the free dress of
the Hucal women, these people, mummied in their red tartan shawls--all
hybrid Stewarts, they seemed to me--were merely bright bundles in the

In the shops in Cracow, French was nearly always the language of attack,
and a good deal was spoken in the hotel. I had occasion to buy a great
many things, but, according to my custom, not a photograph was among
them; therefore, when I go back, I shall receive perfectly new and fresh
impressions of the place, and can cherish no vague memories, encouraged
by an album at home, in which the nameless cathedrals of many countries
confuse themselves, and only the Coliseum at Rome stands forth, not to
be contradicted or misnamed.

But it became necessary to put a period to my wandering, unless I wished
to find myself stranded in Vienna with "neither cross nor pile." The
references to money-matters have been designedly slight throughout these
pages. It is not my habit to keep accounts. I have never found that
you get any money back by knowing just how you have spent it, and a
conscience-pricking record of expenses is very ungrateful reading. So,
when a certain beautiful evening came, I felt that I had to look upon it
as my last. Being too early for the train, I bid the man drive about in
the early summer dark for three-quarters of an hour.

To such as do not care for precise information and statistics in foreign
places, but appreciate rather atmosphere and impression, I can recommend
this course. In and out among the pretty garden woods, outside the town,
we drove. Buildings loomed majestically out of the night; sometimes it
was the tower of an unknown church, sometimes it was the house of some
forgotten family that sprang suggestively to the eye, and I was grateful
that I was left to suppose the indefinite type of Austrian bureau, which
occupied, in all probability, the first floor. Then we came to the
river, and later, Wawel stood massed out black upon the blue, the
glorious gravestone of a fallen Power.

All the stars were shining, and little red-yellow lights in the castle
windows were not much bigger. Above the whisper of the willows on its
bank came the deep, quiet murmur of the Vistula, and every now and then,
over the several towers of the solemn old palaces and the spires of the
church where Poland has laid her kings, and so recently the king of the
poets, the stars were dropping from their places, like sudden spiders,
letting themselves down into the vast by faint yellow threads that
showed a moment after the star itself was gone.

Later, as I looked from the open gallery of the train that was taking me
away, I could not help thinking that, just a hundred years ago, Wawel's
star was shining with a light bright enough for all Europe to see;
but even as the stars fell that night and left their places empty, so
Wawel's star has fallen and Poland's star has fallen too.



I was pleasantly disappointed on entering Bohemia. Instead of a dull,
uninteresting country, as I expected, it is a land full of the most
lovely scenery. There is everything which can gratify the eye--high blue
mountains, valleys of the sweetest pastoral look and romantic old ruins.
The very name of Bohemia is associated with wild and wonderful legends
of the rude barbaric ages. Even the chivalric tales of the feudal times
of Germany grow tame beside these earlier and darker histories. The
fallen fortresses of the Rhine or the robber-castles of the Odenwald
had not for me so exciting an interest as the shapeless ruins cumbering
these lonely mountains. The civilized Saxon race was left behind; I
saw around me the features and heard the language of one of those rude
Slavonic tribes whose original home was on the vast steppes of Central

I have rarely enjoyed traveling more than our first two days' journey
toward Prague. The range of the Erzgebirge ran along on our right; the
snow still lay in patches upon it, but the valleys between, with their
little clusters of white cottages, were green and beautiful. About six
miles before reaching Teplitz we passed Kulm, the great battlefield
which in a measure decided the fate of Napoleon. He sent Vandamme with
forty thousand men to attack the allies before they could unite their
forces, and thus effect their complete destruction. Only the almost
despairing bravery of the Russian guards under Ostermann, who held him
in check till the allied troops united, prevented Napoleon's design. At
the junction of the roads, where the fighting was hottest, the Austrians
have erected a monument to one of their generals. Not far from it is
that of Prussia, simple and tasteful. A woody hill near, with the little
village of Kulm at its foot, was the station occupied by Vandamme at
the commencement of the battle. There is now a beautiful chapel on its
summit which can be seen far and wide. A little distance farther the
Czar of Russia has erected a third monument, to the memory of the
Russians who fell. Four lions rest on the base of the pedestal, and on
the top of the shaft, forty-five feet high, Victory is represented as
engraving the date, "Aug. 30, 1813," on a shield. The dark pine-covered
mountains on the right overlook the whole field and the valley of
Torlitz; Napoleon rode along their crests several days after the battle
to witness the scene of his defeat.

Teplitz lies in a lovely valley, several miles wide, bounded by the
Bohemian mountains on one side and the Erzgebirge on the other. One
straggling peak near is crowned with a picturesque ruin, at whose foot
the spacious bath-buildings lie half hidden in foliage. As we went
down the principal street I noticed nearly every house was a hotel; we
learned afterward that in summer the usual average of visitors is five
thousand.[20] The waters resemble those of the celebrated Carlsbad; they
are warm and practically efficacious in rheumatism and diseases of like
character. After leaving Teplitz the road turned to the east, toward a
lofty mountain which we had seen the morning before. The peasants, as
they passed by, saluted us with "Christ greet you!"

We stopt for the night at the foot of the peak called the Milleschauer,
and must have ascended nearly two thousand feet, for we had a wide view
the next morning, altho' the mists and clouds hid the half of it. The
weather being so unfavorable, we concluded not to ascend, and descended
through green fields and orchards snowy with blossoms to Lobositz, on
the Elbe. Here we reached the plains again, where everything wore the
luxuriance of summer; it was a pleasant change from the dark and rough
scenery we left.

The road passed through Theresienstadt, the fortress of Northern
Bohemia. The little city is surrounded by a double wall and moat which
can be filled with water, rendering it almost impossible to be taken. In
the morning we were ferried over the Moldau, and after journeying nearly
all day across barren, elevated plains saw, late in the afternoon, the
sixty-seven spires of Prague below.

I feel out of the world in this strange, fantastic, yet beautiful, old
city. We have been rambling all morning through its winding streets,
stopping sometimes at a church to see the dusty tombs and shrines or to
hear the fine music which accompanies the morning mass. I have seen no
city yet that so forcibly reminds one of the past and makes him forget
everything but the associates connected with the scenes around him.
The language adds to the illusion. Three-fourths of the people in the
streets speak Bohemian and many of the signs are written in the same

The palace of the Bohemian kings still looks down on the city from the
western heights, and their tombs stand in the cathedral of St. John.
When one has climbed up the stone steps leading to the fortress, there
is a glorious prospect before him. Prague with its spires and towers
lies in the valleys below, through which curves the Moldau with its
green islands, disappearing among the hills which enclose the city on
every side. The fantastic Byzantine architecture of many of the churches
and towers gives the city a peculiar Oriental appearance; it seems to
have been transported from the hills of Syria....

Having found out first a few of the locations, we haunted our way with
difficulty through its labyrinths, seeking out every place of note or
interest. Reaching the bridge at last, we concluded to cross over and
ascend to the Hradschin, the palace of the Bohemian kings. The bridge
was commenced in 1357, and was one hundred and fifty years in building.
That was the way the old Germans did their work, and they made a
structure which will last a thousand years longer. Every pier is
surmounted with groups of saints and martyrs, all so worn and timebeaten
that there is little left of their beauty, if they ever had any. The
most important of them--at least to Bohemians--is that of St. John
Nepomuk, now considered as the patron-saint of the land. He was a priest
many centuries ago [1340-1393] whom one of the kings threw from the
bridge into the Moldau because he refused to reveal to him what the
queen confest. The legend says the body swam for some time on the river
with five stars around its head.

Ascending the broad flight of steps to the Hradschin, I paused a moment
to look at the scene below. A slight blue haze hung over the clustering
towers, and the city looked dim through it, like a city seen in a dream.
It was well that it should so appear, for not less dim and misty are the
memories that haunt its walls. There was no need of a magician's wand to
bid that light cloud shadow forth the forms of other times. They
came uncalled for even by Fancy. Far, far back in the past I saw the
warrior-princess who founded the kingly city--the renowned Libussa,
whose prowess and talent inspired the women of Bohemia to rise at her
death and storm the land that their sex might rule where it obeyed
before. On the mountain opposite once stood the palace of the bloody
Wlaska, who reigned with her Amazon band for seven years over half
Bohemia. Those streets below had echoed with the fiery words of Huss,
and the castle of his follower--the blind Ziska, who met and defeated
the armies of the German Empire--molders on the mountains above. Many a
year of war and tempest has passed over the scene. The hills around have
borne the armies of Wallenstein and Frederick the Great; the war-cry of
Bavaria, Sweden and Poland has echoed in the valley, and the red glare
of the midnight cannon or the flames of burning palaces have often
gleamed along the "blood-dyed waters" of the Moldau...

On the way down again we stept into the St. Nicholas Church, which was
built by the Jesuits. The interior has a rich effect, being all of brown
and gold. The massive pillars are made to resemble reddish-brown
marble, with gilded capitals, and the statues at the base are profusely
ornamented in the same style. The music chained me there a long time.
There was a grand organ, assisted by a full orchestra and large choir of
singers. It was placed above, and at every sound of the priest's bell
the flourish of trumpets and deep roll of the drums filled the dome with
a burst of quivering sound, while the giant pipes of the organ breathed
out their full harmony and the very air shook under the peal. It was
like a triumphal strain. The soul became filled with thoughts of power
and glory; every sense was changed into one dim, indistinct emotion of
rapture which held the spirit as if spellbound.

Not far from this place is the palace of Wallenstein, in the same
condition as when he inhabited it. It is a plain, large building having
beautiful gardens attached to it, which are open to the public. We
went through the courtyard, threaded a passage with a roof of rough
stalactitic rock and entered the garden, where a revolving fountain was
casting up its glittering arches.



The night had been passed at Adelsberg, and the morning had been
agreeably occupied in exploring the wonders of its celebrated cavern.
The entrance is through an opening in the side of a hill. In a few
moments, after walking down a gentle descent, a sound of flowing water
is heard, and the light of the torches borne by the guides gleams
faintly upon a river which runs through these sunless chasms, and
revisits the glimpses of day at Planina, some ten miles distant.

The visitor now finds himself in a vast hall, walled and roofed by
impenetrable darkness of the stream, which is crossed by a wooden
bridge; and the ascent on the other side is made by a similar flight of
steps. The bridge and steps are marked by a double row of lights, which
present a most striking appearance as their tremulous luster struggles
through the night that broods over them. Such a scene recalls Milton's
sublime pictures of Pandemonium, and shows directly to the eye what
effects a great imaginative painter may produce with no other colors
than light and darkness. Here are the "stately height," the "ample
spaces," the "arched roof," the rows of "starry lamps and blazing
cressets" of Satan's hall of council; and by the excited fancy the dim
distance is easily peopled with gigantic forms and filled with the
"rushing of congregated wings."

After this, one is led through a variety of chambers, differing in size
and form, but essentially similar in character, and the attention is
invited to the innumerable multitude of striking and fantastic objects
which have been formed in the lapse of ages, by the mere dropping of
water. Pendants hang from the roof, stalagmites grow from the floor like
petrified stumps, and pillars and buttresses are disposed as oddly as
in the architecture of a dream. Here, we are told to admire a bell, and
there, a throne; here, a pulpit, and there, a butcher's shop; here, "the
two hearts," and there, a fountain frozen into alabaster; and in every
case we assent to the resemblance in the unquestioning mood of Polonius.
One of the chambers, or halls, is used every year as a ball-room, for
which purpose it has every requisite except an elastic floor, even to a
natural dais for the orchestra.

Here, with the sort of pride with which a book collector shows a Mazarin
Bible or a folio Shakespeare, the guides point out a beautiful piece of
limestone which hangs from the roof in folds as delicate as a Cashmere
shawl, to which the resemblance is made more exact by a well-defined
border of deeper color than the web. Through this translucent curtain
the light shines as through a picture in porcelain, and one must be very
unimpressible not to bestow the tribute of admiration which is claimed.
These are the trivial details which may be remembered and described,
but the general effect produced by the darkness, the silence, the vast
spaces, the innumerable forms, the vaulted roofs, the pillars and
galleries melting away in the gloom like the long-drawn aisles of a
cathedral, may be recalled but not communicated.

To see all these marvels requires much time, and I remained under ground
long enough to have a new sense of the blessing of light. The first
glimpse of returning day seen through the distant entrance brought with
it an exhilarating sense of release, and the blue sky and cheerful
sunshine were welcomed like the faces of long absent friends. A cave
like that of Adelsberg--for all limestone caves are, doubtless,
essentially similar in character--ought by all means to be seen if it
comes in one's way, because it leaves impressions upon the mind unlike
those derived from any other object. Nature stamps upon most of her
operations a certain character of gravity and majesty. Order and
symmetry attend upon her steps, and unity in variety is the law by which
her movements are guided. But, beneath the surface of the earth,
she seems a frolicsome child, or a sportive undine, who wreaths the
unmanageable stone into weird and quaint forms, seemingly from no
other motive than pure delight in the exercise of overflowing power.
Everything is playful, airy, and fantastic; there is no spirit of
soberness; no reference to any ulterior end; nothing from which food,
fuel, or raiment can be extracted. These chasms have been scooped out,
and these pillars have been reared, in the spirit in which the bird
sings, or the kitten plays with the falling leaves. From such scenes we
may safely infer that the plan of the Creator comprehends something
more than material utility, that beauty is its own vindictator and
interpreter, that sawmills were not the ultimate cause of mountain
streams, nor wine-bottles of cork-trees.



We had determined upon dining at Moelk the next day. The early morning
was somewhat inauspicious; but as the day advanced, it grew bright and
cheerful. Some delightful glimpses of the Danube, to the left, from the
more elevated parts of the road, accompanied us the whole way, till we
caught the first view, beneath a bright blue sky, of the towering church
and Monastery of Moelk.

Conceive what you please, and yet you shall not conceive the situation
of this monastery. Less elevated above the road than Chremsminster, but
of a more commanding style of architecture, and of considerably greater
extent, it strikes you--as the Danube winds round and washes its rocky
base--as one of the noblest edifices in the world. The wooded heights
of the opposite side of the Danube crown the view of this magnificent
edifice, in a manner hardly to be surpassed. There is also a beautiful
play of architectural lines and ornament in the front of the building,
indicative of a pure Italian taste, and giving to the edifice, if not
the air of towering grandeur, at least of dignified splendor....

As usual, I ordered a late dinner, intending to pay my respects to
the Principal, and obtain permission to inspect the library. My late
monastic visits had inspired me with confidence; and I marched up the
steep sides of the hill, upon which the monastery is built, quite
assured of the success of the visit I was about to pay. You must now
accompany the bibliographer to the monastery. In five minutes from
entering the outer gate of the first quadrangle--looking toward
Vienna, and which is the more ancient part of the building--I was in
conversation with the Vice-Principal and Librarian, each of us speaking
Latin. I delivered the letter which I had received at Salzburg, and
proceeded to the library.

The view from this library is really enchanting, and put everything seen
from a similar situation at Landshut and almost even at Chremsminster,
out of my recollection. You look down upon the Danube, catching a fine
sweep of the river, as it widens in its course toward Vienna. A man
might sit, read, and gaze--in such a situation--till he fancied he had
scarcely one earthly want! I now descended a small staircase, which
brought me directly into the large library--forming the right wing of
the building, looking up the Danube toward Lintz. I had scarcely uttered
three notes of admiration, when the Abbe Strattman entered; and to my
surprise and satisfaction, addrest me by name. We immediately commenced
an ardent unintermitting conversation in the French language, which the
Abbe speaks fluently and correctly.

I now took a leisurely survey of the library; which is, beyond
all doubt, the finest room of its kind which I have seen upon the
Continent--not for its size, but for its style of architecture, and the
materials of which it is composed. I was told that it was "the Imperial
Library in miniature,"--but with this difference, let me here add, in
favor of Moelk--that it looks over a magnificently wooded country, with
the Danube rolling its rapid course at its base. The wainscot and
shelves are walnut tree, of different shades, inlaid, or dovetailed,
surmounted by gilt ornaments. The pilasters have Corinthian capitals of
gilt; and the bolder or projecting parts of a gallery, which surrounds
the room, are covered with the same metal. Everything is in harmony.
This library may be about a hundred feet in length, by forty in width.
It is sufficiently well furnished with books, of the ordinary useful
class, and was once, I suspect, much richer in the bibliographical lore
of the fifteenth century.

On reaching the last descending step, just before entering the church,
the Vice-Principal bade me look upward and view the corkscrew staircase.
I did so; and to view and admire was one and the same operation of the
mind. It was the most perfect and extraordinary thing of the kind which
I had ever seen--the consummation, as I was told, of that particular
species of art. The church is the very perfection of ecclesiastical
Roman architecture; that of Chremsminster, altho' fine, being much
inferior to it in loftiness and richness of decoration. The windows
are fixt so as to throw their concentrated light beneath a dome, of no
ordinary height, and of no ordinary elegance of decoration; but this
dome is suffering from damp, and the paintings upon the ceiling will,
unless repaired, be effaced in the course of a few years.

The church is in the shape of a cross; and at the end of each of the
transepts, is a rich altar, with statuary, in the style of art usual
about a century ago. The pews--made of dark mahogany or walnut tree,
much after the English fashion, but lower and more tasteful--are placed
on each side of the nave, or entering; with ample space between them.
They are exclusively appropriated to the tenants of the monastery. At
the end of the nave, you look to the left, opposite--and observe, placed
in a recess--a pulpit, which, from top to bottom, is completely covered
with gold. And yet, there is nothing gaudy or tasteless, or glaringly
obtrusive, in this extraordinary clerical rostrum. The whole is in the
most perfect taste; and perhaps more judgment was required to manage
such an ornament, or appendage--consistently with the splendid style
of decoration exacted by the founder, for it was expressly the Prelate
Dietmayr's wish that it should be so adorned,--than may on first
consideration be supposed. In fact, the whole church is in a blaze
of gold; and I was told that the gilding alone cost upward of ninety
thousand florins. Upon the whole, I understood that the church of this
monastery was considered as the most beautiful in Austria; and I can
easily believe it to be so.



I left this most pleasing of the Italian cities (Venice), and took the
road for the Tyrol. We passed through a level fertile country, formerly
the territory of Venice, watered by the Piave, which ran blood in one of
Bonaparte's battles. At evening we arrived at Ceneda, where our Italian
poet Da Ponte[24] was born, situated just at the base of the Alps, the
rocky peaks and irregular spires of which, beautifully green with the
showery season, rose in the background. Ceneda seems to have something
of German cleanliness about it, and the floors of a very comfortable inn
at which we stopt were of wood, the first we had seen in Italy, tho'
common throughout Tyrol and the rest of Germany. A troop of barelegged
boys, just broke loose from school, whooping and swinging their books
and slates in the air, passed under my window.

On leaving Ceneda, we entered a pass in the mountains, the gorge of
which was occupied by the ancient town of Serravalle, resting on
arcades, the architecture of which denoted that it was built during the
Middle Ages. Near it I remarked an old castle, which formerly commanded
the pass, one of the finest ruins of the kind I had ever seen. It had a
considerable extent of battlemented wall in perfect preservation, and
both that and its circular tower were so luxuriantly loaded with ivy
that they seemed almost to have been cut out of the living verdure.
As we proceeded we became aware how worthy this region was to be the
birthplace of a poet.

A rapid stream, a branch of the Piave, tinged of a light and somewhat
turbid blue by the soil of the mountains, came tumbling and roaring
down the narrow valley; perpendicular precipices rose on each side; and
beyond, the gigantic brotherhood of the Alps, in two long files of steep
pointed summits, divided by deep ravines, stretched away in the sunshine
to the northeast. In the face of one of the precipices by the way-side,
a marble slab is fixt, informing the traveler that the road was opened
by the late Emperor of Germany in the year of 1830. We followed this
romantic valley for a considerable distance, passing several little blue
lakes lying in their granite basins, one of which is called the "Lago
Morto" or Dead Lake, from having no outlet for its waters.

At length we began to ascend, by a winding road, the steep sides of the
Alps--the prospect enlarging as we went, the mountain summits rising to
sight around us, one behind another, some of them white with snow, over
which the wind blew with a wintry keenness--deep valleys opening
below us, and gulfs yawning between rocks over which old bridges were
thrown--and solemn fir forests clothing the broad declivities. The
farm-houses placed on these heights, instead of being of brick or stone,
as in the plains and valleys below, were principally built of wood;
the second story, which served for a barn, being encircled by a long
gallery, and covered with a projecting roof of plank held down with
large stones.

We stopt at Venas, a wretched place with a wretched inn, the hostess
of which showed us a chin swollen with the goitre, and ushered us into
dirty comfortless rooms where we passed the night. When we awoke the
rain was beating against the windows, and, on looking out, the forest
and sides of the neighboring mountains, at a little height above us,
appeared hoary with snow. We set out in the rain, but had not proceeded
far before we heard the sleet striking against the windows of the
carriage, and soon came to where the snow covered the ground to the
depth of one or two inches.

Continuing to ascend, we passed out of Italy and entered the Tyrol. The
storm had ceased before we went through the first Tyrolese village, and
we could not help being struck with the change in the appearance of the
inhabitants--the different costume, the less erect figures, the awkward
gait, the lighter complexions, the neatly-kept inhabitations, and the
absence of beggars. As we advanced, the clouds began to roll off from
the landscape, disclosing here and there, through openings in their
broad skirts as they swept along, glimpses of the profound valleys below
us, and of the white sides and summits of mountains in the mid-sky
above. At length the sun appeared, and revealed a prospect of such
wildness, grandeur, and splendor as I have never before seen.

Lofty peaks of the most fantastic shapes, with deep clefts between,
sharp needles of rock, and overhanging crags, infinite in multitude,
shot up everywhere around us, glistening in the new-fallen snow, with
thin wreaths of mist creeping along their sides. At intervals, swollen
torrents, looking at a distance like long trains of foam, came
thundering down the mountains, and crossing the road, plunged into the
verdant valleys which winded beneath. Beside the highway were fields
of young grain, prest to the ground with the snow; and in the meadows,
ranunculuses of the size of roses, large yellow violets, and a thousand
other Alpine flowers of the most brilliant hues, were peeping through
their white covering.

We stopt to breakfast at a place called Landro, a solitary inn, in the
midst of this grand scenery, with a little chapel beside it. The water
from the dissolving snow was dropping merrily from the roof in a bright
June sun. We needed not to be told that we were in Germany, for we saw
it plainly enough in the nicely-washed floor of the apartment into which
we were shown, in the neat cupboard with the old prayer-book lying upon
it, and in the general appearance of housewifery; to say nothing of the
evidence we had in the beer and tobacco-smoke of the travelers' room,
and the guttural dialect and quiet tones of the guests.

From Landro we descended gradually into the beautiful valleys of the
Tyrol, leaving the snow behind, tho' the white peaks of the mountains
were continually in sight. At Bruneck, in an inn resplendent with
neatness--we had the first specimen of a German bed. It is narrow and
short, and made so high at the head, by a number of huge square bolsters
and pillows, that you rather sit than lie. The principal covering is a
bag of down, very properly denominated the upper bed, and between this
and the feather-bed below, the traveler is expected to pass a night. An
asthmatic patient on a cold winter night might perhaps find such a couch
tolerably comfortable, if he could prevent the narrow covering from
slipping off on one side or the other.

The next day we were afforded an opportunity of observing more closely
the inhabitants of this singular region, by a festival, or holiday of
some sort, which brought them into the roads in great numbers, arrayed
in their best dresses--the men in short jackets and small-clothes, with
broad gay-colored suspenders over their waistcoats, and leathern belts
ornamented with gold or silver leaf--the women in short petticoats
composed of horizontal bands of different colors--and both sexes, for
the most part, wearing broad-brimmed hats with hemispherical crowns,
tho' there was a sugar-loaf variety much affected by the men, adorned
with a band of lace and sometimes a knot of flowers. They are a robust,
healthy-looking race, tho' they have an awkward stoop in the shoulders.
But what struck me most forcibly was the devotional habits of the

The Tyrolese might be cited as an illustration of the remark, that
mountaineers are more habitually and profoundly religious than others.
Persons of all sexes, young and old, whom we meet in the road, were
repeating their prayers audibly. We passed a troop of old women, all in
broad-brimmed hats and short gray petticoats, carrying long staves, one
of whom held a bead-roll and gave out the prayers, to which the others
made the responses in chorus. They looked at us so solemnly from under
their broad brims, and marched along with so grave and deliberate a
pace, that I could hardly help fancying that the wicked Austrians had
caught a dozen elders of the respectable Society of Friends, and put
them in petticoats to punish them for their heresy. We afterward saw
persons going to the labors of the day, or returning, telling their
rosaries and saying their prayers as they went, as if their devotions
had been their favorite amusement. At regular intervals of about half a
mile, we saw wooden crucifixes erected by the way-side, covered from the
weather with little sheds, bearing the image of the Savior, crowned with
thorns and frightfully dashed with streaks and drops of red paint, to
represent the blood that flowed from his wounds. The outer walls of the
better kind of houses were ornamented with paintings in fresco, and the
subjects of these were mostly sacred, such as the Virgin and Child, the
Crucifixion, and the Ascension. The number of houses of worship was
surprising; I do not mean spacious or stately churches such as we meet
with in Italy, but most commonly little chapels dispersed so as best to
accommodate the population. Of these the smallest neighborhood has one
for the morning devotions of its inhabitants, and even the solitary inn
has its little consecrated building with its miniature spire, for the
convenience of pious wayfarers.

At Sterzing, a little village beautifully situated at the base of the
mountain called the Brenner, and containing, as I should judge, not more
than two or three thousand inhabitants, we counted seven churches and
chapels within the compass of a square mile. The observances of the
Roman Catholic church are nowhere more rigidly complied with than in the
Tyrol. When we stopt at Bruneck on Friday evening, I happened to drop
a word about a little meat for dinner in a conversation with the
spruce-looking landlady, who appeared so shocked that I gave up the
point, on the promise of some excellent and remarkably well-flavored
trout from the stream that flowed through the village--a promise that
was literally fulfilled....

We descended the Brenner on the 28th of June in a snow-storm, the wind
whirling the light flakes in the air as it does with us in winter. It
changed to rain, however, as we approached the beautiful and picturesque
valley watered by the river Inn, on the banks of which stands the fine
old town of Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol. Here we visited the
Church of the Holy Cross, in which is the bronze tomb of Maxmilian I.
and twenty or thirty bronze statues ranged on each side of the nave,
representing fierce warrior-chiefs, and gowned prelates, and stately
damsels of the middle ages. These are all curious for the costume; the
warriors are cased in various kinds of ancient armor, and brandish
various ancient weapons, and the robes of the females are flowing and by
no means ungraceful. Almost every one of the statues has its hands and
fingers in some constrained and awkward position; as if the artist knew
as little what to do with them as some awkward and bashful people know
what to do with their own. Such a crowd of figures in that ancient garb,
occupying the floor in the midst of the living worshipers of the present
day, has an effect which at first is startling.

From Innsbruck we climbed and crossed another mountain-ridge, scarcely
less wild and majestic in its scenery than those we had left behind. On
descending, we observed that the crucifixes had disappeared from the
roads, and the broad-brimmed and sugar-loaf hats from the heads of the
peasantry; the men wore hats contracted in the middle of the crown like
an hour-glass, and the women caps edged with a broad band of black fur,
the frescoes on the outside of the houses became less frequent; in short
it was apparent that we had entered a different region, even if the
custom-house and police officers on the frontier had not signified to us
that we were now in the kingdom of Bavaria. We passed through extensive
forests of fir, here and there checkered with farms, and finally came
to the broad elevated plain bathed by the Isar, in which Munich is



The Dolomites are part of the Southern Tyrol. One portion is Italian,
one portion is Austrian, and the rivalry of the two nations is keen.
Under a warm summer sun, the quaint little villages seem half asleep,
and the inhabitants appear to drift dreamily through life. Yet this is
more apparent than real for, in many respects, the people here are busy
in their own way.

Crossing this region are many mountain ranges of limestone structure,
which by water, weather and other causes have been worn away into the
most fantastic fissures and clefts and the most picturesque peaks and
pinnacles. A very great charm is their curious coloring, often of great
beauty. The region of the Dolomites is a great contrast to the rest of
the Alps. Its characteristics do not make the same appeal to all. This
is largely not only a matter of individual taste and temperament but
also of one's mental or spiritual constitution, for the picture with its
setting depends as much upon what it suggests as upon its constituent
parts. The Dolomites suggest Italy in the contour of the country, in the
grace of the inhabitants and in the colors which make the scene one of
rich magnificence. The great artist Titian was born here[26] and he
probably learned much from his observation of his native place.

Many of the mountain ranges are of the usual gray but such is the
atmospheric condition that they seem to reflect the rosy rays of the
setting sun or the purplish haze that often is found. The peaks are not
great peaks in the sense that we speak of Mont Blanc, the Jungfrau,
the Matterhorn or Monte Rosa. They impress one more as pictures with
wonderful lights and strange grouping....

If the reader intends some day to visit the Dolomites he is advised to
enter from the north. Salzburg and the Salzkammergut, so much frequented
by the Emperor Francis Joseph and the Austrian nobility, make a good
introduction. Then by way of Innsbruck, one of the gems of the Tyrol,
Toblach is reached, where the driving tour may properly begin. Toblach
is a lovely place, if one stops long enough to see it and enjoy it! It
is not very far to Cortina, the center of this beautiful region. The way
there is very lovely. And driving is in keeping with the spirit of the
place. It almost seems profane to rush through in a motor, as some do,
for not only is it impossible to appreciate the scenery, but also it is
out of harmony with the peace and quiet which reign.

For a while there is traversed a little valley quite embowered in green,
but presently this abruptly leads into a wild gorge, with jagged peaks
on every side. Soon Monte Cristallo appears. This is the most striking
of all the Dolomite peaks. At a tiny village, called Schluderbach, the
road forks, that to the right going directly to Cortina, the other to
the left proceeding by way of Lake Misurina. Lake Misurina is a pretty
stretch of water, pale green in color and at an altitude of about 5,800
feet. On its shores are two very attractive and well-kept hotels, with
charming walks, from which one looks on a splendid panorama, picturesque
in extreme.

From Misurina, the road again ascends, becoming very narrow and very
steep. The top is called "Passo Tre Croci," the Pass of the Three
Crosses. The outlook is very lovely, with the three serrated peaks Monte
Cristallo, Monte Piano and Monte Tofana, standing as guardian sentinels
over the little valley of Ampezzo far below, where lies Cortina
sleeping in the sun, while in the distance shine the snow fields of the
Marmolata. Just as steeply as it climbed up one side, the road descends
on the other side, to Cortina. This place is the capital of the valley
and altogether lovely; beautiful in its woods and meadows, beautiful in
its mountain views, beautiful in the town itself and beautiful in its

Cortina has much to boast of--an ancient church and some old houses; an
industrial school in which the villagers are taught the most delicate
and artistic (and withal comparatively cheap) filigree mosaic work; and
a community of people, handsome in face and figure and possessing
a carriage and refinement superior to any seen elsewhere among the
mountaineers or peasantry. In the neighborhood of Cortina are many
excursions and also extended rock climbs, but those who go there in the
summer will be more apt to linger lazily amid the cool shade of the
trees than to brave the hot Italian sun on the peaks!

After a few days' stay at Cortina, the drive is continued. There are
many ways out. You can return by a new route to Toblach and the Upper
Tyrol. Or you can go south to Belluno and thence to northern Italy. Or
a third way and perhaps the finest tour of all is that over a series of
magnificent mountain passes to Botzen. This last crosses the Ampezzo
Valley and then begins the ascent of Monte Tofana, which here is
beautifully wooded. Steepness seems characteristic of this region!

It is hard to imagine a carriage climbing a road any steeper than that
one on the slopes of Monte Tofana! If narrow and steep is the way and
hard and toilsome the climb this Monte Tofana route most certainly
repays one when it reaches the Falzarego Pass (6,945 feet high) which is
certainly an earthly Paradise! One can not aptly describe a view like
that! It is all a picture; as if every part was purposely what it is,
here rocky, here green, here snowy, with summits, valleys, ravines and
villages and even a partly ruined castle to form a whole such as an
artist or poet would revel in.

After a pause on the summit of the Pass, again comes a steep descent,
as the drive is resumed, which continues to Andraz, where dejeuner
is taken. One can not live on air or scenery and even the most
indefatigable sightseer sometimes turns with longing to luncheon! Then
one returns with added zest to the feast of eye and soul. And at Andraz,
as one lingers awhile after luncheon on that high mountain terrace,
a lovelier scene than that spread before the eye could scarcely be
imagined. Indeed it is a "dream-scene," and as seen in the sleepy
stillness of the early afternoon, when the shadows are already playing
with the lights and gradually overcoming them, it seems like fancy, not

Again the carriage is taken and soon the road is climbing once more,
this time giving fine views of the Sella group of peaks and going
through a series of picturesque valleys. At Arabba (5,255 feet), a
pretty little village, the final ascent to Pordoi begins. The
scenery undergoes a change. It becomes more wild and barren and the
characteristics of the high Alps appear. The hour begins to be late and
it becomes cold, but the light still lingers as the carriage reaches the
summit of the pass and stops at the new Hotel Pordoi (7,020 feet high)
facing the weird, fantastic shapes of the Rosengarten and the Langkofel,
on the one side and on the other the snowy Marmolata and the summits
about Cortina....

The following morning the start is made for Botzen. The way steadily
descends for hours, past the pretty hamlets of Canazei, Campitello and
Vigo di Fassa, surrounded by an imposing array of Dolomite peaks. After
crossing the Karer Pass the scenery becomes much more soft and pastoral.
Below the pass, most beautifully situated is a little green lake called
the Karer-See....

At Botzen the drive through the Dolomites ends. At best it gives but
a glimpse of this delightful region! That glimpse leaves a lasting
impression, not of snowy summits and glistening glaciers, but of
wonderful rocks and more wonderful coloring and of great peaks of
fantastic form, set in a garden spot of green. And Botzen is a fitting
terminus. It dates far back to the Middle Ages. It boasts of churches,
houses and public buildings of artistic merit and architectural beauty
and over all there lingers an atmosphere of rest and refinement,
refreshing to see, where there might have been the noisy bustle and
hopeless vulgarity of so many places similarly situated.

There is plenty going on, nevertheless, for Botzen is quite a little
commercial center in its own way, but with it there is this charm
of dignified repose. One wanders through the town under the cool
colonnades, strolls into some ancient cloisters, kneels for a moment in
some finely carved church and then goes out again to the open, to see
far above the little city that beautiful background of the Dolomite
peaks, dominated by the wonderfully impressive and fantastic Rosengarten
range, golden red in the western sun. With such a view experience may
well lapse into memory, to linger on so long as the mind possesses the
power of recalling the past.



Situate on the left bank of the Boita, which here runs nearly due north
and south, with the Tre Croci pass opening away behind the town to the
east, and the Tre Sassi Pass widening before it to the west, Cortina
lies in a comparatively open space between four great mountains, and is
therefore less liable to danger from bergfalls than any other village
not only in the Val d'Ampezo but in the whole adjacent district. For
the same reason, it is cooler in summer than either Caprile, Agordo,
Primiero, or Predazzo; all of which, tho' more central as stopping
places, and in many respects more convenient, are yet somewhat too
closely hemmed in by surrounding heights. The climate of Cortina is
temperate throughout the year. Ball gives the village an elevation of
4,048 feet above the level of the sea; and one of the parish priests--an
intelligent old man who has devoted many years of his life to collecting
the flora of the Ampezzo--assured me that he had never known the
thermometer drop so low as fifteen degrees[28] of frost in even the
coldest winters. The soil, for all this, has a bleak and barren look;
the maize (here called "grano Turco") is cultivated, but does not
flourish; and the vine is unknown. But then agriculture is not a
specialty of the Ampezzo Thal, and the wealth of Cortina is derived
essentially from its pasture-lands and forests.

These last, in consequence of the increased and increasing value of
timber, have been lavishly cut down of late years by the Commune--too
probably at the expense of the future interests of Cortina. For the
present, however, every inn, homestead, and public building bespeaks
prosperity. The inhabitants are well-fed and well-drest. Their fairs
and festivals are the most considerable in all the South Eastern Tyrol;
their principal church is the largest this side of St. Ulrich; and their
new Gothic Campanile, 250 feet high, might suitably adorn the piazza of
such cities as Bergamo or Belluno.

The village contains about 700 souls, but the population of the Commune
numbers over 2,500. Of these, the greater part, old and young, rich and
poor, men, women, and children, are engaged in the timber trade. Some
cut the wood; some transport it. The wealthy convey it on trucks drawn
by fine horses which, however, are cruelly overworked. The poor harness
themselves six or eight in a team, men, women, and boys together, and
so, under the burning summer sun, drag loads that look as if they might
be too much for an elephant....

To ascend the Campanile and get the near view over the village, was
obviously one of the first duties of a visitor; so, finding the door
open and the old bellringer inside, we mounted laboriously to the
top--nearly a hundred feet higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Standing here upon the outer gallery above the level of the great
bells, we had the village and valley at our feet. The panorama, tho' it
included little which we had not seen already, was fine all around, and
served to impress the mainland marks upon our memory. The Ampezzo Thal
opened away to north and south, and the twin passes of the Tre Croci and
Tre Sassi intersected it to east and west. When we had fixt in our minds
the fact that Landro and Bruneck lay out to the north, and Perarolo to
the south; that Auronzo was to be found somewhere on the other side of
the Tre Croci; and that to arrive at Caprile it was necessary to go over
the Tre Sassi, we had gained something in the way of definite topography.
The Marmolata and Civetta, as we knew by our maps, were on the side
of Caprile; and the Marmarole on the side of Auronzo. The Pelmo, left
behind yesterday, was peeping even now above the ridge of the Rochetta;
and a group of fantastic rocks, so like the towers and bastions of a
ruined castle that we took them at first sight for the remains of some
medieval stronghold, marked the summit of the Tre Sassi to the west.

"But what mountain is that far away to the south?" we asked, pointing in
the direction of Perarolo.

"Which mountain, Signora?"

"That one yonder, like a cathedral front with two towers."

The old bellringer shaded his eyes with one trembling hand, and peered
down the valley.

"Eh," he said, "it is some mountain on the Italian side."

"But what is it called?"

"Eh," he repeated, with a puzzled look, "who knows? I don't know that I
ever noticed it before."

Now it was a very singular mountain--one of the most singular and the
most striking that we saw throughout the tour. It was exactly like
the front of Notre Dame, with one slender aiguille, like a flagstaff,
shooting up from the top of one of its battlemented towers. It was
conspicuous from most points on the left bank of the Boita; but the best
view, as I soon after discovered, was from the rising ground behind
Cortina, going up through the fields in the direction of the Begontina

To this spot we returned again and again, fascinated as much, perhaps,
by the mystery in which it was enveloped, as by the majestic outline of
this unknown mountain, to which, for want of a better, we gave the name
of Notre Dame. For the old bellringer was not alone in his ignorance.
Ask whom we would, we invariably received the same vague reply--it was
a mountain "on the Italian side." They knew no more; and some, like our
friend of the Campanile, had evidently "not noticed it before."





Once more--perhaps for the last time--I listen to the unnumbered
tinkling of the cow-bells on the slopes--"the sweet bells of the
sauntering herd"--to the music of the cicadas in the sunshine, and the
shouts of the neat herdlads, echoing back from Alp to Alp. I hear the
bubbling of the mountain rill, I watch the emerald moss of the pastures
gleaming in the light, and now and then the soft white mist creeping
along the glen, as our poet says, "puts forth an arm and creeps from
pine to pine." And see, the wild flowers, even in this waning season of
the year, the delicate lilac of the dear autumn crocus, which seems to
start up elf-like out of the lush grass, the coral beads of the rowan,
and the beech-trees just begun to wear their autumn jewelry of old gold.

As I stroll about these hills, more leisurely, more thoughtfully than I
used to do of old in my hot mountaineering days, I have tried to think
out what it is that makes the Alpine landscape so marvelous a tonic to
the spirit--what is the special charm of it to those who have once felt
all its inexhaustible magic. Other lands have rare beauties, wonders of
their own, sights to live in the memory for ever.

In France, in Italy, in Spain, in Greece and in Turkey, I hold in memory
many a superb landscape. From boyhood upward I thirsted for all kinds of
Nature's gifts, whether by sea, or by river, lake, mountain, or forest.
For sixty years at least I have roved about the white cliffs, the moors,
the riversides, lakes, and pastures of our own islands from Penzance to
Cape Wrath, from Beachy Head to the Shetlands. I love them all. But
they can not touch me, as do the Alps, with the sense at once of
inexhaustible loveliness and of a sort of conscious sympathy with every
fiber of man's heart and brain. Why then is this so?

I find it in the immense range of the moods in which Nature is seen
in the Alps, as least by those who have fully absorbed all the forms,
sights, sounds, wonders, and adventures they offer. An hour's walk will
show them all in profound contrast and yet in exquisite harmony. The
Alps form a book of Nature as wide and as mysterious as Life.

Earth has no scenes of placid fruitfulness more balmy than the banks of
one of the larger lakes, crowded with vineyards, orchards, groves and
pastures, down to the edge of its watery mirror, wherein, beside a
semi-tropical vegetation, we see the image of some medieval castle, of
some historic tower, and thence the eye strays up to sunless gorges,
swept with avalanches, and steaming with feathery cascades; and higher
yet one sees against the skyline ranges of terrific crags, girt with
glaciers, and so often wreathed in storm clouds.

All that Earth has of most sweet, softest, easiest, most suggestive of
langor and love, of fertility and abundance--here is seen in one vision
beside all that Nature has most hard, most cruel, most unkind to
Man--where life is one long weary battle with a frost bitten soil, and
every peasant's hut has been built up stone by stone, and log by log,
with sweat and groans, and wrecked hopes. In a few hours one may pass
from an enchanted garden, where every sense is satiated, and every
flower and leaf and gleam of light is intoxication, up into a wilderness
of difficult crags and yawning glaciers, which men can reach only by
hard-earned skill, tough muscle and iron nerves....

The Alps are international, European, Humanitarian. Four written
languages are spoken in their valleys, and ten times as many local
dialects. The Alps are not especially Swiss--I used to think they were
English--they belong equally to four nations of Europe; they are the
sanatorium and the diversorium of the civilized world, the refuge, the
asylum, the second home of men and women famous throughout the centuries
for arts, literature, thought, religion. The poet, the philosopher,
the dreamer, the patriot, the exile, the bereaved, the reformer, the
prophet, the hero--have all found in the Alps a haven of rest, a new
home where the wicked cease from troubling, where men need neither fear
nor suffer. The happy and the thoughtless, the thinker and the sick--are
alike at home here. The patriot exile inscribed on his house on Lake
Leman--"Every land is fatherland to the brave man." What he might have
written is--"This land is fatherland to all men." To young and old,
to strong and weak, to wise and foolish alike, the Alps are a second



It is hard to find a prettier spot than Interlaken. Situated between two
lovely lakes, surrounded by wooded heights, and lying but a few miles
from the snowy Jungfrau, it is like a jewel richly set. From Lucerne
over the Brunig, from Meiringen over the Grimsel come the travelers,
passing on their way the Lake of Brienz, with the waterfall of the
Giessbach, on its southern side.

From Berne over Lake Thun, from the Rhone Valley over the Gemmi or
through the Simmenthal come the tourists, seeing as they come the white
peaks of the Oberland. And Interlaken welcomes them all, and rests them
for their closer relations with the High Alps by trips to the region
of the Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Muerren, and the great mountain
plateaux looking down upon them. Interlaken is not a climbing center.
Consequently mountaineering is little in evidence, conversation about
ascents is seldom heard, and ice-axes, ropes, and nailed boots are seen
more often in shop windows than in the streets.

Interlaken is not like some other Swiss towns. Berne, Geneva, Zurich,
and Lucerne are places possessing notable churches, museums, and
monuments of the past, having a social life of their own and being
distinguished in some special way, as centers of culture and education.
Interlaken, however, has little life apart from that made by the throngs
of visitors who gather here in the summer. There is little to see except
a group of old monastic buildings, and in Unterseen and elsewhere some
fine old carved chalets, but none of these receives much attention.

The attraction, on what one may call the natural side, centers in the
softly beautiful panorama of woods and meadows, green hills and snow
peaks which opens to the eye, and on the social side in the busy little
promenade and park of the Hoeheweg, bordered with hotels, shops, and
gardens. Here is ever a changing picture in the height of the season,
in fact, quite kaleidoscopic as railways and steamboats at each end of
Interlaken send their passengers to mingle in the passing crowd.
All "sorts and conditions of men" are here, and representatives of
antagonistic nations meet in friendly intercourse.

On the hotel terraces and in the little cafes and tea rooms, one hears
a babel of voices, every nation of Europe seeming to speak in its own
native tongue. Life goes easily. There is a gaiety in the little town
that is infectious. It is a sort of busy idleness. "To trip or not to
trip" is the question. If the affirmative, then a rush to the mountain
trains and comfortable cabs. If the negative, then a turning to the
shops, where pretty things worthy of Paris or London are seen side
by side with Swiss carvings and Swiss embroidery and many little
superficial souvenirs. As the contents of the shops are exhibited in the
windows, so the character of the visitors is shown by the crowds, and
the life of the place is seen in the constant ebb and flow of the people
on the Hoeheweg.

Interlaken is undoubtedly a tourist center, for few trips to Switzerland
overlook or omit this delightful spot. Thousands come here, who never go
any nearer the High Alps. They are quite content to sit on the benches
of the Hoeheweg, listening to the music and enjoying the view. There is a
casino, most artistically planned, with plashing fountains, shady paths,
and wonderful flowerbeds. Here many persons pass the day, and, contrary
to what one might expect, it is quiet and restful, lounging in that
parklike garden.

For, notwithstanding "the madding crowd," Interlaken is a little gem of
a mountain town, with an undertone of repose and nobility, as if the
spirit of the Alps asserted herself, reigning, as one might say, for
all not ruling. And always smiling at the people, as it were, is the
majestic Jungfrau, ever seeming close at hand, altho' eight miles

The pleasures of this little Swiss resort are exhaustless. The wooded
hills of the Rugen give innumerable walks amid beautiful forests, with
all their wealth of pine and larch and hardwood, their moss-clad rocks
and waving ferns. In that pleasant shade hours may be passed close
to nature. The lakes not only offer delightful water trips, but also
charming excursions along the wooded shores, sometimes high above
the lakes, giving varying views of great beauty. While, ever as with
beckoning fingers, the great peaks, snow-capped or rock-summitted, call
one across the verdant meadows into the higher valleys of Kienthal,
Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwaid, and Kandersteg, to the terraced heights
above or up amid the great wild passes.

Interlaken is, above all, a garden of green. Perhaps the unusual amount
of rain which falls to the lot of this valley accounts for its verdure.
In any event, park, woods, meadow, garden, even the mountain sides are
green, a vari-colored green, and interspersed with an abundance
of flowers. Nowhere is the eye offended by anything inartistic or
unpicturesque, but, on the contrary, the charm is so comprehensive that
the visitor looks from place to place, from this bit to that bit, and
ever sees new beauty.

To complete all, to accentuate in the minds of some this impression of
green, is the majestic Jungfrau. Other views may be grander and more
magnificent, but no view of the Jungfrau can compare in loveliness to
that from Interlaken. A great white glistening mass, far up above green
meadows, green forests, and green mountains, rises this peak, a shining
summit of white. Fitly named the Virgin, the Jungfrau gives her
benediction to Interlaken, serenely smiling at the valley and at the
town lying so quietly at her feet--the Jungfrau crowned with snow,
Interlaken drest in green!

In the golden glory of the sun, in the silver shimmer of the moon, the
Jungfrau beckons, the Jungfrau calls! "Come," she seems to say, "come
nearer! Come up to the heights! Come close to the running waters!
Come." And that invitation falls on no unwilling ears, but in to the
Grindelwald and to the Lauterbrunnen and up to Muerren go those who love
the majestic Jungfrau! What a wonderful trip this is! It may shatter
some ideals in being taken to such a height in a railway train, but even
against one's convictions as to the proper way of seeing a mountain,
when all has been said, the fact remains that this trip is wonderful
beyond words. There is a strangeness in taking a train which leaves a
garden of green in the early morning and in a few hours later, after
valley and pass and tunnel, puts one out on snow fields over 11,000 feet
above the sea, where are seen vast stretches of white, almost level with
the summit of the Jungfrau close at hand, and below, stretching for
miles, on the one side the great Aletsch Glacier, and on the other side
the green valleys enclosed by the everlasting hills!

The route is by way of Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and the Scheidegg, and
after skirting the Eiger Glacier going by tunnel into the very bowels of
the mountain. At Eigerwand, Rotstock, and Eismeer are stations, great
galleries blasted out of the rock, with corridors leading to openings
from which one has marvelous views.[31] Eismeer looks directly upon the
huge sea of snow and ice, with immense masses of dazzling white so close
as to make one reel with awe and astonishment. In fact, this view is
really oppressive in its wild magnificence, so near and so grand is it.
The Jungfraujoch is different. One is out in the open, so to speak;
one walks over that vast plateau of snow over 11,000 feet high in the
glorious sunlight, above most of the nearer peaks and looking down at a
beautiful panorama. On one side of this plateau is the Jungfrau, on the
other the Moench, either of which can be climbed from here in about three

Yet the eye lingers longer in the direction of the Aletsch Glacier than
anywhere else, this frozen river running for miles and turning to the
right at the little green basin of water full of pieces of floating ice,
called the Marjelen Lake, or See, at the foot of the Eggishorn, which is
unique and lovely. Long ago it was formed in this corner of the glacier,
and its blue waters are really melted snow, over which float icebergs
shining in the sun. In such a position the lake underlaps the glacier
for quite a distance, forming a low vaulted cavern in the ice. Every now
and then one of these little bergs overbalances itself and turns over,
the upper side then being a deep blue, and the lower side, which was
formerly above, being a pure white.

Again turning toward the green valleys, one with the eye of an artist,
who can perceive and differentiate varying shades of color, can not but
admit that the Bernese Oberland is "par excellence" first. Even south of
the Alps the verdure does not excel or even equal that to be seen here.
There is something incomparably lovely about the Oberland valleys. It
is indescribable, indefinable, for when one has exhausted the most
extravagant terms of description, he feels that he has failed to picture
the scene as he desired. Yet if one word should be chosen to convey the
impression which the Oberland makes, the word would be "color." For
whether one regards the snow summits as setting off the valleys, or the
green meadows as setting off the peaks, it matters not, for the secret
of their beauty lies in the richness and variety of the exquisite
coloring wherein many wonderful shades of green predominate.



Let it be said at once that, altho' the name of Altdorf is indissolubly
linked with that of William Tell, the place arouses an interest which
does not at all depend upon its associations with the famous archer.
From the very first it gives one the impression of possessing a distinct
personality, of ringing, as it were, to a note never heard before, and
thus challenging attention to its peculiarities.

As you approach Altdorf from Flueelen, on the Lake of Lucerne, by the
long white road, the first houses you reach are large structures of the
conventional village type, plain, but evidently the homes of well-to-do
people, and some even adorned with family coats-of-arms. In fact, this
street is dedicated to the aristocracy, and formerly went by the name
of the Herrengasse, the "Lane of the Lords." Beyond these fashionable
houses is an open square, upon which faces a cosy inn--named, of course,
after William Tell; and off on one side the large parish church, built
in cheap baroco style, but containing a few objects of interest....

There is a good deal of sight-seeing to be done in Altdorf, for so small
a place. In the town hall are shown the tattered flags carried by the
warriors of Uri in the early battles of the Confederation, the mace and
sword of state which are borne by the beadles to the Landsgemeinde. In
a somewhat inaccessible corner, a few houses off, the beginnings of a
museum have been made. Here is another portrait of interest--that of the
giant Puentener, a mercenary whose valor made him the terror of the enemy
in the battle of Marignano, in 1515; so that when he was finally killed,
they avenged themselves, according to a writing beneath the picture, by
using his fat to smear their weapons, and by feeding their horses with
oats from his carcass. Just outside the village stands the arsenal,
whence, they say, old armor was taken and turned into shovels, when the
St. Gothard Railroad was building, so poor and ignorant were the people.

If you are of the sterner sex, you can also penetrate into the Capuchin
Monastery, and enter the gardens, where the terraces that rise behind
the buildings are almost Italian in appearance, festooned with vines and
radiant with roses. Not that the fame of this institution rests on such
trivial matters, however. The brothers boast of two things: theirs is
the oldest branch of the order in Switzerland, dating from 1581, and
they carry on in it the somewhat unappetizing industry of cultivating
snails for the gourmands of foreign countries. Above the Capuchins is
the famous Bannwald, mentioned by Schiller--a tract of forest on the
mountain-slope, in which no one is allowed to fell trees, because it
protects the village from avalanches and rolling stones.

Nothing could be fairer than the outskirts of Altdorf on a May morning.
The valley of the Reuss lies bathed from end to end in a flood of
golden light, shining through an atmosphere of crystal purity. Daisies,
cowslips, and buttercups, the flowers of rural well-being, show through
the rising grass of the fields; along the hedges and crumbling walls
of the lanes peep timid primroses and violets, and in wilder spots the
Alpine gentian, intensely blue. High up, upon the mountains, glows the
indescribable velvet of the slopes, while, higher still, ragged and
vanishing patches of snow proclaim the rapid approach of summer.

After all, the best part of Altdorf, to make an Irish bull, lies outside
of the village. No adequate idea of this strange little community can
be given without referring to the Almend, or village common. Indeed,
as time goes on, one learns to regard this Almend as the complete
expression and final summing up of all that is best in Altdorf, the
reconciliation of all its inconsistencies.

How fine that great pasture beside the River Reus, with its short,
juicy, Alpine grass, in sight of the snow-capped Bristenstock, at one
end of the valley, and of the waters of Lake Lucerne at the other! In
May, the full-grown cattle have already departed for the higher summer
pastures, leaving only the feeble young behind, who are to follow as
soon as they have grown strong enough to bear the fatigues of the
journey. At this time, therefore, the Almend becomes a sort of vision
of youth--of calves, lambs, and foals, guarded by little boys, all
gamboling in the exuberance of early life.



A height crowned with embattled ramparts that bristle with loop-holed
turrets; church towers mingling their graceful spires and peaceful
crosses with those warlike edifices; dazzling white villas, planted like
tents under curtains of verdure; tall houses with old red skylights on
the roofs--this is our first glimpse of the Catholic and warlike city of
Lucerne. We seem to be approaching some town of old feudal times that
has been left solitary and forgotten on the mountain side, outside of
the current of modern life.

But when we pass through the station we find ourselves suddenly
transported to the side of the lake, where whole flotillas of large and
small boats lie moored on the blue waters of a large harbor. And along
the banks of this wonderful lake is a whole town of hotels, gay with
many colored flags, their terraces and balconies rising tier above
tier, like the galleries of a grand theater whose scenery is the mighty

In summer Lucerne is the Hyde Park of Switzerland. Its quays are
thronged by people of every nation. There you meet pale women from the
lands of snow, and dark women from the lands of the sun; tall, six-foot
English women, and lively, alert, trim Parisian women, with the light
and graceful carriage of a bird on the bough. At certain hours this
promenade on the quays is like a charity fair or a rustic ball--bright
colors and airy draperies everywhere.

Nowhere can the least calm and repose be found but in the old town.
There the gabled houses, with wooden galleries hanging over the waters
of the Reuss, make a charming ancient picture, like a bit of Venice set
down amid the verdant landscape of the valley.

I also discovered on the heights beyond the ramparts a pretty and
peaceful convent of Capuchins, the way to which winds among wild plants,
starry with flowers. It is delicious to go right away, far from the town
swarming and running over with Londoners, Germans, and Americans, and to
find yourself among fragrant hedges, peopled by warblers whom it has
not yet occurred to the hotel-keepers to teach to sing in English. This
sweet path leads without fatigue to the convent of the good fathers.

In a garden flooded with sunshine and balmy with the fragrance of
mignonette and vervain, where broad sunflowers erect their black
discs fringed with gold, two brothers with fan-shaped beards, their
brass-mounted spectacles astride on their flat noses, and arrayed in
green gardening aprons, are plying enormous watering-cans; while, in
the green and cool half-twilight under the shadowy trees, big, rubicund
brothers walk up and down, reading their red-edged breviaries in black
leather bindings.

Happy monks! Not a fraction of a pessimist among them! How well they
understand life! A beautiful convent, beautiful nature, good wine and
good cheer, neither disturbance nor care; neither wife nor children; and
when they leave the world, heaven specially created for them, seraphim
waiting for them with harps of gold, and angels with urns of rose-water
to wash their feet!

Lucerne began as a nest of monks, hidden in an orchard like a nest of
sparrows. The first house of the town was a monastery, erected by the
side of the lake. The nest grew, became a village, then a town, then a
city. The monks of Murbach, to whom the monastery of St. Leger belonged,
had got into debt; this sometimes does happen even to monks. They
sold to King Rudolf all the property they possest at Lucerne and in
Unterwalden; and thus the town passed into the hands of the Hapsburgs.

When the first Cantons, after expelling the Austrian bailiffs, had
declared their independence, Lucerne was still one of Austria's advanced
posts. But its people were daily brought into contact with the shepherds
of the Forest Cantons, who came into the town to supply themselves with
provisions; and they were not long in beginning to ask themselves if
there was any reason why they should not be, as well as their neighbors,
absolutely free. The position of the partizans of Austria soon became so
precarious that they found it safe to leave the town....

The opening of the St. Gothard Railway has given a new impulse to this
cosmopolitan city, which has a great future before it. Already it has
supplanted Interlaken in the estimation of the furbelowed, fashionable
world--the women who come to Switzerland not to see but to be seen.
Lucerne is now the chief summer station of the twenty-two Cantons. And
yet it does not possess many objects of interest. There is the old
bridge on the Reuss, with its ancient paintings; the Church of St.
Leger, with its lateral altars and its Campo Santo, reminding us
of Italian cemeteries; the museum at the Town Hall, with its fine
collection of stained glass; the blood-stained standards from the
Burgundian wars, and the flag in which noble old Gundolfingen, after
charging his fellow-citizens never to elect their magistrates for more
than a year, wrapt himself as in a shroud of glory to die in the fight;
finally, there is the Lion of Lucerne; and that is all.

The most wonderful thing of all is that you are allowed to see this lion
for nothing; for close beside it you are charged a franc for permission
to cast an indifferent glance on some uninteresting excavations, which
date, it is said, from the glacial period. We do not care if they do....

The great quay of Lucerne is delightful; as good as the seashore at
Dieppe or Trouville. Before you, limpid and blue, lies the lake, which
from the character of its shores, at once stern and graceful, is the
finest in Switzerland. In front rises the snow-clad peaks of Uri, to the
left the Rigi, to the right the austere Pilatus, almost always wearing
his high cap of clouds. This beautiful walk on the quay, long and shady
like the avenue of a gentleman's park, is the daily resort, toward four
o'clock, of all the foreigners who are crowded in the hotels or packed
in the boarding-houses. Here are Russian and Polish counts with long
mustaches, and pins set with false brilliants; Englishmen with fishes'
or horses' heads; Englishwomen with the figures of angels or of
giraffes; Parisian women, daintily attired, sprightly, and coquettish;
American women, free in their bearing, and eccentric in their dress, and
their men as stiff as the smoke-pipes of steamboats; German women, with
languishing voices, drooping and pale like willow branches, fair-haired
and blue-eyed, talking in the same breath of Goethe and the price of
sausages, of the moon and their glass of beer, of stars and black
radishes. And here and there are a few little Swiss girls, fresh and
rosy as wood strawberries, smiling darlings like Dresden shepherdesses,
dreaming of scenes of platonic love in a great garden adorned with the
statue of William Tell or General Dufour.



If you arrive in Zurich after dark, and pass along the river-front,
you will think yourself for a moment in Venice. The street lamps glow
responsively across the dark Limmat, or trail their light from the
bridges. In the uncertain darkness, the bare house walls of the farther
side put on the dignity of palaces. There are unsuspected architectural
glories in the Wasserkirche and the Rathhaus, as they stand partly in
the water of the river. And if, at such times, one of the long, narrow
barges of the place passes up stream, the illusion is complete; for, as
the boat cuts at intervals through the glare of gaslight it looks for
all the world like a gondola....

Zurich need not rely upon any fancied resemblance of this sort for a
distinct charm of its own. The situation of the city is essentially
beautiful, reminding one, in a general way, of that of Geneva, Lucerne,
or Thun--at the outlet of a lake, and at the point of issue of a
swift river. Approaching from the lakeside, the twin towers of the
Grossmuenster loom upon the right, capped by ugly rounded tops, like
miters; upon the left, the simple spires of the Fraumuenster and St.
Peter's. A conglomeration of roofs denotes the city houses. On the
water-front, extensive promenades stretch, crescent shaped, from end
to end, cleverly laid out, tho' as yet too new to quite fulfil their
mission of beauty. Some large white buildings form the front line on
the lake--notably the theater, and a few hotels and apartment houses.
Finally, there where the River Limmat leaves the lake, a vista of
bridges open into the heart of the city--a succession of arches and
lines that invite inspection.

Like most progressive cities of Europe, Zurich has outgrown its feudal
accouterments within the last fifty years. It has razed its walls,
converted its bastions into playgrounds, and, pushing out on every side,
has incorporated many neighboring villages, until to-day it contains
more than ninety thousand inhabitants.[35] The pride of modern Zurich is
the Bahnhof-strasse, a long street which leads from the railroad station
to the lake. It is planted with trees, and counts as the one and only
boulevard of the city. Unfortunately, a good view of the distant snow
mountains is very rare from the lake promenade, altho' they appear with
distinctness upon the photographs sold in the shops.

Early every Saturday the peasant women come trooping in, with their
vegetables, fruits, and flowers, to line the Bahnhof-strasse with carts
and baskets. The ladies and kitchen-maids of the city come to buy; but
by noon the market is over. In a jiffy, the street is swept as clean as
a kitchen floor, and the women have turned their backs on Zurich. But
the real center of attraction in Zurich will be found by the traveler in
that quarter where stands the Grossmuenster, the church of which Zwingli
was incumbent for twelve years.

It may well be called the Wittenberg church of Switzerland. The present
building dates from the eleventh and twelfth centuries; but tradition
has it that the first minster was founded by Charlemagne. That
ubiquitous emperor certainly manifested great interest in Zurich. He
has been represented no less than three times in various parts of the
building. About midway up one of the towers, his statue appears in
a niche, where pigeons strut and prink their feathers, undisturbed.
Charlemagne is sitting with a mighty two-edged sword upon his knees, and
a gilded crown upon his head; but the figure is badly proportioned, and
the statue is a good-natured, stumpy affair, that makes one smile rather
than admire. The outside of the minster still shows traces of the image
breakers of Zwingli's time, and yet the crumbling north portal remains
beautiful, even in decay. As for the interior, it has an exceedingly
bare and stript appearance; for, altho' there is good, solid stonework
in the walls, the whole has been washed a foolish, Philistine white. The
Romanesque of the architectural is said to be of particular interest to
connoisseurs, and the queer archaic capitals must certainly attract the
notice even of ordinary tourists....

It is also worth while to go to the Helmhaus, and examine the collection
of lake-dwelling remains. In fact, there is a delightful little model of
a lake-dwelling itself, and an appliance to show you how those primitive
people could make holes in their stone implements, before they knew the
use of metals. The ancient guild houses of Zurich are worth a special
study. Take, for instance, that of the "Zimmerleute," or carpenter with
its supporting arches and little peaked tower; or the so-called "Waag,"
with frescoed front; then the great wainscoated and paneled hall of the
"schmieden" (smiths); and the rich Renaissance stonework of the "Maurer"
(masons). These buildings, alas, with the decay of the system which
produced them, have been obliged to put up big signs of Cafe Restaurant
upon their historic facades, like so many vulgar, modern eating-houses.

The Rathhaus, or Town Hall, too, is charming. It stands, like the
Wasserkirche, with one side in the water and the other against the quay.
The style is a sort of reposeful Italian Renaissance, that is florid
only in the best artistic sense. Nor must you miss the so-called
"Rueden," nearby, for its sloping roof and painted walls give it a very
captivating look of alert picturesqueness, and it contains a large
collection of Pestalozzi souvenirs.

Zurich has more than one claim to the world's recognition; but no
department of its active life, perhaps, merits such unstinted praise as
its educational facilities. First and foremost, the University, with
four faculties, modeled upon the German system, but retaining certain
distinctive traits that are essentially Swiss--for instance, the broad
and liberal treatment accorded to women students, who are admitted as
freely as men, and receive the same instruction. A great number of
Russian girls are always to be seen in Zurich, as at other Swiss
universities, working unremittingly to acquire the degrees which
they are denied at home. Not a few American women also have availed
themselves of these facilities, especially for the study of medicine....

Zurich is, at the present time, undoubtedly the most important
commercial city in Switzerland, having distanced both Basel and Geneva
in this direction. The manufacturing of silk, woolen, and linen fabrics
has flourished here since the end of the thirteenth century. In modern
times, however, cotton and machinery have been added as staple articles
of manufacture. Much of the actual weaving is still done in outlying
parts of the Canton, in the very cottages of the peasants, so that
the click of the loom is heard from open windows in every village and

But modern industrial processes are tending continually to drive the
weavers from their homes into great centralized factories, and every
year this inevitable change becomes more apparent. It is certainly
remarkable that Zurich should succeed in turning out cheap and good
machinery, when we remember that every ton of coal and iron has to be
imported, since Switzerland possesses not a single mine, either of the
one or the other.



If you really want to know how the Swiss Confederation came to be, you
can not do better than take the train to the top of the Rigi. You might
stumble through many a volume, and not learn so thoroughly the essential
causes of this national birth.

Of course, the eye rests first upon the phalanx of snow-crests to the
south, then down upon the lake, lying outstretched like some wriggling
monster, switching its tail, and finally off to the many places where
early Swiss history was made. In point of fact, you are looking at quite
a large slice of Switzerland. Victor Hugo seized the meaning of this
view when he wrote: "It is a serious hour, and full of meditations, when
one has Switzerland thus under the eyes." ...

The physical features of a country have their counterparts in its
political institutions. In Switzerland the great mountain ranges divide
the territory into deep valleys, each of which naturally forms a
political unit--the Commune. Here is a miniature world, concentrated
into a small space, and representing the sum total of life to its
inhabitants. Self-government becomes second nature under these
conditions. A sort of patriarchal democracy is evolved: that is, certain
men and certain families are apt to maintain themselves at the head
of public affairs, but with the consent and cooperation of the whole

There is hardly a spot associated with the rise of the Swiss
Confederation whose position can not be determined from the Rigi. The
two Tell's chapels; the Ruetli; the villages of Schwiz, Altdorf, Brunnen,
Beckenried, Stans, and Sarnen; the battlefields of Morgarten and
Sempach; and on a clear day the ruined castle of Hapsburg itself, lie
within a mighty circle at one's feet.

It was preordained that the three lands of Uri, Schwiz, and Unterwalden
should unite for protection of common interests against the encroachment
of a common enemy--the ambitious house of Hapsburg. The lake formed at
once a bond and a highway between them. On the first day of August,
1291, more than six hundred years ago, a group of unpretentious
patriots, ignored by the great world, signed a document which formed
these lands into a loose Confederation. By this act they laid the
foundation upon which the Swiss state was afterward reared. In their
naive, but prophetic, faith, the contracting parties called this
agreement a perpetual pact; and they set forth, in the Latin, legal
phraseology of the day, that, seeing the malice of the times, they found
it necessary to take an oath to defend one another against outsiders,
and to keep order within their boundaries; at the same time carefully
stating that the object of the league was to maintain lawfully
established conditions.

From small beginnings, the Confederation of Uri, Schwiz, and Unterwalden
grew, by the addition of other communities, until it reached its present
proportions, of twenty-two Cantons, in 1815. Lucerne was the first to
join; then came Zurich, Glarus, Zug, Bern, etc. The early Swiss did not
set up a sovereign republic, in our acceptation of the word, either in
internal or external policy. The class distinctions of the feudal age
continued to exist; and they by no means disputed the supreme rule of
the head of the German Empire over them, but rather gloried in the
protection which this direct dependence afforded them against a
multitude of intermediate, preying nobles.



From Servoz three leagues remain to Chamouni--Mont Blanc was before
us--the Alps, with their innumerable glaciers on high all around,
closing in the complicated windings of the single vale--forests
inexpressibly beautiful, but majestic in their beauty--intermingled
beech and pine, and oak, overshadowed our road, or receded, while lawns
of such verdure as I have never seen before occupied these openings, and
gradually became darker in their recesses. Mont Blanc was before us, but
it was covered with cloud; its base, furrowed with dreadful gaps, was
seen above. Pinnacles of snow intolerably bright, part of the chain
connected with Mont Blanc, shone through the clouds at intervals on
high. I never knew--I never imagined--what mountains were before.

The immensity of these aerial summits excited, when they suddenly burst
upon the sight, a sentiment of ecstatic wonder, not unallied to madness.
And, remember, this was all one scene, it all prest home to our regard
and our imagination. Tho' it embraced a vast extent of space, the snowy
pyramids which shot into the bright blue sky seemed to overhang our
path; the ravine, clothed with gigantic pines, and black with its depth
below, so deep that the very roaring of the untameable Arve, which
rolled through it, could not be heard above--all was as much our own, as
if we had been the creators of such impressions in the minds of others
as now occupied our own. Nature was the poet, whose harmony held our
spirits more breathless than that of the divinest.

As we entered the valley of the Chamouni (which, in fact, may be
considered as a continuation of those which we have followed from
Bonneville and Cluses), clouds hung upon the mountains at the distance
perhaps of 6,000 feet from the earth, but so as effectually to conceal
not only Mont Blanc, but the other "aiguilles," as they call them here,
attached and subordinate to it. We were traveling along the valley, when
suddenly we heard a sound as the burst of smothered thunder rolling
above; yet there was something in the sound that told us it could not
be thunder. Our guide hastily pointed out to us a part of the mountain
opposite, from whence the sound came. It was an avalanche. We saw the
smoke of its path among the rocks, and continued to hear at intervals
the bursting of its fall. It fell on the bed of a torrent, which it
displaced, and presently we saw its tawny-colored waters also spread
themselves over the ravine, which was their couch.

We did not, as we intended, visit the Glacier des Bossons to-day, altho
it descends within a few minutes' walk of the road, wishing to survey it
at least when unfatigued. We saw this glacier, which comes close to the
fertile plain, as we passed. Its surface was broken into a thousand
unaccountable figures; conical and pyramidical crystallizations, more
than fifty feet in height, rise from its surface, and precipices of ice,
of dazzling splendor, overhang the woods and meadows of the vale. This
glacier winds upward from the valley, until it joins the masses of frost
from which it was produced above, winding through its own ravine like a
bright belt flung over the black region of pines.

There is more in all these scenes than mere magnitude of proportion;
there is a majesty of outline; there is an awful grace in the very
colors which invest these wonderful shapes--a charm which is peculiar
to them, quite distinct even from the reality of their unutterable



Those who would reach the very heart of the Alps and look upon a scene
of unparalleled grandeur must go into the Valais to Zermatt.



[Illustration: FRIBOURG]

[Illustration: BERNE]

[Illustration: VIVEY ON LAKE GENEVA]

[Illustration: THE TURNHALLE IN ZURICH Courtesy Swiss Federal Railway]

[Illustration: INTERLAKEN]

[Illustration: LUCERNE]

[Illustration: VIADUCTS On the new Loetschberg route to the Simplon

[Illustration: WOLFORT VIADUCT On the Pilatus Railroad, Switzerland]

the distance)]



[Illustration: CLOUD EFFECT ABOVE INTERLAKEN Courtesy Swiss Federal

[Illustration: DAVOS IN WINTER]

The way up the valley is that which follows the River Visp. It is a
delightful journey. The little stream is never still. It will scarcely
keep confined to the banks or within the stone walls which in many
places protect the shores. The river dances along as if seeking to be
free. For the most part it is a torrent, sweeping swiftly past the
solid masonry and descending the steep bed in a series of wild leaps or
artificial waterfalls, with wonderful effects of sunlight seen in the
showers of spray. Fed as it is by many mountain streams, the Visp is
always full, and the more so, when in summer the melting ice adds to its

Then it is a sight long remembered, as roaring, rollicking, rushing
along it is a brawling mass of waters, often working havoc with banks,
road, village, and pastures. If one never saw a mountain, the sight of
the Visp would more than repay, but, as it is, one's attention is taxed
to the uttermost not to miss anything of this little rushing river and
at the same time get the charming views of the Weisshorn, the Breithorn,
and the other snow summits which appear over the mountain spurs
surrounding the head of the valley.

The first impression on reaching the Zermatt is one of disappointment.
Maps and pictures generally lead the traveler to think that from the
village he will see the great semicircle of snow peaks which surround
the valley, but upon arrival he finds that he must go further up to see
them, for all of them are hidden from view except the Matterhorn.

This mountain, however, is seen in all its grandeur, fierce and
frowning, and to an imaginative mind bending forward as if threatening
and trying to shake off the little snow that appears here and there on
its side. It dominates the whole scene and leaves an indelible impress
on the mind, so that one can never picture Zermatt without the

Zermatt as a place is a curious combination; a line of hotels in
juxtaposition with a village of chalets, unsophisticated peasants
shoulder to shoulder with people of fashion! There are funny little
shops, here showing only such simple things as are needed by the
dwellers in the Valais, there exhibiting really beautiful articles in
dress and jewelry to attract the summer visitors, while at convenient
spots are the inevitable tea-rooms, where "The, Cafe, Limonade,
Confiserie" minister to the coming crowds of an afternoon....

Guides galore wait in front of all the large hotels; ice-axes, ropes,
nailed boots, rucksacks, and all the paraphernalia of the mountains
are seen on every side, and a walk along the one main thoroughfare
introduces one into the life of a climbing center, interesting to a
degree and often very amusing from the miscellaneous collection of
people there.

Perhaps the first thing one cares to see at Zermatt is the village
church, with the adjoining churchyard. The church, dedicated to Saint
Maurice, a favorite saint in the Valais and Rhone district, is plain
but interesting and in parts is quite old. Near it is a little mortuary
chapel. In most parts of Switzerland, it is the custom, after the bodies
of the dead have been buried a certain length of time, to remove the
remains to the "charnel house," allowing the graves to be used again
and thus not encroaching upon the space reserved and consecrated in the
churchyard, but we do not think this custom obtains at Zermatt.

In the churchyard is a monument to Michel Auguste Croz, the guide, and
near by are the graves of the Reverend Charles Hudson and Mr. Hadow.
These three, with Lord Francis Douglas were killed in Mr. Whymper's
first ascent of the Matterhorn.[39] The body of Lord Francis Douglas
has never been found. It is probably deep in some crevasse or under the
snows which surround the base of the Matterhorn....

For the more extended climbs or for excursions in the direction of the
Schwarzsee, the Staffel Alp or the Trift, Zermatt is the starting point.
The place abounds in walks, most of them being the first part of the
routes to the high mountains, so that those who are fond of tramping but
not of climbing can reach high elevations with a little hard work, but
no great difficulty. Some of these "midway" places may be visited on
muleback, and with the railway now up to the Gorner-Grat there are few
persons who may not see this wonderful region of snow peaks.

The trip to the Schwarzsee is the first stage on the Matterhorn route.
It leads through the village, past the Gorner Gorges (which one may
visit by a slight detour) and then enters some very pretty woods, from
which one issues on to the bare green meadows which clothe the upper
part of the steep slope of the mountain. As one mounts this zigzag path,
it sometimes seems as if it would never end, and for all the magnificent
views which it affords, one is always glad that it is over, as it
exactly fulfils the conditions of a "grind."

From the Schwarzsee (8,495 feet, where there is an excellent hotel),
there is a fine survey of the Matterhorn, and also a splendid panorama,
on three sides, one view up the glaciers toward the Monte Rosa, another
over the valley to the Dent Blanche and other great peaks, and still
another to the far distant Bernese Oberland. Near the hotel is a little
lake and a tiny chapel, where mass is sometimes said. The reflection in
the still waters of the lake is very lovely.

From the Schwarzsee, trips are made to the Hoernli (another stage on the
way to the Matterhorn), to the Gandegg Hut, across moraine and glacier
and to the Staffel Alp, over the green meadows. The Hoernli (9,490 feet
high) is the ridge running out from the Matterhorn. It is reached by a
stiff climb over rocks and a huge heap of fallen stones and debris. From
it the view is similar to that from the Schwarzsee, but much finer, the
Theodule Glacier being seen to great advantage. Above the Hoernli towers
the Matterhorn, huge, fierce, frowning, threatening. Every few moments
comes a heavy, muffled sound, as new showers of falling stones come
down. This is one of the main dangers in climbing the peak itself, for
from base to summit, the Matterhorn is really a decaying mountain, the
stones rolling away through the action of the storms, the frosts, and
the sun.



The night was falling fine as dust, as a black sifted snow-shower, a
snow made of shadow; and the melancholy of the landscape, the grand
nocturnal solitude of these lofty, unknown regions, had a charm profound
and disquieting. I do not know why I fancied myself no longer in
Switzerland, but in some country near the pole, in Sweden or Norway. At
the foot of these bare mountains I looked for wild fjords, lit up by the

Nothing can express the profound somberness of these landscapes at
nightfall; the long desert road, gray from the reflections of the starry
sky, unrolls in an interminable ribbon along the depth of the valley;
the treeless mountains, hollowed out like ancient craters, lift their
overhanging precipices; lakes sleeping in the midst of the pastures,
behind curtains of pines and larches, glitter like drops of quicksilver;
and on the horizon the immense glaciers crowd together and overflow like
sheets of foam on a frozen sea.

The road ascends. From the distance comes a dull noise, the roaring of a
torrent. We cross a little cluster of trees, and on issuing from it the
superb amphitheater of glaciers shows itself anew, overlooked by one
white point glittering like an opal. On the hill a thousand little
lights show me that I am at last at Pontresina. I thought I should
never have arrived there; nowhere does night deceive more than in the
mountains; in proportion as you advance toward a point, it seems to
retreat from you.

Soon the black fantastic lines of the houses show through the darkness.
I enter a narrow street, formed of great gloomy buildings, their fronts
like a convent or prison. The hamlet is transformed into a little town
of hotels, very comfortable, very elegant, very dear, but very stupid
and very vulgar, with their laced porter in an admiral's hat, and their
whiskered waiters, who have the air of Anglican ministers. Oh! how I
detest them, and flee them, those hotels where the painter, or the
tourist who arrives on foot, knapsack on his back and staff in hand, his
trousers tucked into his leggings, his flask slung over his shoulder,
and his hat awry, is received with less courtesy than a lackey.

Besides those hotels, some of which are veritable palaces, and where the
ladies are almost bound to change their dress three times a day, there
is a hotel of the second and third class; and there is the old inn; the
comfortable, hospitable, patriarchal inn, with its Gothic signboard....

On leaving the village I was again in the open mountain. In the distance
the road penetrated into the valley, rising always. The moon had risen.
She stood out sharply cut in a cloudless sky, and stars sparkling
everywhere in profusion; not like nails of gold, but sown broadcast like
a flying dust, a dust of carbuncles and diamonds. To the right, in the
depths of the amphitheater of the mountains, an immense glacier looked
like a frozen cascade; and above, a perfectly white peak rose draped in
snow, like some legendary king in his mantle of silver.

Bending under my knapsack, and dragging my feet, I arrive at last at the
hotel, where I am received, in the kindest manner in the world, by the
two mistresses of the establishment, two sisters of open, benevolent
countenance and of sweet expression.

And the poor little traveler who arrives, his bag on his back and
without bustle, who has sent neither letter nor telegram to announce his
arrival, is the object of the kindest and most delicate attentions; his
clothes are brushed, he gets water for his refreshment, and is then
conducted to a table bountifully spread, in a dining-room fragrant with
good cookery and bouquets of flowers....

Beyond Campfer, its houses surrounding a third little lake, we come
suddenly on a scene of extraordinary animation. All the cosmopolitan
society of St. Moritz is there, sauntering, walking, running, in
mountain parties, on afternoon excursions. The favorite one is the walk
to the pretty lake of Campfer, with its shady margin, its resting places
hidden among the branches, its chalet-restaurant, from the terrace of
which one overlooks the whole valley; and it would be difficult to find
near St. Moritz a more interesting spot.

We meet at every step parties of English ladies, looking like
plantations of umbrellas with their covers on and surmounted by immense
straw hats; then there are German ladies, massive as citadels, but
not impregnable, asking nothing better than to surrender to the young
exquisites, with the figure of cuirassiers, who accompany them; further
on, lively Italian ladies parade themselves in dresses of the carnival,
the colors outrageously striking and dazzling to the eyes; with
up-turned skirts they cross the Inn on great mossy stones, leaping
with the grace of birds, and smiling, to show, into the bargain, the
whiteness of their teeth. All this crowd passing in procession before us
is composed of men and women of every age and condition; some with the
grave face of a waxen saint, others beaming with the satisfied smile of
rich people; there are also invalids, who go along hobbling and limping,
or who are drawn, in little carriages.

Soon handsome facades, pierced with hundreds of windows, show themselves
in the grand and severe setting of mountains and glaciers. It is St.
Moritz-les-Bains. Here every house is a hotel, and, as every hotel is
a little palace, we do not alight from the diligence; we go a little
farther and a little higher, to St. Moritz-le-Village, which has a much
more beautiful situation. It is at the top of a little hill, whose sides
slope down to a pretty lake, fresh and green as a lawn. The eye reaches
beyond Sils, the whole length of the valley, with its mountains like
embattled ramparts, its lakes like a great row of pearls, and its
glaciers showing their piles of snowy white against the azure depths of
the horizon.

St. Moritz is the center of the valley of the Upper Engadine, which
extends to the length of eighteen or nineteen leagues, and which
scarcely possesses a thousand inhabitants. Almost all the men emigrate
to work for strangers, like their brothers, the mountaineers of Savoy
and Auvergne, and do not return till they have amassed a sufficient
fortune to allow them to build a little white house, with gilded
window frames, and to die quietly in the spot where they were born....
Historians tell us that the first inhabitants of the Upper Engadine were
Etruscans and Latins chased from Italy by the Gauls and Carthaginians,
and taking refuge in these hidden altitudes. After the fall of the
Empire, the inhabitants of the Engadine fell under the dominion of the
Franks and Lombards, then the Dukes of Swabia; but the blood never
mingled--the type remained Italian; black hair, the quick eye, the
mobile countenance, the expressive features, and the supple figure.



Straddling the Rhone, where it issues from the bluest lake in the world,
looking out upon green meadows and wooded hills, backed by the dark
ridge of the Saleve, with the "great white mountain" visible in the
distance, Geneva has the advantage of an incomparable site; and it
is, from a town surveyor's point of view, well built. It has wide
thoroughfares, quays, and bridges; gorgeous public monuments and
well-kept public gardens; handsome theaters and museums; long rows
of palatial hotels; flourishing suburbs; two railway-stations, and a
casino. But all this is merely the facade--all of it quite modern;
hardly any of it more than half a century old. The real historical
Geneva--the little of it that remains--is hidden away in the background,
where not every tourist troubles to look for it. It is disappearing
fast. Italian stonemasons are constantly engaged in driving lines
through it. They have rebuilt, for instance, the old Corraterie, which
is now the Regent Street of Geneva, famous for its confectioners' and
booksellers' shops; they have destroyed, and are still destroying, other
ancient slums, setting up white buildings of uniform ugliness in place
of the picturesque but insanitary dwellings of the past. It is, no
doubt, a very necessary reform, tho' one may think that it is being
executed in too utilitarian a spirit. The old Geneva was malodorous, and
its death-rate was high. They had more than one Great Plague there, and
their Great Fires have always left some of the worst of their slums
untouched. These could not be allowed to stand in an age which studies
the science and practises the art of hygiene. Yet the traveler who wants
to know what the old Geneva was really like must spend a morning or two
rambling among them before they are pulled down.

The old Geneva, like Jerusalem, was set upon a hill, and it is toward
the top of the hill that the few buildings of historical interest are to
be found. There is the cathedral--a striking object from a distance, tho'
the interior is hideously bare. There is the Town Hall, in which, for
the convenience of notables carried in litters, the upper stories were
reached by an inclined plane instead of a staircase. There is Calvin's
old Academy, bearing more than a slight resemblance to certain of the
smaller colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. There, too, are to be seen a
few mural tablets, indicating the residences of past celebrities. In
such a house Rousseau was born; in such another house or in an older
house, now demolished, on the same site--Calvin died. And toward these
central points the steep and narrow, mean streets--in many cases streets
of stairs--converge.

As one plunges into these streets one seems to pass back from the
twentieth century to the fifteenth, and need not exercise one's
imagination very severely in order to picture the town as it appeared
in the old days before the Reformation. The present writer may claim
permission to borrow his own description from the pages of "Lake Geneva
and its Literary Landmarks:"

"Narrow streets predominated, tho' there were also a certain number of
open spaces--notably at the markets, and in front of the Cathedral,
where there was a traffic in those relics and rosaries which Geneva was
presently to repudiate with virtuous indignation. One can form an idea
of the appearance of the narrow streets by imagining the oldest houses
that one has seen in Switzerland all closely packed together--houses at
the most three stories high, with gabled roofs, ground-floors a step or
two below the level of the roadway, and huge arched doors studded with
great iron nails, and looking strong enough to resist a battering-ram.
Above the doors, in the case of the better houses, were the painted
escutcheons of the residents, and crests were also often blazoned on the
window-panes. The shops, too, and more especially the inns, flaunted
gaudy signboards with ingenious devices. The Good Vinegar, the Hot
Knife, the Crowned Ox, were the names of some of these; their tariff is
said to have been fivepence a day for man and beast."....

In the first half of the sixteenth century occurred the two events
which shaped the future of Geneva; Reformation theology was accepted;
political independence was achieved. Geneva it should be explained, was
the fief of the duchy of Savoy; or so, at all events, the Dukes of Savoy
maintained, tho' the citizens were of the contrary opinion. Their view
was that they owed allegiance only to their Bishops, who were the
Viceroys of the Holy Roman Emperor; and even that allegiance was limited
by the terms of a Charter granted in the Holy Roman Emperor's name by
Bishop Adhemar de Fabri. All went fairly well until the Bishops began
to play into the hands of the Dukes; but then there was friction,
which rapidly became acute. A revolutionary party--the Eidgenossen, or
Confederates--was formed. There was a Declaration of Independence and a
civil war.

So long as the Genevans stood alone, the Duke was too strong for them.
He marched into the town in the style of a conqueror, and wreaked his
vengeance on as many of his enemies as he could catch. He cut off the
head of Philibert Berthelier, to whom there stands a memorial on the
island in the Rhone; he caused Jean Pecolat to be hung up in an absurd
posture in his banqueting-hall, in order that he might mock at his
discomfort while he dined; he executed, with or without preliminary
torture, several less conspicuous patriots. Happily, however, some of
the patriots--notably Besancon Hugues--got safely away, and succeeded in
concluding treaties of alliance between Geneva and the cantons of Berne
and Fribourg.

The men of Fribourg marched to Geneva, and the Duke retired. The
citizens passed a resolution that he should never be allowed to enter
the town again, seeing that he "never came there without playing the
citizens some dirty trick or other;" and, the more effectually to
prevent him from coming, they pulled down their suburbs and repaired
their ramparts, one member of every household being required to lend a
hand for the purpose.

Presently, owing to religious dissensions, Fribourg withdrew from the
alliance. Berne, however, adhered to it, and, in due course, responded
to the appeal for help by setting an army of seven thousand men in
motion. The route of the seven thousand lay through the canton of Vaud,
then a portion of the Duke's dominions, governed from the Castle of
Chillon. Meeting with no resistance save at Yverdon, they annexed the
territory, placing governors of their own in its various strongholds.
The Governor of Chillon fled, leaving his garrison to surrender; and in
its deepest dungeon was found the famous prisoner of Chillon, Francois
de Bonivard. From that time forward Geneva was a free republic, owing
allegiance to no higher power.



Here I am, sitting at my window, overlooking Lake Leman. Castle Chillon,
with its old conical towers, is silently pictured in the still waters.
It has been a day of a thousand. We took a boat, with two oarsmen, and
passed leisurely along the shores, under the cool, drooping branches of
trees, to the castle, which is scarce a stone's throw from the hotel. We
rowed along, close under the walls, to the ancient moat and drawbridge.
There I picked a bunch of blue bells, "les clochettes," which were
hanging their aerial pendants from every crevice--some blue, some

We rowed along, almost touching the castle rock, where the wall ascends
perpendicularly, and the water is said to be a thousand feet deep. We
passed the loopholes that illuminate the dungeon vaults, and an old
arch, now walled up, where prisoners, after having been strangled, were
thrown into the lake.

Last evening we walked through the castle. An interesting Swiss woman,
who has taught herself English for the benefit of her visitors, was our
"cicerone." She seemed to have all the old Swiss vivacity of attachment
for "liberte et patrie." She took us first into the dungeon, with the
seven pillars, described by Byron. There was the pillar to which, for
protecting the liberty of Geneva, Bonivard was chained. There the Duke
of Savoy kept him for six years, confined by a chain four feet long. He
could take only three steps, and the stone floor is deeply worn by the
prints of those weary steps. Six years is so easily said; but to live
them, alone, helpless, a man burning with all the fires of manhood,
chained to that pillar of stone, and those three unvarying steps! Two
thousand one hundred and ninety days rose and set the sun, while seed
time and harvest, winter and summer, and the whole living world went
on over his grave. For him no sun, no moon, no stars, no business, no
friendship, no plans--nothing! The great millstone of life emptily
grinding itself away!

What a power of vitality was there in Bonivard, that he did not sink in
lethargy, and forget himself to stone! But he did not; it is said that
when the victorious Swiss army broke in to liberate him, they cried,

"Bonivard, you are free!"

"And Geneva?"

"Geneva is free also!"

You ought to have heard the enthusiasm with which our guide told this

Near by are the relics of the cell of a companion of Bonivard, who made
an ineffectual attempt to liberate him. On the wall are still seen
sketches of saints and inscriptions by his hand. This man one day
overcame his jailer, locked him in his cell, ran into the hall above,
and threw himself from a window into the lake, struck a rock, and was
killed instantly. One of the pillars in this vault is covered with
names. I think it is Bonivard's pillar. There are the names of Byron,
Hunt, Schiller, and many other celebrities.

After we left the dungeons we went up into the judgment hall, where
prisoners were tried, and then into the torture chamber. Here are the
pulleys by which limbs are broken; the beam, all scorched with the irons
by which feet were burned; the oven where the irons were heated; and
there was the stone where they were sometimes laid to be strangled,
after the torture. On that stone, our guide told us, two thousand Jews,
men, women, and children, had been put to death. There was also, high
up, a strong beam across, where criminals were hung; and a door, now
walled up, by which they were thrown into the lake. I shivered.
"'Twas cruel," she said; "'twas almost as cruel as your slavery in

Then she took us into a tower where was the "oubliette." Here the
unfortunate prisoner was made to kneel before an image of the Virgin,
while the treacherous floor, falling beneath him, precipitated him into
a well forty feet deep, where he was left to die of broken limbs and
starvation. Below this well was still another pit, filled with knives,
into which, when they were disposed to a merciful hastening of the
torture, they let him fall. The woman has been herself to the bottom of
the first dungeon, and found there bones of victims. The second pit is
now walled up....

To-night, after sunset, we rowed to Byron's "little isle," the only one
in the lake. O, the unutterable beauty of these mountains--great, purple
waves, as if they had been dashed up by a mighty tempest, crested
with snow-like foam! this purple sky, and crescent moon, and the lake
gleaming and shimmering, and twinkling stars, while far off up the sides
of a snow-topped mountain a light shines like a star--some mountaineer's
candle, I suppose.

In the dark stillness we rode again over to Chillon, and paused under
its walls. The frogs were croaking in the moat, and we lay rocking on
the wave, and watching the dusky outlines of the towers and turrets.
Then the spirit of the scene seemed to wrap me round like a cloak. Back
to Geneva again. This lovely place will ever leave its image on my
heart. Mountains embrace it.



To see the splendid array of snow peaks and glaciers which makes the sky
line above Zermatt, one must leave the valley and walk or climb to a
higher level. An ideal spot for this is the Hotel Riffel Alp. Both the
situation and the Hotel outrival and surpass any similar places in the
Alps. "Far from the madding crowd," on a little plateau bounded by pines
and pastures stands the Hotel, some two thousand feet above Zermatt
and at an altitude of over 7,000 feet. The outlook is superb, the air
splendid, the quiet most restful. Two little churches, the one for Roman
Catholics, the other for members of the Church of England minister to
the spiritual needs of the visitors and stamp religion upon a situation
grand and sublime.

Those who come here are lovers of the mountains who enjoy the open life.
It is a place not so much for "les grands excursions" as for long walks,
easy climbs and the beginnings of mountaineering. Many persons spend the
entire day out, preferring to eat their dejeuner "informally," perched
above some safe precipice, or on a glacier-bordered rock or in the shade
of the cool woods, but there are always some who linger both morning and
afternoon on the terrace with its far expanse of view, with the bright
sunshine streaming down upon them.

One great charm of the Riffel Alp is the proximity to the snow. An hour
will bring one either to the Gorner Glacier or to the Findelen Glacier,
while a somewhat longer time will lead to other stretches of snow and
ice, where the climber may sit and survey the seracs and crevasses or
walk about on the great frozen rivers. This is said to be beneficial to
the nervous system as many physicians maintain that the glaciers contain
a large amount of radium.

Before essaying any of the longer or harder trips however, the traveler
first of all generally goes to the Gorner-Grat, the rocky ridge that
runs up from Zermatt to a point 10,290 feet high. Many people still walk
up, but since the railroad was built, even those who feel it to be a
matter of conscience to inveigh against any kind of progress which
ministers to the pleasures of the masses, are found among those who
prefer to ascend by electricity. The trip up is often made very amusing
as among the crowds are always some, who knowing really nothing of the
place, feel it incumbent upon themselves to point out all of the peaks,
in a way quite discomposing to anybody familiar with the locality or
versed in geography! Quite a luxurious little hotel now surmounts the
top of the Gorner-Grat. In it, about it and above it, on the walled
terrace assembles a motley crowd every clear day in summer, clad in
every variety of costume, conventional and unconventional....

An ordinary scene would be ruined by such a crowd, but not so the
Gorner-Grat. The very majesty and magnificence of the view make
one forget the vaporings of mere man, and the Glory of God, so
overpoweringly revealed in those regions of perpetual snow, drives other
impressions away. And if one wishes to be alone, it is easily possible
by walking a little further along the ridge where some rock will shut
out all sight of man and the wind will drive away the sound of voices.

It is doubtful if there is any view comparable with that of the
Gorner-Grat. There is what is called a "near view," and there is also
what is known as a "distant view," for completely surrounded by snow
peak and glacier, the eye passes from valley to summit, resting on that
wonderful stretch of shining white which forms the skyline. To say that
one can count dozens of glaciers, that he can see fifty summits, that
Monte Rosa, the Lyskamm, the Twins, the Breithorn, the Matterhorn, the
Dent Blanche, the Weisshorn, with many other mountains of the Valais
and Oberland form a complete circle of snow peaks, may establish the
geography of the place but it does not convey any but the faintest
picture of the sublime grandeur of the scene....

An exciting experience for novices is to go with a guide from the
Gorner-Grat to the Hohtaeligrat and thence down to the Findelen Glacier.
It looks dangerous but it is not really so, if the climber is careful,
for altho there is a sheer descent on either side of the arete or ridge
which leads from the one point to the other, the way is never narrow and
only over easy rocks and snow.

The Hohtaeligrat is almost 11,000 feet in altitude and has a splendid
survey of the sky line. One looks up at snow, one looks down at snow,
one looks around at snow! From the beautiful summits of Monte Rosa, the
eye passes in a complete circle, up and down, seeing in succession the
white snow peaks, with their great glistening glaciers below, showing in
strong contrast the occasional rock pyramids like the Matterhorn and the
group around the Rothhorn.



This is Geschenen, at the entrance of the great tunnel, the meeting
place of the upper gorges of the Reuss, the valley of Urseren, of the
Oberalp, and of the Furka. Geschenen has now the calm tranquility of old
age. But during the nine years that it took to bore the great tunnel,
what juvenile activity there was here, what feverish eagerness in this
village, crowded, inundated, overflowed by workmen from Italy, from
Tessin, from Germany and France! One would have thought that out of that
dark hole, dug out in the mountain, they were bringing nuggets of gold.

On all the roads nothing was to be seen but bands of workmen arriving,
with miners' lamps hung to their old soldier's knapsacks. Nobody could
tell how they were all to be lodged. One double bed was occupied in
succession by twenty-four men in twenty-four hours. Some of the workmen
set up their establishments in barns; in all directions movable canteens
sprung up, built all awry and hardly holding together, and in mean
sheds, doubtful, bad-looking places, the dishonest merchant hastened to
sell his adulterated brandy....

The St. Gothard tunnel is about one and two-third miles longer than that
of Mount Cenis, and more than three miles longer than that of Arlberg.
While the train is passing with a dull rumbling sound under these
gloomy vaults, let us explain how the great work of boring the Alps was

The mechanical work of perforation was begun simultaneously on the north
and south sides of the mountain, working toward the same point, so as to
meet toward the middle of the boring. The waters of the Reuss and the
Tessin supplied the necessary motive power for working the screws
attached to machinery for compressing the air. The borers applied to the
rock the piston of a cylinder made to rotate with great rapidity by the
pressure of air reduced to one-twentieth of its ordinary volume; then
when they had made holes sufficiently deep, they withdrew the machines
and charged the mines with dynamite. Immediately after the explosion,
streams of wholesome air were liberated which dissipated the smoke; then
the debris was cleared away, and the borers returned to their place. The
same work was thus carried on day and night, for nine years.

On the Geschenen side all went well; but on the other side, on the
Italian slope, unforseen obstacles and difficulties had to be overcome.
Instead of having to encounter the solid rock, they found themselves
among a moving soil formed by the deposit of glaciers and broken by
streams of water. Springs burst out, like the jet of a fountain, under
the stroke of the pick, flooding and driving away the workmen. For
twelve months they seemed to be in the midst of a lake. But nothing
could damp the ardor of the contractor, Favre.

His troubles were greater still when the undertaking had almost been
suspended for want of money, when the workmen struck in 1875, and, when,
two years later, the village of Arola was destroyed by fire. And how
many times, again and again, the mason-work of the vaulted roof gave way
and fell! Certain "bad places," as they were called, cost more than nine
hundred pounds per yard.

In the interior of the mountain the thermometer marked 86 degrees
(Fahr.), but so long as the tunnel was still not completely bored, the
workmen were sustained by a kind of fever, and made redoubled efforts.
Discouragement and desertion did not appear among them till the goal was
almost reached.

The great tunnel passed, we find ourselves fairly in Italy. The mulberry
trees, with silky white bark and delicate, transparent leaves; the
chestnuts, with enormous trunks like cathedral columns; the vine,
hanging to high trellises supported by granite pillars, its festoons as
capricious as the feats of those who partake too freely of its fruits;
the white tufty heads of the maize tossing in the breeze; all that
strong and luxuriant vegetation through which waves of moist air are
passing; those flowers of rare beauty, of a grace and brilliancy that
belong only to privileged zones;--all this indicates a more robust and
fertile soil, and a more fervid sky than those of the upper villages
which we have just left.





On the 23d of July, 1860, I started for my first tour of the Alps. At
Zermatt I wandered in many directions, but the weather was bad and my
work was much retarded. One day, after spending a long time in attempts
to sketch near the Hoernli, and in futile endeavors to seize the forms
of the peaks as they for a few seconds peered out from above the dense
banks of woolly clouds, I determined not to return to Zermatt by the
usual path, but to cross the Goerner glacier to the Riffel hotel. After
a rapid scramble over the polished rocks and snow-beds which skirt the
base of the Theodule glacier, and wading through some of the streams
which flow from it, at that time much swollen by the late rains, the
first difficulty was arrived at, in the shape of a precipice about
three hundred feet high. It seemed that there would be no difficulty in
crossing the glacier if the cliff could be descended, but higher up and
lower down the ice appeared, to my inexperienced eyes, to be impassable
for a single person.

The general contour of the cliff was nearly perpendicular, but it was a
good deal broken up, and there was little difficulty in descending by
zigzagging from one mass to another. At length there was a long slab,
nearly smooth, fixt at an angle of about forty degrees between two
wall-sided pieces of rock; nothing, except the glacier, could be seen
below. It was a very awkward place, but being doubtful if return were
possible, as I had been dropping from one ledge to another, I passed at
length by lying across the slab, putting the shoulder stiffly against
one side and the feet against the other, and gradually wriggling down,
by first moving the legs and then the back. When the bottom of the slab
was gained a friendly crack was seen, into which the point of the baton
could be stuck, and I dropt down to the next piece.

It took a long time coming down that little bit of cliff, and for a few
seconds it was satisfactory to see the ice close at hand. In another
moment a second difficulty presented itself. The glacier swept round an
angle of the cliff, and as the ice was not of the nature of treacle or
thin putty, it kept away from the little bay on the edge of which I
stood. We were not widely separated, but the edge of the ice was higher
than the opposite edge of rock; and worse, the rock was covered with
loose earth and stones which had fallen from above. All along the side
of the cliff, as far as could be seen in both directions, the ice did
not touch it, but there was this marginal crevasse seven feet wide and
of unknown depth. All this was seen at a glance, and almost at once I
concluded that I could not jump the crevass and began to try along the
cliff lower down, but without success, for the ice rose higher and
higher until at last farther progress was stopt by the cliffs becoming
perfectly smooth. With an ax it would have been possible to cut up the
side of the ice--without one, I saw there was no alternative but to
return and face the jump.

It was getting toward evening, and the solemn stillness of the High Alps
was broken only by the sound of rushing water or of falling rocks. If
the jump should be successful, well; if not, I fell into the horrible
chasm, to be frozen in, or drowned in that gurgling, rushing water.
Everything depended on that jump. Again I asked myself "Can it be
done?" It must be. So, finding my stick was useless, I threw it and the
sketch-book to the ice, and first retreating as far as possible, ran
forward with all my might, took the leap, barely reached the other side,
and fell awkwardly on my knees. At the same moment a shower of stones
fell on the spot from which I had jumped.

The glacier was crossed without further trouble, but the Riffel, which
was then a very small building, was crammed with tourists, and could
not take me in. As the way down was unknown to me, some of the people
obligingly suggested getting a man at the chalets, otherwise the path
would be certainly lost in the forest. On arriving at the chalets no man
could be found, and the lights of Zermatt, shining through the trees,
seemed to say, "Never mind a guide, but come along down; we'll show you
the way"; so off I went through the forest, going straight toward them.
The path was lost in a moment, and was never recovered. I was tript up
by pine roots, I tumbled over rhododendron bushes, I fell over rocks.
The night was pitch-dark, and after a time the lights of Zermatt became
obscure or went out altogether. By a series of slides or falls, or
evolutions more or less disagreeable, the descent through the forest was
at length accomplished, but torrents of a formidable character had still
to be passed before one could arrive at Zermatt. I felt my way about for
hours, almost hopelessly, by an exhaustive process at last discovering a
bridge, and about midnight, covered with dirt and scratches, reentered
the inn which I had quitted in the morning....

I descended the valley, diverging from the path at Randa to mount the
slopes of the Dom (the highest of the Mischabelhoerner), in order to
see the Weisshorn face to face. The latter mountain is the noblest in
Switzerland, and from this direction it looks especially magnificent. On
its north there is a large snowy plateau that feeds the glacier of which
a portion is seen from Randa, and which on more than one occasion
has destroyed that village. From the direction of the Dom--that is,
immediately opposite--this Bies glacier seems to descend nearly
vertically; it does not do so, altho it is very steep. Its size is much
less than formerly and the lower portion, now divided into three tails,
clings in a strange, weird-like manner to the cliffs, to which it seems
scarcely possible that it can remain attached.

Unwillingly I parted from the sight of this glorious mountain, and went
down to Visp. Arriving once more in the Rhone valley, I proceeded to
Viesch, and from thence ascended the Aeggischhorn, on which unpleasant
eminence I lost my way in a fog, and my temper shortly afterward. Then,
after crossing the Grimsel in a severe thunderstorm, I passed on to
Brienz, Interlachen and Berne, and thence to Fribourg and Morat,
Neuchatel, Martigny and the St. Bernard. The massive walls of the
convent were a welcome sight as I waded through the snow-beds near the
summit of the pass, and pleasant also was the courteous salutation of
the brother who bade me enter.

Instead of descending to Aosta, I turned into the Val Pelline, in order
to obtain views of the Dent d'Erin. The night had come on before Biona
was gained, and I had to knock long and loud upon the door of the cure's
house before it was opened. An old woman with querulous voice and with a
large goitre answered the summons, and demanded rather sharply what was
wanted, but became pacific, almost good-natured, when a five-franc piece
was held in her face and she heard that lodging and supper were required
in exchange.

My directions asserted that a passage existed from Prerayen, at the head
of this valley, to Breuil, in the Val Tournanche, and the old woman,
now convinced of my respectability, busied herself to find a guide.
Presently she introduced a native picturesquely attired in high-peaked
hat, braided jacket, scarlet waistcoat and indigo pantaloons, who agreed
to take me to the village of Val Tournanche. We set off early on the
next morning, and got to the summit of the pass without difficulty. It
gave me my first experience of considerable slopes of hard, steep snow,
and, like all beginners, I endeavored to prop myself up with my stick,
and kept it outside, instead of holding it between myself and the slope,
and leaning upon it, as should have been done.

The man enlightened me, but he had, properly, a very small opinion of
his employer, and it is probably on that account that, a few minutes
after we had passed the summit, he said he would not go any farther and
would return to Biona. All argument was useless; he stood still, and to
everything that was said answered nothing but that he would go back.
Being rather nervous about descending some long snow-slopes which still
intervened between us and the head of the valley, I offered more pay,
and he went on a little way. Presently there were some cliffs, down
which we had to scramble. He called to me to stop, then shouted that he
would go back, and beckoned to me to come up.

On the contrary, I waited for him to come down, but instead of doing so,
in a second or two he turned round, clambered deliberately up the cliff
and vanished. I supposed it was only a ruse to extort offers of more
money, and waited for half an hour, but he did not appear again. This
was rather embarrassing, for he carried off my knapsack. The choice of
action lay between chasing him and going on to Breuil, risking the loss
of my knapsack. I chose the latter course, and got to Breuil the same
evening. The landlord of the inn, suspicious of a person entirely
innocent of luggage, was doubtful if he could admit me, and eventually
thrust me into a kind of loft, which was already occupied by guides and
by hay. In later years we became good friends, and he did not hesitate
to give credit and even to advance considerable sums.

My sketches from Breuil were made under difficulties; my materials
had been carried off, nothing better than fine sugar-paper could be
obtained, and the pencils seemed to contain more silica than plumbago.
However, they were made, and the pass was again crossed, this time
alone. By the following evening the old woman of Biona again produced
the faithless guide. The knapsack was recovered after the lapse of
several hours, and then I poured forth all the terms of abuse and
reproach of which I was master. The man smiled when I called him a liar,
and shrugged his shoulders when referred to as a thief, but drew his
knife when spoken of as a pig.

The following night was spent at Cormayeur, and the day after I crossed
the Col Ferrex to Orsieres, and on the next the Tete Noir to Chamounix.
The Emperor Napoleon arrived the same day, and access to the Mer de
Glace was refused to tourists; but, by scrambling along the Plan
des Aiguilles, I managed to outwit the guards, and to arrive at the
Montanvert as the imperial party was leaving, failing to get to the
Jardin the same afternoon, but very nearly succeeding in breaking a leg
by dislodging great rocks on the moraine of the glacier.

From Chamounix I went to Geneva, and thence by the Mont Cenis to Turin
and to the Vaudois valleys. A long and weary day had ended when Paesana
was reached. The next morning I passed the little lakes which are the
sources of the Po, on my way into France. The weather was stormy, and
misinterpreting the dialect of some natives--who in reality pointed out
the right way--I missed the track, and found myself under the cliffs of
Monte Viso. A gap that was occasionally seen in the ridge connecting it
with the mountains to the east tempted me up, and after a battle with a
snow-slope of excessive steepness, I reached the summit. The scene was
extraordinary, and, in my experience, unique. To the north there was not
a particle of mist, and the violent wind coming from that direction
blew one back staggering. But on the side of Italy the valleys were
completely filled with dense masses of cloud to a certain level; and
here--where they felt the influence of the wind--they were cut off as
level as the top of a table, the ridges appearing above them.

I raced down to Abries, and went on through the gorge of the Guil to
Mont Dauphin. The next day found me at La Bessee, at the junction of the
Val Louise with the valley of the Durance, in full view of Mont Pelvoux.
The same night I slept at Briancon, intending to take the courier on the
following day to Grenoble, but all places had been secured several days
beforehand, so I set out at two P.M. on the next day for a seventy-mile
walk. The weather was again bad, and on the summit of the Col de
Lautaret I was forced to seek shelter in the wretched little hospice. It
was filled with workmen who were employed on the road, and with noxious
vapors which proceeded from them. The inclemency of the weather was
preferable to the inhospitality of the interior.

Outside, it was disagreeable, but grand--inside, it was disagreeable and
mean. The walk was continued under a deluge of rain, and I felt the way
down, so intense was the darkness, to the village of La Grave, where the
people of the inn detained me forcibly. It was perhaps fortunate that
they did so, for during that night blocks of rock fell at several places
from the cliffs on to the road with such force that they made large
holes in the macadam, which looked as if there had been explosions
of gunpowder. I resumed the walk at half-past five next morning, and
proceeded, under steady rain, through Bourg d'Oysans to Grenoble,
arriving at the latter place soon after seven P.M., having accomplished
the entire distance from Briancon in about eighteen hours of actual

This was the end of the Alpine portion of my tour of 1860, on which
I was introduced to the great peaks, and acquired the passion for



We started from Zermatt on the 13th of July at half-past five, on
a brilliant and perfectly cloudless morning. We were eight in
number--Croz, old Peter and his two sons, Lord Francis Douglas, Hadow,
Hudson and I. To ensure steady motion, one tourist and one native walked
together. The youngest Taugwalder fell to my share, and the lad marched
well, proud to be on the expedition and happy to show his powers. The
wine-bags also fell to my lot to carry, and throughout the day, after
each drink, I replenished them secretly with water, so that at the next
halt they were found fuller than before! This was considered a good
omen, and little short of miraculous.

On the first day we did not intend to ascend to any great height, and we
mounted, accordingly, very leisurely, picked up the things which were
left in the chapel at the Schwarzsee at 8:20, and proceeded thence along
the ridge connecting the Hoernli with the Matterhorn. At half-past eleven
we arrived at the base of the actual peak, then quitted the ridge and
clambered round some ledges on to the eastern face. We were now fairly
upon the mountain, and were astonished to find that places which
from the Riffel, or even from the Furggengletscher, looked entirely
impracticable, were so easy that we could run about.

Before twelve o'clock we had found a good position for the tent, at a
height of eleven thousand feet. Croz and young Peter went on to see what
was above, in order to save time on the following morning. They
cut across the heads of the snow-slopes which descended toward the
Furggengletscher, and disappeared round a corner, but shortly afterward
we saw them high up on the face, moving quickly. We others made a solid
platform for the tent in a well-protected spot, and then watched eagerly
for the return of the men. The stones which they upset told that they
were very high, and we supposed that the way must be easy. At length,
just before 3 P.M., we saw them coming down, evidently much excited.
"What are they saying, Peter?" "Gentlemen, they say it is no good." But
when they came near we heard a different story: "Nothing but what was
good--not a difficulty, not a single difficulty! We could have gone to
the summit and returned to-day easily!"

We passed the remaining hours of daylight--some basking in the sunshine,
some sketching or collecting--and when the sun went down, giving, as it
departed, a glorious promise for the morrow, we returned to the tent to
arrange for the night. Hudson made tea, I coffee, and we then retired
each one to his blanket-bag, the Taugwalders, Lord Francis Douglas and
myself occupying the tent, the others remaining, by preference, outside.
Long after dusk the cliffs above echoed with our laughter and with the
songs of the guides, for we were happy that night in camp, and feared no

We assembled together outside the tent before dawn on the morning of the
14th, and started directly it was light enough to move. Young Peter came
on with us as a guide, and his brother returned to Zermatt. We followed
the route which had been taken on the previous day, and in a few minutes
turned the rib which had intercepted the view of the eastern face from
our tent platform. The whole of this great slope was now revealed,
rising for three thousand feet like a huge natural staircase. Some parts
were more and others were less easy, but we were not once brought to a
halt by any serious impediment, for when an obstruction was met in front
it could always be turned to the right or to the left.

For the greater part of the way there was indeed no occasion for the
rope, and sometimes Hudson led, sometimes myself. At 6:20 we had
attained a height of twelve thousand eight hundred feet, and halted for
half an hour; we then continued the ascent without a break until 9:55,
when we stopt for fifty minutes at a height of fourteen thousand feet.
Twice we struck the northeastern ridge, and followed it for some little
distance--to no advantage, for it was usually more rotten and steep, and
always more difficult, than the face. Still, we kept near to it, lest
stones perchance might fall.

We had now arrived at the foot of that part which, from the Riffelberg
or from Zermatt, seems perpendicular or overhanging, and could no longer
continue upon the eastern side. For a little distance we ascended by
snow upon the arete--that is, the ridge--descending toward Zermatt, and
then by common consent turned over to the right, or to the northern
side. Before doing so we made a change in the order of ascent. Croz went
first, I followed, Hudson came third; Hadow and old Peter were
last. "Now," said Croz as he led off--"now for something altogether
different." The work became difficult, and required caution. In some
places there was little to hold, and it was desirable that those should
be in front who were least likely to slip. The general slope of the
mountain at this part was less than forty degrees, and snow had
accumulated in, and had filled up, the interstices of the rock-face,
leaving only occasional fragments projecting here and there. These were
at times covered with a thin film of ice, produced from the melting and
refreezing of the snow.

It was the counterpart, on a small scale, of the upper seven
hundred feet of the Pointe des Ecrins; only there was this material
difference--the face of the Ecrins was about, or exceeded, an angle of
fifty degrees, and the Matterhorn face was less than forty degrees. It
was a place over which any fair mountaineers might pass in safety,
and Mr. Hudson ascended this part, and, as far as I know, the entire
mountain, without having the slightest assistance rendered to him upon
any occasion. Sometimes, after I had taken a hand from Croz or received
a pull, I turned to offer the same to Hudson, but he invariably
declined, saying it was not necessary. Mr. Hadow, however, was not
accustomed to this kind of work, and required continual assistance. It
is only fair to say that the difficulty which he found at this part
arose simply and entirely from want of experience.

This solitary difficult part was of no great extent. We bore away over
it at first nearly horizontally, for a distance of about four hundred
feet, then ascended directly toward the summit for about sixty feet, and
then doubled back to the ridge which descends toward Zermatt. A long
stride round a rather awkward corner brought us to snow once more. The
last doubt vanished! The Matterhorn was ours! Nothing but two hundred
feet of easy snow remained to be surmounted!....

The summit of the Matterhorn was formed of a rudely level ridge,
about three hundred and fifty feet long. The day was one of those
superlatively calm and clear ones which usually precede bad weather. The
atmosphere was perfectly still and free from clouds or vapors. Mountains
fifty--nay, a hundred--miles off looked sharp and near. All their
details--ridge and crag, snow and glacier--stood out with faultless
definition. Pleasant thoughts of happy days in bygone years came
up unbidden as we recognized the old, familiar forms. All were
revealed--not one of the principal peaks of the Alps was hidden. I see
them clearly now--the great inner circles of giants, backed by the
ranges, chains and "massifs." First came the Dent Blanche, hoary and
grand; the Gabelhorn and pointed Rothborn, and then the peerless
Weisshorn; the towering Mischabelhoerner flanked by the Allaleinhorn,
Strahlhorn and Rimpfischhorn; then Monte Rosa--with its many
Spitzen--the Lyskamm and the Breithorn. Behind were the Bernese
Oberland, governed by the Finsteraarhorn, the Simplon and St. Gothard
groups, the Disgrazia and the Orteler. Toward the south we looked down
to Chivasso on the plain of Piedmont, and far beyond. The Viso--one
hundred miles away--seemed close upon us; the Maritime Alps--one hundred
and thirty miles distant--were free from haze.

Then came into view my first love--the Pelvoux; the Ecrins and the
Meije; the clusters of the Graians; and lastly, in the west, gorgeous
in the full sunlight, rose the monarch of all--Mont Blanc. Ten thousand
feet beneath us were the green fields of Zermatt, dotted with chalets,
from which blue smoke rose lazily. Eight thousand feet below, on the
other side, were the pastures of Breuil. There were forests black and
gloomy, and meadows bright and lively; bounding waterfalls and tranquil
lakes; fertile lands and savage wastes: sunny plains and frigid
plateaux. There were the most rugged forms and the most graceful
outlines--bold, perpendicular cliffs and gentle, undulating slopes;
rocky mountains and snowy mountains, somber and solemn or glittering
and white, with walls, turrets, pinnacles, pyramids, domes, cones and
spires! There was every combination that the world can give, and every
contrast that the heart could desire. We remained on the summit for one

  One crowded hour of glorious life.



We began to prepare for the descent. Hudson and I again consulted as to
the best and safest arrangement of the party. We agreed that it would
be best for Croz to go first, and Hadow second; Hudson, who was almost
equal to a guide in sureness of foot, wished to be third; Lord Francis
Douglas was placed next, and old Peter, the strongest of the remainder,
after him. I suggested to Hudson that we should attach a rope to the
rocks on our arrival at the difficult bit, and hold it as we descended,
as an additional protection. He approved the idea, but it was not
definitely settled that it should be done. The party was being arranged
in the above order while I was sketching the summit, and they had
finished, and were waiting for me to be tied in line, when some one
remembered that our names had not been left in a bottle. They requested
me to write them down, and moved off while it was being done.

A few minutes afterward I tied myself to young Peter, ran down after the
others, and caught them just as they were commencing the descent of the
difficult part. Great care was being taken. Only one man was moving at a
time; when he was firmly planted, the next advanced, and so on. They had
not, however, attached the additional rope to rocks, and nothing was
said about it. The suggestion was not made for my own sake, and I am
not sure that it even occurred to me again. For some little distance we
followed the others, detached from them, and should have continued so
had not Lord Francis Douglas asked me, about 3 P.M., to tie on to old
Peter, as he feared, he said, that Taugwalder would not be able to hold
his ground if a slip occurred.

A few minutes later a sharp-eyed lad ran into the Monte Rosa hotel to
Seiler,[49] saying that he had seen an avalanche fall from the summit of
the Matterhorn on to the Matterhorngletscher. The boy was reproved for
telling such idle stories; he was right, nevertheless, and this was what
he saw.

Michael Croz had laid aside his ax, and in order to give Mr. Hadow
greater security was absolutely taking hold of his legs and putting his
feet, one by one, into their proper positions. As far as I know, no one
was actually descending. I can not speak with certainty, because the two
leading men were partially hidden from my sight by an intervening mass
of rock, but it is my belief, from the movements of their shoulders,
that Croz, having done as I have said, was in the act of turning round
to go down a step or two himself; at the moment Mr. Hadow slipt, fell
against him and knocked him over.

I heard one startled exclamation from Croz, then saw him and Mr. Hadow
flying downward; in another moment Hudson was dragged from his steps,
and Lord Francis Douglas immediately after him. All this was the work
of a moment. Immediately we heard Croz's exclamation, old Peter and I
planted ourselves as firmly as the rocks would permit; the rope was taut
between us, and the jerk came on us both as one man. We held, but the
rope broke midway between Taugwalder and Lord Francis Douglas. For a
few seconds we saw our unfortunate companions sliding downward on their
backs, and spreading out their hands, endeavoring to save themselves.
They passed from our sight uninjured, disappeared one by one, and fell
from precipice to precipice on to the Matterhorngletscher below, a
distance of nearly four thousand feet in height. From the moment the
rope broke it was impossible to help them.

So perished our comrades! For the space of half an hour we remained on
the spot without moving a single step. The two men, paralyzed by terror,
cried like infants, and trembled in such a manner as to threaten us with
the fate of the others. Old Peter rent the air with exclamations of
"Chamounix!--oh, what will Chamounix say?" He meant, who would believe
that Croz could fall? The young man did nothing but scream or sob, "We
are lost! we are lost!" Fixt between the two, I could move neither up
nor down. I begged young Peter to descend, but he dared not. Unless he
did, we could not advance. Old Peter became alive to the danger, and
swelled the cry, "We are lost! we are lost!"

The father's fear was natural--he trembled for his son; the young man's
fear was cowardly--he thought of self alone. At last old Peter summoned
up courage, and changed his position to a rock to which he could fix
the rope; the young man then descended, and we all stood together.
Immediately we did so, I asked for the rope which had given way, and
found, to my surprise--indeed, to my horror--that it was the weakest of
the three ropes. It was not brought, and should not have been employed,
for the purpose for which it was used. It was old rope, and, compared
with the others, was feeble. It was intended as a reserve, in case we
had to leave much rope behind attached to rocks. I saw at once that a
serious question was involved, and made them give me the end. It had
broken in mid-air, and it did not appear to have sustained previous

For more than two hours afterward I thought almost every moment that the
next would be my last, for the Taugwalders, utterly unnerved, were not
only incapable of giving assistance, but were in such a state that a
slip might have been expected from them at any moment. After a time we
were able to do that which should have been done at first, and fixt rope
to firm rocks, in addition to being tied together. These ropes were cut
from time to time, and were left behind. Even with their assurance the
men were afraid to proceed, and several times old Peter turned with ashy
face and faltering limbs, and said with terrible emphasis, "I can not!"

About 6 P.M. we arrived at the snow upon, the ridge descending toward
Zermatt, and all peril was over. We frequently looked, but in vain, for
traces of our unfortunate companions; we bent over the ridge and cried
to them, but no sound returned. Convinced at last that they were within
neither sight nor hearing, we ceased from our useless efforts, and, too
cast down for speech, silently gathered up our things, preparatory to
continuing the descent.

When lo! a mighty arch appeared, rising above the Lyskamm high into the
sky. Pale, colorless and noiseless, but perfectly sharp and defined,
except where it was lost in the clouds, this unearthly apparition seemed
like a vision from another world, and almost appalled we watched with
amazement the gradual development of two vast crosses, one on either
side. If the Taugwalders had not been the first to perceive it, I should
have doubted my senses. They thought it had some connection with the
accident, and I, after a while, that it might bear some relations to
ourselves. But our movements had no effect upon it. The spectral forms
remained motionless. It was a fearful and wonderful sight, unique in my
experience, and impressive beyond description, at such a moment....

Night fell, and for an hour the descent was continued in the darkness.
At half-past nine a resting-place was found, and upon a wretched slab,
barely large enough to hold three, we passed six miserable hours. At
daybreak the descent was resumed, and from the Hornli ridge we ran down
to the chalets of Buhl and on to Zermatt. Seiler met me at his door, and
followed in silence to my room: "What is the matter?" "The Taugwalders
and I have returned." He did not need more, and burst into tears, but
lost no time in lamentations, and set to work to arouse the village.

Ere long a score of men had started to ascend the Hohlicht heights,
above Kalbermatt and Z'Mutt, which commanded the plateau of the
Matterhorngletscher. They returned after six hours, and reported that
they had seen the bodies lying motionless on the snow. This was on
Saturday, and they proposed that we should leave on Sunday evening, so
as to arrive upon the plateau at daybreak on Monday. We started at 2
A.M. on Sunday, the 16th, and followed the route that we had taken on
the previous Thursday as far as the Hornli. From thence we went down
to the right of the ridge, and mounted through the "seracs" of the
Matterhorngletscher. By 8:30 we had got to the plateau at the top of the
glacier, and within sight of the corner in which we knew my companions
must be. As we saw one weather-beaten man after another raise the
telescope, turn deadly pale and pass it on without a word to the next,
we knew that all hope was gone. We approached. They had fallen below as
they had fallen above--Croz a little in advance, Hadow near him, and
Hudson behind, but of Lord Francis Douglas we could see nothing.[50] We
left them where they fell, buried in snow at the base of the grandest
cliff of the most majestic mountain of the Alps.



On Monday, the 9th of August, we reached the Riffel, and, by good
fortune on the evening of the same day, my guide's brother, the
well-known Ulrich Lauener, also arrived at the hotel on his return from
Monte Rosa. From him we obtained all the information possible respecting
the ascent, and he kindly agreed to accompany us a little way the next
morning, to put us on the right track. At three A.M. the door of my
bedroom opened, and Christian Lauener announced to me that the weather
was sufficiently good to justify an attempt. The stars were shining
overhead; but Ulrich afterward drew our attention to some heavy clouds
which clung to the mountains on the other side of the valley of the
Visp; remarking that the weather might continue fair throughout the day,
but that these clouds were ominous. At four o'clock we were on our way,
by which time a gray stratus cloud had drawn itself across the neck of
the Matterhorn, and soon afterward another of the same nature encircled
his waist. We proceeded past the Riffelhorn to the ridge above the
Goerner Glacier, from which Monte Rosa was visible from top to bottom,
and where an animated conversation in Swiss dialect commenced.

Ulrich described the slopes, passes, and precipices, which were to guide
us; and Christian demanded explanations, until he was finally able to
declare to me that his knowledge was sufficient. We then bade Ulrich
good-by, and went forward. All was clear about Monte Rosa, and the
yellow morning light shone brightly upon its uppermost snows. Beside
the Queen of the Alps was the huge mass of the Lyskamm, with a saddle
stretching from the one to the other; next to the Lyskamm came two
white, rounded mounds, smooth and pure, the Twins Castor and Pollux,
and further to the right again the broad, brown flank of the Breithorn.
Behind us Mont Cervin[52] gathered the clouds more thickly round him,
until finally his grand obelisk was totally hidden. We went along the
mountain side for a time, and then descended to the glacier.

The surface was hard frozen, and the ice crunched loudly under our
feet. There was a hollowness and volume in the sound which require
explanation; and this, I think, is furnished by the remarks of Sir John
Herschel on those hollow sounds at the Solfaterra, near Naples, from
which travelers have inferred the existence of cavities within the
mountain. At the place where these sounds are heard the earth is
friable, and, when struck, the concussion is reinforced and lengthened
by the partial echoes from the surfaces of the fragments. The
conditions for a similar effect exist upon the glacier, for the ice is
disintegrated to a certain depth, and from the innumerable places
of rupture little reverberations are sent, which give a length and
hollowness to the sound produced by the crushing of the fragments on the

We looked to the sky at intervals, and once a meteor slid across it,
leaving a train of sparks behind. The blue firmament, from which the
stars shone down so brightly when we rose, was more and more invaded by
clouds, which advanced upon us from our rear, while before us the solemn
heights of Monte Rosa were bathed in rich yellow sunlight. As the day
advanced the radiance crept down toward the valleys; but still those
stealthy clouds advanced like a besieging army, taking deliberate
possession of the summits, one after another, while gray skirmishers
moved through the air above us. The play of light and shadow upon Monte
Rosa was at times beautiful, bars of gloom and zones of glory shifting
and alternating from top to bottom of the mountain.

At five o'clock a gray cloud alighted on the shoulder of the Lyskamm,
which had hitherto been warmed by the lovely yellow light. Soon
afterward we reached the foot of Monte Rosa, and passed from the glacier
to a slope of rocks, whose rounded forms and furrowed surfaces showed
that the ice of former ages had moved over them; the granite was now
coated with lichens, and between the bosses where mold could rest were
patches of tender moss. As we ascended a peal to the right announced the
descent of an avalanche from the Twins; it came heralded by clouds of
ice-dust, which resembled the sphered masses of condensed vapor which
issue from a locomotive.

A gentle snow-slope brought us to the base of a precipice of brown
rocks, round which we wound; the snow was in excellent order, and the
chasms were so firmly bridged by the frozen mass that no caution was
necessary in crossing them. Surmounting a weathered cliff to our left,
we paused upon the summit to look upon the scene around us. The snow
gliding insensibly from the mountains, or discharged in avalanches from
the precipices which it overhung, filled the higher valleys with pure
white glaciers, which were rifted and broken here and there, exposing
chasms and precipices from which gleamed the delicate blue of the
half-formed ice. Sometimes, however, the "neves" spread over wide spaces
without a rupture or wrinkle to break the smoothness of the superficial
snow. The sky was now, for the most part, overcast, but through the
residual blue spaces the sun at intervals poured light over the rounded
bosses of the mountain.

At half-past seven o'clock we reached another precipice of rock, to the
left of which our route lay, and here Lauener proposed to have some
refreshment; after which we went on again. The clouds spread more and
more, leaving at length mere specks and patches of blue between them.
Passing some high peaks, formed by the dislocation of the ice, we came
to a place where the "neve" was rent by crevasses, on the walls of which
the stratification, due to successive snowfalls, was thrown with great
beauty and definition. Between two of these fissures our way now lay;
the wall of one of them was hollowed out longitudinally midway down,
thus forming a roof above and a ledge below, and from roof to ledge
stretched a railing of cylindrical icicles, as if intended to bolt them
together. A cloud now for the first time touched the summit of Monte
Rosa, and sought to cling to it, but in a minute it dispersed in
shattered fragments, as if dashed to pieces for its presumption. The
mountain remained for a time clear and triumphant, but the triumph was
shortlived; like suitors that will not be repelled, the dusky vapors
came; repulse after repulse took place, and the sunlight gushed down
upon the heights, but it was manifest that the clouds gained ground in
the conflict.

Until about a quarter-past nine o'clock our work was mere child's play,
a pleasant morning stroll along the flanks of the mountain; but steeper
slopes now rose above us, which called for more energy, and more care
in the fixing of the feet. Looked at from below, some of these slopes
appeared precipitous; but we were too well acquainted with the effect
of fore-shortening to let this daunt us. At each step we dug our batons
into the deep snow. When first driven in, the batons [53] "dipt" from
us, but were brought, as we walked forward, to the vertical, and finally
beyond it at the other side. The snow was thus forced aside, a rubbing
of the staff against it, and of the snow-particles against each other,
being the consequence. We had thus perpetual rupture and regelation;
while the little sounds consequent upon rupture reinforced by the
partial echoes from the surfaces of the granules, were blended together
to a note resembling the lowing of cows.

Hitherto I had paused at intervals to make notes, or to take an angle;
but these operations now ceased, not from want of time, but from pure
dislike; for when the eye has to act the part of a sentinel who feels
that at any moment the enemy may be upon him; when the body must be
balanced with precision, and legs and arms, besides performing actual
labor, must be kept in readiness for possible contingencies; above all,
when you feel that your safety depends upon yourself alone, and that, if
your footing gives way, there is no strong arm behind ready to be thrown
between you and destruction; under such circumstances the relish for
writing ceases, and you are willing to hand over your impressions to the
safekeeping of memory.

Prom the vast boss which constitutes the lower portion of Monte Rosa
cliffy edges run upward to the summit. Were the snow removed from
these we should, I doubt not, see them as toothed or serrated crags,
justifying the term "kamm," or "comb," applied to such edges by the
Germans. Our way now lay along such a "kamm," the cliffs of which had,
however, caught the snow, and been completely covered by it, forming an
edge like the ridge of a house-roof, which sloped steeply upward. On the
Lyskamm side of the edge there was no footing, and if a human body fell
over here, it would probably pass through a vertical space of some
thousands of feet, falling or rolling, before coming to rest. On
the other side the snow-slope was less steep, but excessively
perilous-looking, and intersected by precipices of ice. Dense clouds
now enveloped us, and made our position far uglier than if it had been
fairly illuminated. The valley below us was one vast cauldron, filled
with precipitated vapor, which came seething at times up the sides of
the mountain. Sometimes this fog would clear away, and the light would
gleam from the dislocated glaciers. My guide continually admonished me
to make my footing sure, and to fix at each step my staff firmly in the
consolidated snow. At one place, for a short steep ascent, the slope
became hard ice, and our position a very ticklish one. We hewed our
steps as we moved upward, but were soon glad to deviate from the ice to
a position scarcely less awkward. The wind had so acted upon the snow as
to fold it over the edge of the kamm, thus causing it to form a kind
of cornice, which overhung the precipice on the Lyskamm side of the
mountain. This cornice now bore our weight; its snow had become somewhat
firm, but it was yielding enough to permit the feet to sink in it a
little way, and thus secure us at least against the danger of slipping.
Here, also, at each step we drove our batons firmly into the snow,
availing ourselves of whatever help they could render.

Once, while thus securing my anchorage, the handle of my hatchet went
right through the cornice on which we stood, and, on withdrawing it, I
could see through the aperture into the cloud-crammed gulf below. We
continued ascending until we reached a rock protruding from the snow,
and here we halted for a few minutes. Lauener looked upward through the
fog. "According to all description," he observed, "this ought to be the
last kamm of the mountain; but in this obscurity we can see nothing."
Snow began to fall, and we recommenced our journey, quitting the rocks
and climbing again along the edge. Another hour brought us to a crest of
cliffs, at which, to our comfort, the kamm appeared to cease, and other
climbing qualities were demanded of us.

On the Lyskamm side, as I have said, rescue would be out of the
question, should the climber go over the edge. On the other side of the
edge rescue seemed possible, tho' the slope, as stated already, was
most dangerously steep. I now asked Lauener what he would have done,
supposing my footing to have failed on the latter slope. He did not seem
to like the question, but said that he should have considered well for
a moment and then have sprung after me; but he exhorted me to drive all
such thoughts away. I laughed at him, and this did more to set his mind
at rest than any formal profession of courage could have done.

We were now among rocks; we climbed cliffs and descended them, and
advanced sometimes with our feet on narrow ledges, holding tightly on to
other ledges by our fingers; sometimes, cautiously balanced, we moved
along edges of rock with precipices on both sides. Once, in getting
round a crag, Lauener shook a book from his pocket; it was arrested by a
rock about sixty or eighty feet below us. He wished to regain it, but I
offered to supply its place, if he thought the descent too dangerous. He
said he would make the trial, and parted from me. I thought it useless
to remain idle. A cleft was before me, through which I must pass; so
pressing my knees and back against its opposite sides, I gradually
worked myself to the top. I descended the other face of the rock,
and then, through a second ragged fissure, to the summit of another
pinnacle. The highest point of the mountain was now at hand, separated
from me merely by a short saddle, carved by weathering out the crest
of the mountain. I could hear Lauener clattering after me, through the
rocks behind. I dropt down upon the saddle, crossed it, climbed the
opposite cliff, and "die hoechste Spitze" of Monte Rosa was won.

Lauener joined me immediately, and we mutually congratulated each other
on the success of the ascent. The residue of the bread and meat was
produced, and a bottle of tea was also appealed to. Mixed with a little
cognac, Lauener declared that he had never tasted anything like it.
Snow fell thickly at intervals, and the obscurity was very great;
occasionally this would lighten and permit the sun to shed a ghastly
dilute light upon us through the gleaming vapor. I put my boiling-water
apparatus in order, and fixt it in a corner behind a ledge; the shelter
was, however, insufficient, so I placed my hat above the vessel. The
boiling-point was 184.92 deg. Fahr., the ledge on which the instrument
stood being five feet below the highest point of the mountain.

The ascent from the Riffel Hotel occupied us about seven hours, nearly
two of which were spent upon the kaemm and crest. Neither of us felt in
the least degree fatigued; I, indeed, felt so fresh, that had another
Monte Rosa been planted on the first, I should have continued the
climb without hesitation, and with strong hopes of reaching the top.
I experienced no trace of mountain sickness, lassitude, shortness of
breath, heart-beat, or headache; nevertheless the summit of Monte Rosa
is 15,284 feet high, being less than 500 feet lower than Mont Blanc. It
is, I think, perfectly certain, that the rarefaction of the air at this
height is not sufficient of itself to produce the symptoms referred to;
physical exertion must be superadded.



The way for a time was excessively rough,[55] our route being overspread
with the fragments of peaks which had once reared themselves to our
left, but which frost and lightning had shaken to pieces, and poured
in granite avalanches down the mountain. We were sometimes among huge,
angular boulders, and sometimes amid lighter shingle, which gave way at
every step, thus forcing us to shift our footing incessantly. Escaping
from these we crossed the succession of secondary glaciers which lie
at the feet of the Aiguilles, and, having secured firewood, found
ourselves, after some hours of hard work, at the Pierre l'Echelle. Here
we were furnished with leggings of coarse woolen cloth to keep out the
snow; they were tied under the knees and quite tightly again over the
insteps, so that the legs were effectually protected. We had some
refreshment, possest ourselves of the ladder, and entered upon the

The ice was excessively fissured; we crossed crevasses and crept
round slippery ridges, cutting steps in the ice wherever climbing
was necessary. This rendered our progress very slow. Once, with the
intention of lending a helping hand, I stept forward upon a block of
granite which happened to be poised like a rocking stone upon the ice,
tho' I did not know it; it treacherously turned under me; I fell, but my
hands were in instant requisition, and I escaped with a bruise, from
which, however, the blood oozed angrily. We found the ladder necessary
in crossing some of the chasms, the iron spikes at its end being firmly
driven into the ice at one side, while the other end rested on the
opposite side of the fissure. The middle portion of the glacier was
not difficult. Mounds of ice rose beside us right and left, which were
sometimes split into high towers and gaunt-looking pyramids, while the
space between was unbroken.

Twenty minutes' walking brought us again to a fissured portion of the
glacier, and here our porter left the ladder on the ice behind him. For
some time I was not aware of this, but we were soon fronted by a chasm
to pass which we were in consequence compelled to make a long and
dangerous circuit amid crests of crumbling ice. This accomplished, we
hoped that no repetition of the process would occur, but we speedily
came to a second fissure, where it was necessary to step from a
projecting end of ice to a mass of soft snow which overhung the opposite
side. Simond could reach this snow with his long-handled ax; he beat
it down to give it rigidity, but it was exceedingly tender, and as he
worked at it he continued to express his fears that it would not bear
us. I was the lightest of the party, and therefore tested the passage
first; being partially lifted by Simond on the end of his ax, I crossed
the fissure, obtained some anchorage at the other side, and helped the
others over. We afterward ascended until another chasm, deeper and wider
than any we had hitherto encountered, arrested us. We walked alongside
of it in search of a snow-bridge, which we at length found, but the
keystone of the arch had, unfortunately, given way, leaving projecting
eaves of snow at both sides, between which we could look into the gulf,
till the gloom of its deeper portions cut the vision short.

Both sides of the crevasse were sounded, but no sure footing was
obtained; the snow was beaten and carefully trodden down as near to the
edge as possible, but it finally broke away from the foot and fell into
the chasm. One of our porters was short-legged and a bad iceman; the
other was a daring fellow, and he now threw the knapsack from his
shoulders, came to the edge of the crevasse, looked into it, but drew
back again. After a pause he repeated the act, testing the snow with
his feet and staff. I looked at the man as he stood beside the chasm
manifestly undecided as to whether he should take the step upon which
his life would hang, and thought it advisable to put a stop to such
perilous play. I accordingly interposed, the man withdrew from the
crevasse, and he and Simond descended to fetch the ladder.

While they were away Huxley sat down upon the ice, with an expression of
fatigue stamped upon his countenance; the spirit and the muscles were
evidently at war, and the resolute will mixed itself strangely with the
sense of peril and feeling of exhaustion. He had been only two days
with us, and, tho' his strength is great, he had had no opportunity of
hardening himself by previous exercise upon the ice for the task which
he had undertaken. The ladder now arrived, and we crossed the crevasse.
I was intentionally the last of the party, Huxley being immediately in
front of me. The determination of the man disguised his real condition
from everybody but himself, but I saw that the exhausting journey over
the boulders and debris had been too much for his London limbs.

Converting my waterproof haversack into a cushion, I made him sit down
upon it at intervals, and by thus breaking the steep ascent into short
stages we reached the cabin of the Grands Mulets together. Here I spread
a rug on the boards, and, placing my bag for a pillow, he lay down, and
after an hour's profound sleep he rose refreshed and well; but still he
thought it wise not to attempt the ascent farther. Our porters left us;
a baton was stretched across the room over the stove, and our wet socks
and leggings were thrown across it to dry; our boots were placed around
the fire, and we set about preparing our evening meal. A pan was placed
upon the fire, and filled with snow, which in due time melted and
boiled; I ground some chocolate and placed it in the pan, and afterward
ladled the beverage into the vessels we possest, which consisted of two
earthen dishes and the metal cases of our brandy flasks. After supper
Simond went out to inspect the glacier, and was observed by Huxley, as
twilight fell, in a state of deep contemplation beside a crevasse.

Gradually the stars appeared, but as yet no moon. Before lying down we
went out to look at the firmament, and noticed, what I supposed has been
observed to some extent by everybody, that the stars near the horizon
twinkled busily, while those near the zenith shone with a steady light.
One large star, in particular, excited our admiration; it flashed
intensely, and changed color incessantly, sometimes blushing like a
ruby, and again gleaming like an emerald. A determinate color would
sometimes remain constant for a sensible time, but usually the flashes
followed each other in very quick succession.

Three planks were now placed across the room near the stove, and upon
these, with their rugs folded round them, Huxley and Hirst stretched
themselves, while I nestled on the boards at the most distant end of the
room. We rose at eleven o'clock, renewed the fire and warmed ourselves,
after which we lay down again. I, at length, observed a patch of pale
light upon the wooden wall of the cabin, which had entered through a
hole in the end of the edifice, and rising found that it was past one
o'clock. The cloudless moon was shining over the wastes of snow, and the
scene outside was at once wild, grand, and beautiful.

Breakfast was soon prepared, tho' not without difficulty; we had no
candles, they had been forgotten; but I fortunately possest a box of
wax matches, of which Huxley took charge, patiently igniting them in
succession, and thus giving us a tolerably continuous light. We had
some tea, which had been made at the Montanvert,[56] and carried to the
Grands Mulets in a bottle. My memory of that tea is not pleasant; it had
been left a whole night in contact with its leaves, and smacked strongly
of tannin. The snow-water, moreover, with which we diluted it was not
pure, but left a black residuum at the bottom of the dishes in which the
beverage was served. The few provisions deemed necessary being placed in
Simond's knapsack, at twenty minutes past two o'clock we scrambled down
the rocks, leaving Huxley behind us.

The snow was hardened by the night's frost, and we were cheered by the
hope of being able to accomplish the ascent with comparatively little
labor. We were environed by an atmosphere of perfect purity; the larger
stars hung like gems above us, and the moon, about half full, shone with
wondrous radiance in the dark firmament. One star in particular, which
lay eastward from the moon, suddenly made its appearance above one of
the Aiguilles, and burned there with unspeakable splendor. We turned
once toward the Mulets, and saw Huxley's form projected against the sky
as he stood upon a pinnacle of rock; he gave us a last wave of the hand
and descended, while we receded from him into the solitudes.

The evening previous our guide had examined the glacier for some
distance, his progress having been arrested by a crevasse. Beside this
we soon halted: it was spanned at one place by a bridge of snow, which
was of too light a structure to permit of Simond's testing it alone;
we therefore paused while our guide uncoiled a rope and tied us all
together. The moment was to me a peculiarly solemn one. Our little party
seemed so lonely and so small amid the silence and the vastness of the
surrounding scene. We were about to try our strength under unknown
conditions, and as the various possibilities of the enterprise crowded
on the imagination, a sense of responsibility for a moment opprest
me. But as I looked aloft and saw the glory of the heavens, my heart
lightened, and I remarked cheerily to Hirst that Nature seemed to smile
upon our work. "Yes," he replied, in a calm and earnest voice, "and, God
willing, we shall accomplish it."

A pale light now overspread the eastern sky, which increased, as we
ascended, to a daffodil tinge; this afterward heightened to orange,
deepening at one extremity into red, and fading at the other into a
pure, ethereal hue to which it would be difficult to assign a special
name. Higher up the sky was violet, and this changed by insensible
degrees into the darkling blue of the zenith, which had to thank the
light of moon and stars alone for its existence. We wound steadily for a
time through valleys of ice, climbed white and slippery slopes, crossed
a number of crevasses, and after some time found ourselves beside a
chasm of great depth and width, which extended right and left as far
as we could see. We turned to the left, and marched along its edge in
search of a "pont"; but matters became gradually worse; other crevasses
joined on to the first one, and the further we proceeded the more riven
and dislocated the ice became.

At length we reached a place where further advance was impossible.
Simond, in his difficulty complained of the want of light, and wished us
to wait for the advancing day; I, on the contrary, thought that we had
light enough and ought to make use of it. Here the thought occurred to
me that Simond, having been only once before to the top of the mountain,
might not be quite clear about the route; the glacier, however, changes
within certain limits from year to year, so that a general knowledge was
all that could be expected, and we trusted to our own muscles to make
good any mistake in the way of guidance.

We now turned and retraced our steps along the edges of chasms where the
ice was disintegrated and insecure, and succeeded at length in finding a
bridge which bore us across the crevasse. This error caused us the loss
of an hour, and after walking for this time we could cast a stone from
the point we had attained to the place whence we had been compelled to

Our way now lay along the face of a steep incline of snow, which was cut
by the fissure we had just passed, in a direction parallel to our route.
On the heights to our right, loose ice-crags seemed to totter, and we
passed two tracks over which the frozen blocks had rushed some short
time previously. We were glad to get out of the range of these terrible
projectiles, and still more so to escape the vicinity of that ugly
crevasse. To be killed in the open air would be a luxury, compared with
having the life squeezed out of one in the horrible gloom of these
chasms. The blush of the coming day became more and more intense; still
the sun himself did not appear, being hidden from us by the peaks of
the Aiguille du Midi, which were drawn clear and sharp against the
brightening sky. Right under this Aiguille were heaps of snow smoothly
rounded and constituting a portion of the sources whence the Glacier du
Geant is fed; these, as the day advanced, bloomed with a rosy light. We
reached the Petit Plateau, which we found covered with the remains of
ice avalanches; above us upon the crest of the mountain rose three
mighty bastions, divided from each other by deep, vertical rents, with
clean smooth walls, across which the lines of annual bedding were drawn
like courses of masonry. From these, which incessantly renew themselves,
and from the loose and broken ice-crags near them, the boulders amid
which we now threaded our way had been discharged. When they fall their
descent must be sublime.

The snow had been gradually getting deeper, and the ascent more
wearisome, but superadded to this at the Petit Plateau was the
uncertainty of the footing between the blocks of ice. In many places
the space was merely covered by a thin crust, which, when trod upon,
instantly yielded and we sank with a shock sometimes to the hips. Our
way next lay up a steep incline to the Grand Plateau, the depth and
tenderness of the snow augmenting as we ascended. We had not yet seen
the sun, but as we attained the brow which forms the entrance to the
Grand Plateau, he hung his disk upon a spike of rock to our left, and,
surrounded by a glory of interference spectra of the most gorgeous
colors, blazed down upon us. On the Grand Plateau we halted and had our
frugal refreshment.

At some distance to our left was the crevasse into which Dr. Hamel's
three guides were precipitated by an avalanche in 1820; they are still
entombed in the ice, and some future explorer may, perhaps, see them
disgorged lower down, fresh and undecayed. They can hardly reach the
surface until they pass the snow-line of the glacier, for above this
line the quantity of snow that annually falls being in excess of the
quantity melted, the tendency would be to make the ice-covering above
them thicker. But it is also possible that the waste of the ice
underneath may have brought the bodies to the bed of the glacier, where
their very bones may have been ground to mud by an agency which the
hardest rocks can not withstand.

As the sun poured his light upon the Plateau the little snow-facets
sparkled brilliantly, sometimes with a pure white light, and at others
with prismatic colors. Contrasted with the white spaces above and
around us were the dark mountains on the opposite side of the valley of
Chamouni, around which fantastic masses of cloud were beginning to build
themselves. Mont Buet, with its cone of snow, looked small, and the
Brevent altogether mean; the limestone bastions of the Fys, however,
still presented a front of gloom and grandeur. We traversed the Grand
Plateau, and at length reached the base of an extremely steep incline
which stretched upward toward the Corridor. Here, as if produced by a
fault, consequent upon the sinking of the ice in front, rose a vertical
precipice, from the coping of which vast stalactites of ice depended.

Previous to reaching this place I had noticed a haggard expression upon
the countenance of our guide, which was now intensified by the prospect
of the ascent before him. Hitherto he had always been in front, which
was certainly the most fatiguing position. I felt that I must now take
the lead, so I spoke cheerily to the man and placed him behind me.
Marking a number of points upon the slope as resting places, I went
swiftly from one to the other. The surface of the snow had been
partially melted by the sun and then refrozen, thus forming a
superficial crust, which bore the weight up to a certain point, and then
suddenly gave way, permitting the leg to sink to above the knee. The
shock consequent on this, and the subsequent effort necessary to
extricate the leg, were extremely fatiguing. My motion was complained of
as too quick, and my tracks as imperfect; I moderated the former, and to
render my footholes broad and sure, I stamped upon the frozen crust,
and twisted my legs in the soft mass underneath,--a terribly exhausting
process. I thus led the way to the base of the Rochers Bouges, up to
which the fault already referred to had prolonged itself as a crevasse,
which was roofed at one place by a most dangerous-looking snow-bridge.

Simond came to the front; I drew his attention to the state of the snow,
and proposed climbing the Rochers Rouges; but, with a promptness unusual
with him, he replied that this was impossible; the bridge was our only
means of passing, and we must try it. We grasped our ropes, and dug our
feet firmly into the snow to check the man's descent if the "pont" gave
way, but to our astonishment it bore him, and bore us safely after
him. The slope which we had now to ascend had the snow swept from its
surface, and was therefore firm ice. It was most dangerously steep, and,
its termination being the fretted coping of the precipice to which I
have referred, if we slid downward we should shoot over this and be
dashed to pieces upon the ice below.[57] Simond, who had come to the
front to cross the crevasse, was now engaged in cutting steps, which he
made deep and large, so that they might serve us on our return. But the
listless strokes of his ax proclaimed his exhaustion; so I took the
implement out of his hands, and changed places with him. Step after step
was hewn, but the top of the Corridor appeared ever to recede from us.

Hirst was behind, unoccupied, and could thus turn his thoughts to the
peril of our position; he "felt" the angle on which we hung, and saw the
edge of the precipice, to which less than a quarter of a minute's slide
would carry us, and for the first time during the journey he grew giddy.
A cigar which he lighted for the purpose tranquilized him.

I hewed sixty steps upon this slope, and each step had cost a minute, by
Hirst's watch. The Mur de la Cote was still before us, and on this the
guide-books informed us two or three hundred steps were sometimes found
necessary. If sixty steps cost an hour, what would be the cost of two
hundred? The question was disheartening in the extreme, for the time at
which we had calculated on reaching the summit was already passed, while
the chief difficulties remained unconquered. Having hewn our way along
the harder ice we reached snow. I again resorted to stamping to secure a
footing, and while thus engaged became, for the first time, aware of the
drain of force to which I was subjecting myself. The thought of being
absolutely exhausted had never occurred to me, and from first to last I
had taken no care to husband my strength. I always calculated that the
"will" would serve me even should the muscles fail, but I now found that
mechanical laws rule man in the long run; that no effort of will, no
power of spirit, can draw beyond a certain limit upon muscular force.
The soul, it is true, can stir the body to action, but its function is
to excite and apply force, and not to create it.

While stamping forward through the frozen crust I was compelled to pause
at short intervals; then would set out again apparently fresh, to
find, however, in a few minutes, that my strength was gone, and that
I required to rest once more. In this way I gained the summit of the
Corridor, when Hirst came to the front, and I felt some relief in
stepping slowly after him, making use of the holes into which his feet
had sunk. He thus led the way to the base of the Mur de la Cote, the
thought of which had so long cast a gloom upon us; here we left our rope
behind us, and while pausing I asked Simond whether he did not feel
a desire to go to the summit. "Surely," was his reply, "but!--" Our
guide's mind was so constituted that the "but" seemed essential to its
peace. I stretched my hands toward him, and said: "Simond, we must do
it." One thing alone I felt could defeat us: the usual time of the
ascent had been more than doubled, the day was already far spent, and if
the ascent would throw our subsequent descent into night it could not be

We now faced the Mur, which was by no means so bad as we had expected.
Driving the iron claws of our boots into the scars made by the ax, and
the spikes of our batons into the slope above our feet, we ascended
steadily until the summit was attained, and the top of the mountain rose
clearly above us. We congratulated ourselves upon this; but Simond,
probably fearing that our joy might become too full, remarked: "But the
summit is still far off!" It was, alas! too true. The snow became soft
again, and our weary limbs sank in it as before. Our guide went on in
front, audibly muttering his doubts as to our ability to reach the top,
and at length he threw himself upon the snow, and exclaimed, "I give

Hirst now undertook the task of rekindling the guide's enthusiasm, after
which Simond rose, exclaiming: "Oh, but this makes my knees ache!" and
went forward. Two rocks break through the snow between the summit of the
Mur and the top of the mountain; the first is called the Petits Mulets,
and the highest the Derniers Rochers. At the former of these we paused
to rest, and finished our scanty store of wine and provisions. We had
not a bit of bread nor a drop of wine left; our brandy flasks were also
nearly exhausted, and thus we had to contemplate the journey to the
summit, and the subsequent descent to the Grands Mulets, with out the
slightest prospect of physical refreshment. The almost total loss of two
nights' sleep, with two days' toil superadded, made me long for a few
minutes' doze, so I stretched myself upon a composite couch of snow and
granite, and immediately fell asleep.

My friend, however, soon aroused me. "You quite frighten me," he said;
"I have listened for some minutes, and have not heard you breathe once."
I had, in reality, been taking deep draughts of the mountain air, but so
silently as not to be heard.

I now filled our empty wine-bottle with snow and placed it in the
sunshine, that we might have a little water on our return. We then
rose; it was half-past two o'clock; we had been upward of twelve hours
climbing, and I calculated that, whether we reached the summit or not,
we could at all events work "toward" it for another hour. To the sense
of fatigue previously experienced, a new phenomenon was now added--the
beating of the heart. We were incessantly pulled up by this, which
sometimes became so intense as to suggest danger. I counted the number
of paces which we were able to accomplish without resting, and found
that at the end of every twenty, sometimes at the end of fifteen, we
were compelled to pause. At each pause my heart throbbed audibly, as I
leaned upon my staff, and the subsidence of this action was always
the signal for further advance. My breathing was quick, but light and

I endeavored to ascertain whether the hip-joint, on account of the
diminished atmospheric pressure, became loosened, so as to throw the
weight of the leg upon the surrounding ligaments, but could not be
certain about it. I also sought a little aid and encouragement from
philosophy, endeavoring to remember what great things had been done by
the accumulation of small quantities, and I urged upon myself that the
present was a case in point, and that the summation of distances twenty
paces each must finally place us at the top. Still the question of time
left the matter long in doubt, and until we had passed the Derniers
Rochers we worked on with the stern indifference of men who were doing
their duty, and did not look to consequences. Here, however, a gleam
of hope began to brighten our souls: the summit became visible nearer,
Simond showed more alacrity; at length success became certain, and at
half-past three P.M. my friend and I clasped hands upon the top.

The summit of the mountain is an elongated ridge, which has been
compared to the back of an ass. It was perfectly manifest that we were
dominant over all other mountains; as far as the eye could range Mont
Blanc had no competitor. The summits which had looked down upon us in
the morning were now far beneath us. The Dome du Goute, which had held
its threatening "seracs" above us so long, was now at our feet. The
Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc du Tacul, and the Monts Maudits, the
Talefre, with its surrounding peaks, the Grand Jorasse, Mont Mallet, and
the Aiguille du Geant, with our own familiar glaciers, were all below
us. And as our eye ranged over the broad shoulders of the mountain, over
ice hills and valleys, plateaux and far-stretching slopes of snow, the
conception of its magnitude grew upon us, and imprest us more and more.

The clouds were very grand--grander, indeed, than anything I had ever
before seen. Some of them seemed to hold thunder in their breasts, they
were so dense and dark; others, with their faces turned sunward, shone
with the dazzling whiteness of the mountain snow; while others again
built themselves into forms resembling gigantic elm trees, loaded with
foliage. Toward the horizon the luxury of color added itself to the
magnificent alternation of light and shade. Clear spaces of amber and
ethereal green embraced the red and purple cumuli, and seemed to form
the cradle in which they swung. Closer at hand squally mists, suddenly
engendered, were driven hither and thither by local winds; while the
clouds at a distance lay "like angels sleeping on the wing," with
scarcely visibly motion. Mingling with the clouds, and sometimes rising
above them, were the highest mountain heads, and as our eyes wandered
from peak to peak, onward to the remote horizon, space itself seemed
more vast from the manner in which the objects which it held were

The day was waning, and, urged by the warnings of our ever-prudent
guide, we at length began the descent. Gravity was in our favor, but
gravity could not entirely spare our wearied limbs, and where we sank
in the snow we found our downward progress very trying. I suffered from
thirst, but after we had divided the liquefied snow at the Petits Mulets
among us we had nothing to drink. I crammed the clean snow into my
mouth, but the process of melting was slow and tantalizing to a parched
throat, while the chill was painful to the teeth.



I was once more standing upon the Wengern Alp, and gazing longingly at
the Jungfrau-Joch. Surely the Wengern Alp must be precisely the loveliest
place in this world. To hurry past it, and listen to the roar of the
avalanches, is a very unsatisfactory mode of enjoyment; it reminds one
too much of letting off crackers in a cathedral. The mountains seem to
be accomplices of the people who charge fifty centimes for an echo. But
it does one's moral nature good to linger there at sunset or in the
early morning, when tourists have ceased from traveling; and the jaded
cockney may enjoy a kind of spiritual bath in the soothing calmness of

We, that is a little party of six Englishmen with six Oberland guides,
who left the inn at 3 A.M. on July 20, 1862, were not, perhaps, in a
specially poetical mood. Yet as the sun rose while we were climbing the
huge buttress of the Moench, the dullest of us--I refer, of course,
to myself--felt something of the spirit of the scenery. The day was
cloudless, and a vast inverted cone of dazzling rays suddenly struck
upward into the sky through the gap between the Moench and the Eiger,
which, as some effect of perspective shifted its apparent position,
looked like a glory streaming from the very summit of the Eiger. It was
a good omen, if not in any more remote sense, yet as promising a fine
day. After a short climb we descended upon the Gugg, glacier, most
lamentably unpoetical of names, and mounted by it to the great plateau
which lies below the cliffs immediately under the col. We reached this
at about seven, and, after a short meal, carefully examined the route
above us. Half way between us and the col lay a small and apparently
level plateau of snow. Once upon it we felt confident that we could get
to the top....

We plunged at once into the maze of crevasses, finding our passage much
facilitated by the previous efforts of our guides. We were constantly
walking over ground strewed with crumbling blocks of ice, the recent
fall of which was proved by their sharp white fractures, and with a
thing like an infirm toad stool twenty feet high, towering above our
heads. Once we passed under a natural arch of ice, built in evident
disregard of all principles of architectural stability. Hurrying
judiciously at such critical points, and creeping slowly round those
where the footing was difficult, we manage to thread the labyrinth
safely, whilst Rubi appeared to think it rather pleasant than otherwise
in such places to have his head fixt in a kind of pillory between two
rungs of a ladder, with twelve feet of it sticking out behind and twelve
feet before him.

We reached the gigantic crevasse at 7.35. We passed along it to a point
where its two lips nearly joined, and the side furthest from us was
considerably higher than that upon which we stood. Fixing the foot of
the ladder upon this ledge, we swung the top over, and found that it
rested satisfactorily against the opposite bank. Almer crept up it,
and made the top firmer by driving his ax into the snow underneath the
highest step. The rest of us followed, carefully roped, and with the
caution to rest our knees on the sides of the ladder, as several of the
steps were extremely weak--a remark which was equally applicable to one,
at least, of the sides. We crept up the rickety old machine, however,
looking down between our legs into the blue depths of the crevasse, and
at 8.15 the whole party found itself satisfactorily perched on the edge
of the nearly level snow plateau, looking up at the long slopes of
broken neve that led to the col....

When the man behind was also engaged in hauling himself up by the rope
attached to your waist, when the two portions of the rope formed an
acute angle, when your footing was confined to the insecure grip of one
toe on a slippery bit of ice, and when a great hummock of hard serac was
pressing against the pit of your stomach and reducing you to a
position of neutral equilibrium, the result was a feeling of qualified
acquiescence in Michel or Almer's lively suggestion of "Vorwaerts!

Somehow or other we did ascend. The excitement made the time seem short;
and after what seemed to me to be half an hour, which was in fact nearly
two hours, we had crept, crawled, climbed and wormed our way through
various obstacles, till we found ourselves brought up by a huge
overhanging wall of blue ice. This wall was no doubt the upper side of
a crevasse, the lower part of which had been filled by snow-drift. Its
face was honeycombed by the usual hemispherical chippings, which somehow
always reminds me of the fretted walls of the Alhambra; and it was
actually hollowed out so that its upper edge overhung our heads at a
height of some twenty or thirty feet; the long fringe of icicles which
adorned it had made a slippery pathway of ice at two or three feet
distance from the foot of the wall by the freezing water which dripped
from them; and along this we crept, in hopes that none of the icicles
would come down bodily.

The wall seemed to thin out and become much lower toward our left, and
we moved cautiously toward its lowest point. The edge upon which we
walked was itself very narrow, and ran down at a steep angle to the
top of a lower icefall which repeated the form of the upper. It almost
thinned out at the point where the upper wall was lowest. Upon this
inclined ledge, however, we fixt the foot of our ladder. The difficulty
of doing so conveniently was increased by a transverse crevasse which
here intersected the other system. The foot, however, was fixt and
rendered tolerably safe by driving in firmly several of our alpenstocks
and axes under the lowest step. Almer, then, amidst great excitement,
went forward to mount it. Should we still find an impassable system of
crevasses above us, or were we close to the top? A gentle breeze which
had been playing along the last ledge gave me hope that we were really
not far off. As Almer reached the top about twelve o'clock, a loud
yodel gave notice to all the party that our prospects were good. I soon
followed, and saw, to my great delight, a stretch of smooth, white snow,
without a single crevasse, rising in a gentle curve from our feet to the
top of the col.

The people who had been watching us from the Wengern Alp had been
firing salutes all day, whenever the idea struck them, and whenever we
surmounted a difficulty, such as the first great crevasse. We heard the
faint sound of two or three guns as we reached the final plateau. We
should, properly speaking, have been uproariously triumphant over our
victory. To say the truth, our party of that summer was only too apt to
break out into undignified explosions of animal spirits, bordering at
times upon horseplay....

The top of the Jungfrau-Joch comes rather like a bathos in poetry. It
rises so gently above the steep ice wall, and it is so difficult to
determine the precise culminating point, that our enthusiasm oozed out
gradually instead of producing a sudden explosion; and that instead of
giving three cheers, singing "God Save the Queen," or observing any of
the traditional ceremonial of a simpler generation of travelers, we
calmly walked forward as tho' we had been crossing Westminster Bridge,
and on catching sight of a small patch of rocks near the foot of
the Moench, rushed precipitately down to it and partook of our third
breakfast. Which things, like most others, might easily be made into an

The great dramatic moments of life are very apt to fall singularly flat.
We manage to discount all their interest beforehand; and are amazed to
find that the day to which we have looked forward so long--the day,
it may be, of our marriage, or ordination, or election to be Lord
Mayor--finds us curiously unconscious of any sudden transformation and
as strongly inclined to prosaic eating and drinking as usual. At a later
period we may become conscious of its true significance, and perhaps the
satisfactory conquest of this new pass has given us more pleasure in
later years than it did at the moment.

However that may be, we got under way again after a meal and a chat, our
friends Messrs. George and Moore descending the Aletsch glacier to the
Aeggischhorn, whose summit was already in sight, and deceptively near in
appearance. The remainder of the party soon turned off to the left, and
ascended the snow slopes to the gap between the Moench and Trugberg. As
we passed these huge masses, rising in solitary grandeur from the center
of one of the noblest snowy wastes of the Alps, Morgan reluctantly
confest for the first time that he knew nothing exactly like it in





The Pass of the Great St. Bernard was a well-known one long before the
hospice was built. Before the Christian era, the Romans used it as a
highway across the Alps, constantly improving the road as travel over
it increased. Many lives were lost, however, as no material safeguards
could obviate the danger from the elements, and no one will ever know
the number of souls who met their end in the blinding snows and chilling
blasts of those Alpine heights.

To Bernard de Menthon is due the credit of the mountain hospice. He was
the originator of the idea and the founder of the institution. He has
since been canonized as a saint and he well deserved the honor, if it be
a virtue to sacrifice oneself, as we believe, and to try and save the
lives of one's fellows! It is no easy existence which St. Bernard chose
for himself and followers. The very aspect of the pass is grand but
gloomy. None of the softness of nature is seen. There is no verdure, no
beauty of coloring, nothing but bleak, bare rock, great piles of stones,
and occasional patches of fallen snow. It is thoroughly exposed, the
winds always moaning mournfully around the buildings....

The trip begins at Martigny. First there is a level stretch, then a
long, steady climb, after which begins the real road to the pass. The
views are very lovely, and while quite different in some ways excel
all passes except the famous Simplon. The scenery is very varied,
the mountains are far enough off to give a good perspective, and the
villages are most picturesque. The absence of snow peaks in any great
number will be felt by some, but even a lover of such soon forgets the
lack in the exceeding beauty and loveliness of the valleys.

Toward the top of the pass there is quite a transformation. Both the
road and the scenery change, the first becoming more and more steep
and stony, the latter showing more and more of savage grandeur, as the
green, smiling valleys are no longer seen, but in their place appear
barren and rugged rocks and slopes, with the marks of the ravages
wrought by storm, landslide and avalanche. The wind has fuller play
and seems to moan in a mournful, dirge-like manner, accentuating the
characteristics of bleakness and desolation which obtain at the top of
the pass, all the more noticeable if the traveler arrives at dusk, just
as the sun has disappeared behind the mountains.

In this dreary place stands the hospice. The present buildings are not
very old, the hospice only dating from the sixteenth century and the
church from the seventeenth century, while the other structures, which
have been built for the accommodation of strangers are comparatively
new. Twelve monks of the Augustinian Order are regularly in residence
here. They come when about twenty years of age; but so severe is the
climate, so hard the life and so stern the rule that, after a service of
about fifteen years, they generally have to seek a lower altitude, often
ruined in health, with their powers completely sapped by the rigors and
privations which they have endured. Altho the hospice and the adjoining
hostelry for the travelers are cheerless in the extreme, there is always
a warm welcome from the monks. No one, however poor, is refused bed
and board for the night, and there is no "distinction of persons."
The hospitality is extended to all, free of charge, this being the
invariable rule of the institution, but it is expected, and rightly so,
that those who can do so will deposit a liberal offering in the box
provided for the purpose. The small receipts, however, show what a great
abuse there is of this hospitality, for a large number of those who come
in the summer could well afford to give and to give largely.

We hear much of the courage and perseverance of Hannibal and Caesar in
leading their armies over the Alps! We see pictures of Napoleon and his
soldiers as they toiled up the pass, dragging along their frozen guns,
and perhaps falling into a fatal sleep about their dying camp fires at
night! And we rightly admire such bravery, and thrill with admiration at
the tale. Yet those armies which crossed the Alps failed to equal the
heroic self-sacrifice of those soldiers of the cross, the Monks of the
Grand St. Bernard, who remain for years at their post, unknown and
unsung by the wide, wide world, simply to save and shelter the humble
travelers who come to grief in their winter journey across the pass, in
search of work.



Beside this dazzling, magnificent snow, covering the chain of lofty
peaks like an immaculate altar cloth, what a gloomy, dull look there
is in the snow of the plains! One might think it was made of sugar or
confectionery, that it was false like all the rest.

To know what snow really is--to get quit of this feeling of artificial
snow that we have when we see the stunted shrubs in our Parisian gardens
wrapt, as it were, in silk paper like bits of Christmas trees--it must
be seen here in these far-off, high valleys of the Engandine, that lie
for eight months dead under their shroud of snow, and often, even in the
height of summer, have to shiver anew under some wintry flakes.

It is here that snow is truly beautiful! It shines in the sun with a
dazzling whiteness; it sparkles with a thousand fires like diamond dust;
it shows gleams like the plumage of a white dove, and it is as firm
under the foot as a marble pavement. It is so fine-grained, so compact,
that it clings like dust to every crevice and bend, to every projecting
edge and point, and follows every outline of the mountain, the form of
which it leaves as clearly defined as if it were a covering of thin
gauze. It sports in the most charming decorations, carves alabaster
facings and cornices on the cliffs, wreathes them in delicate lace,
covers them with vast canopies of white satin spangled with stars and
fringed with silver.

And yet this dry, hard snow is extremely susceptible to the slightest
shock, and may be set in motion by a very trifling disturbance of the
air. The flight of a bird, the cracking of a whip, the tinkling of
bells, even the conversation of persons going along sometimes suffices
to shake and loosen it from the vertical face of the cliffs to which it
is clinging; and it runs down like grains of sand, growing as it falls,
by drawing down with it other beds of snow. It is like a torrent, a
snowy waterfall, bursting out suddenly from the side of the mountain;
it rushes down with a terrible noise, swollen with the snows that it
carries down in its furious course; it breaks against the rocks, divides
and joins again like an overflowing stream, and with a wild tempest
blast resumes its desolating course, filling the echoes with the
deafening thunder of battle.

You think for a moment that a storm has begun, but looking at the sky
you see it serenely blue, smiling, cloudless. The rush becomes more and
more violent; it comes nearer, the ground trembles, the trees bend and
break with a sharp crack; enormous stones and blocks of ice are carried
away like gravel; and the mighty avalanche, with a crash like a train
running off the rails over a precipice, drops to the foot of the
mountain, destroying, crushing down everything before it, and covering
the ground with a bed of snow from thirty to fifty feet deep.

When a stream of water wears a passage for itself under this compact
mass, it is sometimes hollowed out into an arched way, and the snow
becomes so solid that carriages and horses can go through without
danger, even in the middle of summer. But often the water does not find
a course by which to flow away; and then, when the snow begins to melt,
the water seeps into the fissures, loosens the mass that chokes up the
valley, and carries it down, rending its banks as it goes, carrying away
bridges, mills, and trees, and overthrowing houses. The avalanche has
become an inundation.

The mountaineers make a distinction between summer and winter
avalanches. The former are solid avalanches, formed of old snow that
has almost acquired the consistency of ice. The warm breath of spring
softens it, loosens it from the rocks on which it hangs, and it slides
down into the valleys. These are called "melting avalanches." They
regularly follow certain tracks, and these are embanked, like the course
of a river, with wood or bundles of branches. It is in order to protect
the alpine roads from these avalanches that those long open galleries
have been built on the face of the precipice.

The most dreaded and most terrible avalanches, those of dry, powdery
snow, occur only in winter, when sudden squalls and hurricanes of
snow throw the whole atmosphere into chaos. They come down in sudden
whirlwinds, with the violence of a waterspout, and in a few minutes
whole villages are buried....

Here, in the Grisons, the whole village of Selva was buried under an
avalanche. Nothing remained visible but the top of the church steeple,
looking like a pole planted in the snow. Baron Munchausen might have
tied his horse there without inventing any lie about it. The Val
Verzasca was covered for several months by an avalanche of nearly 1,000
feet in length and 50 in depth. All communication through the valley
was stopt; it was impossible to organize help; and the alarm-bell was
incessantly sounding over the immense white desolation like a knell for
the dead.

In the narrow defile in which we now are, there are many remains of
avalanches that neither the water of the torrent nor the heat of the sun
has had power to melt. The bed of the river is strewn with displaced and
broken rocks, and great stones bound together by the snow as if with
cement; the surges dash against these rocky obstacles, foaming angrily,
with the blind fury of a wild beast. And the moan of the powerless water
flows on into the depth of the valley, and is lost far off in a hollow



Schmidt swept with his cap the snow which covered the stones on which
we were to seat ourselves for breakfast, then unpacked the provisions;
slices of veal and ham, hard-boiled eggs, wine of the Valtelline. His
knapsack, covered with a napkin, served for our table. While we sat, we
devoured the landscape, the twelve glaciers spreading around us their
carpet of swansdown and ermine, sinking into crevasses of a magical
transparency, and raising their blocks, shaped into needles, or into
Gothic steeples with pierced arches. The architecture of the glacier is
marvelous. Its decorations are the decorations of fairyland. Quite near
us marks of animals in the snow attracted our attention. Schmidt said to

"Chamois have been here this morning; the traces are quite fresh. They
must have seen us and made off; the chamois are as distrustful, you see,
as the marmots, and as wary. At this season they keep on the glaciers by
preference. They live on so little! A few herbs, a few mosses, such as
grow on isolated rocks like this. I assure you it is very amusing to see
a herd of twenty or thirty chamois cross at a headlong pace a vast field
of snow, or glacier, where they bound over the crevasses in play.

"One would say they were reindeers in a Lapland scene. It is only at
night that they come down into the valleys. In the moonlight they come
out of the moraines, and go to pasture on the grassy slopes or in the
forest adjoining the glaciers. During the day they go up again into the
snow, for which they have an extraordinary love, and in which they skip
and play, amusing themselves like a band of scholars in play hours.
They tease one another, butt with their horns in fun, run off,
return, pretend new attacks and new flights with charming agility and

"While the young ones give themselves up to their sports, an old female,
posted as sentinel at some yards distance, watches the valley and scents
the air. At the slightest indication of danger, she utters a sharp cry;
the games cease instantly, and the whole anxious troop assembles round
the guardian, then the whole herd sets off at a gallop and disappears in
the twinkling of an eye....

"Hunting on the neves and the glaciers is very dangerous. When the snow
is fresh it is with difficulty one can advance. The hunters use wooden
snowshoes, like those of the Esquimaux.

"One of my comrades, in hunting on the Roseg, disappeared in the bottom
of a crevasse. It was over thirty feet deep. Imagine two perfectly
smooth sides; two walls of crystal. To reascend was impossible. It was
certain death, either from cold or hunger; for it was known that when he
went chamois-hunting he was often absent for several days. He could not
therefore count on help being sent; he must resign himself to death.

"One thing, however, astonished him; it was to find so little water in
the bottom of the crevasse. Could there be then an opening at the bottom
of the funnel into which he had fallen? He stooped, examined this grave
in which he had been buried alive, discovered that the heat of the sun
had caused the base of the glacier to melt. A canal drainage had been
formed. Laying himself flat, he slid into this dark passage, and after
a thousand efforts he arrived at the end of the glacier in the moraine,
safe and sound."

We had finished breakfast. We wanted something warm, a little coffee.
Schmidt set up our spirit-lamp behind two great stones that protected it
from the wind. And while we waited for the water to boil, he related to
us the story of Colani, the legendary hunter of the upper Engandine.

"Colani, in forty years, killed two thousand seven hundred chamois. This
strange man had carved out for himself a little kingdom in the mountain.
He claimed to reign there alone, to be absolute master. When a stranger
penetrated into his residence, within the domain of 'his reserved
hunting-ground,' as he called the regions of the Bernina, he treated him
as a poacher, and chased him with a gun....

"Colani was feared and dreaded as a diabolical and supernatural
being; and indeed he took no pains to undeceive the public, for the
superstitious terrors inspired by his person served to keep away all the
chamois-hunters from his chamois, which he cared for and managed as a
great lord cares for the deer in his forests. Round the little house
which he had built for himself on the Col de Bernina, and where he
passed the summer and autumn, two hundred chamois, almost tame, might be
seen wandering about and browsing. Every year he killed about fifty old



It has been remarked as curious that the Age of Revolution at Geneva
was also the Golden Age--if not of Genevan literature, which has never
really had any Golden Age, at least of Genevan science, which was of
world-wide renown.

The period is one in which notable names meet us at every turn. There
were exiled Genevans, like de Lolme, holding their own in foreign
political and intellectual circles; there were emigrant Genevan pastors
holding aloft the lamps of culture and piety in many cities of England,
France, Russia, Germany, and Denmark; there were Genevans, like Francois
Lefort, holding the highest offices in the service of foreign rulers;
and there were numbers of Genevans at Geneva of whom the cultivated
grand tourist wrote in the tone of a disciple writing of his master. One
can not glance at the history of the period without lighting upon names
of note in almost all departments of endeavor. The period is that of
de Saussure, Bourrit, the de Lucs, the two Hubers, great authorities
respectively on bees and birds; Le Sage, who was one of Gibbon's rivals
for the heart of Mademoiselle Suzanne Curchod; Senebier, the librarian
who wrote the first literary history of Geneva; St. Ours and Arlaud,
the painters; Charles Bonnet, the entomologist; Berenger and Picot,
the historians; Tronchin, the physician; Trembley and Jallabert, the
mathematicians; Dentan, minister and Alpine explorer; Pictet, the editor
of the "Bibliotheque Universelle," still the leading Swiss literary
review; and Odier, who taught Geneva the virtue of vaccination.

It is obviously impossible to dwell at length upon the careers of all
these eminent men. As well might one attempt, in a survey on the same
scale of English literature, to discuss in detail the careers of all the
celebrities of the age of Anne. One can do little more than remark that
the list is marvelously strong for a town of some 30,000 inhabitants,
and that many of the names included in it are not only eminent, but
interesting. Jean Andre de Luc, for example, has a double claim upon our
attention as the inventor of the hygrometer and as the pioneer of the
snow-peaks. He climbed the Buet as early as 1770, and wrote an account
of his adventures on its summit and its slopes which has the true charm
of Arcadian simplicity. He came to England, was appointed reader to
Queen Charlotte, and lived in the enjoyment of that office, and in the
gratifying knowledge that Her Majesty kept his presentation hygrometer
in her private apartments, to the venerable age of ninety.

Bourrit is another interesting character--being, in fact, the spiritual
ancestor of the modern Alpine Clubman. By profession he was Precentor
of the Cathedral; but his heart was in the mountains. In the summer he
climbed them, and in the winter he wrote books about them. One of
his books was translated into English; and the list of subscribers,
published with the translation, shows that the public which Bourrit
addrest included Edmund Burke, Sir Joseph Banks, Bartolozzi, Fanny
Burney, Angelica Kauffman, David Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, George
Augustus Selwyn, Jonas Hanway and Dr. Johnson. His writings earned him
the honorable title of Historian (or Historiographer) of the Alps. Men
of science wrote him letters; princes engaged upon the grand tour called
to see him; princesses sent him presents as tokens of their admiration
and regard for the man who had taught them how the contemplation of
mountain scenery might exalt the sentiments of the human mind.

Tronchin, too, is interesting; he was the first physician who recognized
the therapeutic use of fresh air and exercise, hygienic boots, and
open windows. So is Charle Bonnet, who was not afraid to stand up
for orthodoxy against Voltaire; so is Mallet, who traveled as far as
Lapland; and so is that man of whom his contemporaries always spoke,
with the reverence of hero-worshipers, as "the illustrious de

The name of which the Genevans are proudest is probably that of
Rousseau, who has sometimes been spoken of as "the austere citizen of
Geneva." But "austere" is a strange epithet to apply to the philosopher
who endowed the Foundling Hospital with five illegitimate children; and
Geneva can not claim a great share in a citizen who ran away from the
town of his boyhood to avoid being thrashed for stealing apples. It
was, indeed, at Geneva that Jean Jacques received from his aunt the
disciplinary chastisement of which he gives such an exciting account in
his "Confessions"; and he once returned to the city and received the
Holy Communion there in later life. But that is all. Jean Jacques was
not educated at Geneva, but in Savoy--at Annecy, at Turin, and at
Chambery; his books were not printed at Geneva, tho' one of them was
publicly burned there, but in Paris and Amsterdam; it is not to Genevan
but to French literature that he belongs.

We must visit Voltaire at Ferney, and Madame de Stael at Coppet. Let the
patriarch come first. Voltaire was sixty years of age when he settled
on the shores of the lake, where he was to remain for another
four-and-twenty years; and he did not go there for his pleasure. He
would have preferred to live in Paris, but was afraid of being locked
up in the Bastille. As the great majority of the men of letters of
the reign of Louis XV. were, at one time or another, locked up in the
Bastille, his fears were probably well founded.

Moreover, notes of warning had reached his ears. "I dare not ask you to
dine," a relative said to him, "because you are in bad odor at Court."
So he betook himself to Geneva, as so many Frenchmen, illustrious
and otherwise, had done before, and acquired various properties--at
Prangins, at Lausanne, at Saint-Jean (near Geneva), at Ferney, at
Tournay, and elsewhere.

He was welcomed cordially. Dr. Tronchin, the eminent physician,
cooperated in the legal fictions necessary to enable him to become a
landowner in the republic. Cramer, the publisher, made a proposal for
the issue of a complete and authorized edition of his works. All the
best people called. "It is very pleasant," he was able to write, "to
live in a country where rulers borrow your carriage to come to dinner
with you."

Voltaire corresponded regularly with at least four reigning sovereigns,
to say nothing of men of letters, Cardinals, and Marshals of France;
and he kept open house for travelers of mark from every country in the
world. Those of the travelers who wrote books never failed to devote a
chapter to an account of a visit to Ferney; and from the mass of such
descriptions we may select for quotation that written, in the stately
style of the period, by Dr. John Moore, author of "Zeluco," then making
the grand tour as tutor to the Duke of Hamilton.

"The most piercing eyes I ever beheld," the doctor writes, "are those of
Voltaire, now in his eightieth year. His whole countenance is expressive
of genius, observation, and extreme sensibility. In the morning he has a
look of anxiety and discontent; but this gradually wears off, and after
dinner he seems cheerful; yet an air of irony never entirely forsakes
his face, but may always be observed lurking in his features whether he
frowns or smiles. Composition is his principal amusement. No author who
writes for daily bread, no young poet ardent for distinction, is more
assiduous with his pen, or more anxious for fresh fame, than the wealthy
and applauded Seigneur of Ferney. He lives in a very hospitable manner,
and takes care always to have a good cook. He generally has two or three
visitors from Paris, who stay with him a month or six weeks at a time.
When they go, their places are soon supplied, so that there is a
constant rotation of society at Ferney. These, with Voltaire's own
family and his visitors from Geneva, compose a company of twelve or
fourteen people, who dine daily at his table, whether he appears or not.
All who bring recommendations from his friends may depend upon being
received, if he be not really indisposed. He often presents himself to
the strangers who assemble every afternoon in his ante-chamber, altho
they bring no particular recommendation."

It might have been added that when an interesting stranger who carried
no introduction was passing through the town, Voltaire sometimes sent
for him; but this experiment was not always a success, and failed most
ludicrously in the case of Claude Gay, the Philadelphian Quaker, author
of some theological works now forgotten, but then of note. The meeting
was only arranged with difficulty on the philosopher's undertaking to
put a bridle on his tongue, and say nothing flippant about holy things.
He tried to keep his promise, but the temptation was too strong for him.
After a while he entangled his guest in a controversy concerning the
proceedings of the patriarchs and the evidences of Christianity, and
lost his temper on finding that his sarcasms failed to make their usual
impression. The member of the Society of Friends, however, was not
disconcerted. He rose from his place at the dinner-table, and replied:
"Friend Voltaire! perhaps thou mayst come to understand these matters
rightly; in the meantime, finding I can do thee no good, I leave thee,
and so fare thee well."

And so saying, he walked out and walked back to Geneva, while Voltaire
retired in dudgeon to his room, and the company sat expecting something
terrible to happen.

A word, in conclusion, about Coppet!

Necker[63] bought the property from his old banking partner, Thelusson,
for 500,000 livres in French money, and retired to live there when the
French Revolution drove him out of politics. His daughter, Madame de
Stael, inherited it from him, and made it famous.

Not that she loved Switzerland; it would be more true to say that she
detested Switzerland. Swiss scenery meant nothing to her. When she was
taken for an excursion to the glaciers, she asked what the crime was
that she had to expiate by such a punishment; and she could look out on
the blue waters of Lake Leman, and sigh for "the gutter of the Rue du
Bac." Even to this day, the Swiss have hardly forgiven her for that, or
for speaking of the Canton of Vaud as the country in which she had been
"so intensely bored for such a number of years."

What she wanted was to live in Paris, to be a leader--or, rather, to be
"the" leader--of Parisian society, to sit in a salon, the admired of
all admirers, and to pull the wires of politics to the advantage of
her friends. For a while she succeeded in doing this. It was she who
persuaded Barras to give Talleyrand his political start in life. But
whereas Barras was willing to act on her advice, Napoleon was by no
means equally amenable to her influence. Almost from the first he
regarded her as a mischief-maker; and when a spy brought him an
intercepted letter in which Madame de Stael exprest her hope that none
of the old aristocracy of France would condescend to accept appointments
in the household of "the bourgeois of Corsica," he became her personal
enemy, and, refusing her permission to live either in the capital or
near it, practically compelled her to take refuge in her country seat.
Her pleasance in that way became her gilded cage.

Perhaps she was not quite so unhappy there as she sometimes represented.
If she could not go to Paris, many distinguished and brilliant Parisians
came to Coppet, and met there many brilliant and distinguished Germans,
Genevans, Italians, and Danes. The Parisian salon, reconstituted,
flourished on Swiss soil. There visited there, at one time or another,
Madame Recamier and Madame Kruedner; Benjamin Constant, who was so
long Madame de Stael's lover; Bonstetten, the Voltairean philosopher;
Frederika Brun, the Danish artist; Sismondi, the historian; Werner, the
German poet; Karl Ritter, the German geographer; Baron de Voght; Monti,
the Italian poet: Madame Vigee Le Brun; Cuvier; and Oelenschlaeger. From
almost every one of them we have some pen-and-ink sketch of the life
there. This, for instance, is the scene as it appeared to Madame Le
Brun, who came to paint the hostess's portrait:

"I paint her in antique costume. She is not beautiful, but the animation
of her visage takes the place of beauty. To aid the expression I wished
to give her, I entreated her to recite tragic verses while I painted.
She declaimed passages from Corneille and Racine. I find many persons
established at Coppet: the beautiful Madame Recamier, the Comte de
Sabran, a young English woman, Benjamin Constant, etc. Its society is
continually renewed. They come to visit the illustrious exile who is
pursued by the rancor of the Emperor. Her two sons are now with her,
under the instruction of the German scholar Schlegel; her daughter is
very beautiful, and has a passionate love of study; she leaves her
company free all the morning, but they unite in the evening. It is only
after dinner that they can converse with her. She then walks in her
salon, holding in her hand a little green branch; and her words have an
ardor quite peculiar to her; it is impossible to interrupt her. At these
times she produces on one the effect of an improvisation."

And here is a still more graphic description, taken from a letter
written to Madame Recamier by Baron de Voght:

"It is to you that I owe my most amiable reception at Coppet. It is no
doubt to the favorable expectations aroused by your friendship that I
owe my intimate acquaintance with this remarkable woman. I might have
met her without your assistance--some casual acquaintance would no doubt
have introduced me--but I should never have penetrated to the intimacy
of this sublime and beautiful soul, and should never have known how much
better she is than her reputation. She is an angel sent from heaven to
reveal the divine goodness upon earth. To make her irresistible, a pure
ray of celestial light embellishes her spirit and makes her amiable from
every point of view.

"At once profound and light, whether she is discovering a mysterious
secret of the soul or grasping the lightest shadow of a sentiment,
her genius shines without dazzling, and when the orb of light has
disappeared, it leaves a pleasant twilight to follow it.... No doubt
a few faults, a few weaknesses, occasionally veil this celestial
apparition; even the initiated must sometimes be troubled by these
eclipses, which the Genevan astronomers in vain endeavor to predict.

"My travels so far have been limited to journeys to Lausanne and
Coppet, where I often stay three or four days. The life there suits me
perfectly; the company is even more to my taste. I like Constant's
wit, Schlegel's learning, Sabran's amiability, Sismondi's talent and
character, the simple truthful disposition and just intellectual
perceptions of Auguste,[64] the wit and sweetness of Albertine[65]--I
was forgetting Bonstetten, an excellent fellow, full of knowledge of
all sorts, ready in wit, adaptable in character--in every way inspiring
one's respect and confidence.

"Your sublime friend looks and gives life to everything. She imparts
intelligence to those around her. In every corner of the house some
one is engaged in composing a great work.... Corinne is writing her
delightful letters about Germany, which will, no doubt, prove to be the
best thing she has ever done.

"The 'Shunamitish Widow,' an Oriental melodrama which she has just
finished, will be played in October; it is charming. Coppet will be
flooded with tears. Constant and Auguste are both composing tragedies;
Sabran is writing a comic opera, and Sismondi a history; Schlegel is
translating something; Bonstetten is busy with philosophy, and I am busy
with my letter to Juliette."

Then, a month later:

"Since my last letter, Madame de Stael has read us several chapters of
her work. Everywhere it bears the marks of her talent. I wish I could
persuade her to cut out everything in it connected with politics, and
all the metaphors which interfere with its clarity, simplicity, and
accuracy. What she needs to demonstrate is not her republicanism, but
her wisdom. Mlle. Jenner played in one of Werner's tragedies which was
given, last Friday, before an audience of twenty. She, Werner, and
Schlegel played perfectly....

"The arrival in Switzerland of M. Cuvier has been a happy distraction
for Madame de Stael; they spent two days together at Geneva, and
were well pleased with each other. On her return to Coppet she found
Middleton there, and in receiving his confidences forgot her troubles.
Yesterday she resumed her work.

"The poet whose mystical and somber genius has caused us such profound
emotions starts, in a few days' time, for Italy.

"I accompanied Corinne to Massot's. To alleviate the tedium of the
sitting, a Mlle. Romilly played pleasantly on the harp, and the studio
was a veritable temple of the Muses....

"Bonstetten gave us two readings of a Memoir on the Northern Alps. It
began very well, but afterward it bored us. Madame de Stael resumed her
reading, and there was no longer any question of being bored. It is
marvelous how much she must have read and thought over to be able to
find the opportunity of saying so many good things. One may differ from
her, but one can not help delighting in her talent....

"And now here we are at Geneva, trying to reproduce Coppet at the Hotel
des Balances. I am delightfully situated with a wide view over the
Valley of Savoy, between the Alps and the Jura.

"Yesterday evening the illusion of Coppet was complete. I had been with
Madame de Stael to call on Madame Rilliet, who is so charming at her own
fireside. On my return I played chess with Sismondi. Madame de Stael,
Mlle. Randall, and Mlle. Jenner sat on the sofa chatting with Bonstetten
and young Barante. We were as we had always been--as we were in the days
that I shall never cease regretting."

Other descriptions exist in great abundance, but these suffice to
serve our purpose. They show us the Coppet salon as it was pleasant,
brilliant, unconventional; something like Holland House, but more
Bohemian; something like Harley Street, but more select; something like
Gad's Hill--which it resembled in the fact that the members of the
house-parties were expected to spend their mornings at their desks--but
on a higher social plane; a center at once of high thinking and
frivolous behavior; of hard work and desperate love-making, which
sometimes paved the way to trouble.


[Footnote 1: From "Hungary." Published by the Macmillan Co.]

[Footnote 2: From "Hungary." Published by the Macmillan Co.]

[Footnote 3: From "Sketches from the Subject and Neighbour Lands of
Venice." Published by the Macmillan Co.]

[Footnote 4: The modern Marseilles.]

[Footnote 5: An ancient Italian town on the Adriatic, founded by
Syracusans about 300 B.C. and still an important seaport.]

[Footnote 6: The city in Provence where have survived a beautiful Roman
arch and a stupendous Roman theater in which classical plays are still
given each year by actors from the Theatre Francais.]

[Footnote 7: Diocletian.]

[Footnote 8: A reference to the exquisite Maison Carree of Nimes.]

[Footnote 9: That is, of Venice.]

[Footnote 10: The famous general of the Emperor Justinian, reputed to
have become blind and been neglected in his old age.]

[Footnote 11: From "Sketches from the Subject and Neighbour Lands of
Venice." Published by the Macmillan Co.]

[Footnote 12: From "Through Savage Europe." Published by J.B. Lippincott

[Footnote 13: From "Sketches from the Subject and Neighbour Lands of
Venice." Published by the Macmillan Co.]

[Footnote 14: That is, lands where the Greek Church prevails.]

[Footnote 15: John Mason Neale, author of "An Introduction to the
History of the Holy Eastern Church."]

[Footnote 16: Montenegro.]

[Footnote 17: From "A Girl in the Karpathians." After publishing this
book. Miss Dowie became the wife of Henry Norman, the author and

[Footnote 18: One of Poland's greatest poets.]

[Footnote 19: From "Views Afoot." Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.]

[Footnote 20: The population now (1914) is 24,000.]

[Footnote 21: From "Six Months in Italy." Published by Houghton, Mifflin

[Footnote 22: From "A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque
Tour," published in 1821.]

[Footnote 23: From "Letters of a Traveller." The Tyrol and the Dolomites
being mainly Austrian territory, are here included under "Other Austrian
Scenes." Resorts in the Swiss Alps, including Chamouni (which, however,
is in France), will be found further on in this volume.]

[Footnote 24: An Italian poet (1749-1838), who, banished from Venice,
settled in New York and became Professor of Italian at Columbia

[Footnote 25: From "Adventures in the Alps." Published by George W.
Jacobs & Co.]

[Footnote 26: In the village of Cadore--hence the name, Titian da

[Footnote 27: From "Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys: A
Midsummer Ramble in the Dolomites." Published by E.P. Dutton & Co.]

[Footnote 28: Reaumur.--Author's note.]

[Footnote 29: From "My Alpine Jubilee." Published In 1908.]

[Footnote 30: From "Adventures in the Alps." Published by George W.
Jacobs Company, Philadelphia.]

[Footnote 31: Since the above was written, the railway has been extended
up the Jungfrau itself.]

[Footnote 32: From "Teutonic Switzerland." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1894.]

[Footnote 33: From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.]

[Footnote 34: From "Teutonic Switzerland." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1894.]

[Footnote 35: The population in 1902 had risen to 152,000.]

[Footnote 36: From "Teutonic Switzerland." By special arrangement with,
and by permission of, the publishers, L.C. Page & Co. Copyright, 1894.]

[Footnote 37: From "The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley." Politically,
Chamouni is in France, but the aim here has been to bring into one
volume all the more popular Alpine resorts. Articles on the Tyrol and
the Dolomites will also be found in this volume--under "Other Austrian

[Footnote 38: From "Adventures in the Alps." Published by George W.
Jacobs & Co.]

[Footnote 39: For Mr. Whymper's own account of this famous ascent, see
page 127 of this volume.]

[Footnote 40: From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.]

[Footnote 41: From "Geneva."]

[Footnote 42: From "Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands."]

[Footnote 43: Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had been published about
a year when this remark was made to her.]

[Footnote 44: From "Adventures in the Alps." Published by George W.
Jacobs & Co.]

[Footnote 45: From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.]

[Footnote 46: From "Scrambles Amongst the Alps." Mr. Whymper's later
achievements in the Alps are now integral parts of the written history
of notable mountain climbing feats the world over.]

[Footnote 47: From "Scrambles Amongst the Alps." Mr. Whymper's ascent
of the Matterhorn was made in 1865. It was the first ascent ever made so
far as known. Whymper died at Chamouni in 1911.]

[Footnote 48: From "Scrambles Amongst the Alps." The loss of Douglas and
three other men, as here described, occurred during the descent of
the Matterhorn following the ascent described by Mr. Whymper in the
preceding article.]

[Footnote 49: That is, down in the village of Zermatt. Seiler was a
well-known innkeeper of that time. Other Seilers still keep inns at

[Footnote 50: The body of Douglas has never been recovered. It is
believed to lie buried deep in some crevasse in one of the great
glaciers that emerge from the base of the Matterhorn.]

[Footnote 51: From "The Glaciers of the Alps." Prof. Tyndall made this
ascent in 1858. Monte Rosa stands quite near the Matterhorn. Each is
reached from Zermatt by the Gorner-Grat.]

[Footnote 52: Another name for the Matterhorn.]

[Footnote 53: My staff was always the handle of an ax an inch or two
longer than an ordinary walking-stick.--Author's note.]

[Footnote 54: From "The Glaciers of the Alps."]

[Footnote 55: That is, after having ascended the mountain to a point
some distance beyond the Mer de Glace, to which the party had ascended
from Chamouni, Huxley and Tyndall were both engaged in a study of the
causes of the movement of glaciers, but Tyndall gave it most attention.
One of Tyndall's feats in the Alps was to make the first recorded ascent
of the Weisshorn. It is said that "traces of his influence remain in
Switzerland to this day."]

[Footnote 56: A hotel overlooking the Mer de Glace and a headquarters
for mountaineers now as then.]

[Footnote 57: Those acquainted with the mountain will at once recognize
the grave error here committed. In fact, on starting from the Grands
Mulets we had crossed the glacier too far, and throughout were much too
close to the Dome du Goute.--Author's note.]

[Footnote 58: From "The Playground of Europe." Published by Longmans,
Green & Co.]

[Footnote 59: From "Adventures in the Alps." Published by the George W.
Jacob Co.]

[Footnote 60: From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.]

[Footnote 61: From "Unknown Switzerland." Published by James Pott & Co.]

[Footnote 62: From "Geneva."]

[Footnote 63: The French financier and minister of Louis XVI., father of
Madame de Stael.]

[Footnote 64: Madame de Stael's son, who afterward edited the works of
Madame de Stael and Madame Necker.--Author's note.]

[Footnote 65: Madame de Stael's daughter, afterward Duchesse de

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Seeing Europe with Famous Authors,
Volume VI, by Various


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