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A Residence in France by J. Fenimore Cooper

Part 4 out of 6

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The next morning we were off betimes to avoid the heat, and reached
Ludwigsberg to breakfast. Here the scene began to change. Troops were at
drill in a meadow, as we approached the town, and the postilion pointed
out to us a portly officer at the Duke of Wurtemberg, a cadet of the
royal family, who was present with his staff. Drilling troops, from time
immemorial, has been a royal occupation in Germany. It is, like a
Manhattanese talking of dollars, a source of endless enjoyment.

Ludwigsberg is the Windsor, the St. Denis, of the Princes of Wurtemberg.
There an extensive palace, the place of sepulture, and a town of five or
six thousand inhabitants. We went through the former, which is large and
imposing, with fine courts and some pretty views, but it is low and
Teutonic--in plain English, squat--like some of the old statues in
armour that one sees in the squares of the German towns. There is a
gallery and a few good pictures, particularly a Rembrandt or two. One of
the latter is in the same style as the "Tribute-money" that I possess,
and greatly encourages me as to the authenticity of that picture. The
late Queen of Wurtemberg was the Princess Royal of England, and she
inhabited this palace. Being mistaken for English, we were shown her
apartments, in which she died lately, and which were exactly in the
condition in which she left them. She must have had strong family
attachments, for her rooms were covered with portraits of her relatives.
The King of England was omnipresent; and as for her own husband, of
whom, by the way, one picture would have been quite sufficient for any
reasonable woman, there were no less than six portraits of him in a
single room!

As one goes north, the style of ornamenting rooms is less graceful, and
the German and English palaces all have the same formal and antiquated
air. Ludwigsberg does not change the rule, though there was an unusual
appearance of comfort in the apartments of the late Queen, which had
evidently been Anglicised.

While we were standing at a balcony, that overlooks a very pretty tract
of wooded country and garden, the guide pointed to a hamlet, whose
church tower was peering above a bit of forest, in a distant valley, or
rather swell. "Does Mein Herr see it?" "I do--it is no more than a
sequestered hamlet, that is prettily enough placed."--It was Marbach,
the birth-place of Schiller! Few men can feel less of the interest that
so commonly attaches to the habits, habitations, and personal appearance
of celebrated men, than myself. The mere sight of a celebrity never
creates any sensation. Yet I do not remember a stronger conviction of
the superiority enjoyed by true over factitious greatness, than that
which flashed on my mind, when I was told this fact. That sequestered
hamlet rose in a moment to an importance that all the appliances and
souvenirs of royalty could not give to the palace of Ludwigsberg. Poor
Schiller! In my eyes he is the German genius of the age. Goethe has got
around him one of those factitious reputations that depend as much on
gossip and tea-drinking as on a high order of genius, and he is
fortunate in possessing a _coddled celebrity_--for you must know there
is a fashion in this thing, that is quite independent of merit--while
Schiller's fame rests solely on its naked merits. My life for it, that
it lasts the longest, and will burn brightest in the end. The schools,
and a prevalent taste and the caprice of fashion, can make Goethes in
dozens, at any time; but God only creates such men as Schiller. The
Germans say, _we_ cannot feel Goethe; but after all, a translation is
perhaps one of the best tests of genius, for though bad translations
abound, if there is stuff in the original, it will find its way even
into one of these.

From Ludwigsberg to Stuttgart it is but a single post, and we arrived
there at twelve. The appearance of this place was altogether different
from what we had expected. Although it contains near 30,000 inhabitants,
it has more the air of a thriving Swiss town, than that of a German
capital, the abodes and gardens of the royal family excepted. By a Swiss
town, I do not mean either such places as Geneva, and Berne, and Zurich,
but such towns as Herisau and Lucerne, without including the walls of
the latter. It stands at the termination of an irregular valley, at the
base of some mountains, and, altogether, its aspect, rustic exterior,
and position, took us by surprise. The town, however, is evidently
becoming more European, as they say on this side the Atlantic, every
day; or, in other words, it is becoming less peculiar.

At and around the palaces there is something already imposing. The old
feudal castle, which I presume is the cradle of the House of Wurtemberg,
stands as a nucleus for the rest of the town. It is a strong prison-like
looking pile, composed of huge round towers and narrow courts, and still
serves the purposes of the state, though not as a prison, I trust.
Another hotel, or royal residence, is quite near it on one side, while
the new palace is close at hand on another. The latter is a handsome
edifice of Italian architecture, in some respects not unlike the
Luxembourg at Paris, and I should think, out of all comparison the best
royal residence to be found in the inferior states of Germany, if not in
all Germany, those of Prussia and Austria excepted.

We took a carriage, and drove through the grounds to a new classical
little palace, that crowns an eminence at their other extremity, a
distance of a mile or two. We went through this building, which is a
little in the style of the Trianons, at Versailles; smaller than Le
Grand Trianon, and larger than Le Petit Trianon. This display of royal
houses, after all, struck us as a little dis portioned to the diminutive
size and poverty of the country. The last is nothing but a _maison de
plaisance_, and is well enough if it did not bring taxation with it; nor
do I know that it did. Most of the sovereigns have large private
fortunes, which they are entitled to use the same as others, and which
are well used in fostering elegant tastes in their subjects.

There is a watering-place near the latter house, and preparations were
making for the King to dine there, with a party of his own choosing.
This reminded us of our own dinner, which had been ordered at six, and
we returned to eat it. While sitting at a window, waiting the service,
a carriage that drove up attracted my attention. It was a large and
rather elegant post chariot, as much ornamented as comported with the
road, and having a rich blazonry. A single female was in it, with a maid
and valet in the rumble. The lady was in a cap, and, as her equipage
drove up, appeared to be netting. I have frequently met German families
travelling along the highway in this sociable manner, apparently as much
at home as when they were under the domestic roof. This lady, however,
had so little luggage, that I was induced to enquire who it might be.
She was a Princess of Hechingen, a neighbouring state, that had just
trotted over probably to take tea with some of her cousins of
Wurtemberg.

These _quasi_ kingdoms are so diminutive that this sort of intercourse
is very practicable, and (a pure conjecture) it may be that German
etiquette, so notoriously stiff and absurd, has been invented to prevent
the intercourse from becoming too familiar. The mediatising system,
however, has greatly augmented the distances between the capitals,
though, owing to some accidental influence, there is still here and
there a prince, that might be spared, whose territories have been
encircled, without having been absolutely absorbed, by those who have
been gainers by the change. Bavaria has risen to be a kingdom of four
millions of souls, in this manner; and the Dukes of Wurtemberg have
become kings, though on a more humble scale, through the liberality or
policy of Napoleon. The kingdom of the latter contains the two
independent principalities of Hohenzollern (spared on account of some
family alliances, I believe) in its bosom. One of the princes of the
latter family is married to a Mademoiselle Murat, a niece of Joachim.

After dinner we went again to the garden, where we accidentally were
witnesses of the return of the royal party from their pic-nic. The King
drove the Queen in a pony phaeton, at the usual pace of monarchs, or
just as fast as the little animals could put foot to the ground. He was
a large and well-whiskered man, with a strong family likeness to the
English princes. The attendants were two mounted grooms, in scarlet
liveries. A cadet, a dark, Italian-looking personage, came soon after in
full uniform, driving himself, also, in a sort of barouche. After a
short time we were benefited by the appearance of the cooks and
scullions, who passed in a _fourgon_, that contained the remnants and
the utensils. Soon after we got a glimpse of the Queen and three or four
of the daughters, at a balcony of the palace, the lady of the net-work
being among them. They all appeared to be fine women.

At the inn I heard with regret that Sir Walter Scott, had passed but two
days before. He was represented as being extremely ill; so much so,
indeed, as to refuse to quit his carriage, where he kept himself as much
as possible out of view.

We left Stuttgart early the following morning, and as the carriage wound
up the mountain that overlooks the town, I thought the place one of
singular incongruities. The hill-sides are in vineyards; the palace, in
excellent keeping, was warm and sunny; while the old feudal-looking
towers of the castle, rudely recalled the mind to ancient Germany, and
the Swissish habitations summoned up the images of winter, snows, and
shivering February. Still I question, if a place so sheltered ever
endures much cold. The town appears to have been built in the nook it
occupies, expressly to save fuel.

We met the Neckar again, after crossing a range of wooded mountain, and
at Tubingen we once more found a city, a university, the remains of
feodality, redoutes, pipes, and other German appliances. Here we
breakfasted, and received a visit from a young countryman, whose
parents, Germans, I believe, had sent him hither to be educated. He
will, probably return with a good knowledge of Greek, perfect master of
metaphysics and the pipe, extravagant in his political opinions, a
sceptic in religion, and with some such ideas of the poetry of thought,
as a New England dancing-master has of the poetry of motion, or a
teacher of psalmody, of the art of music. After all, this is better than
sending a boy to England, whence he would come back with the notions of
Sir William Blackstone to help to overturn or pervert his own
institutions, and his memory crammed with second-hand anecdotes of lords
and ladies. We labour under great embarrassments on this point of
education, for it is not easy to obtain it, suited equally to the right,
and to our own peculiar circumstances, either at home or abroad. At home
we want science, research, labour, tone, manners, and time; abroad we
get the accumulated prejudices that have arisen from a factitious state
of things; or, what is perhaps worse, their reaction, the servility of
castes, or the truculence of revolution.

About a post beyond Tubingen, a noble ruin of a castle of the middle
ages appeared in the distance, crowning the summit of a high conical
eminence. These were the finest remains we had seen in a long time, and
viewed from the road, they were a beautiful object, for half an hour.
This was the castle of Hohenzollern, erected about the year 980, and the
cradle of the House of Brandenburg. This family, some pretend, was
derived from the ancient Dukes of Alsace, which, if true would give it
the same origin as those of Austria and Baden; but it is usual, and
probably much safer, to say that the Counts of Hohenzollern were its
founders. We must all stop somewhere short of Adam.

I was musing on the chances that have raised a cadet, or a younger
branch, of the old feudal counts who had once occupied this hold, to the
fifth throne in Europe, when we entered an irregular and straggling
village of some 3000 souls, that was not, by any means, as well built as
one of our own towns of the same size. A sign over a door, such as would
be occupied by a thriving trader with us, with "Department of War" on
it, induced me to open my eyes, and look about me. We were in Hechingen,
the capital of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, an independent state, with a
prince of its own; who is the head of his family, in one sense, and its
tail in another; there being, besides the King of Prussia, a Prince of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen adjoining, who is his junior in rank, and his
better in power; having some 40 or 50,000 subjects, while he of
Hechingen has but 15,000. On ascending a hill in the place itself, we
passed an unfinished house, all front, that stood on the street, with no
grounds of any beauty near it, and which certainly was not as large, nor
nearly as well constructed, as one of our own principal country-houses.
This building, we were told, was intended for the town residence of the
heir-apparent, who is married to a daughter of Eugene Beauharnois, and
of course to a niece of the King of Bavaria.

All this was an epitome of royalty I had never before witnessed. The
Saxon duchies, and Bayreuth and Anspach, now merged in Bavaria, had been
the subjects of curious contemplation to us, but they were all the
possessions of potentates compared to this principality. I inquired for
the abode of the prince, which could not well be far off, without being
out of his own dominions. It lay behind a wood a mile distant, and was
not visible from the inn where we stopped. Here was a capital mistake;
had the old castle, which was but half a mile from the village, been
kept up, and it seemed to be in good condition for a ruin, with the
title of Count of Hohenzollern and the war and state departments been
put in one of the towers, no one could have laughed at the pretension,
let him try as hard as he pleased; but--

We had a strong desire to visit the ruin, which puts that of Habsburg
altogether in the shade, but were prevented by a thunder-shower which
shook the principality to its centre. The Knight's Hall, the chapel and
the clock-tower are said to have been restored, and to be now in good
condition. We could do no more, however, than cast longing eyes upward
as we drove under the hill, the ground being still too wet for female
accoutrements to venture. We had a Hechingen postilion in a Hechingen
livery, and, although the man was sensible of his dignity and moved with
due deliberation, we were just one hour in crossing his master's
dominions.

Re-entering Wurtemberg, we slept that night at the village of Bahlingen.
The country next morning was particularly tame, though uneven, until
near noon, when it gradually took more interesting forms and spread
itself in pretty valleys and wooded hills. The day was pleasant; and, as
we trotted merrily through one of the vales, A---- pointed to a little
rivulet that meandered through the meadows on our right, and praised its
beauty. "I dare say it has a name; inquire of the postilion." "Wie ist
diesen fluschen?" "Mein Herr, der Donau." The Danube! There was
something startling in so unexpectedly meeting this mighty stream, which
we had seen rolling its dark flow through cities and kingdoms, a rivulet
that I could almost leap across. It was to us like meeting one we had
known a monarch, reduced to the condition of a private man. I was musing
on the particles of water that were gliding past us on their way to the
Black Sea, when we drove up to the door of the inn at Tuttlingen.

This was in the Black Forest, and what is more, there were some trees in
it. The wood was chiefly larches, whence I presume the name. Our host
discovered from the servants that we were Americans, and he immediately
introduced the subject of emigration. He told us that many people went
from Wurtemberg to America, and gave us to understand that we ought to
be glad of it--they were all so well educated! This was a new idea,
certainly, and yet I will not take it on myself to say that the fact is
otherwise.

While we were at breakfast, the innkeeper, who was also the postmaster,
inquired where we meant to sleep, and I told him at Schaffhausen, on the
Rhine. He then gave me to understand that there was a long, but not a
steep mountain to ascend, which separated the waters of the Danube from
those of the Rhine, and that two extra horses would add greatly to the
facility of getting along. Taking a look at the road, I assented, so
that we left the inn with the honours of a coach and six. The effect was
evident from the start, and after entering Wurtemberg and travelling
through it complaining of the dullness of the teams, we left it with
_eclat_, and at the rate of ten miles the hour. The frontier of Baden
met us again on the summit of the mountain. Here we got a line and
extensive view, that included the lake of Constance in its sweep. The
water looked dark and wild, and the whole scene had a tint that strongly
reminded me of the character of Germanic mysteriousness. We must have
been at a great elevation, though the mountains were not prominent
objects; on the contrary, the eye ranged until it found the horizon, as
at sea, in the curvature of the earth. The rills near us flowed into the
Rhine, and, traversing half Europe, emptied themselves into the North
Sea; while the stream that wound its way through the valley below, took
a south-easterly direction towards the confines of Asia. One gets grand
and pleasing images in the associations that are connected with the
contemplation of these objects.

From this point we began to descend, shorn of our honours in the way of
quadrupeds, for it was with a good deal of difficulty we got three
horses at the next relay. Thus is it with life, in which at one moment
we are revelling in abundance, and at the next suffering with want. We
got along, however, as in life, in the best manner we could, and after
driving through a pretty and uneven country, that gradually descended,
we suddenly plunged down to the banks of the Rhine, and found ourselves
once more before an inn-door, in Switzerland!

SECOND VISIT

TO

SWITZERLAND.

LETTER XV.

A Swiss Inn.--Cataract of the Rhine.--Canton of Zurich.--Town of
Zurich.--Singular Concurrence.--Formidable Ascent.--Exquisite
View.--Einsiedeln--The Convent.--"_Par exemple_."--Shores of the Lake of
Zug.--The _Chemin Creux_.--Water Excursion to Alpnach.--Lake of
Lungern.--Lovely Landscape.--Effects of Mists on the prospect.--Natural
Barometer.--View from the Brunig.--Enter the great Canton of Berne.--An
Englishman's Politics.--Our French Companion.--The Giesbach.--Mountain
Music.--Lauterbrunnen.--Grindewald.--Rising of the Waters in
1830.--Anecdote.--Excursion on the Lake to Thoun.

Dear ----,

We had sought refuge on the Rhine, from the tameness and monotony of
Wurtemberg! I dare say the latter country has many beautiful districts,
that it contains much to admire and much to awaken useful reflection,
but to the mere passer-by it is not a land of interest. Like a boat that
has unexpectedly got into a strong adverse current, we had put our helm
down and steered out of it, to the nearest shore. Here we were then, and
it became necessary to say where we should be next. My own eyes were
turned wistfully towards the east, following the road by the Lake of
Constance, Inspruck, and Saltzbourg, to Vienna; but several of our party
were so young when we were in Switzerland, in 1828, that it seemed
ungracious to refuse them this favourable opportunity to carry away
lasting impressions of a region that has no parallel. It was, therefore,
settled before we slept, again to penetrate the cantons next morning.

I heard the drum-like sound of the inn once more with great
satisfaction; for although the house, judging from the coronets and
armorial bearings about it, had once been the abode of a count, it was
not free from the peculiar echoes of a true Swiss tenement, any more
than it was free from its neatness. The drum, however, did not prevent
us all from sleeping soundly, and after an early breakfast we went forth
on this new pilgrimage to the mountains.

There was an end to posting, no relays existing in this part of
Switzerland, and I had been compelled to confide in the honesty of an
unknown _voiturier_; a class of men who are pre-eminently subject to the
long-established frailty of all who _deal_ in horses, wines, lamp-oil,
and religion. Leaving this functionary to follow with the carriage, we
walked along the banks of the river, by a common-place and dirty road,
among forges and mills, to the cataract of the Rhine. What accessories
to a cataract! How long will it be before the imagination of a people
who are so fast getting to measure all greatness, whether in nature or
art, by the yard-stick, will think of those embellishments for Niagara?
Fortunately the powers of men are not equal to their wishes and a mill
by the side of this wonder of the world will be a mill still; whereas
these falls of the Rhine are nearly reduced to the level of a raceway,
by the spirit of industry. We were less struck with them than ever, and
left the place with the conviction that, aided by a few _suitable_
embellishments, they would have been among the prettiest of the pretty
cascades that we know, but that, as matters go, they are in danger of
soon losing the best part of their charms. We saw no reason, in this
instance, to change the impressions made at the former visit, but think,
the volume of water excepted, that Switzerland has cascades that outdo
this cataract.

After following the course of the river, for a few miles, we met the
stream, buried low in the earth, at one of its sudden bends, and,
descending a sharp declivity, crossed to its left bank, and into the
Canton of Zurich. We were taken by surprise, by this sudden rencontre,
and could hardly believe it was the mighty Rhine, whose dark waters were
hurrying beneath us, as we passed a covered bridge of merely a hundred
or two feet in length. One meets with a hundred streams equal to this in
width, while travelling in America, though it is rare to find one
anywhere with the same majesty of motion, and of its fine cerulean tint.

We had travelled an hour or two towards Zurich, before our eyes were
greeted with the sight of peaks capped with snow. They looked like the
faces of old acquaintances, and, distance depriving them of their
severity, they now shone in a mild sublimity. We were all walking ahead,
while the horses were eating, when these noble objects came into the
view, and, preceding the rest a little, I involuntarily shouted with
exultation, as, turning a knoll, they stood ranged along the horizon.
The rest of the party hurried on, and it was like a meeting of dear
friends, to see those godlike piles encircling the visible earth.

The country through which we travelled, was the low land of which I have
so often spoken, nor was it particularly beautiful or well cultivated
until we drew near the capital, when it assumed the polished look of the
environs of a large town; and the approach to Zurich, on this side,
though less romantic perhaps, wanting the lake and mountains, we
thought, if anything, was more beautiful than that by which we had come
in 1828.

We were much gratified with the appearance of Zurich; more even than in
our former visit, and not the less so at finding it unusually empty. The
agitated state of Europe, particularly of England, has kept the usual
class of travellers at home, though the cantons are said to be pretty
well sprinkled with Carlists, who are accused of assembling here lo
plot. M. de Chateaubriand is in the same hotel as ourselves, but it has
never been my fortune to see this distinguished writer to know him, even
accidentally; although I afterwards learned that, on one occasion, I had
sat for two hours on a bench immediately before him, at a meeting of the
French Academy. My luck was no better now, for he went away unseen, an
hour after we arrived. Some imagine themselves privileged to intrude on
a celebrity, thinking that those men will pardon the inconvenience for
the flattery, but I do not subscribe to this opinion: I believe that
nothing palls sooner than notoriety, and that nothing is more grateful
to those who have suffered under it, than retirement.

By a singular concurrence, we were at Zurich the second time on Sunday,
and almost on the same day of the year. In 1828, we drove along the
lake-shore, August 30th, and we now left Zurich, for the same purpose,
August 28th, after an interval of four years. The same objects were
assembled, under precisely the same circumstances: the lake was covered
with boats, whose tall sails drooped in pure laziness; the solemn bells
startled the melancholy echoes, and the population was abroad, now as
then, in holiday guise, or crowding the churches. The only perceptible
changes in the scene were produced by the change in our own direction.
Then we looked towards the foot of the lake, and had its village-lined
shores before us, and the country that melts away towards the Rhine for
a back-ground; while now, after passing the objects in the near view,
the sight rested on the confused and mysterious mountains of Glaris.

We took our _gouter_ at the _Paon_, and, unwilling to cross the bridge
in the carriage, we all preceded it through the crowded streets of
Rapperschwyl, leaving the _voiturier_ to follow at his leisure. We were
just half an hour on this bridge, which appeared as ticklish as ever,
though not so much as to stifle the desire of P---- to see how near its
edge he could walk. When we entered Schweitz, the carriage overtook us,
and we drove to the foot of the mountain which it is necessary to ascend
to reach Einsiedeln. Here we took _chevaux de renfort_, and a
reinforcement they proved indeed; for I do not remember two nobler
animals than the _voiturier_ obtained for the occasion. They appeared to
be moulded on the same scale as the mountains. We were much amused by
the fellow's management, for he contrived to check his own cattle in
such a way as to throw all the work on the recruits. This was not
effected without suspicion; but he contrived to allay it, by giving his
own beasts sundry punches in the sides, so adroitly bestowed as to
render them too restive to work. By way of triumph, each poke was
accompanied by a knowing leer at Francois, all whose sympathies, a
tribute to his extraction, I have had frequent opportunities of
observing, to my cost, were invariably on the side of the _voituriers_.
So evident, indeed, was this feeling in the gentleman, that had I been
accustomed to travel much by this mode, I should not have kept him a
month.

It was a mild evening as we travelled our way up this formidable ascent,
which is one of the severest in Switzerland, and we had loitered so much
along the shores of the lake, as to bring us materially behind our time.
Still it was too late to return, and we made the best of things as they
were. It is always more pleasant to ascend than to descend, for the
purposes of scenery; and, as picture after picture broke upon us, the
old touzy-mouzy was awakened, until we once more felt ourselves in a
perfect fever of mountain excitement. In consequence of diverging by a
foot-path, towards the east, in descending this mountain, in 1828, I had
missed one of the finest reaches of its different views, but which we
now enjoyed under the most favourable circumstances. The entire
converging crescent of the north shore of the lake, studded with white
churches, hamlets, and cottages, was visible, and as the evening sun
cast its mild light athwart the crowded and affluent landscape, we
involuntarily exclaimed, "that this even equalled the Neapolitan coast
in the twilight." The manner in which the obscurity settled on this
picture, slowly swallowing up tower after tower, hamlet, cottage, and
field, until the blue expanse of the lake alone reflected the light from
the clouds, was indescribably beautiful, and was one of those fine
effects that can only be produced amid a nature as grand as that of the
Alps.

It was dark when we reached the inn at the summit; but it was not
possible to remain there, for it had room for little more than
kirschwasser. The night came on dark and menacing, and for near two
hours we crawled up and down the sharp ascents and descents, and, to
make the matter worse, it began to rain. This was a suitable approach to
the abodes of monastic votaries, and I had just made the remark, when
the carriage stopped before the door of my old inn, the Ox, at
Einsiedeln. It was near ten, and we ordered a cup of tea and beds
immediately.

The next morning we visited the church and the convent. The first
presented a tame picture, compared to that I had witnessed in the former
visit, for there was not a pilgrim present; the past year it had been
crowded. There were, however, a few groups of the villagers kneeling at
the shrine, or at the different altars, to aid the picturesque. We
ascended into the upper part of the edifice, and walked in those narrow
galleries through which I had formerly seen the Benedictines stalking in
stealthy watchfulness, looking down at the devotees beneath. I was
admitted to the cloisters, cells, library, &c., but my companions were
excluded as a matter of course. It is merely a spacious German convent,
very neat, and a little _barnish_. A recent publication caused me to
smile involuntarily once or twice, as the good father turned over the
curiosities of the library, and expatiated on the history and objects of
his community; but the book in question had evidently not yet, if indeed
it will ever reach this remote spot.

We had a little difficulty here in getting along with the French; and
our German (in which, by the way, some of the party are rather expert)
had been acquired in Saxony, and was taken for base coin here. The
innkeeper was an attentive host, and wished to express every thing that
was kind and attentive; all of which he succeeded in doing wonderfully
well, by a constant use of the two words, "_par exemple_." As a specimen
of his skill, I asked him if an extra horse could be had at Einsiedeln,
and his answer was, "_Par exemple, monsieur; par exemple, oui;
c'est-a-dire, par exemple_." So we took the other horse, _par exemple_,
and proceeded.

Our road carried us directly across the meadows that had been formed in
the lake of Lowertz, by the fall of the Rossberg. When on them, they
appeared even larger than when seen from the adjacent mountain; they are
quite uneven, and bear a coarse wiry grass, though there are a few rocks
on their surface. Crossing the ruin of Goldau, we passed on a trot from
the desolation around it, into the beautiful scenery of Arth. Here we
dined and witnessed another monastic flirtation.

After dinner we drove along the shores of the lake of Zug, winding
directly round the base of the cone of the Righi, or immediately beneath
the point where the traveller gets the sublime view of which you have
already heard. This was one of the pleasantest bits of road we had then
seen in Switzerland. The water was quite near us on the right, and we
were absolutely shut in on the left by the precipitous mountain, until
having doubled it, we came out upon an arm of the lake of Lucerne, at
Kuesnacht, to which place we descended by the _chemin creux_. Night
overtook us again while crossing the beautiful ridge of land that
separates the bay of Kuesnacht from the foot of the lake, but the road
being excellent, we trotted on in security until we alighted, at nine
o'clock, in the city of Lucerne.

The weather appearing unusually fine the next day, Francois was ordered
round to Berne with the carriage and luggage, and we engaged a guide
and took a boat for Alpnach. At eleven we embarked and pulled up under
lovely verdant banks, which are occupied by villas, till we reached the
arm of the lake that stretches towards the south-west. Here a fair
breeze struck us, and making sail, away we went, skimming before it, at
the rate of eight miles an hour. Once or twice the wind came with a
power that showed how necessary it is to be cautious on a water that is
bounded by so many precipitous rocks. We passed the solitary tower of
Stanztad on the wing, and reached Alpnach in less than two hours after
embarking.

Here we took two of the little vehicles of the country and went on. The
road carried us through Sarnen, where my companions, who had never
before visited the Unterwaldens, stopped to see the lions. I shall not
go over these details with you again, but press on towards our
resting-place for the night. On reaching the foot of the rocks which
form the natural dam that upholds the lake of Lungern, P---- and myself
alighted and walked ahead. The ascent being short, we made so much
progress as to reach the upper end of the little sheet, a distance of
near a league, before we were overtaken by the others; and when we did
meet, it was amid general exclamations of delight at the ravishing
beauties of the place. I cannot recall sensations of purer pleasure
produced by any scenery, than those I felt myself on this occasion, and
in which all around me appeared to participate.

Our pleasures, tastes, and even our judgments are so much affected by
the circumstances under which they are called into action, that one has
need of diffidence on the subject of their infallibility, if it be only
to protect himself from the imputation of inconsistency. I was pleased
with the Lake of Lungern in 1828, but the term is not strong enough for
the gratification it gave me on this return to it. Perhaps the day, the
peculiar play of light and shade, a buoyancy of spirits, or some
auxiliary causes, may have contributed to produce this state of mind;
or it is possible that the views were really improved by changing the
direction of the route; as all connoisseurs in scenery know that the
Hudson is much finer when descending than when ascending its stream; but
let the cause be what it might, had I then been asked what particular
spot in Europe had given me most delight, by the perfection of its
natural beauties, taken in connexion with its artificial accessories, I
should have answered that it was the shores of the lake of Lungern. Nor,
as I have told you, was I alone in this feeling, for one and all, big
and little,--in short, the whole party joined in pronouncing the entire
landscape absolutely exquisite. Any insignificant change, a trifle more
or less of humidity in the atmosphere, the absence or the intervention
of a few clouds, a different hour or a different frame of mind, may have
diminished our pleasure, for these are enjoyments which, like the
flavour of delicate wines, or the melody of sweet music, are deranged by
the condition of the nerves, or a want of harmony, in the chords.

After this explanation you will feel how difficult it will be to
describe the causes of our delight. The leading features of the
landscape, however, were a road that ran along the shore beneath a
forest, within ten feet of the water, winding, losing itself, and
re-appearing with the sinuosities of the bank; water, limpid as air and
blue as the void of the heavens, unruffled and even holy in its aspect,
as if it reflected the pure space above; a mountain-side, on the
opposite shore, that was high enough to require study to draw objects
from its bosom, on the distant heights, and yet near enough below, to
seem to be within an arrow's flight; meadows shorn like lawns, scattered
over its broad breast; woods of larches, to cast their gloom athwart the
glades and to deepen the shadows; brown chalets that seemed to rise out
of the sward, at the bidding of the eye; and here and there a cottage
poised on a giddy height, with a chapel or two to throw a religious calm
over all! There was nothing ambitious in this view, which was rural in
every feature, but it was the very _bean ideal_ of rustic beauty, and
without a single visible blemish to weaken its effect. It was some such
picture of natural objects as is formed of love by a confiding and
ingenuous youth of fifteen.

We passed the night in the _drum_ of Lungern, and found it raining hard
when we rose the following morning. The water soon ceased to fall in
torrents, however, changing to a drizzle, at which time the valley,
clouded in mists in constant motion, was even more beautiful than ever.
So perfect, were the accessories, so minute was everything rendered by
the mighty scale, so even was the grass and so pure the verdure that
bits of the mountain pasturages, or Alps, coming into view through the
openings in the vapour, appeared like highly-finished Flemish paintings;
and this the more so, because all the grouping of objects, the chalets,
cottages, &c. were exactly those that the artist would seize upon to
embellish his own work. Indeed, we have daily, hourly, occasions to
observe how largely the dealers in the picturesque have drawn upon the
resources of this extraordinary country, whether the pallet, or poetry
in some other form, has been the medium of conveying pleasure.

The _garcon_ of the inn pointed to some mist that was rolling along a
particular mountain, and said it was the infallible barometer of
Lungern. We might be certain of getting fair weather within an hour. A
real barometer corroborated the testimony of the mist, but the change
was slower than had been predicted; and we began to tire of so glorious
a picture, under an impatience to proceed, for one does not like to
swallow pleasure even, perforce.

At ten we were able to quit the inn, one half of the party taking the
bridle-path, attended by two horse-keepers, while the rest of us,
choosing to use our own limbs, were led by the guide up the mountains by
a shorter cut, on foot. The view from the Brunig was not as fine as I
had round it in 1828, perhaps because I was then taken completely by
surprise, and perhaps because ignorance of the distant objects had then
thrown the charm of mystery over its back-ground. We now saw the scene
in detail, too, while mounting; for, though it is better to ascend than
descend, the finest effects are produced by obtaining the whole at once.

We joined the equestrians on the summit, where the horses were
discharged, and we proceeded the remainder of the distance on foot. We
soon met the Bear of Berne, and entered the great canton. The view of
the valley of Meyringen, and of the cataracts, greeted us like an old
friend; and the walk, by a path which wound its way through the bushes,
and impended over this beautiful panorama, was of course delightful. At
length we caught a glimpse of the lake of Brientz, and hurrying on,
reached the village before two.

Here we ordered a _gouter_, and, while taking it, the first English
party we had yet seen, entered the inn, as we were all seated at the
same table. The company consisted of this English party, ourselves, and
a solitary Frenchman, who eyed us keenly, but said nothing. It soon
appeared that some great political crisis was at hand, for the
Englishman began to cry out against the growing democracy of the
cantons. I did not understand all his allusions, nor do I think he had
very clear notions about them himself, for he wound up one of his
denunciatory appeals, by the old cant, of "instead of one tyrant they
will now have many;" which is a sort of reasoning that is not
particularly applicable to the overturning of aristocracy anywhere. It
is really melancholy to perceive how few men are capable of reasoning or
feeling on political subjects, in any other way than that which is
thought most to subserve their own particular interests and selfishness.
Did we not know that the real object of human institutions is to
restrain human tendencies, one would be almost disposed to give up the
point in despair; for I do affirm, that in all my associations in
different countries, I do not recollect more than a dozen men who have
appeared to me to entertain right notions on this subject, or who have
seemed capable of appreciating the importance of any changes that were
not likely materially to affect their own pockets.

The Frenchman heard us speaking in his own language, which we did with a
view of drawing John Bull out, and he asked a passage in the boat I had
ordered, as far as Interlachen. Conditioning that he should make the
_detour_ to the Giesbach, his application was admitted, and we proceeded
forthwith. This was the fourth time I had crossed the lake of Brientz,
but the first in which I visited the justly celebrated falls, towards
which we now steered on quitting the shore.

Our companion proved to be a merry fellow, and well disposed to work his
passage by his wit. I have long been cured of the notion "that the name
of an American is a passport all over Europe," and have learned to
understand in its place, that, on the contrary, it is thought to be
_prima facie_ evidence of vulgarity, ignorance, and conceit; nor do I
think that the French, as a nation, have any particular regard for us;
but knowing the inherent dislike of a Frenchman for an Englishman, and
that the new-fangled fraternity, arising out of the trading-principle
government, only renders, to a disinterested looker on, the old
antipathies more apparent, I made an occasion, indirectly, to let our
new associate understand that we came from the other side of the
Atlantic. This produced an instantaneous change in his manner, and it
was now that he began to favour us with specimens of his humour.
Notwithstanding all this facetiousness, I soon felt suspicion that the
man was an _employe_ of the Carlists, and that his business in
Switzerland was connected with political plots. He betrayed himself, at
the very moment when he was most anxious to make us think him a mere
amateur of scenery: I cannot tell you how, but still so clearly, as to
strike all of us, precisely in the same way.

The Giesbach is a succession of falls, whose water comes from a
glacier, and which are produced by the sinuosities of the leaps and
inclined planes of a mountain side, aided by rocks and precipices. It is
very beautiful, and may well rank as the third or fourth cascade of
Switzerland, for variety, volume of water, and general effect. A family
has established itself among the rocks, to pick up a penny by making
boxes of larch, and singing the different _ranz des raches_. Your
mountain music does not do so well, when it has an air so seriously
premeditated, and one soon gels to be a little _blase_ on the subject of
entertainments of this sort, which can only succeed once, and then with
the novice. Alas! I have actually stood before the entrance of the
cathedral at Rouen, and the strongest feeling of the moment was that of
surprise at the manner in which my nerves had thrilled, when it was
first seen. I do not believe that childhood, with its unsophistication
and freshness, affords the greatest pleasures, for every hour tells me
how much reason and cultivation enhance our enjoyments; but there are
certainly gratifications that can be felt but once; and if an opera of
Rossini or Meyerbeer grows on us at each representation, or a fine poem
improves on acquaintance, the singing of your Swiss nightingales is
sweeter in its first notes than in its second.

After spending an hour at the Giesbach, we rowed along the eastern, or
rather the southern, shore of the lake to Interlachen. The sight of the
blue Aar revived old recollections, and we landed on its banks with
infinite pleasure. Here a few civil speeches passed between the merry
Frenchman and myself, when we separated, he disappearing altogether, and
we taking the way to the great lodging-house, which, like most of the
other places of resort in Switzerland, was then nearly empty. The
Grand-duchess Anna, however, had come down from Ulfnau, her residence on
the Aar, for a tour in the Oberland, and was among the guests. We got a
glimpse of her coming in from a drive, and she appeared to resemble her
brother the Duke, more than her brother the King.

In the morning we drove up to Lauterbrunnen, and I am compelled to say
that so completely fickle had we become, that I believe all who had seen
this valley before, pronounced it less beautiful than that of Lungern.
By the way of proving to you how capricious a thing is taste, I liked
the Staubbach better than in the former visit. We did not attempt the
mountains this time, but drove round in our _chars_ to Grindewald, where
we dined and slept. Either a new approach, or improved tastes, or some
other cause, wrought another change here; for we now preferred
Grindewald to Lauterbrunnen, as a valley. The vulgar astonishment was
gone, and our eyes sought details with critical nicety. We went to the
lower glacier, whose form had not materially changed in four years, and
we had fine views of both of them from the windows of the inn. There was
a young moon, and I walked out to watch the effect on the high glaciers,
which were rendered even more than usually unearthly in appearance,
under its clear bland light. These changes of circumstances strangely
increase the glories of the mountains!

We left Grindewald quite early next morning, and proceeded towards
Neuhaus. The road led us through a scene of desolation that had been
caused by a rising of the waters in 1830, and we examined the
devastation with the more interest, as some of our acquaintances had
nearly perished in the torrent.

The family in question were residing temporarily at Interlachen, when
two of the ladies with a child, attended by a black servant, drove up
the gorge of Lauterbrunnen for an airing. They were overtaken by a
tempest of rain, and by the torrent, which rose so rapidly as to cut off
all retreat, except by ascending the precipice, which to the eye is
nearly perpendicular. There is, however, a hamlet on one of the terraces
of the mountain, and thither the servant was despatched for succour. The
honest peasants at first believed he was a demon, on account of his
colour, and it was not without difficulty they were persuaded to follow
him. The ladies eventually escaped up the rocks; but our coachman, who
had acted as the coachman on that occasion, assured us it was with the
utmost difficulty he saved his horse.

This accident, which was neither a _sac d'eau_ nor an avalanche, gives
one a good idea of the sudden dangers to which the traveller is liable,
in the midst of a nature so stupendous. A large part of the beautiful
meadows of Interlachen was laid desolate, and the calamity was so sudden
that it overtook two young and delicate females in their morning drive!

We drove directly to the little port at Neuhaus, and took a boat for
Thoun, pulling cut into the lake, with a fresh breeze directly in our
teeth. The picturesque little chateau of Spietz stood on its green
promontory, and all the various objects that we had formerly gazed at
with so much pleasure, were there, fresh, peculiar, and attractive as
ever. At length, after a heavy pull, we were swept within the current of
the Aar, which soon bore us to the landing.

At Thoun we breakfasted, and, taking a return carriage, trotted up to
Berne, by the valley of which you have already heard so much. Francois
was in waiting for us, and we got comfortable rooms at the Crown.

Our tastes are certainly altering, whether there be any improvement or
not. We are beginning to feel it is vulgar to be astonished, and even in
scenery, I think we rather look for the features that fill up the
keeping, and make the finish, than those which excite wonder. We have
seen too much to be any longer taken in, by your natural clap-traps; a
step in advance, that I attribute to a long residence in Italy, a
country in which the sublime is so exquisitely blended with the soft, as
to create a taste which tells us they ought to be inseparable.

In this little excursion to the Oberland, while many, perhaps most, of
our old impressions are confirmed, its relative beauties have not
appeared to be entitled to as high praises as we should have given
them, had they not been seen a second time. We had fine weather, were
all in good spirits and happy, and the impression being so general, I am
inclined to think, it is no more than the natural effect which is
produced by more experience and greater knowledge. I now speak of the
valleys, however, for the high Alps are as superior to the caprices of
taste, as their magnificent dimensions and faultless outline are beyond
change.

LETTER XVI.

Conspiracy discovered.--The Austrian Government and the French
Carlists.--Walk to La Lorraine.--Our old friend "Turc."--Conversation
with M. W----.--View of the Upper Alps.--Jerome Bonaparte at La
Lorraine.--The Bears of Berne.--Scene on the Plateforme.

Dear ----,

Soon after we reached Berne, Francois came to me in a mysterious manner,
to inquire if I had heard any news of importance. I had heard nothing;
and he then told me that many arrests had just taken place, and that a
conspiracy of the old aristocracy had been discovered, which had a
counter-revolution for its object. I say a counter-revolution, for you
ought to have heard that great political changes have occurred in
Switzerland since 1830, France always giving an impulse to the cantons.
Democracy is in the ascendant, and divers old opinions, laws, and
institutions have been the sacrifice. This, in the land of the
Burgerschaft, has necessarily involved great changes, and the threatened
plot is supposed to be an effort of the old privileged party to regain
their power. As Francois, notwithstanding he has seen divers charges of
cavalry against the people, and has witnessed two or three revolutions,
is not very clear-headed in such matters, I walked out immediately to
seek information from rather better authority.

The result of my inquiries was briefly as follows:--Neufchatel, whose
prince is the King of Prussia, has receded from the confederation, on
account of the recent changes, and the leaders of the aristocratic party
were accused of combining a plan, under the protection and with the
knowledge of the authorities of this state, to produce a
counter-revolution in Berne, well knowing the influence of this canton
in the confederation. This very day is said to be the one selected for
the effort, and rumour adds, that a large body of the peasants of the
Oberland were to have crossed the Brunig yesterday, with a view to
co-operate in other sections of the country. A merry company we should
have been, had it been our luck to have fallen in with this escort! Now,
rightfully or not, the Austrian government and the French Carlists are
openly accused of being concerned in this conspiracy, and probably not
without some cause. The suspicions excited concerning our
fellow-traveller, through his own acts, recurred to me, and I now think
it probable he was in waiting for the aforesaid peasants, most probably
to give them a military direction, for he had the air and _franchise_ of
an old French soldier. The plot had been betrayed; some were already
arrested, and some had taken refuge in flight. The town was tranquil,
but the guards were strengthened, and the popular party was actively on
the alert.

The next morning we went forth to look once more at picturesque,
cloistered, verdant Berne. Nothing appeared to be changed, though the
strangers were but few, and there was, perhaps, less movement than
formerly. We crossed the Aar, and walked to La Lorraine. As we were
going through the fields, several dogs rushed out against us; but when
P---- called out "_Turc_" the noble animal appeared to know him, and we
were permitted to proceed, escorted, rather than troubled, by the whole
pack. This was a good omen, and it was grateful to be remembered, by
even a dog, after an absence of four years.

We found the same family in possession of the farm, though on the point
of removing to another place. Our reception in the house was still more
cordial than that given by Turk, and our gratitude in proportion. The
old abode was empty, and we walked over it with feelings in which pain
and pleasure were mingled; for poor W----, who was with us, full of
youth and spirits, when we resided here, is now a tenant of Pere
Lachaise. When we went away, all the dogs, with Turk at their head,
escorted us to the ferry, where they stood looking wistfully at us from
the bank, until we landed in Berne.

Soon after, I met M. W---- in the streets, and, as he had not been at
home, I greeted him, inviting him to dine with us at the Crown. The
present aspect of things was of course touched upon during the dinner,
when the worthy member of the Burgerschaft lamented the changes, in a
manner becoming his own opinions, while I rejoiced in them, in a manner
becoming mine. He asked me if I really thought that men who were totally
inexperienced in the affairs of government could conduct matters
properly,--an old and favourite appeal with the disciples of political
exclusion. I endeavoured to persuade him that the art of administering
was no great art; that there was more danger of rulers knowing _too
much_ than of their knowing _too little_, old soldiers proverbially
taking better care of themselves than young soldiers; that he must not
expect too much, for they that know the practices of free governments,
well know it is hopeless to think of keeping pure and disinterested men
long in office, even as men go, there being a corrupting influence about
the very exercise of power that forbids the hope; and that all which
shrewd observers look for in popular institutions is a greater check
than common on the selfishness of those to whom authority is confided. I
told him the man who courts popular favour in a republic, would court a
prince in a monarchy, the elements of a demagogue and a courtier being
exactly the same; and that, under either system, except in extraordinary
instances, it was useless to attempt excluding such men from authority,
since their selfishness was more active than the feelings of the
disinterested; that, in our own case, so long as the impetus of the
revolution and the influence of great events lasted, we had great men in
the ascendant, but, now that matters were jogging on regularly, and
under their common-place aspects, we were obliged to take up with merely
clever managers; that one of the wisest men that had ever lived (Bacon)
had said, that "few men rise to power in a state, without a union of
_great_ and _mean_ qualities," and that this was probably as true at
Berne as it is at Washington, and as true at Paris as at either; that
the old system in his country savoured too much of the policy of giving
the milk of two cows to one calf, and that he must remember it was a
system that made very bad as well as very good veal, whereas for
ordinary purposes it was better to have the same quantity of merely good
veal; and, in short, that he himself would soon be surprised at
discovering how soon the new rulers would acquire all the useful habits
of their predecessors, and I advised him to look out that they did not
acquire some of their bad ones too.

I never flattered myself with producing a change of opinion in the
captain, who always listened politely, but with just such an air of
credulity as you might suppose one born to the benefits of the
Burgerschaft, and who had got to be fifty, would listen to a dead attack
on all his most cherished prejudices.

The next day was Sunday, and we still lingered in our comfortable
quarters at the Crown. I walked on the Plateforme before breakfast, and
got another of those admirable views of the Upper Alps, which,
notwithstanding the great beauty of its position and immediate environs,
form the principal attraction of Berne. The peaks were draped rather
than veiled in clouds, and it was not easy to say which was the most
brilliant, the snow-white vapour that adorned their sides, or the icy
glaciers themselves. Still they were distinct from each other, forming
some such contrast as that which exists between the raised and sunken
parts on the faces of new coin.

We went to church and listened to some excellent German, after which we
paid our last visit to La Lorraine. This house had been hired by King
Jerome for a short time, after his exile in 1814, his brother Joseph
occupying a neighbouring residence. The W----s told me that Jerome
arrived, accompanied by his amiable wife, like a king, with horses,
chamberlains, pages, and all the other appliances of royalty, and that
it was curious, as well as painful, to witness how fast these followers
dropped off, as the fate of the family appeared to be settled. Few
besides the horses remained at the end of ten days!

On our return from this visit we went in a body to pay our respect to
our old friends, the bears. I believe you have already been told that
the city of Berne maintains four bears in certain deep pens, where it is
the practice to feed them with nuts, cakes, apples, etc., according to
the liberality and humour of the visitor. The usage is very ancient, and
has some connexion with a tradition that has given its name to the
canton. A bear is also the arms of the state. One of these animals is a
model of grace, waddling about on his hind legs like an alderman in a
ball-room. You may imagine that P---- was excessively delighted at the
sight of these old friends. The Bernese have an engraving of the
graceful bear in his upright attitude; and the stove of our salon at the
Crown, which is of painted tile, among a goodly assemblage of gods and
goddesses, includes Bruin as one of its ornaments.

Francois made his appearance after dinner, accompanied by his friend,
_le petit Savoyard_, who had arrived from Frankfort, and came once more
to offer his services to conduct us to Lapland, should it be our
pleasure to travel in that direction. It would have been ungracious to
refuse so constant a suitor, and he was ordered to be in attendance next
morning, to proceed towards the lake of Geneva.

In the evening we went on the Plateforme to witness the sunset, but the
mountains were concealed by clouds. The place was crowded, and
refreshments were selling in little pavilions erected for the purpose.
We are the only Protestants who are such rigid observers of the Sabbath,
the Scotch perhaps excepted. In England there is much less restraint
than in America, and on the Continent the Protestants, though less gay
than the Catholics, very generally consider it a day of recreation,
after the services of the church are ended. I have heard some of them
maintain that we have misinterpreted the meaning of the word holy, which
obtains its true signification in the term holiday. I have never heard
any one go so far, however, as Hannah Moore says was the case with
Horace Walpole, who contended that the ten commandments were not meant
for people of quality. No one whose mind and habits have got extricated
from the fogs of provincial prejudices, will deny that we have many
odious moral deformities in America, that appear in the garb of
religious discipline and even religious doctrine, but which are no more
than the offspring of sectarian fanaticism, and which, in fact, by
annihilating charity, are so many blows given to the essential feature
of Christianity; but, apart from these, I still lean to the opinion that
we are quite as near the great truths as any other people extant.

Mr. ----, the English _charge d'affaires_, whom I had known slightly at
Paris, and Mr. ----, who had once belonged to the English legation in
Washington, were on the Plateforme. The latter told me that Carroll of
Carrolton was dead; that he had been dead a year, and that he had
written letters of condolence on the occasion. I assured him that the
old gentleman was alive on the 4th July last, for I had seen one of his
letters in the public journals. Here was a capital windfall for a
regular _diplomate_, who now, clearly, had nothing to do but to hurry
home and write letters of felicitation!

The late changes in England have produced more than the usual mutations
in her diplomatic corps, which, under ordinary circumstances, important
trusts excepted, has hitherto been considered at the disposal of any
minister. In America we make it matter of reproach that men are
dismissed from office on account of their political opinions, and it is
usual to cite England as an example of greater liberality. All this is
singularly unjust, because in its spirit, like nine-tenths of our
popular notions of England, it is singularly untrue. The changes of
ministry, which merely involve the changes incident on taking power from
one clique of the aristocracy to give it to another, have not hitherto
involved questions of sufficient importance to render it matter of
moment to purge all the lists of the disaffected; but since the recent
serious struggles we have seen changes that do not occur even in
America. Every Tory, for instance, is ousted from the legations, if we
except nameless subordinates. The same purification is going on
elsewhere, though the English system does not so much insist on the
changes of _employes_, as that the _employes_ themselves should change
their opinions. How long would an English tide-waiter, for instance,
keep his place should he vote against the ministerial candidate? I
apprehend these things depend on a common principle (_i. e_.
self-interest) everywhere, and that it makes little difference, in
substance, what the form of government may happen to be.

But of all the charges that have been brought against us, the
comparative instability of the public favour, supposed to be a
consequence of fluctuations in the popular will, is the most audacious,
for it is contradicted by the example of every royal government in
Christendom. Since the formation of the present American constitution,
there have been but two changes of administration, that have involved
changes of principles, or changes in popular will;--that which placed
Mr. Jefferson in the seat of Mr. Adams, senior, and that which placed
Mr. Jackson in the seat of Mr. Adams, junior: whereas, during the short
period of my visit to Europe, I have witnessed six or seven absolute
changes of the English ministry, and more than twenty in France, besides
one revolution. Liberty has been, hitherto, in the situation of the lion
whose picture was drawn by a man, but which there was reason to think
would receive more favourable touches, when the lion himself should take
up the pallet.

LETTER XVII.

Our Voiturier and his Horses.--A Swiss Diligence.--Morat.--Inconstancy
of feeling.--Our Route to Vevey.--Lake Leman.--Difficulty in hiring a
House.--"Mon Repos" engaged for a mouth.--Vevey.--Tne great Square--The
Town-house.--Environs of Vevey.--Summer Church and Winter
Church.--Clergy of the Canton.--Population of Vaud.--Elective
qualifications of Vaud.

Dear ----,

Le Petit Savoyard was punctual, and after breakfasting, away we rolled,
along the even and beaten road towards Morat. This man and his team were
epitomes of the _voiturier_ caste and their fixtures. He himself was a
firm, sun-burned, compact little fellow, just suited to ride a wheeler,
while the horses were sinewy, and so lean, that there was no mistaking
their vocation. Every bone in their bodies spoke of the weight of
_miladi_, and her heavy English travelling chariot, and I really thought
they seemed to be glad to get a whole American family in place of an
Englishwoman and her maid. The morning was fine, and our last look at
the Oberland peaks was sunny and pleasant. There they stood ranged
along the horizon, like sentinels (not lighthouses) of the skies,
severe, chiseled, brilliant, and grand.

Another travelling equipage of the gregarious kind, or in which the
carriage as well as the horses was the property of the _voiturier_, and
the passengers mere _pic-nics_, was before us in ascending a long hill,
affording an excellent opportunity to dissect the whole party. As it is
a specimen of the groups one constantly meets on the road, I will give
you some idea of the component parts.

The _voiturier_ was merely a larger brother of _le petit Savoyard_, and
his horses, three in number, were walking bundles of chopped straw. The
carriage was spacious, and I dare say convenient, though anything but
beautiful. On the top there was a rail, within which effects were stowed
beneath an apron, leaving an outline not unlike the ridges of the Alps.
The merry rogues within had chosen to take room to themselves, and not a
package of any sort encumbered their movements. And here I will remark,
that America, free and independent, is the only country in which I have
ever journeyed, where the comfort and convenience in the vehicle is the
first thing considered, that of the baggage the next, and that of the
passengers the last.[32] Fortunately for the horses, there were but four
passengers, though the vehicle could have carried eight. One, by his
little green cap, with a misshapen shade for the eyes; light, shaggy,
uncombed hair; square high shoulders; a coat that appeared to be
half-male half-female; pipe and pouch--was undeniably a German student,
who was travelling south to finish his metaphysics with a few practical
notions of men and things. A second was a Jew, who had trade in every
lineament, and who belonged so much to _the_ nation, that I could not
give him to any other nation in particular. He was older, more wary,
less joyous, and probably much more experienced, than either of his
companions. When they laughed, he only smiled; when they sang, he
hummed; and when they seemed thoughtful, he grew sad. I could make
nothing out of him, except that he ran a thorough bass to the higher
pitches of his companions' humours. The third was Italian "for a ducat."
A thick, bushy, glossy, curling head of hair was covered by a little
scarlet cap, tossed negligently on one side, as if lodged there by
chance; his eye was large, mellow, black as jet, and full of fun and
feeling; his teeth white as ivory; and the sun, the glorious sun, and
the thoughts of Italy, towards which he was travelling, had set all his
animal spirits in motion. I caught a few words in bad French, which
satisfied me that he and the German were jeering each other on their
respective national peculiarities. Such is man; his egotism and vanity
first centre in himself, and he is ready to defend himself against the
reproofs of even his own mother; then his wife, his child, his brother,
his friend is admitted, in succession, within the pale of his self-love,
according to their affinities with the great centre of the system; and
finally he can so far expand his affections as to embrace his country,
when that of another presents its pretensions in hostility. When the
question arises, as between humanity and the beasts of the field, he
gets to be a philanthropist!

[Footnote 32: The Americans are a singularly good-natured people, and
probably submit to more impositions, that are presented as appeals to
the spirit of accommodation, than any other people on earth. The writer
has frequently ridden miles in torture to _accommodate_ a trunk, and the
steam-boats manage matters so to _accommodate everybody_, that everybody
is put to inconvenience. All this is done, with the most indomitable
kindness and good nature, on all sides, the people daily, nay hourly
exhibiting, in all their public relations, the truth of the axiom, "that
what is everybody's business, is nobody's business."]

Morat, with its walls of Jericho, soon received us, and we drove to an
inn, where chopped straw was ordered for the horses, and a more
substantial _gouter_ for ourselves. Leaving the former to discuss their
meal, after finishing our own, we walked ahead, and waited the
appearance of the little Savoyard, on the scene of the great battle
between the Swiss and the Burgundians. The country has undergone vast
changes since the fifteenth century, and cultivation has long since
caused the marsh, in which so many of the latter perished, to disappear,
though it is easy to see where it must have formerly been. I have
nothing new to say concerning Avenche, whose Roman ruins, after Rome
itself, scarce caused us to cast a glance at them, and we drove up to
the door of the _Ours_ at Payerne, without alighting. When we are
children, we fancy that sweets can never cloy, and indignantly repel the
idea that tarts and sugar-plums will become matters of indifference to
us; a little later we swear eternal constancy to a first love, and form
everlasting friendships: as time slips away, we marry three or four
wives, shoot a bosom-friend or two, and forget the looks of those whose
images were to be graven on our hearts for ever. You will wonder at this
digression, which has been excited by the simple fact that I actually
caught myself gaping, when something was said about Queen Bertha and her
saddle. The state of apathy to which one finally arrives is really
frightful!

We left Payerne early, and breakfasted at the "inevitable inn" of
Moudon. Here it was necessary to decide in what direction to steer, for
I had left the charter-party with _le petit Savoyard_, open, on this
essential point. The weather was so fine, the season of the year so
nearly the same, and most of the other circumstances so very much like
those under which we had made the enchanting passage along the head of
the Leman four years before, that we yielded to the desire to renew the
pleasures of such a transit, and turned our faces towards Vevey.

At the point where the roads separate, therefore, we diverged from the
main route, which properly leads to Lausanne, inclining southward. We
soon were rolling along the margin of the little blue lake that lies on
the summit of the hills, so famous for its prawns. We knew that a few
minutes would bring us to the brow of the great declivity, and all eyes
were busy, and all heads eagerly in motion. As for myself, I took my
station on the dickey, determined to let nothing escape me in a scene
that I remembered with so much enduring delight.

Contrary to the standing rule in such cases, the reality surpassed
expectation. Notwithstanding our long sojourn in Italy, and the great
variety and magnificence of the scenery we had beheld, I believe there
was not a feeling of disappointment among us all. There lay the Leman,
broad, blue, and tranquil; with its surface dotted by sails, or shadowed
by grand mountains; its shores varying from the impending precipice, to
the sloping and verdant lawn; the solemn, mysterious, and glen-like
valley of the Rhone; the castles, towns, villages, hamlets, and towers,
with all the smiling acclivities loaded with vines, villas, and
churches; the remoter pastures, out of which the brown chalets rose like
subdued bas-reliefs, and the back-ground of _dents_, peaks, and
glaciers. Taking it altogether, it is one of the most ravishing views of
an earth that is only too lovely for its evil-minded tenants; a world
that bears about it, in every lineament, the impression of its divine
Creator!

One of our friends used to tell an anecdote of the black servant of a
visitor at Niagara, who could express his delight, on seeing the falls,
in no other way than by peals of laughter; and perhaps I ought to
hesitate to confess it, but I actually imitated the Negro, as this
glorious view broke suddenly upon me. Mine, however, was a laugh of
triumph, for I instantly discovered that my feelings were not quite worn
out, and that it was still possible to awaken enthusiasm within me, by
the sight of an admirable nature.

Our first resolution was to pass a month in this beautiful region.
Pointing to a building that stood a thousand feet below us, on a little
grassy knoll that was washed by the lake, and which had the quaint
appearance of a tiny chateau of the middle ages, we claimed it, at once,
as the very spot suited for the temporary residence of your
scenery-hunters. We all agreed that nothing could possibly suit us
better, and we went down the descent, among vineyards and cottages, not
building "castles in the air," but peopling one in a valley. It was
determined to dwell in that house, if it could be had for love or money,
or the thing was at all practicable.

It was still early when we reached the inn in Vevey, and I was scarcely
on the ground, before I commenced the necessary inquiries about the
little chateauish house. As is usual in some parts of Europe, I was
immediately referred to a female commissionnaire, a sort of domestic
broker of all-work. This woman supplies travelling families with linen,
and, at need, with plate; and she could greatly facilitate matters, by
knowing where and to whom to apply for all that was required; an
improvement in the division of labour that may cause you to smile, but
which is extremely useful, and, on the whole, like all division of
labour, economical.

The commissionnaire informed us that there were an unusual number of
furnished houses to be let, in the neighbourhood, the recent political
movements having driven away their ordinary occupants, the English and
Russians. Some of the proprietors, however, might object to the
shortness of the time that we could propose for (a month), as it was
customary to let the residences by the year. There was nothing like
trying, however, and, ordering dinner to be ready against our return, we
took a carriage and drove along the lake-shore as far as Clarens, so
renowned in the pages of Rousseau. I ought, however, to premise that I
would not budge a foot, until the woman assured me, over and over, that
the little antiquated edifice, under the mountain, which had actually
been a sort of chateau, was not at all habitable for a genteel family,
but had degenerated to a mere coarse farm-house, which, in this country,
like "love in a cottage," does better in idea than in the reality. We
gave up our "castle under the hill" with reluctance, and proceeded to
Clarens, where a spacious, unshaded building, without a spark of poetry
about it, was first shown us. This was refused, incontinently. We then
tried one or two more, until the shades of night overtook us. At one
place the proprietor was chasing a cow through an orchard, and, probably
a little heated with his exercise, he rudely repelled the application of
the commissionnaire, by telling her, when he understood the house was
wanted for only a month, that he did not keep a _maison garnie_. I could
not affirm to the contrary, and we returned to the inn discomfited, for
the night.

Early next morning the search was renewed with zeal. We climbed the
mountain-side, in the rear of the town, among vines, orchards, hamlets,
terraces castles, and villas, to see one of the latter, which was
refused on account of its remoteness from the lake. We then went to see
a spot that was the very _beau ideal_ of an abode for people like
ourselves, who were out in quest of the picturesque. It is called the
Chateau of Piel, a small hamlet, immediately on the shore of the lake,
and quite near Vevey, while it is perfectly retired. The house is
spacious, reasonably comfortable, and had some fine old towers built
into the modern parts, a detached ruin, and a long narrow terrace, under
the windows, that overhung the blue Leman, and which faced the glorious
rocks of Savoy. Our application for their residence was also refused, on
account of the shortness of the time we intended to remain.[33]

[Footnote 33: It is not easy for the writer to speak of many personal
incidents, lest the motive might be mistaken, in a country where there
are so many always disposed to attach a base one if they can; but, it is
so creditable to the advanced state of European civilization and
intelligence, that, at any hazard, he will here say, that even his small
pretensions to literary reputation frequently were of great service to
him, and, in no instance, even in those countries whose prejudices be
had openly opposed, had he any reason to believe it was of any personal
disadvantage. This feeling prevailed at the English custom-houses, at
the bureaux all over the Continent, and frequently even at the inns. In
one instance, in Italy, an apartment that had been denied, was
subsequently offered to him on his own terms, on this account; and, on
the present occasion, the proprietor of the Chateau de Piel, who resided
at Geneva, sent a handsome expression of his regret that his agent
should have thought it necessary to deny the application of a gentleman
of his pursuits. Even the cow-chaser paid a similar homage to letters.
In short, let the truth be said, the only country in which the writer
has found his pursuits a disadvantage, _is his own_.]

We had in reserve, all this time, two or three regular _maisons
meublees_ in the town itself, and finally took refuge in one called
"Mon repos," which stands quite near the lake, and in a retired corner
of the place. A cook was engaged forthwith, and in less than twenty-four
hours after entering Vevey, we had set up our household gods, and were
to be reckoned among them who boiled our pot in the commune. This was
not quite as prompt as the proceedings had been at Spa; but here we had
been bothered by the picturesque, while at Spa we consulted nothing but
comfort. Our house was sufficiently large, perfectly clean, and, though
without carpets or mats, things but little used in Switzerland, quite as
comfortable as was necessary for a travelling bivouac. The price was
sixty dollars a month, including plate and linen. Of course it might
have been got at a much lower rate, had we taken it by the year.

One of the first measures, after getting possession of Mon Repos, was to
secure a boat. This was soon done, as there are several in constant
attendance, at what is called the port. Harbour, strictly speaking,
Vevey has none, though there is a commencement of a mole, which scarcely
serves to afford shelter to a skiff. The crafts in use on the lake are
large two-masted boats, having decks much broader than their true beam,
and which carry most of their freight above board. The sails are
strictly neither latine nor lug, but sufficiently like the former to be
picturesque, especially in the distance. These vessels are not required
to make good weather, as they invariably run for the land when it blows,
unless the wind happen to be fair, and sometimes even then. Nothing can
be more primitive than the outfit of one of these barks, and yet they
appear to meet the wants of the lake. Luckily Switzerland has no
custom-houses, and the King of Sardinia appears to be wise enough to let
the Savoyards enjoy nearly as much commercial liberty as their
neighbours. Three cantons, Geneva, which embraces its foot; Vaud, which
bounds nearly the whole of the northern shore; Valais, which encircles
the head; together with Savoy, which lies along the cavity of the
crescent, are bounded by the lake. There are also many towns and
villages on the lake, among which Geneva, Lausanne, and Vevey are the
principal.

This place lies immediately at the foot of the Chardonne, a high
retiring section of the mountains called the Jorat, and is completely
sheltered from the north winds. This advantage it possesses in common
with the whole district between Lausanne and Villeneuve, a distance of
some fifteen miles, and, the mountains acting as great natural walls,
the fruits of milder latitudes are successfully cultivated,
notwithstanding the general elevation of the lake above the sea is near
thirteen hundred feet. Although a good deal frequented by strangers,
Vevey is less a place of fashionable resort than Lausanne, and is
consequently much simpler in its habits, and I suppose cheaper, as a
residence. It may have four or five thousand inhabitants, and possessing
one or two considerable squares, it covers rather more ground than
places of that population usually do, in Europe. It has no edifice of
much pretension, and yet it is not badly built.

We passed the first three or four days in looking about us, and, on the
whole, we have been rather pleased with the place. Our house is but a
stone's throw from the water, at a point where there is what in the
Manhattanese dialect would be called a battery.[34] This _battery_ leads
to the mole and the great square. At the first corner of the latter
stands a small semi-castellated edifice, with the colours of the canton
on the window-shutters, which is now in some way occupied for public
purposes, and which formerly was the residence of the _bailli_, or the
local governor that Berne formerly sent to rule them in the name of the
Burgerschaft. The square is quite large, and usually contains certain
piles of boards, &c. that are destined for the foot of the lake, lumber
being a material article in the commerce of the place. On this square,
also, is the ordinary market and several inns. The town-house is an
ancient building in a more crowded quarter, and at the northern gate are
the remains of another structure that has an air of antiquity, which I
believe also belongs to the public. Beyond these and its glorious views,
Vevey, in itself, has but little to attract attention. But its environs
contain its sources of pride. Besides the lake-shore, which varies in
its form and beauties, it is not easy to imagine a more charming
acclivity than that which lies behind the town. The inclination is by no
means as great, just at this spot, at it is both farther east and
farther west, but it admits of cultivation, of sites for hamlets, and is
much broken by inequalities and spacious natural terraces. I cannot
speak with certainty of the extent of this acclivity, but, taking the
eye for a guide, I should think there is quite a league of the inclined
plane in view from the town. It is covered with hamlets, chateaux,
country-houses, churches and cottages, and besides its vines, of which
there are many near the town, it is highly beautiful from the verdure of
its slopes, its orchards, and its groves of nut-trees.

[Footnote 34: The manner in which the English language is becoming
corrupted in America, as well as in England, is a matter of serious
regret. Some accidental circumstance induced the Manhattanese to call a
certain enclosure the Park. This name, probably, at first was
appropriate enough, as there might have been an intention really to form
a park, though the enclosure is now scarcely large enough to be termed a
paddock. This name, however, has extended to the enclosures in other
areas, and we have already, in vulgar parlance, St. John's Park,
Washington Park, and _least_ though not _last_, Duane-street _Park_, an
enclosure of the shape of, and not much larger than, a cocked-hat. The
site of an ancient fort on the water has been converted into a
promenade, and has well enough been called _the Battery_. But other
similar promenades are projected, and the name is extended to them! Thus
in the Manhattanese dialect, any enclosure in a town, _off the water_,
that is a _park_, and any similar enclosure, on _the water_, a
_battery!_ The worthy aldermen may call this English, but it will not be
easy to persuade any but their constituents to believe them.]

Among other objects that crowd this back-ground, is a church which
stands on a sharp acclivity, about a quarter of a mile on the rear of
the town. It is a stone building of some size, and has a convenient
artificial terrace that commands, as a matter of course, a most lovely
view. We attended service in it the first Sunday after our arrival, and
found the rites homely and naked, very much like those of our own
Presbyterians. There was a luxury about this building that you would
hardly expect to meet among a people so simple, which quite puts the
coquetry of our own carpeted, cushioned, closet-like places of worship
to shame. This is the summer church of Vevey, another being used for
winter. This surpasses the refinement of the Roman ladies, who had their
summer and their winter rings, but were satisfied to use the same
temples all the year round. After all there is something reasonable in
this indulgence: one may love to go up to a high place to worship,
whence he can look abroad on the glories of a magnificent nature, which
always disposes the mind to venerate Omnipotence, and, unable to enjoy
the advantage the year round, there is good sense in seizing such
occasions as offer for the indulgence. I have frequently met with
churches in Switzerland perched on the most romantic sites, though this
is the first whose distinctive uses I have ascertained. There is a
monument to the memory of Ludlow, one of Charles' judges, in this
church, and an inscription which attributes to him civic and moral
merits of a high order.

The clergy in this canton, as in most, if not all the others, are
supported by the state. There is religious toleration, much as it
formerly existed in New England, each citizen being master of his
religious professions, but being compelled to support religion itself.
Here, however, the salaries are regulated by a common scale, without
reference to particular congregations or parishes. The pastors at first
receive rather less than three hundred dollars a year. This allowance is
increased about fifty dollars at the end of six years, and by the same
sum at each successive period of six years, until the whole amounts to
two thousand Swiss, or three thousand French francs, which is something
less than six hundred dollars. There is also a house and a garden, and
pensions are bestowed on the widows and children. On the whole, the
state has too much connexion with this great interest, but the system
has the all-important advantage of preventing men from profaning the
altar as a pecuniary speculation. The population of Vaud is about
155,000 souls, and there are one hundred and fifty-eight Protestant
pastors, besides four Catholics, or about one clergyman to each thousand
souls, which is just about the proportion that exists in New York.

In conversing with an intelligent Vaudois on returning from the church,
I found that a great deal of interest is excited in this Canton by the
late conspiracy in Berne. The Vaudois have got that attachment to
liberty which is ever the result of a long political dependence, and
which so naturally disposes the inferior to resist the superior. It is
not pretended, however, that the domination of Berne was particularly
oppressive, though as a matter of course, whenever the interests of Vaud
happened to conflict with those of the great canton, the former had to
succumb. Still the reaction of a political dependency, which lasted more
than two centuries and a half, had brought about, even previously to the
late changes, a much more popular form of government than was usual in
Switzerland, and the people here really manifest some concern on the
subject of this effort of aristocracy. As you may like to compare the
elective qualifications of one of the more liberal cantons of the
confederation with some of our own, I will give you an outline of those
of Vaud, copied, in the substance, from Picot.

The voter must have had a legal domicile in the canton one year, be a
citizen, twenty-five years old, and be of the number of _the
three-fourths of the citizens who pay the highest land-tax_, or have
three sons enrolled and serving in the militia. Domestics, persons
receiving succour from the parishes, bankrupts, outlaws, and convicted
criminals, are perpetually excluded from the elective franchise.

This system, though far better than that of France, which establishes a
certain _amount_ of direct taxation, is radically vicious, as it makes
property, and that of a particular species, the test of power. It is, in
truth, the old English plan a little modified; and the recent revolution
that has lately taken place in England under the name of reform, goes to
prove that it is a system which contains in itself the seeds of vital
changes. As every political question is strictly one of practice,
_changes_ become necessary everywhere with the changes of circumstances,
and these are truly reforms; but when they become so serious as to
overturn principles, they produce the effects of revolutions, though
possibly in a mitigated form. Every system, therefore, should be so
framed as to allow of all the alterations which are necessary to
convenience, with a strict regard to its own permanency as connected
with its own governing principle. In America, in consequence of having
attended to this necessity from the commencement, we have undergone no
revolution in principle in half a century, though constantly admitting
of minor changes, while nearly all Europe has, either in theory or in
practice, or in both, been effectually revolutionized. Nor does the
short period from which our independent existence dates furnish any
argument against us, as it is not so much _time_, as the _changes_ of
which time is the parent, that tries political systems; and America has
undergone the ordinary changes, such as growth, extension of interests,
and the other governing circumstances of society, that properly belong
to two centuries, within the last fifty years. America to-day, in all
but government, is less like the America of 1776, than the France of
to-day is like the France of 1600. While it is the fashion to scout our
example as merely that of an untried experiment, ours is fast getting
to be the oldest political system in Christendom, as applied to one and
the same people. _Nations_ are not easily destroyed,--they exist under a
variety of mutations, and names last longer than things; but I now speak
in reference to distinguishing and prominent facts, without regard to
the various mystifications under which personal interests disguise
themselves.

LETTER XVIII.

Neglect of the Vine in America.--Drunkenness in France.--Cholera
especially fatal to Drunkards.--The Soldier's and the Sailor's
Vice.--Sparkling Champagne and Still Champagne.--Excessive Price of
these Wines in America.--Burgundy.--Proper soil for the
Vine.--Anecdote.--Vines of Vevey.--The American Fox-grape.

Dear ----,

A little incident has lately impressed me with the great wealth of this
quarter of the world in wines, as compared with our own poverty. By
poverty, I do not mean ignorance of the beverage, or a want of good
liquors; for I believe few nations have so many varieties, or varieties
so excellent, as ourselves. Certainly it is not common to meet as good
Bordeaux wines in Paris as in New York. The other good liquors of France
are not so common; and yet the best Burgundy I ever drank was in
America.[35] This is said without reference to the different qualities
of the vineyards--but, by poverty, I mean the want of the vines.

[Footnote 35: Since his return, the author can say the same of Rhenish
wines; though the tavern wines of Germany are usually much better than
the tavern wines of France.]

Vineyards abound all over the American continent, within the proper
latitudes, except in the portions of it peopled by the colonists who
have an English origin. To this fact, then, it is fair to infer, that
we owe the general neglect of this generous plant among ourselves. The
Swiss, German, and French emigrants are already thinking of the vine,
while we have been in possession of the country two centuries without
making a cask of wine. If this be not literally true it is so nearly
true, as to render it not less a leading fact. I do not attach exactly
the same moral consequences to the want of the vine as is usually
attributed to the circumstances by political economists; though I am of
opinion that serious physical evils may be traced to this cause. Men
will seek some stimulus or other, if it be attainable, place them in
what situations you will, although wine is forbidden by the Koran, the
Mahomedan is often intoxicated; and my own eyes have shown me how much
drunkenness exists in the vine-growing countries of Europe. On this
subject it may be well to say a word _en passant_.

I came to Europe under the impression that there was more drunkenness
among us than in any other country, England, perhaps, excepted. A
residence of six months in Paris changed my views entirely. You will
judge of my surprise when first I saw a platoon of the Royal
Guard,--literally a whole platoon, so far as numbers and the order of
their promenade was concerned,--staggering drunk, within plain view of
the palace of their master. From this time I became more observant, and
not a day passed that I did not see men, and even women, in the same
situation in the open streets. Usually, when the fact was mentioned to
Americans, they expressed surprise, declaring they had never seen such a
thing! They were too much amused with other sights to regard this; and
then they had come abroad with different notions, and it is easier to
float in the current of popular opinion than to stem it. In two or three
instances I have taken the unbelievers with me into the streets, where I
have never failed to convince them of their mistake in the course of an
hour. These experiments, too, were usually made in the better quarters
of the town, or near our own residence, where one is much less apt to
meet with drunkenness than in the other quarters. On one occasion, a
party of four of us went out with this object, and we passed thirteen
drunken men, during a walk of an hour. Many of them were so far gone as
to be totally unable to walk. I once saw, on the occasion of a festival,
three men literally wallowing in the gutter before my window; a degree
of beastly degradation I never witnessed in any other country.

The usual reply of a Frenchman, when the subject has been introduced,
was that the army of occupation introduced the habit into the capital.
But I have spoken to you of M----, a man whose candour is only equalled
by his information. He laughed at this account of the matter, saying
that he had now known France nearly sixty years; it is his native
country; and he says that he cannot see any difference, in this
particular, in his time. It is probable that, during the wars of
Napoleon, when there was so great a demand for men of the lower classes,
it was less usual to encounter this vice in the open streets, than now,
for want of subjects; but, by all I can learn, there never was a time
when drunkards did not abound in France. I do assure you that, in the
course of passing between Paris and London, I have been more struck by
drunkenness in the streets of the former, than in those of the latter.

Not long since, I asked a labourer if he ever got _grise_, and he
laughingly told me--"yes, whenever he could." He moreover added, that a
good portion of his associates did the same thing. Now I take it, this
word _grise_ contains the essence of the superiority of wine over
whiskey. It means fuddled, a condition from which one recovers more
readily, than from downright drunkenness, and of which the physical
effects are not so injurious. I believe the consequences of even total
inebriety from wine, are not as bad as those which follow inebriety from
whiskey and rum. But your real amateur here is no more content with wine
than he is with us; he drinks a white brandy that is pretty near the
pure alcohol.

The cholera has laid bare the secrets of drunkenness, all over Europe.
At first we were astonished when the disease got among the upper
classes; but, with all my experience, I confess I was astonished at
hearing it whispered of a gentleman, as I certainly did in a dozen
instances--"_mais il avait l'habitude de boire trop_." Cholera, beyond a
question, killed many a sober man, but it also laid bare the fault of
many a devotee of the bottle.

Drunkenness, almost as a matter of course, abounds in nearly all, if not
in all, the armies of Europe. It is peculiarly the soldier's and the
sailor's vice, and some queer scenes have occurred directly under my own
eyes here, which go to prove it. Take among others, the fact, that a
whole guard, not long since, got drunk in the Faubourg St. Germain, and
actually arrested people in the streets and confined them in the
guard-house. The Invalids are notorious for staggering back to their
quarters; and I presume I have seen a thousand of these worthies, first
and last, as happy as if they had all their eyes, and arms, and legs
about them. The official reports show ten thousand cases of females
arrested for drunkenness, in Paris, during the last year.--But to return
to our vineyards.

Although I am quite certain drunkenness is not prevented by the fact
that wine is within the reach of the mass, it is easy to see that its
use is less injurious, physically, than that of the stronger compounds
and distillations, to which the people of the non-vine-growing regions
have recourse as substitutes. Nature is a better brewer than man, and
the pure juice of the grape is less injurious than the mixed and fiery
beverages that are used in America. In reasonable quantities, it is not
injurious at all. Five-and-twenty years since, when I first visited
Europe, I was astonished to see wine drunk in tumblers. I did not at
first understand that half of what I had up to that time been drinking
was brandy, under the name of wine.

While our imported wines are, as a whole, so good, we do not always
show the same discrimination in choosing. There is very little good
champagne, for instance, drunk in America. A vast deal is consumed, and
we are beginning to understand that it is properly a table-wine, or one
that is to be taken with the meats; but sparkling champagne is, _ex
necessitate_, a wine of inferior quality. No wine _mousses_, as the
French term it, that has body enough to pass a certain period without
fermentation. My friend de V---- is a proprietor of vines at Ai, and he
tells me that the English take most of their good wines, which are the
"still champagnes," and the Russians and the Americans the poor, or the
sparkling. A great deal of the sparkling, however, is consumed in
France, the price better suiting French economy. But the wine-growers of
Champagne themselves speak of us as consumers of their second-class
liquors.

I drunk at Paris, as good "sparkling champagne" as anybody I knew, de
V---- having the good nature to let me have it, from his cellar, for the
price at which it is sold to the dealer and exporter, or at three francs
the bottle. The _octroi_ and the transportation bring the price up to
about three francs and a half. This then is the cost to the restaurateur
and the innkeeper. These sell it again to their customers, at six francs
the bottle. Now a bottle of wine ought not, and I presume does not, cost
the American dealer any more; the difference in favour of the duty more
than equalling the difference against them, in the transportation. This
wine is sold in our eating-houses and taverns at two dollars, and even
at two dollars and a half, the bottle! In other words, the consumer pays
three times the amount of the first cost and charges. Now, it happens,
that there is something very like free trade in this article, (to use
the vernacular), and here are its fruits; You also see in this fact, the
truth of what I have told you of our paying for the want of a class of
men who wilt be content to be shopkeepers and innkeepers, and who do not
look forward to becoming anything more. I do not say that we are the
less respectable for this circumstance, but we are, certainly, as a
people, less comfortable. Champagne, Rhenish, and Bordeaux wines ought
to be sold in New York, quite as cheap as they are sold in the great
towns of the countries in which they are made. They can be bought of the
wine-merchants nearly as low, even as things are.

If the innkeepers and steam-boat stewards, of America, would buy and
sell low-priced Burgundy wines, that, as the French call it, _carry
water well_, as well as some other wines that might be named, the custom
of drinking this innocent and useful beverage at table would become
general, attention would then be paid to the vine, and in twenty years
we should be consumers of the products of our own vineyards.

The idea that our winters are too severe can hardly be just. There may
be mountainous districts where such is the fact, but, in a country that
extends from the 27th to the 47th degrees of latitude, it is scarcely
possible to suppose the vine cannot flourish. I have told you that wine
is made on the Elbe, and it is made in more than half the Swiss cantons.
Proper exposures and proper soil are necessary for good wines, anywhere,
but nothing is easier than to have both. In America, I fear, we have
hitherto sought land that was too rich; or rather, land that is wanting
in the proper and peculiar richness that is congenial to the vine. All
the great vineyards I have seen, and all of which I can obtain authentic
accounts, are on thin gravelly soils; frequently, as is the case in the
Rheingau, on decomposed granite, quartz, and sienite. Slate mixed with
quartz on a clayish bottom, and with basalt, is esteemed a good soil, as
is also marl and gravel. The Germans use rich manures, but I do not
think this is the case in France.

The grape that makes good wine is rarely fit to eat. Much care is had to
reject the defective fruit, when a delicate wine is expected, just as we
cull apples to make fine cider. A really good vineyard is a fortune at
once, and a tolerable one is as good a disposition as can be made of
land. All the fine wines of Hockheim are said to be the produce of only
eight or ten acres. There is certainly more land than this, in the vine,
south of the village, but the rest is not esteemed to be Hockheimer.

Time is indispensable to fine wines, and time is a thing that an
American lives too fast to spare. The grapes become better by time,
although periodically renewed, and the wine improves in the same way. I
have told you in these letters, that I passed a vineyard on the lake of
Zurich of which there are records to show it has borne the vine five
hundred years. Five centuries since, if historians are to be believed,
the winters on this lake must have been as severe as they are usually on
Champlain; they are almost as severe, even now.

Extraordinary characters are given to some of the vines here. Thus some
of the Moselle wines, it is said, will not make good vinegar! If this be
true, judging by my own experience, vinegar is converted into wines of
the Moselle. I know no story of this sort, after all, that is more
marvellous than one I have heard of the grandfather of A----, and which
I believe to be perfectly true, as it is handed down on authority that
can scarcely be called in question.

A pipe of Madeira was sent to him, about the year 1750, which proved to
be so bad that, giving it up as a gone case, he ordered it to be put in
the sun, with a bottle in its bung-hole, in order that it might, at
least, make good vinegar. Bis official station compelled him to
entertain a great deal, and his factotum, on these occasions, was a
negro, whose name I have forgotten. This fellow, a capital servant when
sober, occasionally did as he saw his betters do, and got drunk. Of
course this greatly deranged the economy of the government dinners. On
one occasion, particular care was taken to keep him in his right senses,
and yet at the critical moment he appeared behind his master's chair, as
happy as the best of them. This matter was seriously inquired into next
day, when it was discovered that a miracle had been going on out of
doors, and that the vinegar had been transformed into wine. The
tradition is, that this wine was remarkable for its excellence, and that
it was long known by the name of the negro, as the best wine of a
colony, where more good wine of the sort was drunk, probably, than was
ever known by the same number of people, in the same time, anywhere
else. Now should one experimenting on a vineyard, in America, find
vinegar come from his press, he would never have patience to let it
ferment itself back into good liquor. Patience, I conceive, is the only
obstacle to our becoming a great wine-growing and a great silk-growing
country.

I have been led into these remarks by observing the vineyards here. The
_qualities_ of wines, of course, are affected by the positions of the
vineyards, for all who can make wine do not make good wine, but the
vines of Vevey, owing most probably to their exposure, are said to be
the best of Switzerland. The best liquor comes from St. Saphorin, a
hamlet that is quite near the town, which lies at the foot of the
acclivity, described to you in our approach to this place. The little
chateau-looking house that so much struck our fancies, on that occasion,
is, in fact, in the immediate neighbourhood of the spot. All these
circumstances show how much depends on minor circumstances in the
cultivation of the vine, and how much may be expected from the plant,
when care is had to respect them.

The heat may be too great for the vineyard as well as the cold. In Italy
there is a practice of causing the vines to run on trees, in order to
diminish the effect of the heat, by means of the shade they create. But
the good wines are nearly everywhere, if not positively everywhere,
produced from the short, clipped standards. This fact has induced me to
think that we may succeed better with the vine in the middle, and even
in the eastern, than in the southern and western states. I take it, the
cold is of no importance, provided it be not so intense as to kill the
plant, and the season is long enough to permit the fruit to ripen. It
would be absurd in me, who have but a very superficial knowledge of the
subject, to pretend to be very skillful in this matter, but I cannot
help thinking that, if one had patience to try the experiment, it would
be found the common the American fox-grape would in time bring a fine
wine. It greatly resembles the grapes of some of the best vineyards
here, and the fact of its not being a good eating grape is altogether in
its favour.

In short, I throw it out as a conjecture more than as an ascertained
fact, it is true, but from all I have seen in Europe, I am induced to
think that, in making our experiments on the vine, we have been too
ambitious to obtain a fat soil, and too warp of the higher latitudes of
the country. A gravelly hill-side, in the interior, that has been well
stirred, and which has the proper exposure, I cannot but thing would
bring good wine, in all the low countries of the middle states.

LETTER XIX.

The Leman Lake.--Excursions on it.--The coast of Savoy.--Grandeur and
beauty of the Rocks.--Sunset.--Evening Scene.--American Families
residing on the banks of the Lake.--Conversation with a Vevaisan on the
subject of America.--The Nullification Question.--America misrepresented
in Europe.--Rowland Stephenson in the United States.--Unworthy arts to
bring America into disrepute.--Blunders of Europe in respect of
America.--The Kentuckians.--Foreign Associations in the
States.--Illiberal Opinions of many Americans.--Prejudices.

Dear ----,

Our residence at Vevey, thus far, has been fruitful of pleasure. The
lake, with its changeful aspects and movement, wears better even than
the Oberland Alps, and we have now become thoroughly convinced of our
mistake in establishing ourselves at Berne, beautiful as is that place,
in 1828. The motive was a desire to be central, but Switzerland is so
small that the distances are of no great moment, and I would advise all
our friends who intend to pass a summer in the cantons, and who have
need of a house, to choose their station somewhere on the shores of the
Leman. Two steam-boats ply daily in different directions, and it is of
little consequence at which end one may happen to be. Taking everything
into consideration "_mon lac est le premier_" is true; though it may be
questioned if M. de Voltaire ever saw, or had occasion to see, half of
its advantages.

We never tire of the Leman, but spend two or three hours every day in
the boat. Sometimes we row in front of the town, which literally stands
in the water, in some places, musing on the quaint old walls, and
listening to the lore of honest John, who moves two crooked oars as
leisurely as a lady of the tropic utters, but who has seen great events
in his time. Sometimes even this lazy action is too much for the humour
of the moment, and we are satisfied with drifting along the shore, for
there is generally current enough to carry us the whole length of Vevey
in half an hour. Occasionally we are tossed about like an egg-shell, the
winds at a distance soon throwing this part of the sheet into commotion.
On the whole, however, we have, as yet, had little besides calms, and,
what is unusual in Switzerland, not a drop of rain.

We have no reason to suspect the lake to be unhealthy, for we are often
out until after sunset, without experiencing any ill effects. The shores
are everywhere bold about Vevey, though the meadows and the waters meet
near the entrance of the Rhone, some eight or ten miles from this place,
in a way to raise the thoughts of rushes and lilies, and a suspicion of
fevers. The pure air and excellent food of the mountains, however, have
done us all good thus far, and we are looking eagerly forward to the
season of grapes, which is drawing near, and which every body says make
those who are perfectly well, infinitely better.

I have not yet spoken to you of the greatest charm in the scenery of
Vevey, and the one which perhaps has given us the highest degree of
satisfaction. The coast of Savoy, immediately opposite the town, is a
range of magnificent rocks, that rises some four or five thousand feet
above the surface of the water. In general these precipices are nearly
perpendicular, though their surfaces are broken by huge ravines, that
may well be termed valleys. This is the region that impends over
Meillerie, St. Gingoulph, and Evian, towns or hamlets that cling to the
bases of the mountains, and form, of themselves, beautiful objects, from
this side of the lake. The distance from Vevey to the opposite shore,
agreeably to the authority of old John, our boatman, is about five
miles, though the great purity of the atmosphere and the height of the
land make it appear less. The summit of the rocks of Savoy are broken
into the most fantastical forms, so beautifully and evenly drawn, though
they are quite irregular and without design, that I have termed them
natural arabesques. No description can give you an accurate idea of
their beauty, for I know nothing else in nature to compare them to. As
they lie nearly south of us, I cannot account for the unusual glow of
the atmosphere behind them, at every clear sunset, except from the
reflection of the glaciers; Mont Blanc lying in that direction, at the
distance of about fifty miles, though invisible. Now the effect of the
outline of these rocks, at, or after sunset, relieved by a soft, golden
sky, is not only one of the finest sights of Switzerland, but, in its
way, is just the most perfect spectacle I have ever beheld. It is not so
apt to extort sudden admiration, as the rosy tints and spectral hues of
the high Alps, at the same hour; but it wins on you, in the way the
lonely shadows of the Apennines grow on the affections, and, so far from
tiring or becoming satisfied with their view, each successive evening
brings greater delight than the last. You may get some idea of what I
mean, by imagining vast arabesques, rounded and drawn in a way that no
art can equal, standing out huge, and dark, and grand, in high relief,
blending sublimity with a bewitching softness, against a sky. whose
light is slowly passing from the glow of fiery gold, to the mildest
tints of evening. I scarcely know when this scene is most to be admired;
when the rocks appear distinct and brown, showing their material, and
the sky is burnished; or when the first are nearly black masses, on
whose surfaces nothing is visible, and the void beyond is just pregnant
with sufficient light to expose their exquisite forms. Perhaps this is
the perfection of the scene, for the gloom of the hour throws a noble
mystery over all.

These are the sights that form the grandest features in Swiss scenery.
That of the high peaks cut off from the earth by the clouds, is perhaps
the most extraordinary of them all; but I think this of the rocks of
Savoy the one that wins the most on the affections, although this
opinion is formed from a knowledge of the general fact that objects
which astonish so greatly at first, do not, as a rule, continue the
longest to afford pleasure, for I never saw the former spectacle but
twice and on one of those occasions, imperfectly. No _dilettanti_ were
ever more punctual at the opening of the orchestra, than we are at this
evening exhibition, which, very much like a line and expressive harmony,
grows upon us at each repetition. All this end of the lake, as we float
lazily before the town, with the water like a mirror, the acclivity
behind the town gradually darkening upward under the retiring light, the
remote Alpine pastures just throwing out their chalets, the rocks of
Savoy and the sublime glen of the Rhone, with the glacier of Mont Velan
in its depths, raising its white peak into the broad day long after
evening has shadowed everything below, forms the most perfect natural
picture I have ever seen.

You can easily fancy how much we enjoy all this. John and his boat have
been in requisition nearly every evening since our arrival; and the old
fellow has dropped so readily into our humours, that his oars rise and
fall in a way to produce a melancholy ripple, and little else. The
sympathy between us is perfect, and I have almost fancied that his oars
daily grow more crooked and picturesque.

We are not alone, however, in the possession of so much natural beauty.
No less than seven American families, including ourselves, are either
temporarily established on or quite near this lake, or are leisurely
moving around its banks. The fame of the beauty of the women has already
reached our ears, though, sooth to say, a reputation of that sort is not
very difficult of attainment in this part of the world. With one of
these families we were intimate in Italy, the tie of country being a
little increased by the fact that some of their connexions were also
ours. They hurried from Lausanne to meet us, the moment they were
apprized of our arrival, and the old relations have been re-established
between us. Since this meeting excursions have been planned, and it is
probable that I may have something to communicate, in reference to them.

A day or two since I met a Vevaisan on the public promenade, with whom
business had led to a slight acquaintance. We saluted, and pursued our
walk together. The conversation soon turned on the news from America,
where nullification is, just now, menacing disunion. The Swiss are the
only people, in Europe, who appear to me to feel any concern in what has
been generally considered to be a crisis in our affairs. I do not wish
to be understood as saying that individuals of other nations do not feel
the same friendly interest in our prosperity, for perhaps a million such
might be enumerated in the different nations of Europe, the extreme
liberals everywhere looking to our example as so much authority in
favour of their doctrines; but, after excluding the mass, who have too
much to do to live, to trouble themselves with concerns so remote, so
far as my knowledge extends, the great majority on this side the
Atlantic, without much distinction of country, Switzerland excepted, are
waiting with confidence and impatience for the knell of the Union. I
might repeat to you many mawkish and unmeaning declarations to the
contrary of all this, but I deem them to be mere phrases of society to
which no one, in the least acquainted with the world, can attach any
importance; and which, as they have never deceived me, I cannot wish
should be made the means of deceiving you. Men generally hesitate to
avow in terms, the selfishness and illiberality that regulate all their
acts and wishes, and he who is credulous enough to mistake words for
deeds, or even thoughts, in this quarter of the world, will soon become
the dupe of more than half of those he meets. I believe I never
mentioned to you an anecdote of Sir James Mackintosh, which bears
directly on this subject. It was at a dinner given by Sir ----, that
some one inquired if he (Sir James Mackintosh) had ever discovered the
author of a certain libellous attack on himself. "Not absolutely, though
I have no doubt that ---- was the person. I suspected him at once; but
meeting him in Pall Mall, soon after the article appeared, he turned
round and walked the whole length of the street with me, covering me
with protestations of admiration and esteem, and then I felt quite sure
of my man!"

My Vevaisan made many inquiries as to the probable result of the present
struggle, and appeared greatly gratified when I told him that I
apprehended no serious danger to the republic. I made him laugh by
mentioning the opinion of the witty Abbe Correa, who said, "The
Americans are great talkers on political subjects; you would think they
were about to fly to their arms, and just as you expect a revolution,
_they go home and drink tea_." My acquaintance was anxious to know if
our government had sufficient strength to put down nullification by
force, for he had learned there was but a single sloop of war, and less
than a battalion of troops, in the disaffected part of the country. I
told him we possessed all the means that are possessed in other
countries to suppress rebellion, although we had not thought it
necessary to resort to the same system of organization. Our government
was mild in principle, and did not wish to oppress even minorities; but
I made no doubt of the attachment of a vast majority to the Union, and,
when matters really came to a crisis, if rational compromise could not
effect the object, I thought nine men in ten would rally in its defence.
I did not believe that even civil war was to produce results in America
different from what it produced elsewhere. Men would fight in a republic
as they fought in monarchies, until they were tired, and an arrangement
would follow. It was not common for a people of the same origin, of
similar habits, and contiguous territory, to dismember an empire by
civil war, unless violence had been used in bringing them together, or
conquest had first opened the way to disunion. I did not know that we
were always to escape the evils of humanity any more than others, or why
they were to fall heavier on us, when they proceeded from the same
causes, than on our neighbours. As respects the small force in Carolina,
I thought it argued our comparative strength, rather than our
comparative weakness. Here were loud threats of resistance, organized
and even legal means to effect it, and yet the laws were respected, when
sustained by only a sloop of war and two companies of artillery. If
France were to recall her battalions from La Vendee, Austria her
divisions from Italy, Russia her armies from Poland, or England her
troops from India or Ireland, we all know that those several countries
would be lost, in six months, to their present possessors. As we had our
force in reserve, it really appeared to me that either our disaffection
was very different from the disaffection of Europe, or that our
institutions contained some conservative principle that did not usually
exist in this hemisphere. My Vevaisan was curious to know to which of
these circumstances I ascribed the present quiet in Carolina. I told
him to both. The opposition in that state, as a whole, were honest in
their views; and, though some probably meant disunion, the greater part
did not. It was a governing principle of our system to seek redress by
appeals to the source of power, and the majority were probable looking
still, to that quarter, of relief. Under other systems, rebellion, nine
times in ten, having a different object, would not be checked by this
expectation.

The Swiss listened to all this attentively, and remarked that America
had been much misrepresented in Europe, and that the opinion was then
getting to be general in his country, from improper motives. He told me
that a great deal had been said about the proceedings in the case of
Rowland Stephenson, and he frankly asked me to explain them; for, being
a commercial man, he admitted that injurious impressions had been made
even on himself in relation to that affair. This was the third Swiss who
had alluded to this subject, the other two instances occurring at Rome.
In the latter cases, I understood pretty distinctly that there were
reports current that the Americans were so desirous of obtaining rich
emigrants, that they had rescued a criminal in order to reap the benefit
of his gold!

Of course I explained the matter, by simply stating the facts, adding,
that the case was an admirable illustration of the treatment America had
received from Europe, ever since 1776. An Englishman, _a member of
Parliament, by the way_, had absconded from his own country, taking
shelter in ours, by the mere accident of meeting at sea a Swedish brig
bound thither. A reward was offered for his arrest, and certain
individuals had taken on themselves, instigated by whom I know not, to
arrest him on a retired road, in Georgia, and to bring him covertly
within the jurisdiction of New York, with the intention to send him
clandestinely on board a packet bound to Europe. Now a grosser abuse
than an act like this could not well be committed. No form of law was
observed, and the whole proceeding was a violation of justice, and of
the sovereignty of the two states interested. It is true the man
arrested was said to be guilty of gross fraud; but where such practices
obtain, guilt will soon cease to be necessary in order to commit
violence. The innocent may be arrested wrongfully, too. As soon as the
circumstances became known, an application was made to the proper
authorities for relief, which was granted on a principle that obtained
in all civilized countries, where right is stronger than might. Had any
one been transferred from Canada to England, under similar
circumstances, he would have been entitled to the same relief, and there
is not a jurist in England who does not know the fact; and yet this
transaction, which, if it redound to the discredit of either nation at
all, (an exaggerated opinion, I admit,) must redound to the discredit of
that which produced the delinquent, and actually preferred him to one of
its highest legislative stations, has been so tortured all over Europe,
as to leave an impression unfavourable to America!

Now I tell you, dear ----, as I told my Vevaisan, that this case is a
very fair example of the manner in which, for seven years, I have now
been an attentive observer of the unworthy arts used to bring us into
disrepute. The power to injure, in order to serve their own selfish
views, which old-established and great nations possess over one like our
own, is not fully appreciated in America, nor do we attach sufficient
importance to the consequences. I am not conscious of a disposition to
shut my eyes to our own peculiar national defects, more especially since
the means of comparison have rendered me more sensible of their nature
and existence; but nothing can be more apparent to any man of ordinary
capacity, who has enjoyed the opportunities necessary to form a correct
judgment, than the fact, that the defects usually imputed to us here,
such as the want of morals, honesty, order, decency, liberality, and
religion, are, in truth, _as the world goes_, the strong points of
American character; while some of those on which we are a little too apt
to pride ourselves,--intelligence, taste, manners, and education, for
instance, as applied to all beyond the base of society,--are, in truth,

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