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Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, Volume VI by Various

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sights, sounds, wonders, and adventures they offer. An hour's walk will
show them all in profound contrast and yet in exquisite harmony. The
Alps form a book of Nature as wide and as mysterious as Life.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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



[Illustration: FRIBOURG]

[Illustration: BERNE]

[Illustration: VIVEY ON LAKE GENEVA]

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

[Illustration: INTERLAKEN]

[Illustration: LUCERNE]

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

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

the distance)]



[Illustration: CLOUD EFFECT ABOVE INTERLAKEN Courtesy Swiss Federal

[Illustration: DAVOS IN WINTER]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

"Bonivard, you are free!"

"And Geneva?"

"Geneva is free also!"

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One crowded hour of glorious life.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauener joined me immediately, and we mutually congratulated each other
on the success of the ascent. The residue of the bread and meat was
produced, and a bottle of tea was also appealed to. Mixed with a little

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