Seeing Europe with Famous Authors Volume 06 by Francis W. Halsey

Produced by Jayam Subramanian and PG Distributed Proofreaders SEEING EUROPE WITH FAMOUS AUTHORS EDITED BY FRANCIS W. HALSEY CONTENTS OF VOLUME VI Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland Part Two VI. HUNGARY–(_Continued_) HUNGARIAN BATHS AND RESORTS–By H. Tornai de Koever THE GIPSIES–By H. Tornai de Koever VII. AUSTRIA’S ADRIATIC PORTS TRIESTE AND POLA–By Edward A. Freeman SPALATO–By
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Produced by Jayam Subramanian and PG Distributed Proofreaders




Germany, Austria-Hungary and Switzerland

Part Two

VI. HUNGARY–(_Continued_)


THE GIPSIES–By H. Tornai de Koever


TRIESTE AND POLA–By Edward A. Freeman

SPALATO–By Edward A. Freeman

RAGUSA–By Harry De Windt

CATTARO–By Edward A. Freeman


CRACOW–By Menie Muriel Dowie


THE CAVE OF ADELSBERG–By George Stillman Hillard

THE MONASTERY OF MOeLK–By Thomas Frognall Dibdin

THROUGH THE TYROL–By William Cullen Bryant

IN THE DOLOMITES–By Archibald Campbell Knowles

CORTINA–By Amelia B. Edwards



INTERLAKEN AND THE JUNGFRAU–By Archibald Campbell Knowles


LUCERNE–By Victor Tissot

ZURICH–By W.D. M’Crackan

THE RIGI–By W.D. M’Crackan


ZERMATT–By Archibald Campbell Knowles


GENEVA–By Francis H. Gribble

THE CASTLE OF CHILLON–By Harriet Beecher Stowe

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






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


THE JUNGFRAU-JOCH–By Sir Leslie Stephen


THE GREAT ST. BERNARD HOSPICE–By Archibald Campbell Knowles

AVALANCHES–By Victor Tissot







































[Illustration: MARIENBAD, AUSTRIA]








[Illustration: STREET IN BUDAPEST]

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL OF SPALATO Burial-place of the Emperor Diocletian]

[Illustration: REGUSA, DALMATIA]

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

[Illustration: GENEVA]









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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

“Which mountain, Signora?”

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

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

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

“But what is it called?”

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

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

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





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

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

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

I find it in the immense range of the moods in which Nature is seen in the Alps, as least by those who have fully absorbed all the forms,