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parts of the panorama. Directly to the N. W. rose the Stockhorn and his neighbours glistening in the sunshine. To the right and left we saw the vallies of Frutigen and the Simmen, with their two offsets, the vallies of Kander and Diemtigen, stretching, like pieces of embroidered green velvet, for leagues into the mountains on either side.
"In the direction of the lake of Brienz a white body of mist had arisen from the flanks of the mountain very shortly after our arrival, and kept its position during the whole two hours of our stay, though, happily, its marring influence was confined to that quarter alone.
"The opposite horizon to that of which I have been attempting to give a sketch, was fortunately unobstructed. Over the intermediate mountain-ridges and summits, forming our middle-ground to S., S. E., and S. W., soared the vast glaciers of the central chain, sparkling in the white light of the newly-risen sun. The Altels, at the head of the Kanderthal; the Wild-Strubel, at the junction of the range of the Niesen with the main chain; the Blumlis-Alp, with its long waste of glaciers and singular stock rising from their bosom; the Jungfrau, and the two Eigers, were all particularly imposing from their comparative proximity.
"But now that I have dwelt upon the romance of the scene, I should not omit to mention the accompanying circumstances, in which there was none.
"It was desperately cold; and on the summit itself the east wind blew so keenly at intervals, that few of the party had courage to buffet the breeze on that point long together.
"The temperature was, indeed, sufficiently cold to have chilled any one's enthusiasm. It will be recollected, that the preceding hours had been spent in exertion, that our feet and clothes were saturated with the dew, and that especially the female part of our number were but little accustomed to these nocturnal expeditions. A small hut, or rather hovel of shingles, had been constructed on the leeward side of the summit, and we had brought with us the elements of a fire from the last châlet. This, of course, was our withdrawing-room; and I have still before me the picture of the woebegone interior and its occupants. The fire would not burn, and the shoes and flounces would not dry; cold and fatigue brought on drowsiness, and drowsiness entailed a lack of wit, if not of good temper in short, there was an inconceivable difference between the bright face of nature without, and the pale faces and heavy eyes of the lords and ladies of the creation within.
"But another natural exhibition was still in reserve for us, which made us forget the cold, and assemble once more on the very highest point of the mountain.
This was the appearance of that beautiful phenomenon, the circular iris, not unfrequently observed among the Alps." pp. 134 139.
A book of travels without one or more dissertations upon inns and por
traits of landlords would be an anomaly; and, lest our review should be one also, we shall offer one of the sketches of a Swiss host, his accommodations, and his guests.
"At this village (Rothenthurm) I found, as I had been informed, accommodations at the Red Ox, though for their super-excellence I have but little to say. A very indifferent soup, à l'eau panné, was served up to me with most execrable wine, and a most uneasy, discreditable bed after that. Mine host, Der Herr President, was the chief part of the evening's entertainment. He was quite a study! A man of large dimensions, very tall and portly, with dirty pantaloons, no coat or cravat, but with an open waistcoat, and an inner garment, of the amplitude of which there could be no suspicion, after noticing the superfluous folds overhanging ..... Yet, under all this questionable garb, I cannot deny but I could detect a considerable portion of dignity and official consequence.
"The common room, in a corner of which I had ensconced myself with my pen and candle, was a long apartment, serving as family-room, guest-chamber, and kitchen, and was furnished accordingly with several sets of tables and chairs, the largest of which was for the greater part of the evening occupied by a number of Swiss, of various ranks, as I afterwards found. The apartment was heated by a large stove occupying a corner of the room, in addition to a log fire on the hearth.
"While his guests were engaged with their indifferent discussions, and still worse wine, Der Herr President perambulated the common room from end to end with his pipe, with an air so erect, and a step so determined, spoke to one or another of his guests at the long table from time to time with an air of such condescension, and had in general so much deference paid him, that it was easy to see that his dignity in the council was not forgotten in the tap-room either by himself or his neighbours. His very shadow seemed to borrow importance from him, and stalked a little after him on the wall, darkening the pewter dishes and saucepans, with corresponding dignity and importance. The titles and bearings of one or two, otherwise very homely looking individuals at the table, were equally remarkable. A personage in a shabby brown coat and woollen small-clothes was always styled,by a neighbour drinking from the same mug, Der Herr Kleiner Raths-Herr (his worship
of the little council), and never failed to return the compliment by replying very respectfully to Der Ober Lieutenant (the first lieutenant); and on a lumpish-looking peasant quitting the company about bedtime, I was equally astonished and amused to hear the remaining dignitaries join in
a full chorus of Guten abend Herr Statthalter! (Good evening, Master Deputy.) Shortly after, Der Fremde Herr (the strange gentleman), whose canton no one could guess, though I heard it attempted, took leave for the night with the best wishes of the assembly." pp. 336, 337.
English travellers, whether in Switzerland, the United States of America, or any other district thinly peopled and not over rich, are apt to be too satirical upon the odd combinations of society (odd, at least, to us, among whom division of labour is carried to minuteness), in which a judge or senator or general keeps open house, and receives strangers, and retails brandy and tobacco; but the people of the place see no incongruity in the matter, any more than in a country shopkeeper selling hats and cheeses. The party is, probably, upon the whole, in point of character, property, and acquirements, as fit a person as can be found for the station; and the circumstances of the neighbourhood do not allow of the dignity being made a suitable maintenance without some superadded profession. We might as fairly expect a Welsh mountain hamlet to support in due state an aurist, dentist, physician, apothecary, and consulting surgeon, as some of the Swiss villages a magistrate or senator, according to our English notions of rank and qualification. The chief evil is, not in the pecuniary, but the mental poverty-the want of intellectual ability for offices that require a larger range of thought and knowledge of mankind and history than usually fall to the share of a half-educated rustic. Hence the laws of states thus situated are often little better than a code of local prejudices; and it is long before the influx of intelligence, accompanying wealth, enlarges their narrow boundaries. It may be, that some of our own country 'squires, who
addict themselves to the making of laws in London, in the interval between the cessation of hunting and the commencement of grouse-shooting in the country, are not really better qualified for such an office
than Der Herr President at Rothen
thurm, or mine host of Schwytz, reverend looking gentleman," who, though Landamman, and the representative of his canton in the general diet, did not scorn to retail brown bread and goat's milk to a traveller on his alpenstock. The plain truth is, that high-sounding names are no necessary indication, in any country, of talent, merit, or even of property; and there is some danger in the present day, lest, this truth having been discovered, it should be followed up too sweepingly, to the destruction of that due respect for rank and station which, though much abused, has its use in regulating the social machinery. One lesson, at least, is abundantly clear,-that, in the present wide diffusion of knowledge, those who have dignities to uphold will find themselves called upon to uphold them under a perilous tenure; and that both character and talent will be expected in all stations of public responsibility.
Notwithstanding the length of our extracts, our traveller will, perhaps, think it due to his manhood that we should not omit a sample of his perilous adventures: we therefore extract the following, which is worth the perusal of any ardent pedestrian who has half resolved to set out some sunshiny morning to explore Switzerland, with no better guide than a chamoishunter's track in a snow-drift, and no companion but a wallet and alpenstock. How far any man has a right, without any adequate object, to expose himself to serious danger, involving the loss of limb or life, we leave to moral casuists to determine.
"As I did not intend to retrace my steps to the hamlet of Oberried, to double the foot of the mountain that separates the head of the Simmenthal from the
Iffigenthal at the foot of the Rawyl, I kept forwards under the great precipices towards the intervening ridge.
this position, I was several times startled by hearing the fall of avalanches on the glaciers above me, and felt a disagreeable qualm, in the contemplation of my exposed situation; for that they frequently came over the brow of the impending precipice I had positive proof, by the soil on which I was treading, and of course I felt more inclined to argue upon the probability than the improbability of one doing so now. But though I heard the thunder of their fall and its echoes, I saw nothing of them; and, gradually emerging on to more elevated ground, pursued a track leading to the pastures, and in about three hours gained the valley of Iffigen.
"After a very hot and fatiguing day's march, I thought it luxury to find one of the châlets in this deep solitude inhabited by a vacher and his family, who agreed to my passing the night upon the hay in one of their remoter out-buildings.
"Retiring from the immediate neighbourhood of this little cluster of summer habitations higher up the valley, it would be difficult to describe the impression of undisturbed solitude produced upon the mind by the contemplation of the stern and barren features of the scenery by which you are surrounded. The eye wanders over the vale and the surface of the huge barrier of grey precipice, without being diverted by any object indicative of the presence or visits of the living creation.
"Perhaps, for one brief portion of the brightest month of summer, the peasant leads a part of his herd from the chalets into these deep recesses, thus spreading over the margin of the torrent, and the grassy slopes at the foot of the precipice, a brief and partial display of life and its duties, and by their presence scaring the chamois and the lämmergeyer (the eagle of the Alps), the sole frequenters of these wilds, to still higher and more inaccessible retreats. To those who consider solitude as absence from mankind and the scenes which link man with society, this would be solitude; but
This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold Converse with nature's charms, and see
her stores unroll'd.
"Soon after eight o'clock in the evening, I scrambled up into the roof of the log-hut, open on all sides to the air, yet hot as a stove in consequence of the steam arising from the bodies of thirty or forty goats lodged below. Here, wrapped up in my mantle, I attempted to get some rest."
"What between the continued chiming of the bells of the cattle, the stirring among the troop beneath me, and a brief but smart thunder-storm, I got but little sleep till towards dawn, and at four o'clock prepared to quit my dormitory, and to resume my journey.
My first business was to hunt about in the hay for certain articles which were
missing from my pockets, chiefly such as were of some consequence to the traveller. It was not till after a very considerable time spent in carefully sifting the six or seven cubit feet upon which I had been rolling and tossing, that I was able to recover the most important; some of smaller value, such as pens and pencils, escaped me altogether, and were, no doubt, eaten by the goats in the course of time, with wonder and relish.
"After procuring what refreshment I could command in my present situation, which was not the best calculated to fortify me for the fatigues of a passage of nine leagues, I exchanged the morning salutation with the vacher and his household, and set forward. The Rawyl-Pass has been elsewhere stated to be situated between the Gemmi and the Sanetsch, both of which were traversed in the summer of the foregoing year. It is less frequented than either.
"As repeated experience had shown me how vexatiously time and energy may be expended in attempting to find the pathway over the broken and perplexing ground at the foot of the precipices, and as I was aware that I should have full employment for both these before I could reach Sion, I got a lad from the châlet to point out this commencement of my route to me, and to keep me in his eye till I should be on the footway leading up the precipices, that at any rate I might not start in a wrong direction.
"This I soon reached, and was led by it in short and uneven zig-zags partly among the rocky fragments fallen from above, and partly on the edge of one of the furrows worn by avalanches and torrents, gradually higher and higher above the little hollow where I had passed the night, till I came to the base of the more precipitous part of the mountain. It then commenced winding along the face of the rock, up and down as it was practicable, till it became a narrow slippery footway, with a perpendicular wall of shaly rock to the right, and an awfully profound abyss to the left. Had I not become by practice a tolerable mountaineer, and my brain much steadier than even in the preceding year, I had not dared to tread over many a portion of the track, and turn many a dizzy corner, which I now found means carefully and steadily to weather. The morning had promised well, with a brisk breeze and clear sky, and had it not been so, I should hardly have ventured to traverse this path alone. I could not resist the conviction which I had been strengthened in, that there was a degree of unusual risk in making the attempt, even under the most favourable circumstances; but habit and success had given me the temper to hazard something without much torment from my conscience.
"I therefore think it just to own, that
I felt something like anxiety creeping over my merry morning thoughts, and damping my wonder and enthusiasm, when I observed bodies of thick white mist beginning to rise among the heights across the valley, and fly more and more towards that part of the chain where the Rawyl was situated.
"When about 1500 feet above Iffigenthal, the path-way becomes more and more hazardous. It leads over the steep courses of avalanches, partly filled with undermined drifts of snow. Here one cascade from the higher part of the precipices flies over the head of the passenger as he creeps between it and the rock; and there, in a black and dismal rift round which the pathway winds, a second falls upon the very ledge upon which you pass, and sweeps down the precipice below you. To be caught in this portion of the passage by a tornado or a violent thunder-gust, which instantly adds to the volume of these cascades, can hardly fail to entail loss of life, which, in this part particularly, not unfrequently occurs in bad weather, and early in the spring.
"After an hour and a half's climb I reached the summit of the precipices without accident, and, on turning the last ledge, had the grief to see all the higher parts of the mountain before me buried in impenetrable mist. I grant that on seeing this I closed my teeth with something like repentance, for I instantly comprehended all the danger of proceeding in a region where one single direction alone could possibly be either safe or right, and all others attended not merely with risk, but the almost absolute certainty of destruction. The pathway up the precipices had emerged upon a flat, of the extent of which I was of course no judge, partly loose wet shale, and partly thick grass, on neither of which the footstep of a casual passenger can make an impression likely to last even many hours in a region where the snow, rain, and wind are always liable to change the appearance of the surface. Thus I was even at a loss to say whether my next step from the brink of the precipice was to be taken to the right or left. My first object was to make myself quite sure of the figure of the spot where I was emerging from the precipices, which without such observation might be lost to me by a casual bewilderment if I only advanced ten paces into the mist. To return was still in my power, but I could not resolve to do so. After breathing awhile, and putting myself in the best trim my means would allow, I began to pry about to see if I could not discover some trace of the continuation of the path I had hitherto followed.
"After many a careful advance and return to my first post, and many minutes spent in this anxious kind of reconnoitre, my eye was attracted to some indentures
at the edge of a drift of snow; and these, after a careful examination, I felt convinced had once been footmarks, though now almost eradicated by the weather. As this bank of snow lay in the right direction, and my own footsteps on it would be my clue in returning, should I find advance impracticable, I set foot upon it. I could distinguish that it was a bed of no great breadth, lying in a steep gully between two ridges, and that was all. Here and there I found a spot where, from circumstances, the footmarks were more distinct, and then again lost them entirely for many minutes.
"I had proceeded in this manner for about half an hour, during which time the gloom appeared to increase, and put me to no little perplexity. However, I floundered forward on the snow with as good hope as I could indulge, though not without many an interval of grievous suspicion; for the snow began to assume more and more the appearance of ice the further I advanced, so much so, that with the increasing difficulty of my path I began to put more credence in an idea that had struck me when I first observed the track, that it might be only that of a chamoishunter, and would lead eventually on to the glaciers. Suddenly, I observed the mist give some faint tokens of dispersion, and could distinguish, at some distance, and high above me, what seemed to be a rocky outlet, bounding the gully in which I had been advancing. To gain this I put forth my strength, but the snow becoming steeper and steeper, an unwary step brought me down on my side, and I was carried down the frozen declivity with a violence and rapidity which accelerated every yard. Two attempts to stop myself by thrusting my alpenstock into the snow failed, though both somewhat retarded the swiftness of my descent. A third, made more warily, and with a desperate exertion, succeeded; and after lying two or three minutes where I stopped, to recover breath, and I may almost say recollection, for the suddenness and rapidity of the motion had made my brain spin, I once more regained my footing. I was a little bruised from having been carried over some fragments of stone lying on the surface; a little disheartened with having descended in twenty seconds or less what had taken me full ten minutes to mount, and a little sore in the idea of having a second slide, if I should succeed in making good the advance I had lost.
"In undertaking this labour a second time, it may be believed I did it warily enough; for at every step I took care to have a tolerably sure footing in the snow; and between every movement, when I reached the hazardous acclivity, down went my spiked staff a foot and a-half beneath the surface. At last, I gained my point, and at the same moment upon reaching the outlet, as it proved to be, I
got upon firm ground, and into clear warm sunshine. I have experienced few more sudden and complete changes, than that which now fell to my lot. A few minutes before, I had been in comparative darkness, trouble, and difficulty, and, what was still worse, great doubt and uncertainty; chilled to the bone by the mist, and fagged with what appeared to be useless exertion: now, certain of my course, with a track before me too evident to be suspected; over my head, the warm sun and the blue sky; and around me one of those magnificent scenes which I always deemed full compensation for many a heavy step, and doubtful moment. The mists below were now rapidly dispersing, and the spectacle on every side became momentarily more exquisite. From the elevated point which I had now reached, I at first seemed raised but a few feet above a rolling ocean of mist, of the most dazzling whiteness, which stretched over the whole country beneath me. Out of this rose all the higher glaciers and peaks of the chain, with the red and purple of their naked rocks, exquisitely blended with the violet and silver of the snows and glaciers interspersed among them; and over all, a sky of the most delicious blue it is possible to conceive. Soon the vapour began to dissipate; and a vast rent gradually forming in the centre of the portion immediately beneath me, I was enabled to contemplate the bottom of the great hollow out of which I had ascended, and could distinguish the clump of châlets in which I had found my night's shelter, still enveloped in deep shade." pp. 247-255.
We have room for only one passage more, which will serve as a suitable close both to our own and our traveller's reflections.
"At the little village of Montreux, the spire of whose Gothic church peeps over the foliage, on the mountain side above the high road from Clarens to Chillon, I found, during the course of a long and glowing summer's evening, a return of that quiet and tranquillity of mind, which had been somewhat impaired during the varied exertions and adventures of the preceding ten or twelve days' march, and which the exterior bustle and agitation of a large town had prevented my recovering at Geneva.
"There are certain scenes, eminently calculated to produce or to nurse this species of calm; and it is by God's mercy that we are so constituted, that the mute eloquence of external objects have such influence over our spirits.
"A village church-yard! there is peace in the very sound. Å retired and silent village church-yard, with its ranks of simple unadorned memorials to the dead; CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 356.
a place where the mourner may weep in secret; where the burdened may pray for relief; where the thoughtless may feel himself incited to think; where the agitated spirit may become calm; and where the wanderer may retire from the hurry and distraction produced in the mind by the rapid changes of situation and circumstance, and the novel forms of men and things, to a scene where there is no novelty; and where all speaks a language known to every heart, in whatever land its ideas and affections may have been nurtured. How many have experienced its influence upon the passing humour and feeling of the hour, whether that were joy or sorrow.
"The dead are of no nation. However strong and deep the lines of distinction which separate men while on the surface of the earth, all are erased for ever, as soon as they are committed to the dust; where all partake of the same corruption, and await the same summons, whatever their country or their parentage, or however far separated the periods of their earthly existence. To a traveller, therefore, a church-yard may be allowed to have a peculiar charm; and, on entering the little enclosure set apart for the repose of the dead, particularly in a foreign country where there exists the same unobtrusive simplicity in the form of sepulture with our own, he may well feel as though he were no longer in a strange land.
"What place so fitting as this to open the heart, to bow the reins, and to turn to God; where the scene around would invite one to number the few brief days that compose the past, and to glance towards the immeasurable and incomprehensible future?
"When seated on the low wall that runs round the edge of the rocky knoll upon which the church of Montreux is perched high upon the mountain side, my thoughts passed rapidly over the events and scenes of the journey which might now be considered as nearly terminated; and I may surely say I felt both thankful and humbled.
"Though we may believe, that the merciful providence of God is ever watchful over his creatures, during every period of their existence, yet there are certain situations, in which the interference of that providence becomes more cognizable, and more strikingly apparent. And when, after the fever of spirit and body produced by constant violent exertion had passed away, I recalled, in solitude and silence, the many moments during the preceding days, when I knew I was risking life and limb, not to speak of hidden dangers of which I was unconscious, I felt self-accusation, and inclined to ask why the providence of God had pursued me even to that moment; and 3 T