Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

to say that the law securing the descent of property of the nobility, there, exclusively to the oldest son, seemed to me very unjust. My companion said he 'gloried in it ;' though he himself was a 'younger son,' he abhorred democracy and equality. And with some more talk I fell asleep, and left him to his cigar.

At two, A. M., we stopped at a place called Peterlinden, and got some coffee in a 'loft.' About daylight, we were riding in sight of Lake Neufchatel, and passed the little village of Morat, where the Swiss heroically defeated an invasion of the Burgundians, in 1440; of which Byron says:*

'There is a spot should not be passed in vain,
Morat! the proud, the patriot field! where man
May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain,t
Nor blush for those who conquered on that plain.

*

*

While Waterloo with Canna's carnage vies,

Morat and Marathon, twin names shall stand.'

It is vastly amusing and edifying to observe the whims and oddities' of the various people one meets with on these routes, or indeed any where. The English and Germans generally like each other, while both dislike the French; and all are equally prejudiced against us poor Americansperhaps not without reason. There are too many young Americans, who ape the worst traits of the English character abroad, and 'ridiculize' themselves by sundry foolish affectations, and a sort of haughty reserve. A couple of

* See also 'Anne of Gierstein.'

+ A heap of bones of the vanquished remain to this day on the field.

Morat-American Deportment-Berne.

these lofty youths at our Scotchman pronounced 'contemptible puppies, for they considered themselves too good to speak to the Misses, because they kept a pension;' and he added, rather rudely and illiberally, that all Americans are alike, when they think they have got money enough to act the aristocrat.' This sweeping charge was not worth notice, and would never be made by the better class of English or Scotch; but it must be owned, there is some ground for it; and it is too bad, that a few dandy upstarts abroad should excite prejudice against the whole of us.

225

At nine this morning, we rode through a long shady avenue, lined with elms, into the handsome town of Berne, the capital of Switzerland. It is built on a peninsula, formed by the windings of a little stream called the Aar, in the midst of an extensive and fertile plain. The two principal streets are long and uniform, the buildings being all of gray stone, projecting on heavy arches over the side-walks. In the Rue Grand are several public fountains, adorned with grotesque figures. At the city-gate, a couple of woodengrisly bears,' (the arms of Canton,) look down upon all visiters, with a scrutinizing but rather inviting glance. The cathedral is a very curious piece of antique architecture, especially the great door, which is elaborately ornamented with emblematical sculpture. But the most attrac tive spot in Berne is the public promenade, by the side of the river, from whence you have a magnificent prospect of the whole range of the Oberland Alps, covered with perpetual snows, probably the most imposing array of moun

tains in the world, at least the finest to be seen at one view. A visit to some of this range, through the valleys of Grindewald and Lauterbrun, is usually a prominent object to the Swiss tourist. Near the summit of one of these peaks, where' winter reigns supreme,' the Jung Frau, is the awful precipice where Byron's Manfred' was stopped by the chamois hunter from taking a final leap.

The city and canton of Berne have always been noted as the most aristocratic of the confederacy, both in laws and in the spirit of the people. Each canton, it seems, has a different costume:* that of the Berne damsels is marked by white starched over-sleeves, extending to the elbows, and a broad black lace ruffle stuck up over the head, which makes them look like Peter Wilkins' flying islanders.

29th.-Like Mr. Cooper, we patronize Le Faucon ;' and the Rev. Mr. Cunningham has invited me among the Anglaise to hear the church service read his room. The principal topic of the day in Berne is the dispute with Louis Philippe, which at present looks rather squally.

Alpnach, Lake of Luzerne, 30th.-The ride from Berne to Thun was very agreeable, notwithstanding I was obliged to take the interieur, among some inveterate smokers. The scenery continued to be beautiful, but very different from that we had passed a few days since the lofty heights' being in full view, but far distant.

6

Thun is a picturesque little village situated in an enchanting place on the Aar, near the head of the lake of the same name, which forms one of a series of the most

The costume is worn only by the peasantry.

227

The Oberlands'-Swiss Lakes, etc.

charming sheets of water in Europe. Instead of the diligence route to Luzerne, I was tempted to enjoy the luxury of a sail over these lakes; and accordingly left Thun yesterday morning in a little steamer, which plies on the 'Thuner See' to Interlachen, another pretty village, situated, as its name implies, between two lakes, Thun and Brientz. It contains several good pensions, and is much frequented by tourists in search of health; and well it may be; for the region round about is a paradise. The air itself is a nosegay, the coarse bread a banquet, and the simple whey of the Alps is worth all the elixirs of the apothecary.' You may not sympathize, perhaps, in my enjoyment of this Swiss tour-would you were here to enjoy it with me!—for I know it is tantalizing to read of the 'fairest places of the earth,' when one must long in vain to be in them; and yet it is pleasant to tell those we love of the pleasant things we have had the good fortune to fall in with.

On our way to Interlachen, from the boat, we passed through the queer and romantic old town of Unterseen. Interlachen is near the Lake of Brientz; and there, with the assistance of an obliging French gentleman, who volunteered as my interpreter, I hired a small boat with four rowers, to take me over the lake to the town of Brientz, a distance of ten miles, where I procured a horse and guide for my luggage, to Lungern, going myself, by way of variety, on foot, over the Brunig Alp. A violent thunderstorm, which had closely pursued us on the lake, overtook me on the summit of the rugged Brunig, and, at the ex

pense of a thorough drenching, I had a fine chance to ob. serve the sublime commotion of the elements; and sure enough,

'Far along

From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaped the live thunder!'

The movements of the clouds beneath me, after the shower, were extremely beautiful and grand; rising in detached masses, gracefully and majestically up the sides of the mountains, and parting slowly from their summits, or from the green vales below, like a veil which had covered a mystery. Huge masses of rock overhang the path in several places, threatening to tumble suddenly upon the unwary traveller, or the cottages below; and abundant are the proofs that' such things have been.'

I have said so much about fine prospects, that the one from the Brunig shall only be referred to, and you may read of it elsewhere. At Lungern, I dined, and hired a chaise to take me, solus, to the Lake of the Four Cantons. The ride was along the banks of two more lakes, Lungern and Sarnen, both of which are of a sea-green color, deep as the blue of the 'Leman.' There was little to remark, except an occasional water-fail, or the ruddy peasant girls on the banks, spinning flax.

At sunset, after traversing four lakes, and a mountain of no mean dimensions, since breakfast, I was received by mine host at the 'Cheval Blanc,' at Alpnach, who is much noted, it seems, as an honest, attentive, and eccentric Swiss publican' of the old school.' The hotels, be it observed,

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »