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around among these luxurious equipages. The assignment was effected by calling out the numbers, of which each passenger held at least one, and the calling was done in German. Now I knew but one German numeral, “zwei,” which I had heard mentioned in my native country in connection with "glass o' lager," and how were my companion and myself to know when the numbers 24,877—8, respectively, were called? Here was a "language lesson” indeed needed. It was "fixed”- a franc slipped into the hand of the gentlemanly and urbane caller solved all difficulties. Somehow, numbers made no difference after that. It was no appreciable time till we were in our “kerridge,” and rolling off, and we had the pleasure of hearing the numeration table in German going on as long as we could hear anything. It really does not make much difference what is your vernacular in Switzerland, so you speak franc-ly.
It was a long ride over a magnificent road-up, up, all the way for miles, though at times the rise was imperceptible. We passed from the shores of one little lake to those of another - a sort of rosary of lakes. The mountains rose close on the one hand, and just across the lake or the narrow green valley, on the other. The base of the mountains is covered with pines or other forest trees, and these are protected by law, as they protect the country below from the avalanches. Nevertheless, you see the long tracks of these descents, like a seam on the mountain-side, at not infrequent intervals. It is astonishing at what angles trees will grow. The pines stand thick where it seems as if the earth must infallibly slip. Above the line of forest, extend in many instances miles of pasture land; for where the trees give up the attempt, the humble grass provokes grim nature to a smile.
Sometimes the grass grows to the very summit, but generally the sky-line is broken by a succession of sharp peaks, having that w-like
appearance which in our mountains is indicated by the word "sierra.” These sharp points are called by the Swiss, "needles,” and it is said that they are crumbling and breaking away; and I have an idea that in the good time coming, say in a billion years or such a matter, the face of nature will be calmer and brighter and more peaceful; rain will fall where is the burning desert now; the volcanoes will be extinguished; and in that golden time, when earth is what Eden was, and even church choirs have ceased to fight, the rugged outlines of the Alps will have greatly changed, and the “needles” will have lost their points, and the victorious grass will wave in triumph where now is the bare and lightning-splintered rock. This description and prediction applies only to the lower Alps; of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the Jungfrau, and that style of mountains, I have little hope. Immense in surface, traversed by tremendous gorges, the dark shadows of which may be seen miles away, crowned with eternal snow, cold, proud, and looking down on other mountains, they will never be ameliorated, but will ever remain magnificent solitudes, broken only by adventurous Englishmen with a passion for breaking their necks.
Scattered over these lofty pastures of which I have spoken, are the Swiss chalets — curious houses, which, perched in these lofty places, look like martin-boxes. How the people get up there, or, having got there, get down again, this deponent knoweth not. These pastures are roamed over by the famous Swiss cattle. One authority says there are about 200,000 cows in Switzerland, and that they are valued at one hundred dollars each. I never saw over a dozen of them; but if you look up at the high pastures with a glass you will see dark specks — those are the cows. They are in color very like the Jerseys, but larger, and have heavy legs, produced, I suppose, by constant climbing. Swiss cheese is found everywhere in Europe: it is quite palatable, though it does not linger in one's memory like Limburg.
In the valley, as we journeyed toward the Brunig Pass, we saw orchards and attempts at farming; but I think the crops from one of the farms might be gathered in the pockets of a good-sized Ulster. The people have other resources: wood carving is one of these, and the work done in this line is astonishingly beautiful. All along the mountain roads women and girls offer for sale fruits, flowers and cakes. In Switzerland the "woman question” is settled by the supremacy of the female. When we doubled our team to make the ascent of the pass, it was a woman who hitched the horses and walked beside them with even steps to the top of the hills. The women are the “business men” everywhere. In the different cantons different female costumes are worn, and photographs of the same pretty girls in the same costumes are for sale everywhere. It would seem that the artist used ap the stock of female loveliness in Switzerland.
All this time we are journeying by the route through the Brunig Pass. We reached the head of the pass at last; and you would like to know what we saw? Then you must go and see for yourself. Everything I ever saw in dreams of lofty mountains; of “airy pinnacles that syllable men's names;" of cataracts bounding in snowy whiteness into mid-air passing away in rainbow-tinted mist; everything I ever saw on canvas of flying
clouds or azure sky; everything I ever imagined in waking hours of forest, dale or stream, was there.
We looked our fill at this beautiful prospect, for our vehicle made a long stop at a little inn just at the head of the pass, and all the passengers save the Doctor and myself got out. Nothing was wanting. It was evening, and it was still.
The road is very steep and very crooked down the descent, but is an admirable specimen of engineering, and we went swiftly and safely down to the lake, where the steamer was waiting. We passed the last hours of daylight on the lake, fortunately having light enough to see the cataract at Giessbach.
It was 9 o'clock at night when by boat and rail we arrived at Interlaken, and here we realized the force of Bishop Heber's line, “Where every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.” A
ccommodating and insolent lot of brutes than those who formed the “staff” of the Victoria Hotel at Interlaken, I never had the ill-fortune to meet before or since. They were too much for us, and we sought safety, "rest and a light, and food and fire,” at the Hotel Ritschard, where we were treated with the utmost humanity.
First impressions, with me at least, settle the business, so I saw nothing agreeable about Interlaken, left it as soon as possible, and regretted that it was necessary to stay so long. The prettiest view about Interlaken, as Dr. Johnson thought about Scotland, is the road leading away from it.
Another little lake voyage on a lovely day brought us to Thun. At this little town is located the artillery school of Switzerland, and here Louis Napoleon, then a captain in the Swiss artillery, passed several years. It was curious to think of a man for a time
80 prominently before the eyes of the world as having once vegetated in this out-of-the-way place, and one wondered in what dreams he may have indulged of future greatness when living his hum-drum life among these mountains.
Evening brought us to Berne, a place which had for years possessed an interest for me, as having been the birth-place of a very dear friend. A queer, Middle-Age sort of place is old Berne. I never saw a town that seemed so full of, say the fourteenth century. The names of the streets, and the aspect of the streets themselves, as seen in the evening-time, all carried one back to the old days. The promenade of the town is the Terrasse, or the cathedral yard. It is surrounded by a parapet, over which you look down a lofty wall into the chimneys of the houses of the mouldy-looking streets along the river bank. An inscription, set in the parapet, tells how a wild student jumped his horse over at that point. The student escaped, became pious from the shock, and was, in afterdays, a clergyman; but this did not essentially benefit the poor horse, who was killed by the fall.
Berne is particularly rich in town pumps, or fountains, of which there are enough to fill simultaneously all the iron teakettles of all the Russians in Kansas. Each of these fountains is ornamented by a graven image of some kind. One represents a fierce-looking reprobate devouring an armful of children. The young ones who are waiting to hear the call of “Next," appear to fully comprehend the horror of the situation. I suppose this statue is intended to keep in order the young Bernese, but those solid specimens of Swiss youth appeared quite indifferent. Coming up street I saw a boy behind a tree with his eyes shut, counting vigorously in German. I knew at once the game of “Hide