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Rollo in Switzerland by Jacob Abbott


CHAPTER I. GETTING A PASSPORT.
CHAPTER II. CROSSING THE FRONTIER.
CHAPTER III. BASLE.
CHAPTER IV. THE DILIGENCE.
CHAPTER V. RIDE TO BERNE.
CHAPTER VI. THE VALLEY OF THE AAR.
CHAPTER VII. INTERLACHEN.
CHAPTER VIII. LAUTERBRUNNEN.
CHAPTER IX. THE WENGERN ALP.
CHAPTER X. GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN.
CHAPTER XI. GLACIERS.
CHAPTER XII. ROLLO A COURIER.
CHAPTER XIII. CONCLUSION.

 

  ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND,

  BY

  JACOB ABBOTT.

  NEW YORK:
  SHELDON &CO., 667 BROADWAY,
  and 214 &216 MERCER ST.,
  Grand Central Hotel.
  1873.

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by JACOB ABBOTT,

  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
  Massachusetts.

 

  [Illustration: ROLLO'S IN EUROPE.]

  ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.

  ORDER OF THE VOLUMES.

  ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC.
  ROLLO IN PARIS.
  ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND.
  ROLLO IN LONDON.
  ROLLO ON THE RHINE.
  ROLLO IN SCOTLAND.
  ROLLO IN GENEVA.
  ROLLO IN HOLLAND.

  [Illustration: MONT BLANC.]

  PRINCIPAL PERSONS OF THE STORY.

  ROLLO; twelve years of age.

  MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling
  in Europe.

  THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.

  JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.

  MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.

ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND.

CHAPTER I. GETTING A PASSPORT.

The last day that Rollo spent in Paris, before he set out on his journey into Switzerland, he had an opportunity to acquire, by actual experience, some knowledge of the nature of the passport system.

Before commencing the narrative of the adventures which he met with, it is necessary to premise that no person can travel among the different states and kingdoms on the continent of Europe without what is called a passport. The idea which prevails among all the governments of the continent is, that the people of each country are the subjects of the sovereign reigning there, and in some sense belong to him. They cannot leave their country without the written permission of the government, nor can they enter any other one without showing this permission and having it approved and stamped by the proper officers of the country to which they wish to go. There are, for example, at Paris ministers of all the different governments of Europe, residing in different parts of the city; and whoever wishes to leave France, to go into any other kingdom, must first go with his passport to the ministers of the countries which he intends to visit and get them to put their stamp upon it. This stamp represents the permission of the government whose minister affixes it that the traveller may enter the territory under their jurisdiction. Besides this, it is necessary to get permission from the authorities of Paris to leave the city. Nobody can leave France without this. This permission, too, like the others, is given by a stamp upon the passport. To get this stamp, the traveller must carry or send his passport to the great central police office of Paris, called the prefecture of police. Now, as the legations of the different governments and the prefecture of police are situated at very considerable distances from each other about the city, and as it usually takes some time to transact the business at each office, and especially as the inexperienced traveller often makes mistakes and goes to the wrong place, or gets at the right place at the wrong hour, it usually requires a whole day, and sometimes two days, to get his passport all right so as to allow of his setting out upon his journey. These explanations are necessary to enable the reader to understand what I now proceed to relate in respect to Rollo.

One morning, while Rollo and Jennie were at breakfast with their father and mother, Rollo's uncle George came in and said that he had concluded to go and make a little tour in Switzerland. “I shall have three weeks,” said he, “if I can get away to-morrow; and that will give me time to take quite a little run among the mountains. I have come now to see if you will let Rollo go with me.”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo, very eagerly, and rising at once from his chair. “Yes, sir. Let me go with him. That's exactly the thing. Yes, sir.”

“Have you any objection?” said Mr. Holiday, quietly, turning towards Rollo's mother.

“No,” said Mrs. Holiday, speaking, however, in a very doubtful tone,—“no; I don't know that I have—any great objection.”

Whatever doubt and hesitation Mrs. Holiday might have had on the subject was dispelled when she came to look at Rollo and see how eager and earnest he was in his desire to go. So she gave her definitive consent.

“How long do you think you will be gone?” said Mr. Holiday.

“Three weeks, nearly,” replied Mr. George. “Say twenty days.”

“And how much do you suppose it will cost you?” asked Mr. Holiday.

“I have made a calculation,” said Mr. George; “and I think it will cost me, if I go alone, about twenty-five francs a day for the whole time. There would, however, be a considerable saving in some things if two go together.”

“Then I will allow you, Rollo,” replied Mr. Holiday, looking towards Rollo, “twenty-five francs a day for this excursion. If you spend any more than that, you must take it out of your past savings. If you do not spend it all, what is left when you come back is yours.”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo. “I think that will be a great plenty.”

“Twenty-five francs a day for twenty days,” continued Mr. Holiday, “is five hundred francs. Bring me that bag of gold, Rollo, out of my secretary. Here is the key.”

So Rollo brought out the gold, and Mr. Holiday took from it twenty-five Napoleons. These he put in Rollo's purse.

“There,” said Mr. Holiday, “that's all I can do for you. For the rest you must take care of yourself.”

“How long will it take you to pack your trunk?” said Mr. George.

“Five minutes,” said Rollo, promptly, standing up erect as he said it and buttoning his jacket up to his chin.

“Then put on your cap and come with me,” said Mr. George.

Rollo did so. He followed Mr. George down stairs to the door, and they both got into a small carriage which Mr. George had waiting there and drove away together towards Mr. George's hotel.

“Now, Rollo,” said Mr. George, “I have got a great deal to do to-day, and there are our passports to be stamped. I wonder if you could not attend to that.”

“Yes,” said Rollo, “if you will only tell me what is to be done.”

“I don't myself know what is to be done,” said Mr. George. “That's the difficulty. And I have not time to find out. I have got as much as I can possibly do until four o'clock; and then the office of the prefecture of police is closed. Now, if you can take the passports and find out what is to be done, and do it, then we can go to-morrow; otherwise we must wait till next day.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I'll try.”

“You will find the passports, then, on my table at the hotel. I am going to get out at the next street and take another carriage to go in another direction. You can keep this carriage.”

“Very well,” said Rollo.

“You may make inquiries of any body you please,” said Mr. George, “except your father and mother. We must not trouble your father with any business of any kind till he gets entirely well; and your mother would not know any thing about it at all. Perhaps the master of the hotel can tell you. You had better ask him, at any rate.”

Here Mr. George pulled the string for the carriage to stop, as they had arrived at the corner of the street where he was to get out. The coachman drew up to the sidewalk and stopped. Mr. George opened the door and stepped out upon the curbstone, and then said, as he shut the door,—

“Well, good by, Rollo. I hope you will have good luck. But, whatever happens, keep a quiet mind, and don't allow yourself to feel perplexed or troubled. If you don't succeed in getting the passports ready to-day we can attend to them to-morrow and then go the next day, which will answer nearly as well.”

Then, directing the coachman to drive to the hotel, Mr. George walked rapidly away.

When Rollo reached the hotel he got the key of his uncle George's room, at the porter's lodge, and went immediately up to see if the passports were there. He found them, as his uncle had said, lying on the table.

“Now,” said Rollo, “the first thing I'll do is to find Carlos and see if he will go and help me get the passports stamped.”[1]

So, taking the passports in his hand, he went along the corridor till he came to the door leading to the apartments where Carlos lodged. There was a bell hanging by the side of the door. Rollo pulled this cord, and presently the courier came to the door.[2] Rollo inquired for Carlos, and the courier said that he would go and get him. In the mean time the courier asked Rollo to step in and take a seat. So Rollo went in. The room that he entered was a small one, and was used as an antechamber to the apartment; and it was very neatly and pleasantly furnished for such a purpose. There were a sofa and several chairs, and maps and pictures on the walls, and a table with writing materials on it in the centre. Rollo sat down upon the sofa. In a few minutes Carlos came.

“Look here!” said Rollo, rising when Carlos came in. “See these passports! We're going to get them stamped. Will you go with me? I have got a carriage at the door.”

Here Rollo made a sort of whirling motion with his hand, advancing it forward at the same time as it rolled, to indicate the motion of a wheel. This was to signify to Carlos that they were going in a carriage.

All that Carlos understood was, that Rollo was going somewhere, and that he wished him, Carlos, to go too. He seemed very much pleased with his invitation, and went eagerly back into the inner apartments. He returned in a very few minutes with his cap in his hand, evidently all ready to go.

“Now,” said Rollo, as they went out of the antechamber together, “the first thing is to go and ask the master of the hotel what we are to do.”

There was a very pleasant little room on the lower floor, on one side of the archway which formed the entrance into the court of the hotel from the street, that served the purpose of parlor, sitting room, counting room, and office. Thus it was used both by the master of the hotel himself and by his family. There was a desk at one side, where the master usually sat, with his books and papers before him. At the other side, near a window, his wife was often seated at her sewing; and there were frequently two or three little children playing about the floor with little wagons, or tops, or other toys. Rollo went to this room, occupying himself as he descended the stairs in trying to make up a French sentence that would ask his question in the shortest and simplest manner.

He went in, and, going to the desk, held out his passports to the man who was sitting there, and said, in French,—

“Passports. To Switzerland. Where to go to get them stamped?”

“Ah,” said the master of the hotel, taking the passports in his hand. “Yes, yes, yes. You must get them stamped. You must go to the Swiss legation and to the prefecture of police.”

Here Rollo pointed to a piece of paper that was lying on the desk and made signs of writing.

“Ah, yes, yes, yes,” said the man. “I will write you the address.”

So the man took a piece of paper and wrote upon the top of it the words “prefecture of police,” saying, as he wrote it, that every coachman knew where that was. Then, underneath, he wrote the name of the street and number where the Swiss legation was; and, having done this, he gave the paper to Rollo.

Rollo took the memorandum, and, thanking the man for his information, led Carlos out to the carriage.

“Come, Carlos,” said he; “now we are ready. I know where to go; but I don't know at all what we are to do when we get there. But then we shall find some other people there, I suppose, getting their passports stamped; and we can do as they do.”

Rollo had learned to place great reliance on the rule which his uncle George had given for his guidance in travelling; namely, to do as he saw other people do. It is, in fact, a very excellent rule.

Carlos got into the carriage; while Rollo, looking upon the paper in order to be sure that he understood the words right, said, “To the prefecture of police.”

The coachman said, “Yes, yes;” and Rollo got into the coach. The coachman, without leaving his seat, reached his arm down and fastened the door and then drove away.

He drove on through various crowded streets, which seemed to lead in towards the heart of the city, until at last the carriage came to the river. Rollo and Carlos looked out and saw the bridges, and the parapet wall which formed the river side of the street, with the book stalls, and picture stalls, and cake and fruit booths which had been established along the side of it, and the monstrous bathing houses which lay floating on the water below, all gayly painted and adorned with flags and little parterres of flowers; and the washing houses, with their long rows of windows, down close to the water, all filled with women, who were washing clothes by alternately plunging them in the water of the river and then banging them with clubs. These and a great many other similar objects attracted their attention as they rode along.

If the reader of this book has the opportunity to look at a map of Paris, he will see that the River Seine, in passing through the town, forms two channels, which separate from each other so as to leave quite a large island between them. This island is completely covered with streets and buildings, some of which are very ancient and venerable. Here is the great Cathedral Church of Notre Dame; also the vast hospital called Hotel Dieu, where twelve thousand sick persons are received and taken care of every year. Here also is the prefecture of police—an enormous establishment, with courts, quadrangles, ranges, offices, and officers without number. In this establishment the records are kept and the business is transacted relating to all the departments of the police of the city; so that it is of itself quite a little town.

The first indication which Rollo had that he had arrived at the place was the turning in of the coach under an arch, which opened in the middle of a very sombre and antique-looking edifice. The carriage, after passing through the arch, came into a court, where there were many other carriages standing. Soldiers were seen too, some coming and going and others standing guard. The carriage passed through this court, and then, going under another arch between two ponderous iron gates, it came into another court, much larger than the first. There were a great many carriages in this court, some moving in or out and others waiting. Rollo's carriage drove up to the farthest corner of the court; and there the coachman stopped and opened the door. Rollo got out. Carlos followed him.

“Where do you suppose we are to go, Carlos?” said he. “Stop; I can see by the signs over the doors. Here it is. “Passports.” This must be the place. We will go in here.”

Rollo accordingly went in, Carlos timidly following him. After crossing a sort of passage way, he opened another door, which ushered him at once into a very large hall, the aspect of which quite bewildered him. There were a great many desks and tables about the hall, with clerks writing at them, and people coming and going with passports and permits in their hands. Rollo stepped forward into the room, surveying the scene with great curiosity and wonder, when his attention was suddenly arrested by the voice of a soldier, who rose suddenly from his chair, and said,—

“Your cap, young gentleman.”

Rollo immediately recollected that he had his cap on, while all the other people in the room were uncovered. He took his cap off at once, saying to the soldier at the same time, “Pardon, sir,” which is the French mode of making an apology in such cases. The soldier then resumed his seat, and Rollo and Carlos walked on slowly up the hall.

Nobody took any notice of them. In fact, every one seemed busy with his own concerns, except that in one part of the room there were several benches where a number of men and women were sitting as if they were waiting for something.

Rollo advanced towards these seats, saying to Carlos,—

“Carlos, let us sit down here a minute or two till we can think what we had better do. We can sit here, I know. These benches must be for any body.”

As soon as Rollo had taken his seat and began to cast his eyes about the room, he observed that among the other desks there was one with the words, “for foreigners,” upon it, in large, gilt letters.

“Carlos,” said he, pointing to it, “that must be the place for us. We are foreigners: let us go there. We will give the passports to the man in that little pew.”

So Rollo rose, and, followed by Carlos, he went to the place. There was a long desk, with two or three clerks behind it, writing. At the end of this desk was a small enclosure, where a man sat who looked as though he had some authority. People would give him their passports, and he would write something on them and then pass them over to the clerks. Rollo waited a moment and then handed his passports in. The man took them, looked over them and then gave them back to Rollo, saying something in French which Rollo did not understand, and immediately passed to the next in order.

“What did he say?” said Rollo, turning to Carlos.

[Illustration: THE PREFECTURE OF POLICE.]

“What's the reason he won't take your passports?” said Carlos.

Although Rollo did not understand what the official said at the time of his speaking, still the words left a trace upon his ear, and in thinking upon them he recalled the words “American legation,” and also the word “afterwards.” While he was musing on the subject, quite perplexed, a pleasant-looking girl, who was standing there waiting for her turn, explained to him—speaking very slow in French, for she perceived that Rollo was a foreigner—as follows:—

“He says that you must go first and get your passports stamped at the American legation and afterwards come here.”

“Where is the American legation?” said Rollo.

“I don't know,” said the girl.

“Then I'll make the coachman find it for me,” said Rollo. “Come, Carlos; we must go back.”

So saying, he thanked the girl for her kindness, and the two boys went out. As he was going out Rollo made up a French sentence to say to the coachman that he must drive to the American legation, and that he must find out where it was himself. He succeeded in communicating these directions to the coachman, and then he and Carlos got into the carriage and drove away.

The coachman had some difficulty in learning where the American legation was, which occasioned some delay. Besides, the distance was considerable. It was nearly two miles to the place from the prefecture of police; so that it was some time before the carriage arrived there. In fact, Rollo had a very narrow escape in this stage of the affair; for he arrived at the American legation only about five minutes before the office was to be closed for the day. When he went to the porter's lodge to ask if that was the place where the office of the American legation was held, the woman who kept the lodge, and who was standing just outside the door at the time, instead of answering, went in to look at the clock.

“Ah,” said she, “you are just in time. I thought you were too late. Second story, right-hand door.”

“There's one thing good about the American legation, Carlos,” said Rollo; “and that is, that they can talk English, I suppose.”

This was, indeed, a great advantage. Rollo found, when he went into the office of the legation, that the secretary not only could talk English, but that he was a very kindhearted and agreeable man. He talked with Rollo in English and with Carlos in Spanish. Both the boys were very much pleased with the reception they met with. The necessary stamps were promptly affixed to the passports; and then the boys, giving the secretary both an English and a Spanish good by, went down stairs to the carriage again. They directed the coachman to drive as quick as possible to the Swiss legation, showing him the address which Rollo's uncle had given them. They then got into the carriage, and the coachman drove away.

“Now, Carlos,” said Rollo, “we are all right; that is, if we only get to the Swiss legation before it is shut up.”

“He said he had been in Madrid,” rejoined Carlos. “He was there three months.”

“I believe,” added Rollo, “that uncle George said it did not close till three; and it is only two now.”

“And he knew the street my father lived in very well,” said Carlos.

Very soon the carriage stopped at the place which the coachman said was the Swiss legation. Rollo got out and went to the porter's lodge with the passports in his hand. The woman in charge knew at once what he wanted, and, without waiting to hear him finish the question which he began to ask, directed him “to the second story on the right.”

Rollo went up the staircase till he came to the door, and there pulled the cord.

A clerk opened the door. Rollo held out the passports.

“Enter there,” said the clerk, in French, pointing to an inner door.

Rollo went in and found there a very pleasant little room, with cases of books and papers around it, and maps and plans of Switzerland and of Swiss towns upon the wall. The clerk took the passports and asked the boys to sit down. In a few minutes the proper stamps were affixed to them both and the proper signatures added. The clerk then said that there was the sum of six francs to pay. Rollo paid the money, and then he and Carlos went down stairs.

They now returned to the prefecture of police. They went in as they had done before, and gave the passports to the man who was seated in the little enclosure in the foreigner's part of the room. He took them, examined the new stamps which had been put upon them, and then said, “Very well. Take a seat a little minute.”

Rollo and Carlos sat down upon one of the benches to wait; but the little minute proved to be nearly half an hour. They were not tired of waiting, however, there was so much to amuse and interest them going on in the room.

“I am going to watch and see what the foreigners do to get their passports,” said Rollo, in an undertone, to Carlos; “for we must do the same.”

In thus watching, Rollo observed that from time to time a name was called by one of the clerks behind the desk, and then some of the persons waiting on the seats would rise and go to the place. After stopping there a few minutes, he would take his passport and carry it into an inner room to another desk, where something was done to it. Then he would bring it out to another place, where it was stamped once or twice by a man who seemed to have nothing else to do but to stamp every body's passport when they came out. By watching this process in the case of the others, Rollo knew exactly what to do when his name was called; so that, in about half an hour from the time that he went into the office, he had the satisfaction of coming out and getting into his carriage with the passports all in order for the journey to Switzerland.

When he got home and showed them to Mr. George, his uncle looked them over carefully; and, when he found that the stamp of the police was duly affixed to them both,—knowing, as he did, that those would not be put on till all the others were right,—he said,—

“Well, Rollo, you've done it, I declare. I did not think you were so much of a man.”

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Carlos was a Spanish boy, who was residing at this time at the same hotel with Mr. George. The manner in which Rollo became acquainted with him is related in Rollo in Paris. Carlos did not understand English, nor Rollo Spanish; but when they were together they usually kept talking all the time, each in his own way.]

[Footnote 2: A courier is a travelling servant and guide.]

CHAPTER II. CROSSING THE FRONTIER.

On the morning when Mr. George and Rollo were about setting out for Switzerland, Rollo, having got every thing ready himself half an hour before the time, took out his map of Europe and asked his uncle George what route they were going to take. Mr. George was busy at that time putting the last things into his trunk and making ready to lock it up and strap it; so he could not come to Rollo to show him the route, but was obliged to describe it.

“Have you found Paris?” said he.

“Yes,” said Rollo; “I have got my finger on it.”

“In the first place, then,” said Mr. George, “there is a railway that goes east from Paris a hundred miles across France to Strasbourg on the Rhine. See if you can find Strasbourg on the Rhine.”

“Yes,” said Rollo; “here it is.”

“Then,” said Mr. George, “we take another railway and go south, up the Rhine, towards Switzerland.”

Down the Rhine,” said Rollo, correcting his uncle; “it is down.”

“No,” rejoined Mr. George. “It is down on the map; that is, it is down the page; but it is really up the river. The Rhine flows to the north. It collects the waters of a hundred glaciers in Switzerland and carries them north into the North Sea.”

“Well,” said Rollo.

“This railway,” continued Mr. George, “will take us up from Strasbourg, along the bank of the Rhine, to Basle, which is in Switzerland, just across the frontier. It is there, I suppose, that we shall have to show our passports; and then we shall know if you got them stamped right.”

“I did get them stamped right, I am very sure,” said Rollo.

“Boys are generally very sure that what they do is done right,” rejoined Mr. George.

Soon after this Mr. George and Rollo took their seats in the carriage, which had been for some time standing ready for them in the court yard of the inn, and drove to the Strasbourg station.

Rollo was greatly interested and excited, when he arrived at the Strasbourg station, to see how extensive and magnificent it was. The carriage entered, with a train of other carriages, through a great iron gate and drew up at the front of a very spacious and grand-looking building. Porters, dressed in a sort of uniform, which gave them in some degree the appearance of soldiers, were ready to take the two trunks and carry them in. The young gentlemen followed the porters, and they soon found themselves ushered into an immense hall, very neatly and prettily arranged, with great maps of the various railways painted on the walls between the windows on the front side, and openings on the back side leading to ticket offices or waiting rooms. There were seats along the sides of this hall, with groups of neatly-dressed travellers sitting upon them. Other travellers were walking about, attending to their baggage or making inquiries of the porter or policemen. Others still were standing at the openings of the ticket offices buying their tickets. What chiefly struck Rollo's attention, however, and impressed his mind, was the air of silence, order, and decorum which prevailed and which gave to the station an aspect so different from that of an American station. It is true, the hall was very large, and there were a great many people in it going and coming; but they all walked decorously and quietly,—they spoke in an undertone,—and the presence of so many railway officials in their several uniforms, and of police officers with their badges, and here and there a soldier on guard, gave to the whole scene quite a solemn and imposing appearance.

Rollo gazed about the apartment as he came in, surveying the various objects and groups that presented themselves to his view, until his eye rested upon a little party of travellers, consisting of a lady and two boys, who were standing together near a low railing, waiting for the gentleman who was with them to come back from the ticket office with their tickets. What chiefly attracted Rollo's attention, however, was a pretty little dog, with very long ears, and black, glossy hair, which one of the children held by a cord. The cord was attached to the dog's neck by a silver collar.

Rollo looked at this group for a few minutes—his attention being particularly occupied by the dog,—and then turned again towards his uncle, or rather towards the place where his uncle had been standing; but he found, to his surprise, that he was gone.

In a moment, however, he saw his uncle coming towards him. He was clasping his wallet and putting it in his pocket.

“Uncle George,” said he, “see that beautiful little dog!”

“Yes,” said Mr. George.

“I wish I had such a dog as that to travel with me,” said Rollo. “But, uncle George where are we to get our tickets?”

“I've got mine,” said Mr. George. “When I come to a railway station I always get my ticket the first thing, and look at the pretty little dogs afterwards.”

So saying, Mr. George took a newspaper out of his pocket and began to walk away, adding, as he went,—

“I'll sit down here and read my newspaper till you have got your ticket, and then we will go into the waiting room.”

“But, uncle George,” said Rollo, “why did not you get me a ticket when you got yours?”

“Because,” said Mr. George, “among other reasons, I did not know which class carriage you wished to go in.”

“Why, uncle George!” exclaimed Rollo, surprised. “I must go in the same carriage that you do of course.”

“Not of course,” said Mr. George. “I have got a ticket in the first class; and I should like to have your company in my car very much if you choose to pay the price for a first-class ticket. But if you choose to take a second or a third-class ticket you will save, perhaps, half your money.”

So saying, Mr. George went away and left Rollo to himself.

This was the way that Mr. George always treated Rollo when he was travelling with him. He left him to act for himself and to take care of himself in almost all the emergencies that occurred. He did this, not because he wished to save himself the trouble of taking care of a boy, but because he thought it was much better for boys early to learn to take care of themselves.

The manner in which Mr. George thus threw the responsibility upon Rollo seemed sometimes to be a little blunt. One would suppose, in some of these cases, from the way in which he spoke and acted, that he did not care at all what became of Rollo, so coolly and with such an air of unconcern did he leave him to his own resources. In fact, Rollo was frequently at such times a little frightened, or at least perplexed, and often, at first, felt greatly at a loss to know what to do. But, on reflecting a little upon the subject, he usually soon succeeded in extricating himself from the difficulty; and then he was always quite proud of having done so, and was pleased with his uncle George for having given him the opportunity. So Mr. George, having learned by experience that Rollo liked, on the whole, to be treated in this way, always adopted it; and in carrying it out he sometimes spoke and acted in such a way as might, under other circumstances have appeared somewhat stern.

The idea of taking a second-class car for himself in order to save a portion of his money, while his uncle went in one of the first-class, took Rollo's imagination strongly, and he was half inclined to adopt it.

“On the whole,” said he to himself, “I will not do it to-day; but I will some other day. And now I wonder which is the ticket office for Strasbourg.”

So saying, Rollo looked about the room and soon found the proper place to apply for his ticket. He procured a ticket without any difficulty, asking for it in French, with a pronunciation which, if it was not perfectly correct, was at least perfectly intelligible. As soon as he had received his ticket and had taken up his change he went to the bench where his uncle George was sitting and said that he was ready.

“Well,” said Mr. George, “then we'll go. I like to travel with a boy that is capable of taking care of himself and is willing to be treated like a man.”

Saying these words, Mr. George rose from his seat, and, after attending properly to the baggage, he and Rollo passed through a door guarded by a man in uniform, who required them to show him their tickets before he would allow them to pass, and then entered a spacious apartment which was reserved as the waiting room for the first-class passengers. This room was beautifully finished and richly adorned, and the splendid sofas and ottomans which were ranged about the sides of it were occupied by well-dressed ladies and gentlemen, carrying shawls, greatcoats, and small travelling bags upon their arms, and exhibiting other similar indications of their being travellers. Mr. George and Rollo took seats at a vacant place upon one of the sofas. In a few minutes an officer came and informed the company, in a very respectful manner, that the train was ready; whereupon they all rose from their seats and walked out upon the platform where the train was waiting. Here there were several railway servants, all dressed in uniform, whose business it was to conduct the passengers to the several cars, or carriages, as they call them, and open the doors. These carriages were entirely different in their construction from the long and open cars used in America, which form but one compartment, that extends through the whole length of the car. The French cars were like three elegant carriages, joined together in such a manner that, though the three formed but one car, they were still entirely distinct from each other. The seats in these carriages were very spacious, and they were richly stuffed and lined, so that they formed soft and luxurious places of repose. The railway porter opened one of the doors and admitted Mr. George and Rollo, and when they had entered he closed it again.

“Ah,” said Rollo, seating himself upon the soft cushion on one of the seats, “is not this superb? I am very glad I did not take a second-class car.”

“And yet the second-class cars in France are very comfortable and very respectable,” said Mr. George, “and they are very much cheaper.”

“How much should we have saved,” asked Rollo, “in going to Strasbourg, if we had taken a second-class car?”

“I don't know, precisely,” said Mr. George. “We should have saved a great deal.”

The train now began to move; and, soon after it left the station, Mr. George took out his newspaper again and began to read. It was a copy of a very celebrated newspaper, called the London Times. Mr. George had another London paper which was full of humorous engravings. The name of it was Punch. Mr. George gave the Punch to Rollo, thinking that the pictures and caricatures in it might perhaps amuse him; but Rollo, after turning it over a moment, concluded that he should prefer to amuse himself by looking out the window.

[Illustration: IN THE CAR.]

Rollo saw a great many beautiful views and witnessed a great many strange and striking scenes as he was whirled onward by the train across the country from Paris towards Strasbourg. We cannot, however, stop to describe what he saw, but must hasten on to the Swiss frontier. The travellers arrived at Strasbourg in the evening. They spent the night at a hotel; and the next morning they took another railway which led along the bank of the Rhine, up the river, towards Switzerland. The country was magnificent. There was the river on one side, and a range of mountains rising sublimely in the interior on the other. The mountains were at a distance of several miles from the river; and the country between was an extremely fertile and luxuriant plain, covered with villages, castles, parks, pleasure grounds, gardens, and cultivated fields, which presented every where most enchanting pictures of rural beauty. This province is called Alsatia.

The terminus of the railway was at the city of Basle, which lies just within the confines of Switzerland. A short distance before reaching the gates of Basle, the train stopped at what seemed at first to be a station. It was, however, only the custom house, where the trunks and passports were to be examined.

“What are we to do here,” asked Rollo.

I am going to do what I see other people do,” replied Mr. George. “You can do whatever you please.”

At this moment a guard, dressed, like all the other railway servants, in a sort of uniform, opened the door of the car in which Mr. George and Rollo were sitting, and said in a very respectful manner, in French,—

“The custom house, gentlemen.”

Mr. George observed that the passengers were getting out from all the other cars; so he stepped out too, and Rollo followed him.

When they reached the platform they observed that a company of porters were employed in carrying all the trunks and baggage from the cars to the custom house, and that the passengers were going into the custom house too, though by another door. Mr. George and Rollo went in with them. They found an office within, and a desk, where one or two secretaries sat and examined the passports of the travellers as they successively presented them. As fast as they were examined they were impressed with a new stamp, which denoted permission for the travellers to pass the Swiss frontier. The several travellers, as fast as their passports were examined, found right, and stamped, were allowed to pass between two soldiers through a door into another hall, where they found all the trunks and baggage arranged on a sort of counter, which extended around the centre of the room, so as to enclose a square place within. The custom-house officers who were to examine the baggage were within this enclosure, while the travellers who owned the baggage stood without. These last walked around the counter, looking at the trunks, boxes, bundles, and carpet bags that covered it, each selecting his own and opening the several parcels, in order that the officers within might examine them.

The object of examining the trunks of passengers in this way is, to ascertain that they have not any goods concealed in them. As a general thing, persons are not allowed to take goods from one country to another without paying a tax for them. Such a tax is called technically a duty, and the avails of it go to support the government of the country which the goods are carried into. Travellers are allowed to take with them all that is necessary for their own personal use, as travellers, without paying any duty; but articles that are intended for sale as merchandise, or those which, though intended for the traveller's own use, are not strictly personal, are liable to pay duty. The principle is, that whatever the traveller requires for his own personal use, in travelling, is not liable to duty. What he does not so require must pay duty, no matter whether he intends to use it himself or to sell it.

Many travellers do not understand this properly, and often get into difficulty by not understanding it, as we shall see in the sequel.

Mr. George and Rollo went into the baggage room together, showing their passports as they passed through between the soldiers. They then walked slowly along the room, looking at the baggage, as it was arranged upon the counter, in search of their own.

“I see my trunk,” said Mr. George, looking along at a little distance before him. “There it is.”

“And where do you suppose mine is?” asked Rollo.

“I have not the least idea,” said Mr. George. “I advise you to walk all around the room and see if you can find it; and when you find it, get it examined.”

Rollo, taking this advice, walked on, leaving Mr. George in the act of taking out his key in order to open his trunk for the purpose of allowing an officer to inspect it as soon as one should be ready.

Rollo soon found his trunk. It was in a part of the room remote from his uncle's. Near his trunk was a very large one, which the officers were searching very thoroughly. They had found something in it which was not personal baggage and which the lady had not declared. Rollo could not see what the article was which the officers had found. It was something contained in a pretty box. The lady had put it into the bottom of her trunk. The officers had taken it out, and were now examining it. The lady stood by, seemingly in great distress.

Rollo's attention, which had begun to be attracted by this scene, was, however, almost immediately called off from it by the voice of another officer, who pointed to his trunk and asked him if it was his.

“Is that yours?” said the officer, in French.

“Yes,” replied Rollo, in the same language, “it is mine;” and so saying, he proceeded to take out his key and unlock the trunk.

“Have you any thing to declare?” asked the man.

Rollo looked perplexed. He did not know what the officer meant by asking him if he had any thing to declare. After a moment's hesitation he said,—

“I don't know; but I will go ask my uncle.”

So Rollo went to the place where he had left his uncle George, and accosted him by saying,—

“They want to know if I have any thing to declare. What do they mean?”

“They mean whether you have any goods in your trunk that are liable to pay duty. Tell them no.”

So Rollo went back and told the officer that he had not any thing to declare. He then opened his trunk; but the officer, instead of examining it, shut down the lid, saying, “Very well;” and by means of a piece of chalk he marked it upon the top with some sort of character. A porter then took the trunk and carried it back to the train.

Rollo perceived that the difficulty about the lady's baggage had been settled in some way or other, but he feared it was settled in a manner not very satisfactory to the lady herself; for, as the porters took up her trunk to carry it back, she looked quite displeased and out of humor.

Rollo went back to the place where he had left his uncle George, and then they went together out to the platform. Here Rollo found the lady who had had difficulty about her baggage explaining the case to some friends that she found there. She seemed to be very indignant and angry, and was telling her story with great volubility. Rollo listened for a moment; but she spoke so rapidly that he could not understand what she said, as she spoke in French.

“What does she say?” he asked, speaking to Mr. George.

“She says,” replied Mr. George, “that they were going to seize something that she had in her trunk because she did not declare it.”

“What does that mean?” said Rollo.

“Why, the law is,” said Mr. George, “that when people have any thing in their trunks that is dutiable, if they declare it, that is, acknowledge that they have it and show it to the officers, then they have only to pay the duty, and they may carry the article in. But if they do not declare it, but hide it away somewhere in their trunks, and the officers find it there, then the thing is forfeited altogether. The officers seize it and sell it for the benefit of the government.”

“O, uncle George!” exclaimed Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “that is what they do; and it is right. If people wish to bring any thing that is subject to duty into any country they ought to be willing to pay the duty, and not, by refusing to pay, make other people pay more than their share.”

“If one man does not pay his duty,” rejoined Rollo, “do the others have to pay more?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “in the end they do. At least I suppose so. Whatever the amount of money may be that is required for the expenses of government, if one man does not pay his share, the rest must make it up, I suppose.”

“They did not look into my trunk at all,” said Rollo. “Why didn't they? I might have had ever so many things hid away there.”

“I suppose they knew from the circumstances of the case,” said Mr. George, “that you would not be likely to have any smuggled goods in your trunk. They saw at once that you were a foreign boy, and knew that you must be coming to Switzerland only to make a tour, and that you could have no reason for wishing to smuggle any thing into the country. They scarcely looked into my trunk at all.”

While Mr. George and Rollo had been holding this conversation they had returned to their places in the car, and very soon the train was in motion to take them into the town.

Thus our travellers passed the Swiss frontier. In half an hour afterwards they were comfortably established at a large and splendid hotel called the Three Kings. The hotel has this name in three languages, English, French, and German, as people speaking those several languages come, in almost equal numbers, to Switzerland. Thus when you leave the station you may, in your directions to the coachman, say you wish to go to the Three Kings, or to the Trois Rois, or to the Drei Koenige, whichever you please. They all mean the same hotel—the best hotel in Basle.

CHAPTER III. BASLE.

The city of Basle stands upon the banks of the Rhine, on the northern frontier of Switzerland. The waters of the Rhine are gathered from hundreds of roaring and turbid torrents which come out, some from vast icy caverns in the glaciers, some from the melting debris of fallen avalanches, some from gushing fountains which break out suddenly through crevices in the rocks or yawning chasms, and some from dark and frightful ravines on the mountain sides, down which they foam and tumble perpetually, fed by vast fields of melting snow above. The waters of all these torrents, being gathered at last into one broad, and deep, and rapid stream, flow to a vast reservoir called the Lake of Constance, where they repose for a time, or, rather, move slowly and insensibly forward, enjoying a comparative quiescence which has all the characteristics and effects of repose. The waters enter this reservoir wild and turbid. They leave it calm and clear; and then, flowing rapidly for one hundred miles along the northern frontier of Switzerland, and receiving successively the waters of many other streams that have come from hundreds of other torrents and have been purified in the repose of other lakes extending over the whole northern slope of Switzerland, they form a broad and rapid river, which flows swiftly through Basle, and then, turning suddenly to the northward, bids Basle and Switzerland farewell together.

“And then where does it go?” said Rollo to Mr. George when his uncle had explained this thus far to him.

“Straight across the continent to the North Sea,” said Mr. George.

Thus the whole northern slope of Switzerland is drained by a system of waters which, when united at Basle, form the River Rhine.

The morning after Mr. George and Rollo arrived at Basle they were looking out upon the River Rhine from the windows of the hotel.

“What a swift river!” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George.

“And how blue the water is!” continued Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “The water of the streams which come from the Swiss mountains is turbid at first and very gray from the grinding up of the rocks in the moraines and glaciers and by the avalanches.”

“What is a moraine?” asked Rollo.

“I will explain it to you one of these days,” said Mr. George, “when you come to see one.”

“And a glacier,” said Rollo; “what is that?”

“I will explain that to you, too, some other time,” said Mr. George, “but not now; for the breakfast will come in in a minute or two.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I can hear while I am eating my breakfast.”

“That may be,” replied Mr. George; “but I cannot lecture very well while I am eating my breakfast.”

Rollo laughed. “I did not think of that,” said he.

“What queer boats!” continued Rollo, looking out again upon the river. “And there is a long bridge leading over to the other side. May I go out and walk over on that bridge after breakfast?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “you may go any where you please.”

“But suppose I should get lost,” said Rollo. “What should I do then?”

“I don't know,” said Mr. George, “unless you should ask somebody to tell you the way to the Three Kings.”

“But perhaps they would not understand English,” said Rollo.

“Then you must say Trois Rois,[3a] which is the French name for the hotel,” rejoined Mr. George.

“But perhaps they would not understand French,” said Rollo.

“No,” replied Mr. George; “I think it probable they would not; for people talk German generally in this part of Switzerland. In that case you must ask the way to Drei Koenige.”[3b]

Here the waiter came in with the breakfast. It consisted of a pot of coffee, another of boiled milk, an omelette, some excellent cakes, and some honey. There was a long table extending up and down the room, which was a very large and handsome apartment, and there were besides several round tables in corners and in pleasant places near the windows. The breakfast for Mr. George and Rollo was put upon one of the round tables; and, in sitting down to it, Rollo took pains to place himself in such a manner that he could look out the window and see the water while he was eating.

“What a dreadful river that would be to fall into!” said Rollo. “It runs so swift and looks so angry!”

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “It runs swift because the descent is very great. Switzerland is very high; and the water, in running from it, flows very swiftly.”

“I did not know that Switzerland was all high,” said Rollo. “I knew that the mountains were high; but the valleys must be low.”

“No,” said Mr. George; “it is all high. The bottoms of the valleys are higher than the tops of the mountains in many other countries. In going into Switzerland, we go up hill nearly all the way; and so, even when we are at the bottom of the deepest valleys in Switzerland, we are up very high. There is Chamouni, for example, which is a deep valley near the foot of Mont Blanc. The bottom of that valley is six or seven times as high as the top of the Palisades on the North River.”

“O, uncle George!” exclaimed Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “and it is so with all the Swiss valleys; and, accordingly, the water that comes down through them has a great descent to make in getting to the sea. Thus there are a great many falls, and cascades, and rapids; and, even in those places where the rivers run smoothly, the current is very swift and very strong.”

While Mr. George and Rollo were eating their breakfast the attention of Rollo was occupied partly by the prospect of the river as he saw it through the open window, and partly by the various groups of travellers who were constantly coming into the room, or going out, or taking their breakfasts in little parties at the tables. Some who had finished their breakfasts were looking at maps and guide books which they had spread out before them on the tables. The room was very large, and very beautiful; and, as it was lighted on the back side by a row of wide and lofty windows which looked out upon the river, it wore a very bright and cheerful expression. At one end of it were glass doors, which led into another room very similar to this, as it likewise had windows looking out upon the river. This room was used as a sort of sitting room and reading room. There was a table in the centre, with newspapers, some French, some English, and some German, lying upon it. Rollo determined to go into this room as soon as he had finished his breakfast to see who was there and what they were doing.

“Rollo,” said Mr. George, after a short pause, “do you wish to travel in Switzerland intelligently or blindly?”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Rollo.

“Why, do you wish to understand something of the general features of the country first, so as to know always, as we go travelling on, where you are, and where you are going, and what you are to expect to see, or would you rather not trouble yourself at all about this, but take things as they come along, and enjoy them as you see them, without thinking or caring what is to come next.”

“Which is the best way?” asked Rollo.

“Either is a very good way,” replied Mr. George. “There is a pleasure in understanding and anticipating, and there is also a pleasure in wondering what is to come next and meeting with surprises. You can take your choice.”

Rollo reflected a moment, and then he said that he thought he should like best to understand.

“Very well,” said Mr. George. “Then I will explain to you the general features of Switzerland. Switzerland—or at least that portion of it which is the chief scene of the rambles of tourists and travellers—consists substantially of a long and deep valley, extending from east to west through the centre, and bordered by a range of mountains on each side. The range of mountains on the northern side of this valley is, of course, towards Germany; the one on the southern side is towards Italy. On the north side of the northern range of mountains is a broad slope of land, extending a hundred miles towards the German frontier. On the southern side of the southern range of mountains is a steep and narrow slope, extending to the Italian frontier.

“Thus we may say,” continued Mr. George, “that Switzerland consists substantially of a broad northern slope of land and a narrow southern slope, with a deep valley between them. Do you understand this?”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “If I had some damp sand, and a little wooden shovel, I think I could make it.”

“People do make models of the Swiss valleys and mountains,” said Mr. George. “In fact, they have maps of Switzerland, embossed with all the mountains in relief; and I wish very much that we had one here to look at.”

“There is one here,” said Rollo, his face brightening up very luminously as he spoke. “I saw it hanging up in the gallery, and I did not know what it was. It must be that. I'll go and show it to you after breakfast.”

“I am very glad,” said Mr. George. “I wished to see one very much. We will go and see it immediately after breakfast. But now let me tell you a little more about the country. You must not imagine that the northern slope, as I called it, is one smooth and uniform surface of descending land. There are mountains, and valleys, and lakes, and precipices, and waterfalls, and every other variety of mountain scenery scattered all over it, making it a most picturesque and romantic region. It is, however, on the whole, a slope. It begins with comparatively smooth and level land on the north and it terminates in a range of lofty mountain crests on the south; and you have to go over this crest somewhere, by some of the steep and difficult passes that cross it, to get into the central valley. We are on the margin of this slope now. When we leave here and strike into the heart of Switzerland we shall be gradually ascending it. I am going first to a place called Interlachen, which is in a deep valley far up this slope, just under the ridge of mountains. Interlachen is surrounded, in fact, by mountains, and a great many pleasant excursions can be made from it. We shall stop there a few days and make excursions, and then cross over by some of the mountain passes into the valley.”

“Well,” said Rollo, in a tone of great satisfaction. “I shall like that; I should like to go over a mountain pass. Shall we go in a carriage, or on horseback.”

“That depends upon which of the passes we take,” said Mr. George. “Some of them are carriage roads, some are bridle paths; and you ride over on mules or horses. Others are too steep and dangerous to ride over in any way. You have to go on foot, climbing up zigzag paths cut out of the rock, and over great patches of snow that horses and mules would sink into.”

“Let's go in one of those,” said Rollo, straightening himself up.

“Sometimes the path becomes narrower and narrower,” continued Mr. George, “until it is finally lost among the rocks, and you have to clamber around the point of some rocky cliff a thousand feet in the air, with scarcely any thing but the jagged roughness of the rocks to cling to.”

“Yes, sir,” said Rollo, eagerly. “Yes, sir. Let's go there. That's just the kind of road I want to go in.”

“Well, we'll see,” said Mr. George. “The first thing is to go to Interlachen. That is in the heart of the mountains, and very near the passes which lead over into the valley. When we get there we will study the guide book and the maps and determine which way to go.”

“And after you get into the valley,” said Rollo, “shall you go across it, and go over the mountains on the other side, into Italy?”

“I don't know,” said Mr. George. “Perhaps we shall not have time. I may think it is best to spend the time in rambling about among the mountains and glaciers near the head of the valley, where I believe is to be found the most stupendous scenery in all Switzerland.”

The breakfast was now nearly finished, though the process of eating it had been a good deal impeded by the conversation, so large a share of it having fallen to Mr. George. Mr. George, however, explained to Rollo that their first day's journey from Basle would be south, towards Berne, the capital of the country—a city which was situated near the centre of the northern slope which Mr. George had described.

“Do we go by a railway?” asked Rollo.

“No,” said Mr. George; “by a diligence.”

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 3a-3b: Mr. George, in speaking these words, did not pronounce them as you would suppose from the manner in which they are written. He pronounced them very much as if they were spelled Tru-ah Ru-ah. In the same manner, the German words, Drei Koenige, he pronounced as if they were spelled Dhrai Ker-nig-ger.]

CHAPTER IV. THE DILIGENCE.

A diligence is a sort of stage coach used in France and Switzerland, and generally on the continent of Europe. It is constructed very differently, however, from an American stage coach, being divided into four distinct compartments. Rollo had seen a diligence in Paris, and so he could understand very easily the conversation which ensued between himself and his uncle in respect to the seats which they should take in the one in which they were to travel to Berne. In order, however, to enable the reader of this book to understand it, I must here give a brief description of this kind of vehicle. The engraving on page 77 is a very faithful representation of one of them. There are three windows in the side of it. Each of these windows leads to a different compartment of the coach. In addition to these three compartments, there is, over the foremost of these, on the top of the coach, another, making four in all. This compartment on the top is called the banquette.

These coaches are so large that they have a conductor. The man who drives sometimes sits on a small seat placed in front of the banquette, and sometimes he rides on one of the horses. In either case, however, he has nothing to do but to attend to his team. The passengers and the baggage are all under the conductor's care.

The compartment immediately beneath the banquette, which is the front compartment of the body of the coach, is called the coupe. The coupe extends across the whole coach, from one side to the other; but it is quite narrow. It has only one seat,—a seat facing the horses,—with places upon it for three passengers. There are windows in front, by which the passengers can look out under the coachman's seat when there is a coachman's seat there. The doors leading to the coupe are in the sides.

The compartment immediately behind the coupe is called the interior. It is entirely separate from the coupe. There are two seats, which extend from one side of the coach to the other, and have places upon them for three passengers each, making six in all. The three passengers who sit on one of these seats must, of course, ride with their backs to the horses. The doors leading to the interior are in the sides. In fact, the interior has within exactly the appearance of a common hackney coach, with seats for six passengers.

Behind the interior is the fourth compartment, which is called the rotonde. It is like a short omnibus. The door is behind, and the seats are on the sides. This omnibus compartment is so short that there is only room for three people on each side, and the seats are not very comfortable.

Very genteel people, who wish to be secluded and to ride somewhat in style, take the coupe. The seats in the coupe are very comfortable, and there is a very good opportunity to see the country through the front and side windows. The price is much higher, however, for seats in the coupe than in any other part of the diligence.

The mass of common travellers generally take places in the interior. The seats there are comfortable, only there is not a very good opportunity to see the country; for there are only two windows, one on each side, in the top of the door.

People who do not care much about the style in which they travel, but only desire to have the best possible opportunity to view the country and to have an amusing time, generally go up to the banquette. The places here are cheaper than they are even in the interior, and very much cheaper than they are in the coupe.

The cheapest place of all, however, is in the rotonde, which is the omnibus-like compartment, in the end of the diligence, behind. This compartment is generally filled with laborers, soldiers, and servants; and sometimes nurses and children are put here.

The baggage is always stored upon the top of the diligence, behind the banquette, and directly over the interior and the rotonde. It is packed away very carefully there, and is protected by a strong leather covering, which is well strapped down over it. All these things you see plainly represented in the engraving.

We now return to the conversation which was held between Rollo and Mr. George at the close of their breakfast.

“I have got some letters to write after breakfast,” said Mr. George, “and I should like to go directly to my room and write them. So I wish you would find out when the diligence goes next to Berne, and take places in it for you and me.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I will; only how shall I do it? Where shall I go?”

“I don't know any thing about it,” replied Mr. George. “The guide book says that there is a diligence from Basle to Berne; and I suppose there is an office for it somewhere about town. Do you think you can find it?”

“I'll try,” said Rollo. “But how do we take seats in it? Is there a book for us to write our names in, with the place where they are to call for us?”

“I do not know any thing about it,” said Mr. George. “All I know is, that I want to go to Berne with you some way or other in the diligence, and I wish to have you plan and arrange it all.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I will, if I can find out. Only tell me what places I shall take.”

“I don't care particularly about that,” replied Mr. George; “only let it be where we can see best. It must be either in the coupe or in the banquette. We can't see at all, scarcely, in the other compartments.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “I should like to be where I can see. But would you rather it would be in the coupe, or in the banquette?”

“That is just as you please,” replied Mr. George. “There are some advantages in being in the banquette.”

“What are they?” asked Rollo.

“There are four advantages,” replied Mr. George. “First, it is up very high, and is all open, so that you have a most excellent chance to see.”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “I shall like that.”

“The second advantage,” said Mr. George, “is, that it costs less. The places in the banquette are quite cheap.”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “I like that. So we can save some of our money.”

“The third advantage,” continued Mr. George, “is, that we have a great deal better opportunity to hear talking there. There are usually five persons in that part of the coach—the coachman, the conductor, and three passengers. That is, there will be one passenger besides you and me. He will probably be talking with the conductor part of the time, and the conductor will be talking with the coachman, and we shall be amused by hearing what they say.”

“But there are six persons in the interior,” said Rollo, “to talk.”

“True,” replied Mr. George; “but, then, they are usually not so sociable there as they are up on the banquette. Besides, the noise of the wheels on the hard gravel roads is so loud there that we cannot hear very well. Then, moreover, when we stop to change horses, the hostlers and postilions come out, and our coachman and conductor often have a great deal of amusing conversation with them, which we can hear from the banquette; but we could not hear it, or see the process of harnessing and unharnessing, from the interior, nor even very well from the coupe.”

“Well,” said Rollo. “I like that. But that makes only three advantages. You said there were four.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “But as to the fourth, I do not know whether you will consider it an advantage or not.”

“What is it?” said Rollo. “I've no doubt but I shall.”

“Why, in getting up and down to and from the banquette you will have a great deal of hard climbing to do.”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “I shall like that. They are all advantages—very great advantages indeed.”

So Rollo fully determined in his own mind that he would take places on the banquette. He thought that there was one disadvantage in that part of the coach; and that was, that in case of storm the rain would drive in directly upon them; but he found in the end that an excellent provision was made against this contingency.

The young gentlemen had now finished their breakfasts; and so they rose and went out to what Rollo called the gallery, to see the embossed map of Switzerland which he said that he had seen hanging there. The plan of this hotel was very peculiar. In the centre of it was a very large, open hall, almost like a court, only it was covered above with a roof and lighted by a skylight. Around this hall there was, in each story, an open gallery, with a railing on one side, over which you could look down to the floor below; and on the other side, at short intervals, there were doors leading to the various apartments. Between these doors, and against the walls, were hanging maps, plans, pictures, and other embellishments, which gave to these galleries a very attractive appearance. Here and there, too, on the different stories, there were sofas or other seats, with persons sitting upon them. Some were sewing, and some were attending children who were playing near. At the two ends of the hotel there were broad staircases connected with these galleries and leading from one to the other. Besides the galleries there were long corridors, extending each way from the centre of the building to ranges of apartments situated in the wings. The hotel, in fact, was very spacious, and it was very admirably arranged.

Rollo conducted Mr. George to the third story; and there, hanging against the wall, he found the embossed map of Switzerland which he had described. Mr. George and Rollo took this map down from its nail, and, seating themselves upon a settee which was near, they held it before them and examined it very attentively for some time. Mr. George showed Rollo the great central valley of Switzerland, with the ranges of mountains on each side of it. He showed him, too, the great slope of land which extended over the whole northern part of Switzerland. It was bounded on the north by the River Rhine and the frontier, and on the south by the great range of mountains which separated it from the valley. He showed him, too, the numerous lakes which were scattered over the surface of it.

“You see,” said he, “that the waters which come out from the glaciers and the snow fields, and down through the chasms and ravines in the mountain sides, flow on till they come to some valley or place of comparatively low land; and they spread all over this depression, and flow into it more and more until they fill it up and make a lake there. When the lake is full the surplus waters run off clear wherever they find a channel.”

“Is that the way the lakes are formed?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “You will see that it is so when we get up to them.”

Up to them?” said Rollo. “You mean down to them.”

“No,” said Mr. George. “The lakes are up quite high. Many of them are far up the sides of the mountains. The water, in leaving them, runs very rapidly, showing that there is a great descent in the land where they are flowing. Sometimes, in fact, these streams and rivers, after they leave the lakes, form great cataracts and cascades in getting down to the level country below.

“But now,” continued Mr. George, “I must go to my writing, and you may see what you can do about the diligence.”

So Mr. George went away towards his room, leaving Rollo to hang up the embossed map and then to determine how he should go to work to ascertain what he was to do.

Rollo found less difficulty than he had anticipated in procuring places in the diligence. He first inquired of the clerk, at the office of the hotel. The clerk offered to send a porter with him to show him the way to the diligence office; but Rollo said that he would prefer to go himself alone, if the clerk would tell him in what part of the town it was.

So the clerk gave Rollo the necessary direction, and Rollo went forth.

He found the diligence office very easily. In fact, he recognized the place at once when he came near it, by seeing several diligences standing before it along the street. He entered under an archway. On entering, he observed several doors leading to various offices, with inscriptions over each containing the names of the various towns to which the several diligences were going. At length he found BERNE.

Rollo did not know precisely in what way the business at such an office was to be transacted; but he had learned from past experience that all that was necessary in order to make himself understood in such cases was, to speak the principal words that were involved in the meaning that he was intending to convey, without attempting to make full and complete sentences of them. In cases where he adopted this mode of speaking he was accustomed usually to begin by saying that he could not speak French very well.

Accordingly, in this instance he went to the place where the clerk was sitting and said,—

“I do not speak French very well. Diligence to Berne. Two places. Banquette.”

“Yes, yes,” said the clerk. “I understand very well.”

The clerk then told him what the price would be of two seats on the banquette, and Rollo paid the money. The clerk then made out and signed two very formal receipts and gave them to Rollo.

Rollo walked back towards the hotel, studying his receipts by the way; but he could not understand them, as they were in the German language.

CHAPTER V. RIDE TO BERNE.

At length the time arrived for the departure of our two travellers from Basle. A porter from the hotel carried their trunks to the diligence office, while Rollo and Mr. George walked. When they got to the place they found the diligence in the archway, and several men were employed in carrying up trunks and carpet bags to the top of it and stowing them away there. In doing this they ascended and descended by means of a long step ladder. The men took Mr. George's trunk and Rollo's and packed them away with the rest. There were several persons who looked like passengers standing near, waiting, apparently, for the diligence to be ready.

Among them were two children, a girl and a boy, who seemed to be about Rollo's age. They were plainly but neatly dressed. They were sitting on a chest. The boy had a shawl over his arm, and the girl had a small morocco travelling bag in her hand.

The girl looked a moment at Rollo as he came up the archway, and then cast her eyes down again. Her eyes were blue, and they were large and beautiful and full of meaning. There was a certain gentleness in the expression of her countenance which led Rollo to think that she must be a kindhearted and amiable girl. The boy looked at Rollo too, and followed him some time with his eyes, gazing at him as he came up the archway with a look of interest and curiosity.

It was not yet quite time for the diligence to set out. In fact, the horses were not yet harnessed to it; and during the interval Rollo and Mr. George stood by, watching the process of getting the coach ready for the journey, and contrasting the appearance of the vehicle, and of the men employed about it, and the arrangements which they were making, with the corresponding particulars in the setting off of a stage coach as they had witnessed it in America. While doing this Rollo walked about the premises a little; and at length, finding himself near the two children on the chest, he concluded to venture to accost the boy.

“Are you going in this diligence?” said he, speaking in French.

“Yes,” replied the boy.

“So am I,” said Rollo. “Can you speak English?”

“Yes,” said the boy. He spoke the yes in English.

“Are you going to Berne?” asked Rollo.

“I don't know,” said the boy.

The girl, who had been looking at Rollo during this conversation, here spoke, and said that they were going to Berne.

“We are going in that diligence,” said she.

“So am I,” said Rollo. “I have got a seat on the banquette.”

“Yes,” rejoined the boy. “I wished to have a seat on the banquette, so that I could see; but the seats were all engaged before my father went to the office; so we are going in the coupe; but I don't like it half so well.”

“Nor I,” said the girl.

“Where is your father?” asked Rollo.

“He is gone,” replied the boy, “with mother to buy something at a shop a little way from here. Lottie and I were tired, and so we preferred to stay here. But they are coming back pretty soon.”

“Are you all going to ride in the coupe?” said Rollo; “because, there will not be room. There is only room for three in the coupe.”

“I know it,” said Lottie; “but then, as two of us are children, father thought that we could get along. Father had a plan for getting Adolphus a seat in the interior; but he was not willing to go there, because, he said, he could not see.”

Just at this moment the father and mother of Adolphus and Lottie came up the archway into the court yard where the diligence was standing. The horses had been brought out some minutes before and were now nearly harnessed. The gentleman seemed to be quite in a hurry as he came up; and, seeing that the horses were nearly ready, he said,—

“Now, children, get in and take your places as soon as possible.”

So they all went to the coach, and the gentleman attempted to open the door leading to the coupe. It was fastened.

“Conductor,” said he, speaking very eagerly to the conductor, who was standing near, “open this door!”

“There is plenty of time,” said the conductor. “There is no need of haste.”

However, in obedience to the request of the gentleman, the conductor opened the door; and the gentleman, helping his wife in, first, afterwards lifted the children in, and then got in himself. The conductor shut the door.

“Come, uncle George,” said Rollo, “is not it time for us to get up to our places?”

“No,” said Mr. George. “They will tell us when the proper time comes.”

So Mr. George and Rollo remained quietly standing by the side of the diligence while the hostlers finished harnessing the horses. Rollo during this time was examining with great interest the little steps and projections on the side of the coach by which he expected that he and Mr. George were to climb up to their places.

It turned out in the end, however, that he was disappointed in his expectation of having a good climb; for, when the conductor was ready for the banquette passengers to take their places, he brought the step ladder and planted it against the side of the vehicle, and Mr. George and Rollo went up as easily as they would have gone up stairs.

When the passengers were seated the step ladder was taken away, and a moment afterwards the postilion started the horses forward, and the ponderous vehicle began to move down the archway, the clattering of the horses' hoofs and the lumbering noise of the wheels sounding very loud in consequence of the echoes and reverberations produced by the sides and vaulting of the archway. As soon as the diligence reached the street the postilion began to crack his whip to the right and left in the most loud and vehement manner, and the coach went thundering on through the narrow streets of the town, driving every thing from before it as if it were a railway train going express.

[Illustration: THE DILIGENCE AT THE OFFICE.]

“Uncle George,” exclaimed Rollo, “they have forgotten the conductor!”

Rollo was, in fact, quite concerned for a few minutes lest the conductor should have been left behind. He knew where this official's proper seat was; namely, at the left end of the banquette—that is, at the right hand, as seen in the engraving; and as he was not there, and as he knew that all the other seats were full, he presumed, of course, that he had been left behind. He was relieved of these fears, however, very soon; for, to his great astonishment, he suddenly perceived the head of the conductor coming up the side of the coach, followed gradually by the rest of his body as he climbed up to his place. Rollo wondered how he could manage to get on and climb up, especially as the coach was at this time thundering along a descending portion of the street with a speed and uproar that was terrific.

Rollo, though at first very much astonished at this performance of the conductor, afterwards ceased to wonder at it; for he found that the conductor could ascend and descend to and from his seat at any time without any difficulty, even while the horses were going at the top of their speed. If the snapper of the coachman's whip got caught in the harness so that he could not liberate it, as it often did on the road, the conductor would climb down, run forward to the horses, set the snapper free, fall back to the coach, catch hold of the side and climb up, the coachman cracking his whip as soon as it was freed, and urging on his horses to a gallop, without troubling himself at all to consider how the conductor was to get up again.

But to return to the story. When Rollo found that the conductor was safe he amused himself by looking to the right and left into the windows of the houses at the second story. His seat was so high that he could do this very easily. Many of these windows were open, and persons were sitting at them, sewing or reading. At some of them groups of children were standing. They were looking out to see the diligence go by. The street was so narrow that Rollo found himself very near these persons as he passed by.

“A little nearer,” said he to his uncle George, “and I could shake hands with them.”

In a very few minutes the coach passed under a great arched gateway leading through the wall of the city, and thence over a sort of drawbridge which spanned the moat. Immediately afterwards it entered a region of smooth, green fields, and pretty rural houses, and gardens, which presented on every side very charming pictures to the view.

“Now, uncle George,” said Rollo, “won't we have a magnificent ride?”

Rollo was not disappointed in his anticipations. He found the ride to Berne a very magnificent one indeed. The road was smooth and hard as a floor. From side to side it was flat and level, and all the ascents which it made were so gradual that the horses trotted on at their full speed, without any cessation, sweeping around long and graceful curves, which brought continually into view new landscapes, each one, as it seemed, more varied and beautiful than the one which had preceded it. From his lofty seat on the banquette Rollo looked abroad over a very wide extent of country; and when the coach stopped at the villages or post houses to change horses, he could look down with great advantage upon the fresh teams as they were brought out and upon the groups of hostlers and post boys employed in shifting the harness. He could hear, too, all that they said, though they generally talked so fast, and mingled their words with so much laughter and fun, that Rollo found that he could understand but little.

[Illustration: THE DILIGENCE ON THE ROAD.]

Rollo was particularly struck, as he was whirled swiftly along the road, by the appearance of the Swiss houses. They were very large, and were covered with a very broad roof, which extended so far over the walls on every side as to appear like a great, square, broad-brimmed hat. Under this roof were platforms projecting from the house, one on each story, like piazzas. These piazzas were very broad. They were bordered by balustrades on the outer edge, and were used for sheds, store houses, and tool rooms. There were wood piles, wagons, harrows, and other farming implements, bundles of straw, and stones piled up here and there upon them. In fact, the Swiss cottager has his house, and barn, and sheds, and outhouses all under one roof; and what there is not room for within he stores without upon these platforms.

These houses were situated in the midst of the most beautiful fields and gardens, the whole forming a series of very charming landscapes. The view, too, as seen in many places along the road, was bounded at the south by a long line of snow-covered mountains, which glittered brilliantly in the sun and imparted an inexpressible fascination to the prospect.

The diligence arrived at the city of Berne near night, and Mr. George and Rollo remained in that city until the next day at noon. Rollo was extremely interested in walking about the streets in the morning. In almost all the streets of Berne the second stories of the houses are extended over the sidewalks, the superincumbent masonry being supported by massive square pillars, built up from the edge of the sidewalk below, and by arches above. Of course, in going along the sidewalk the passenger is sheltered by the roof above him, and in the worst weather he can go all over the city without being exposed to the rain excepting at the street crossings. This arrangement is a very convenient one, certainly, for rainy weather; but it gives the streets a very gloomy and forbidding appearance at other times.

Still Rollo was very much amused in walking along under these arcades; the more so because, in addition to the shops in the buildings themselves, there were usually stalls and stands, between and around the pillars, filled with curious things of all sorts, which were for sale; so that in walking along he had a display of goods on both sides of him. These goods consisted of toys, books, pictures, tools, implements, and curiosities, including a multitude of things which Rollo had never seen or heard of before.

Berne is famous for bears. The bear is, in fact, the emblem of the city, and of the canton, or province, in which Berne is situated. There is a story that in very ancient times, when Berchtold, the original founder of the city, was beginning to build the walls, a monstrous bear came out of the woods to attack him. Berchtold, with the assistance of the men who were at work with him on the walls, killed the bear. They gloried greatly in this exploit, and they preserved the skin and claws of the bear for a long time as the trophy of their victory. Afterwards they made the bear their emblem. They painted the figure of the animal on their standards. They made images and effigies of him to ornament their streets, and squares, and fountains, and public buildings. They stamped the image of him on their coins; and, to this day, you see figures of the bear every where in Berne. Carved images of Bruin in every attitude are for sale in the shops; and, not contented with these lifeless symbols, the people of Berne for a long time had a pit, or den, similar to those in the Garden of Plants at Paris, where they kept living specimens for a long time.[4] This den was just without the gates of the city. The guide book which Rollo read as he was coming into Berne, to see what it said about the city, stated that there was one bear in the garden at that time; and he wished very much to go and see it, but he did not have a very convenient opportunity.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 4: See Rollo in Paris for an account of these dens for bears in the Garden of Plants.]

CHAPTER VI. THE VALLEY OF THE AAR.

After spending several hours in Berne and wondering greatly at the many strange things which they saw there, Mr. George and Rollo took their passage in another diligence for Thun, which was a town still farther in towards the heart of Switzerland on the way to Interlachen. It took only three or four hours to go to Thun. The town, they found, was small, compact, surrounded by walls, and very delightfully situated at the end of a long lake, which extended from that point very far in among the mountains. There was one thing very remarkable about Thun, at least it seemed very remarkable to Rollo, although he found afterwards that it was a common thing in Switzerland; and that was, that the hotels were all outside the town.

There was reason in this; for the town—though it was a very curious and romantic place, with a church on a terraced hill at one end of it, surrounded with a beautifully ornamented church yard, with seats and bowers here and there at the corners of it, which overlooked the country and commanded charming views of the lake and mountains—was still, in the main, very contracted and confined, and hotels would not be pleasantly situated in it. A little beyond the town, however, on the margin of the lake, was a delightful region of gardens and pleasure grounds, with four or five very handsome hotels among them. Mr. George and Rollo stopped to dine at one of these hotels. From the windows of it there were the most brilliant and charming prospects of the lake and the surrounding mountains on one side, and on the other a view of the town and of two or three very pretty little steamboats lying at a pier.

Behind the hotel the land very soon ascended rapidly, the ascent terminating at last in crags and precipices which towered at a vast height above. Among these heights Rollo saw a sort of pavilion, built on a small projecting point of a hill, four or five hundred feet, perhaps, above the hotel.

“Do you think any body can get up there?” said he to his uncle George.

They were standing, when Rollo said this, on the back piazza of the hotel—a very beautiful place, looking out upon green lawns and gardens.

“Certainly,” said Mr. George. “They would not have built such a lookout as that without making a way to get to it.”

“Then let's go up there,” said Rollo, “and see what we can see.”

“Very well,” said Mr. George; “lead the way, and I will follow.”

“Well, come,” said Rollo, moving on. “I am not sure that I can find the way; but I'll try.”

So saying, Rollo chose from among several broad and smooth gravel walks which he saw diverging from the house in various directions, among the groves and copses of shrubbery that ornamented the grounds behind it, the one which seemed to turn most nearly in the right direction; and, running along before, he was soon out of sight of the hotel. The path meandered gracefully among shrubs, and flowers, and pretty green openings a little way, and then began to ascend the hill, sometimes in a winding course and sometimes by zigzags. There were seats placed here and there at proper points for rest. At length both Rollo and Mr. George were surprised to find coming suddenly into view a small building, which stood in a very romantic and picturesque spot about half way up the hill, which proved, on examination, to be a little chapel. It was an Episcopal chapel, built here by the proprietor of the hotel for the accommodation of his English guests on Sundays. There are a great many English travellers in Switzerland, more perhaps from that nation than from any other, and the English people are very much pleased with the opportunity to worship God, when in foreign lands, according to the rites and usages of their own national church. Americans, on the other hand, when travelling, generally prefer to attend churches in which the worship is conducted according to the usages of the people in whose country they chance to be.

After looking at the little English chapel as long as they wished, our two travellers went on up the path. The ascent soon became very steep, and the way led through close woods, which allowed of no opportunity to see, except that now and then a brief glimpse was obtained of the hotel, with the gardens and grounds around it, and the gentlemen and ladies walking upon the piazza in the rear of it.

After about a quarter of an hour of hard climbing up a wild and romantic but very smooth and well made path the two young gentlemen reached the pavilion. Here a boundless and most magnificent prospect was opened before them. Rollo was bewildered with astonishment and delight; and even Mr. George, who was usually very cool and quiet on such occasions, seemed greatly pleased. I shall not, however, attempt to describe the view; for, though a fine view from an elevated point among lakes and mountains is a very exciting thing actually to witness and enjoy, it is by no means an interesting thing to describe.

“What a magnificent prospect!” said Rollo.

Rollo, as he said this, was looking down at the more near and distinctly detailed objects which were to be seen directly below him at the bottom of the hill, towards the right—such as the hotels, the gardens, the roads, the pier, the steamboats, and the town. The attention of Mr. George, however, was attracted by the more grand and sublime features of the view which were to be seen in the other direction—the lake, the forests, and the mountains. The mountains that were near were darkened by the groves of evergreens that clothed their sides, and some of them were made more sombre still by the shadows of floating clouds; while over these there towered the glittering summits of more distant ranges, white with everlasting snow.

“How cold they look!” said Mr. George; “how icy cold!”

“How little they look! how very little! See, uncle George,” said Rollo, pointing; “they are really good large steamboats, and you would think they were only playthings.”

“There are some men walking along the road,” continued Rollo, “just like little dots.”

“See the banks of snow on that mountain, Rollo!” said Mr. George. “They look like drifts of dry, light snow, as they shine in the sun on a bitter cold winter day.”

“Why doesn't it melt?” asked Rollo.

“Because it is up so high,” said Mr. George. “As you go up in the air from the surface of the earth the air grows colder and colder, until at last, when you get up to a certain height, it is cold enough to freeze.”

“Is it so every where?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “If you were to put some water into a vial and tie it to the tail of a kite, and send it up into the air high enough, the water would freeze, and when it came down you would find the water turned into ice.”

“Should I?” asked Rollo. “Would it if I were to send the kite up in America?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “any where, all over the earth.”

“I mean to try it,” said Rollo.

“You can't try it very well,” replied Mr. George; “for you could not easily send a kite up high enough. It would take a very long time.”

“How long?” asked Rollo.

“Why, that depends upon what part of the earth it is that you make the experiment in,” replied Mr. George. “At the equator, where the sun is very hot, you would have to go up very high. In temperate regions, as in Switzerland or in most parts of America, you would not have to go up so high; and farther north, near the pole, it is only necessary to go up a very little way.”

“And how high must we go up in Switzerland?” asked Rollo.

“About eight or nine thousand feet, I believe,” said Mr. George. “Some of the Alpine summits are sixteen thousand feet high; and so the ice and snow lie upon the upper portions of them all the time.”

The young gentlemen remained some time longer in the pavilion, gazing upon the stupendous scenery around them, and looking down the lake which lay before them in the bottom of a deep and narrow valley and extended in among the mountains much farther than they could see.

“We are going along that lake,” said Rollo “are we not?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “it is the Lake of Thun.”

“We are going in one of the steamboats that are lying at the pier, are we not?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “unless you would prefer going along the shore.”

“Is there a road along the shore?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “there are two, I believe, one on each side of the lake. These roads run along at the foot of the mountains, far enough, however, above the level of the lake to enable us to enjoy excellent views of it. But we cannot see the mountains from it as well as we can from the lake itself.”

“Then,” said Rollo, “if we go by the road we can see the lake best; and if we go by the steamboat we can see the mountains best.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “that is the state of the case, exactly.”

“Then I think we had better go by the boat,” said Rollo; “for I would rather see the mountains.”

“So would I,” rejoined Mr. George. “Besides, there will be plenty of occasions on which we shall be obliged to go by land; therefore we had better go by water when we can, in order to have a variety. And, if we are going in the steamer, we must go back to the hotel; for it is almost time for the steamer to sail.”

So Mr. George led the way, and Rollo followed, down the path by which they had come up. As they thus walked down they continued the conversation which they had commenced in the pavilion.

“What shall we come to when we get to the end of the lake?” asked Rollo. “Does the lake reach to the end of the valley?”

“No,” said Mr. George. “The valley is about fifty miles long, I suppose, and this lake is only about fifteen miles long; but there is another in the same valley a little farther on. The valley is the valley of the Aar. That is the name of the stream which flows through it. It is one of the most remarkable valleys in Switzerland. I have been studying it in the guide book and on the map. It is about fifty miles long, and it winds in a serpentine manner between two lofty ranges of mountains, so steep and high that it is not possible to make any road over them.”

“None at all?” asked Rollo.

“No,” replied Mr. George. “They cannot make any road—nothing but bridle paths. The mountains, too, that border the valley along the sides close across at the head of it; so that if you go up the valley at all you cannot get out of it without climbing over the mountains; unless, indeed, you are willing to come back the same way that you went.”

“I would rather climb over the mountains,” said Rollo.

“So would I,” said Mr. George. “The beginning of this valley,” continued Mr. George “is in the very heart of the most mountainous part of Switzerland, and the River Aar commences there in prodigious cascades and waterfalls, which come down over the cliffs and precipices or gush out from enormous crevices and chasms, and make quite a river at the very beginning.”

“Can we go there and see them?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” replied Mr. George; “I mean to go and see them. The place is called Meyringen. The cascades and waterfalls at Meyringen are wonderful. One of them, the guide book says, makes dreadful work in times of flood. It comes out from a great chasm in the rocks in the face of a precipice at a vast height from the ground; and, in times of flood, it brings down such a mass of sand, gravel, stones, rubbish, and black mud as sometimes to threaten to overwhelm the village.”

“Is there a village there?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “the village of Meyringen. This waterfall comes down out of the mountain just back of the village; and they have had to build up an immense wall, a quarter of a mile long and twenty or thirty feet high, to keep the torrent of mud and sand out of the streets. Once it broke through and filled up the church four feet deep all over the floor with mud, and gravel, and stones. Some of the stones were bigger than your head.”

Rollo was very much interested in hearing this account of the Fall of Alpbach,—for that was the name of this unmanageable cataract,—and expressed a very strong desire to go to Meyringen and see it.

“We will go,” said Mr. George. “It lies at the head of the valley of the Aar, which we are now entering. The River Aar, after being formed by these cataracts and cascades, flows through the valley, making two long lakes in its course. This Lake of Thun is the second one. The other is the Lake of Brienz. The upper end of the Lake of Thun is a few miles only from the lower end of the Lake of Brienz; and Interlachen is between the two.”

[Illustration: THE LAKE SHORE.]

About an hour after this conversation our two travellers might have been seen sitting together upon the deck of the little steamer which was paddling its way merrily along the lake, and occupying themselves in viewing and talking about the extraordinary spectacle presented by the slopes of the mountains which bordered the lake on either side, and which seemed to shut the lake in, as it were, between two immense walls of green.

Rollo was extremely interested, as he sailed along, in viewing these mountain slopes, exploring the landscape carefully in every part, studying out all the objects of interest which it contained—the forests, the cultivated fields, the great Swiss cottages, the pasturages, the little chalets, the zigzag paths leading up and down, and all the other picturesque and striking characteristics of a Swiss landscape.

The slopes were very beautiful, and densely inhabited; and they were really very steep, though they looked much steeper than they were, as all hills and slopes do to a person looking upon them from below and facing them.

“It seems,” said Rollo to Mr. George, “as if two broad strips of green country were set up on edge for us to see them as we are sailing along.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “with all the houses, farms, pasturages, flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle clinging to the sides of them.”

The chief charm, however, of the views which presented themselves to the young travellers as they glided along the lake was the glittering refulgence of the snow-clad peaks which appeared here and there through openings among the nearer mountains. The view of these peaks was occasionally obstructed by masses of vapor which were floating along the tops of the mountain ranges; but still they were seen frequently enough to fill the minds both of Rollo and Mr. George with wonder and delight.

After gazing at this scenery for nearly an hour until his curiosity in respect to it was in some measure satisfied, Rollo began to turn his attention to his fellow-travellers on board the steamer. These travellers were seated singly or in groups about the deck of the little vessel, and they were all tourists, journeying for pleasure. Here was a small group of young men—students apparently—with knapsacks on their backs, spyglasses strapped to their sides, and maps and guide books in their hands. There was a young lady seated with her father, both dressed for the mountains, and gazing with curiosity and wonder on the views presented along the shores of the lake. In another place was a family of parents and children—the father studying a map which he had spread open upon his knees, the mother sitting by his side, silent and thoughtful, as if her mind was far away, dwelling, perhaps, upon the little ones which had been left at home because they were too young to be taken on such a tour. Some of these people were talking French, some English, and some German. Rollo looked about upon these various groups for a time, and then said,—

“Are all these travellers going to see the mountains, do you suppose, uncle George?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “I suppose so. There is very little travelling in Switzerland except pleasure travelling. I presume they are all going to see the mountains and the other scenery of the country.”

“I should not think that the ladies could climb up the mountains very high,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “they can; for in almost all places where people wish to go there are excellent paths. Where it is too steep for roads the mountaineers make zigzag paths, not only for travellers, but for themselves, in order that they may go up and down to their chalets and pasturages. The people of the country have been making and improving these paths now for two thousand years or more, and they have got them at last in very excellent condition; so that, except the steepness, they are very easy and very comfortable.”

“Why, uncle George,” said Rollo, “look!”

So saying, Rollo pointed his finger out over the water. The mountains had suddenly and entirely disappeared. The vapors and clouds which they had seen floating among them half an hour before had become dense and continuous, and had, moreover, settled down over the whole face of the country in such a manner as to shut out the mountains wholly from view. Nothing was to be seen but the water of the lake, with a margin of low and level but beautiful country along the shores of it.

In fact, there was nothing but the smallness of the steamer and the costumes and character of the passengers to prevent Rollo and Mr. George from supposing that they were steaming it from New York to Albany, up the North River, in America.

CHAPTER VII. INTERLACHEN.

About eight o'clock on the morning after our travellers arrived at Interlachen Rollo awoke, and, rising from his bed, he walked to the window and looked out, expecting to find before him a very grand prospect of Alpine scenery; but there was nothing of the kind to be seen.

Before the house was a garden, with a broad gravel walk leading out through it to the road. On each side of this walk were parterres of shrubbery and flowers. There were also two side approaches, wide enough for roads. They came from the main road through great open gates, at a little distance to the right and left of the hotel. The main road, which was broad and perfectly level, extended in front of the house; and two or three Swiss peasants, in strange costume, were passing by. Beyond were green and level fields, with fruit and forest trees rising here and there among them, forming a very rich and attractive landscape. The sky was covered with clouds, though they were very fleecy and bright, and in one place the sun seemed just ready to break through.

“I thought Interlachen was among the mountains,” said Rollo to himself; “and here I am in the middle of a flat plain.

“I will go and see uncle George,” he continued after a moment's pause, “and ask him what it means.”

So Rollo opened the door of his room and went out into what in America would be called the entry, or hall. He found himself in a long corridor paved with stone, and having broad stone staircases leading up and down from it to the different stories. In one place there was a passage way which led to a window that seemed to be on the back side of the hotel. Rollo went there to look out, in order to see what the prospect might be in that direction.

He saw first the gardens and grounds of the hotel, extending for a short distance in the rear of the building, and beyond them he obtained glimpses of a rapidly running stream. The water was very turbid. It boiled and whirled incessantly as it swept swiftly along the channel.

“Ah,” said Rollo, “that is the River Aar, I suppose, flowing through Interlachen from one lake to the other. I thought I should see it somewhere here; but I did not know whether it was before the hotels or behind them.”

A short distance beyond the stream Rollo saw the lower part of a perpendicular precipice of gray rock. All except the lower part of this precipice was concealed by the fogs and clouds, which seemed to settle down so low upon the landscape in all directions as to conceal almost every thing but the surface of the ground.

“I wonder how high that precipice is,” said Rollo to himself.

“I wonder whether I could climb up to the top of it,” he continued, still talking to himself, “if I could only find some way to get across the river? There must be some way, I suppose. Perhaps there is a bridge.”

Rollo then turned his eye upward to look at the clouds. In one place there seemed to be a break among them, and the fleecy masses around the break were slowly moving along. The place where Rollo was looking was about the middle of the sky; that is, about midway between the horizon and the zenith.[5] While Rollo was looking at this break, which seemed, while he looked at it, to brighten up and open more and more, he saw suddenly, to his utter amazement, a large green tree burst into view in the midst of it, and then disappear again a moment afterwards as a fresh mass of cloudy vapor drifted over. Rollo was perfectly bewildered with astonishment. To see a green tree, clear and distinct in form and bright with the beams of the sun which just at that instant caught upon it, breaking out to view suddenly high up among the clouds of the sky, seemed truly an astonishing spectacle. Rollo had scarcely recovered from the first emotion of his surprise before the clouds parted again, wider than before, and brought into view, first a large mass of foliage, which formed the termination of a grove of trees; then a portion of a smooth, green field, with a flock of sheep feeding upon it, clinging apparently to the steep slope like flies to a wall; and finally a house, with a little blue smoke curling from the chimney. Rollo was perfectly beside himself with astonishment and delight at this spectacle; and he determined immediately to go and ask his uncle to come and see.

He accordingly left the window and made all haste to his uncle's door. He knocked. His uncle said, “Come in.” Rollo opened the door. His uncle was standing by the window of his room, looking out. This was on the front side of the hotel.

“Uncle George!” said Rollo, “Uncle George! Come and look out with me at the back window. There is a flock of sheep feeding in a green field away up in the sky!”

“Come and look here!” said Mr. George.

So Rollo went to the window where Mr. George was standing, and his astonishment at what he saw was even greater than before. The clouds had separated into great fleecy masses and were slowly drifting away, while through the openings that appeared in them there were seen bright and beautiful views of groves, green pasturages, smiling little hamlets and villages, green fields, and here and there dark forests of evergreen trees, with peaks of rocks or steep precipices peeping out among them. At one place, through an opening or gap in the nearer mountains, there could be seen far back towards the horizon the broad sides and towering peak of a distant summit, which seemed to be wholly formed of vast masses of ice and snow, and which glittered with an inexpressible brilliancy under the rays of the morning sun.

“That is the Jungfrau,”[6] said Mr. George.

“That great icy mountain?” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George.

“Can we get up to the top of it?” asked Rollo.

“No,” said Mr. George. “People tried for more than a thousand years to get to the top of the Jungfrau before they could succeed.”

“And did they succeed at last?” asked Rollo.

“Yes,” replied Mr. George. “You see there is a sort of goatlike animal, called the chamois,[7] which the peasants and mountaineers are very fond of hunting. These animals are great climbers, and they get up among the highest peaks and into the most dangerous places; and the hunters, in going into such places after them, become at last very expert in climbing, and sometimes they become ambitious of surpassing each other, and each one wishes to see how high he can get. So one time, about twenty-five years ago, a party of six of these hunters undertook to get to the top of the Jungfrau, and at last they succeeded. But it was a dreadfully difficult and dangerous operation. It was fifteen miles' steep climbing.”

“Not steep climbing all the way,” said Rollo.

“No,” said Mr. George, “I suppose not all the way. There must have been some up-and-down work, and some perhaps tolerably level, for the first ten miles; but the last five must have been a perpetual scramble among rocks and ice and over vast drifts of snow, with immense avalanches thundering down the mountain sides all around them.”

“I wish I could go and see them,” said Rollo.

“You can go,” replied Mr. George. “There is a most excellent chance to see the face of the Jungfrau very near; for there is another mountain this side of it, with a narrow valley between. This other mountain is called the Wengern Alp. It is about two thirds the height of the Jungfrau, and is so near it that from the top of it, or near the top, you can see the whole side of the Jungfrau rising right before you and filling half the sky, and you can see and hear the avalanches thundering down the sides of it all day long.”

Rollo was quite excited at this account, and was very eager to set off as soon as possible to go up the Wengern Alp.

“How do we get there?” asked he.

“You see this great gap in the near mountains,” said Mr. George, pointing.

“Yes,” said Rollo.

“That gap,” continued Mr. George, “is the mouth of a valley. I have been studying it out this morning in my guide book. There is a good carriage road leading up this valley. It is called the valley of the Luetschine, because that is the name of the river which comes down through it. In going up this valley for the first two or three miles we are going directly towards the Jungfrau.”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “That I can see very plainly.”

This was indeed very obvious; for the Jungfrau, from the windows of the hotel, was seen through the great gap in the near mountains which Mr. George had pointed out as the mouth of the valley of the Luetschine. In fact, had it not been for that gap in the near mountains, the great snow-covered summit could not have been seen from the hotels at all.

“We go up that valley,” continued Mr. George, “about three miles, and then we come to a fork in it; that is, to a place where the valley divides into two branches, one turning off to the right and the other to the left. Directly ahead there is an enormous precipice, I don't know how many thousand feet high, of bare rock.

“One of these branch valleys,” continued Mr. George, “leads up to one side of the Wengern Alp and the Jungfrau, and the other to the other side. We may take the right-hand valley and go up five or six miles to Lauterbrunnen, or we may take the left-hand branch and go up to Grindelwald. Which way do you think we had better go?”

“I do not know,” said Rollo. “Can we get up to the Wengern Alp from either valley?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “We can go up from one of these valleys, and then, after stopping as long as we choose on the Alp, we can continue our journey and so come down into the other, and thus see them both. One of the valleys is famous for two great glaciers that descend into it. The other is famous for immense waterfalls that come down over the precipices at the sides.”

“Let us go first and see the waterfalls,” said Rollo.

“Well,” said Mr. George, “we will. We shall have to turn to the right in that case and go to Lauterbrunnen. When we get to Lauterbrunnen we shall have to leave our carriage and take horses to go up to the Wengern Alp. The way is by a steep path, formed in zigzags, right up the sides of the mountains.”

“How far is it?” asked Rollo.

“I don't know precisely,” said Mr. George; “but it is a good many miles. It takes, at any rate, several hours to go up. We can stop at the Wengern Alp as long as we please and look at the Jungfrau and the avalanches, and after that go on down into the valley of Grindelwald on the other side, and so come home.”

“But how can we get our carriage?” asked Rollo.

“O, they send the carriage back, I believe,” said Mr. George, “from Lauterbrunnen to the great precipice at the fork of the valley.”

Mr. George, having thus finished his account of the topography of the route to the Wengern Alp, went away from the window and returned to the table where he had been employed in writing some letters just before Rollo had come in. Rollo was left at the window. He leaned his arms upon the sill, and, looking down to the area below, amused himself with observing what was going on there.

There were several persons standing or sitting upon the piazza. Presently he heard the sound of wheels. A carriage came driving up towards the door. A postilion was riding upon one of the horses. There were two servants sitting on the box; and there was a seat behind, where another servant and the lady's maid were sitting. The carriage stopped, the door was opened, and a lady and gentleman with two boys, all dressed like travellers, got out, and were ushered into the house with great civility by the landlord. The baggage was taken off and carried in, and then the carriage was driven away round the corner.

This was an English nobleman and his family, who were making the tour of Switzerland, and were going to spend a few days at Interlachen on the way.

As soon as the bustle produced by this arrival had subsided, Rollo's attention was attracted by a very sweet musical sound which seemed to be produced by something coming along the road.

“What can that be, I wonder?” said he to himself.

Then in a little louder tone, but without turning round,—

“Uncle George, here is some music coming. What do you think it is?”

Mr. George paused a moment to listen, and then went on with his writing.

The mystery was soon solved; for, in a few moments after Rollo had spoken, he saw a large flock of goats coming along. These goats all had bells upon their necks,—or at least a great many of them were so provided,—and these bells, having a soft and sweet tone, produced, when their sounds were blended together, an enchanting harmony. The goats walked demurely along, driven by one or two goatherds who were following them, and soon disappeared behind the trees and shrubbery. Very soon after their forms had disappeared from view the music of their bells began to grow fainter and fainter until it ceased to be heard.

“It was a flock of goats going by,” said Rollo.

Rollo next heard voices; and, turning in the direction whence the sounds proceeded, he saw a party of young men coming up towards the door of the hotel along the gravelled avenue. This was a party of German students making the tour of Switzerland on foot. They had knapsacks on their backs, and stout walking sticks and guide books in their hands. They came up talking and laughing together, full of hilarity and glee; and yet some of them seemed very tired. They had walked six miles that morning, and were now going to stop at this hotel for breakfast. Rollo listened to their conversation; but, as it was in the German language, he could not understand one word that they were saying.

“Dear me!” said he; “I wish that every body would talk either French or English.”

As soon as the students had passed on into the inn Rollo heard another carriage coming. He looked and found that it was a char a banc. A char a banc is a small, one-horse carriage, which looks upon the outside very much like what is called a carryall in America, only it is much narrower. It differs very much, however, from a carryall within; for it has only a seat for two persons, and that is placed sideways, with the end to the horses. You ride in it, therefore, sideways, as you do in an omnibus, only in an omnibus there are two seats, one on each side, and the door is at the end; whereas in the char a banc there is a seat only on one side, and the door is opposite to it on the other. The seat is large and comfortable, being very much like a short sofa. Some people, therefore, describe a char a banc as a sofa placed endwise on wheels.

The char a banc stopped before the door of the hotel; and the coachman, getting down from his seat in front, opened the door. A very dignified-looking gentleman stepped out; and, after standing a moment on the piazza to give some directions about his portmanteau, he went into the office of the hotel.

Rollo, looking down from the window of his uncle George's room, could see all these things very plainly; for the roof which protected the piazza from the rain was up at the top of the hotel, and therefore did not interfere with his view.

After having made the above-described observations from the window, Rollo began to think that he would like to go down below to the door, where he thought he could see what was going on to better advantage.

“Uncle George,” said he, “when are you going down to breakfast?”

“In about half an hour,” said Mr. George. “I have got another letter to write.”

“Then I believe I will go down now,” said Rollo, “and wait there till you come.”

“Very well,” said Mr. George; “and please order breakfast, and then it will be all ready when I get my letter finished.”

“What shall I order?” asked Rollo.

“I don't know,” said Mr. George. “I don't know what it is the fashion to have for breakfast here. Ask them what they have got, and then choose for yourself and me.”

So Rollo, putting on his cap, went down stairs.

He stood for a little time on the piazza, looking at the strange dresses of the people that were sitting or standing there and listening to the outlandish sounds of the foreign languages which they were speaking. At a little distance out upon the gravel walk, near the shrubbery, were a party of guides waiting to be hired for mountain excursions. Some of these guides were talking with travellers, forming plans, or agreeing upon the terms on which they were to serve. Rollo, after observing these groups a little time, walked along the piazza towards a place where he saw an open door in another large building, which, being connected with the piazza, evidently belonged to the hotel. In fact, it was a sort of wing. As there were people going in and out at this door, Rollo thought that he could go in too.

He accordingly walked along in that direction. Before he reached the door he came to a place which, though open to the air, was covered with a roof, and was so enclosed by the buildings on three sides as to make quite a pleasant little nook. It was ornamented by various shrubs and flowers which grew from tubs and large pots arranged against the sides of it. There were several tables in this space, with chairs around them, and one or two parties of young men were taking their breakfast here.

“This will be a good place for uncle George and me to have our breakfast,” said Rollo to himself, “and we can see the Jungfrau all the time while we are eating it.”

Rollo then went on into the open door. He found himself ushered into a very large and beautiful drawing room. There were a great many sofas arranged around the sides of it, on which parties of ladies and gentlemen were sitting talking together; while other gentlemen, their hats in their hands, were standing before them or walking about the floor. There was no carpet; but the floor was formed of dark wood highly polished, and was very beautiful. There was a fireplace in one corner of this room; but there was no fire in it. No fire was necessary; for it was a warm and pleasant morning.

On the front side of the room was a row of windows looking out towards the road. On the back side was a door opening to another large room, where Rollo saw a table spread and several people sitting at it eating their breakfast.

“Ah,” said Rollo, “there is the dining room! I will go in there and see what we can have for breakfast.”

So he walked through the drawing room and entered the room beyond. He found that this inner room was quite a spacious apartment; and there were one or two long tables extending the whole length of it.

There were various separate parties sitting at these tables taking breakfast. Some were just beginning. Some had just ended. Some were waiting for their breakfast to be brought in. Near where Rollo was standing two gentlemen were seated at the table, with a map of Switzerland spread before them; and, instead of being occupied with breakfast, they were planning some excursion for the day.

Rollo looked out a vacant place at the table and took his seat. A waiter came to him to know what he would have.

“I want breakfast for two,” said Rollo, “my uncle and myself. What have you got for us?”

The waiter repeated a long list of very nice things that he could give Rollo and his uncle for breakfast. From among these Rollo chose a beef steak, some hot rolls and butter, some honey, and some coffee. The waiter went out to prepare them.

In about ten minutes Mr. George came down. He took his seat by the side of Rollo; and very soon afterwards the waiter brought in what had been ordered. Rollo liked the breakfast very much, especially the honey.

It is very customary to have honey for breakfast in Switzerland.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 5: The zenith is the point in the heavens that is directly over our heads.]

[Footnote 6: Pronounced Yoongfrow.]

[Footnote 7: Pronounced shamwawh.]

CHAPTER VIII. LAUTERBRUNNEN.

“Come, uncle George,” said Rollo, “make haste. We are all ready.”

Rollo was sitting in a char a banc when he said this, at the door of the hotel. He and his uncle were going to make an excursion up the valley of the Luetschine to Lauterbrunnen, and thence to ascend the Wengern Alp, in order to see the avalanches of the Jungfrau; and Rollo was in haste to set out.

“Come, uncle George,” said he, “make haste.”

Mr. George was coming out of the hotel slowly, talking with the landlord.

“The guide will take you to Lauterbrunnen,” said the landlord, “in the char a banc; and then he will send the char a banc back down the valley to the fork, and thence up to Grindelwald to wait for you there. You will go up to the Wengern Alp from Lauterbrunnen; and then, after staying there as long as you please, you will keep on and come down to Grindelwald on the other side, where you will find the carriage ready for you.[8] But it seems to me that you had better take another horse.”

“No,” said Mr. George. “One will do very well.”

Mr. George had a carpet bag in his hand. It contained nightdresses, to be used in case he and Rollo should conclude to spend the night on the mountain. He put the carpet bag into the carriage, and then got in himself. The landlord shut the door, and the coachman drove away. Thus they set out on their excursion.

This excursion to the Wengern Alp was only one of many similar expeditions which Rollo and Mr. George made together while they were in Switzerland. As, however, it is manifestly impossible to describe the whole of Switzerland in so small a volume as this, I shall give a narrative of the ascent of the Wengern Alp as a sort of specimen of these excursions. I think it better that I should give a minute and particular account of one than a more vague and general, and so less satisfactory, account of several of them.

Rollo had taken the precaution to have the curtains of the char a banc rolled up, so that he and Mr. George could see out freely on all sides of them as they rode along.

The view which was first presented to their observation was that of the lawns and gardens in the midst of which the hotels were situated. These grounds were connected together by walks—some straight, others winding—which passed through bowers and gateways from one enclosure to the other. In these walks various parties were strolling; some were gathering flowers, others were gazing at the mountains around, and others still were moving quietly along, going from one hotel to another for the purpose of taking a pleasant morning walk or to make visits to their friends. The whole scene was a bright and very animated one; but Rollo had not time to observe it long; for the char a banc, after moving by a graceful sweep around a copse of shrubbery, passed out through a great gateway in the road, and the hotels and all that pertained to them were soon hidden from view by the great trees which grew along the roadside before them.

The coachman, or rather the guide,—for the man who was driving the char a banc was the one who was to act as guide up the mountain when they reached Lauterbrunnen,—turned soon into a road which led off towards the gap, or opening, in the nearer mountains which Mr. George and Rollo had seen from the windows of the hotel. The road was very smooth and level, and the two travellers, as they rode along, had a fine view of the fields, the hamlets, and the scattered cottages which bordered the road on the side to which their faces were turned.

“This char a banc,” said Rollo, “is an excellent carriage for seeing the prospect on one side of the road.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “but there might be the most astonishing spectacle in Switzerland on the other side without our knowing any thing about it unless we turned round expressly to see.”

So saying, Mr. George turned in his seat and looked at that side of the road which had been behind them. There was a field there, and a young girl about seventeen years old—with a very broad-brimmed straw hat upon her head, and wearing a very picturesque costume in other respects—was seen digging up the ground with a hoe.

The blade of the hoe was long, and it seemed very heavy. The girl was digging up the ground by standing upon the part which she had already dug and striking the hoe down into the hard ground a few inches back from where she had struck before.

“Do the women work in the fields every where in Switzerland, Henry?” said Mr. George.

The guide's name was Henry. He could not speak English, but he spoke French and German. Mr. George addressed him in French.

“Yes, sir,” said Henry; “in every part of Switzerland where I have been.”

“In America the women never work in the fields,” said Mr. George.

“Never?” asked Henry, surprised.

“No,” said Mr. George; “at least, I never saw any.”

“What do they do, then,” asked Henry, “to spend their time?”

Mr. George laughed. He told Rollo, in English, that he did not think he had any satisfactory answer at hand in respect to the manner in which the American ladies spent their time.

“I pity that poor girl,” said Rollo, “hoeing all day on such hard ground. I think the men ought to do such work as that.”

“The men have harder work to do,” said Mr. George; “climbing the mountains to hunt chamois, or driving the sheep and cows up to the upper pasturages in places where it would be very difficult for women to go.”

“We must turn round every now and then,” said Rollo, “and see what is behind us, or we may lose the sight of something very extraordinary.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “I heard of a party of English ladies who once went out in a char a banc to see a lake. It happened that when they came to the lake the road led along the shore in such a manner that the party, as they sat in the carriage, had their backs to the water. So they rode along, looking at the scenery on the land side and wondering why they did not come to the lake. In this manner they continued until they had gone entirely around the lake; and then the coachman drove them home. When they arrived at the hotel they were astonished to find that they had got home again; and they called out to the coachman to ask where the lake was that they had driven out to see. He told them that he had driven them all round it!”

Rollo laughed heartily at this story, and Henry would probably have laughed too if he had understood it; but, as Mr. George related it in English, Henry did not comprehend one word of the narration from beginning to end.

In the mean time the horse trotted rapidly onward along the valley, which seemed to grow narrower and narrower as they proceeded; and the impending precipices which here and there overhung the road became more and more terrific. The Luetschine, a rapid and turbid stream, swept swiftly along—sometimes in full view and sometimes concealed. Now and then there was a bridge, or a mill, or some little hamlet of Swiss cottages to diversify the scene. Mr. George and Rollo observed every thing with great attention and interest. They met frequent parties of travellers returning from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen—some on foot, some on horseback, and others in carriages which were more or less spacious and elegant, according to the rank or wealth of the travellers who were journeying in them.

At length they arrived at the fork of the valley. Here they gazed with astonishment and awe at the stupendous precipice which reared its colossal front before them and which seemed effectually to stop their way.

On drawing near to it, however, it appeared that the valley divided into two branches at this point, as has already been explained. The road divided too. The branch which led to the right was the road to Lauterbrunnen. The one to the left Rollo supposed led to Grindelwald. To make it sure, he pointed to the left-hand road and said to Henry,—

“To Grindelwald?”

“Yes, sir,” said Henry, “to Grindelwald.”

The scenery now became more wild than ever. The valley was narrow, and on each side of it were to be seen lofty precipices and vast slopes of mountain land—some smooth and green, and covered, though very steep, with flocks and herds, and others feathered with dark evergreen forests, or covered with ragged rocks, or pierced with frightful chasms. Here and there a zigzag path was seen leading from hamlet to hamlet or from peak to peak up the mountain, with peasants ascending or descending by them and bearing burdens of every form and variety on their backs. In one case Rollo saw a woman bringing a load of hay on her back down the mountain side.

The valley, bordered thus as it was with such wild and precipitous mountain sides, might have had a gloomy, or at least a very sombre, expression, had it not been cheered and animated by the waterfalls that came foaming down here and there from the precipices above, and which seemed so bright and sparkling that they greatly enlivened the scene. These waterfalls were of a great variety of forms. In some cases a thin thread of water, like the jet from a fire engine, came slowly over the brink of a precipice a thousand feet in the air, and, gliding smoothly down for a few hundred feet, was then lost entirely in vapor or spray. In other cases, in the depth of some deep ravine far up the mountain, might be seen a line of foam meandering for a short distance among the rocks and then disappearing. Rollo pointed to one of these, and then said to Mr. George,—

“Uncle, look there! There is a short waterfall half way up the mountain; but I cannot see where the water comes from or where it goes to.”

“No,” said Mr. George. “It comes undoubtedly from over the precipice above, and it flows entirely down into the valley; but it only comes out to view for that short distance.”

“Why can't we see it all the way?” asked Rollo.

“I suppose,” said Mr. George, “it may flow for the rest of the way in the bottom of some deep chasms, or it may possibly be that it comes suddenly out of the ground at the place where we see it.”

“Yes,” said Rollo. “I found a great stream coming suddenly out of the ground at Interlachen.”

“Where,” asked Mr. George.

“Right across the river,” said Rollo. “I went over there this morning.”

“How did you get over?” said Mr. George.

“I went over on a bridge,” said Rollo. “I took a little walk up the road, and pretty soon I came to a bridge which led across the river. I went over, and then walked along the bank on the other side. There was only a narrow space between the river and the precipice. The ground sloped down from the foot of the precipice to the water. I found several very large springs breaking out in this ground. One of them was very large. The water that ran from it made a great stream, large enough for a mill. It came up right out of the ground from a great hole all full of stones. The water came up from among the stones.”

“And where did it go to?” asked Mr. George.

“O, it ran directly down into the river. The place was rather steep where it ran down, so that it made a cascade all the way.”

“I should like to have seen it,” said Mr. George.

“Yes,” said Rollo; “it was very curious indeed to see a little river come up suddenly out of the ground from a great hole full of stones.”

Talking in this manner about what they had seen, our travellers went on till they came to Lauterbrunnen. They found a small village here, in the midst of which was a large and comfortable inn. There were a number of guides and several carriages in the yards of this inn, and many parties of travellers coming and going. The principal attraction of the valley, however, at this part of it, is an immense waterfall, called the Fall of the Staubach, which was to be seen a little beyond the village, up the valley. This is one of the most remarkable waterfalls in all Switzerland. A large stream comes over the brink of a precipice nearly a thousand feet high, and descends in one smooth and continuous column for some hundreds of feet, when it gradually breaks, and finally comes down upon the rocks below a vast mass of foam and spray.

Rollo and Mr. George could see this waterfall and a great many other smaller ones which came streaming down over the faces of the precipices, along the sides of the valley, as they came up in the char a banc, before they reached the inn.

“I don't see how such a large river gets to the top of such a high hill,” said Rollo.

That this question should have arisen in Rollo's mind is not surprising; for the top of the precipice where the Staubach came over seemed, in fact, the summit of a sharp ridge to any one looking up to it from the valley below; and Rollo did not imagine that there was any land above. The apparent wonder was, however, afterwards explained, when our travellers began to ascend the mountain on the other side of the valley that afternoon to go up to the Wengern Alp.

The guide drove the char a banc to the door of the inn, and Mr. George and Rollo got out. They went into the inn and ordered dinner.

“We are going to see the Staubach,” said Mr. George to the waiter, “and we will be back in half an hour.”

“Very well,” said the waiter; “your dinner shall be ready.”

So Mr. George and Rollo came out of the inn again in order to go and see the waterfall.

They were beset at the door by a number of young men and boys, and also by several little girls, some of whom wanted to sell them minerals or flowers which they had gathered among the rocks around the waterfall; and others wished to guide them to the place.

“To the Staubach? To the Staubach?” said they. “Want a guide? Want a guide?”

They said this in the German language. Mr. George understood enough of German to know what they meant; but he could not reply in that language. So he said, in French,—

“No; we do not wish any guide. We can find the way to the Staubach ourselves. There it is, right before our eyes.”

Mr. George, while he was saying this, was taking out some small change from his pockets to give to the children. He gave a small coin apiece to them all.

Seeing this, the boys who had wished to guide him to the Staubach became more clamorous than ever.

“To the Staubach?” said they. “To the Staubach? Want a guide? Want a guide?”

Mr. George paid no further attention to them; but, saying “Come, Rollo,” walked on.

The would-be guides followed him a short distance, still offering their services; but, finding soon that Mr. George would not have any thing more to say to them, they gradually dropped off and went back to the inn to try their fortune with the next arrival.

Mr. George and Rollo walked on along a narrow road, which was bordered by queer, picturesque-looking huts and cottages on either hand, with gardens by the sides of them, in which women and girls were hoeing or weeding. They met two or three parties of ladies and gentlemen returning from the Staubach; and presently they came to a place where, close to the side of the road, was a small shop, before which a party of ladies and gentlemen had stopped, apparently to look at something curious.

Mr. George and Rollo went to the place and found that it was a shop for the sale of carved toys and images such as are made in many parts of Switzerland to be sold to travellers for souvenirs of their tour through the country. There were shelves put up on the outside of the shop, each side of the door, and these shelves were covered with all sorts of curious objects carved in white or yellow fir, or pine. There were images of Swiss peasants with all sorts of burdens on their backs, and models of Swiss cottages, and needle boxes, and pin cases, and match boxes, and nut crackers, and groups of hunters on the rocks, or of goats or chamois climbing, and rulers ornamented with cameo-like carvings of wreaths and flowers, and with the word “Staubach” cut in ornamental letters.

Rollo was greatly interested in this store of curiosities, so much so, in fact, that for the moment all thoughts of the Staubach were driven from his mind.

“Let us buy some of these things, uncle George,” said he.

“And carry them over the Wengern Alp?” said Mr. George.

“Yes,” said Rollo. “They won't be very heavy. We can put them in the carpet bag.”

“Well,” said Mr. George, “you may buy one or two specimens if you wish, but not many; for the guide has got the carpet bag to carry, and we must not make it very heavy.”

“Or we can send them in the carriage round to Grindelwald,” said Rollo, “and not have to carry them at all.”

“So we can,” said Mr. George.

Rollo accordingly bought two Swiss cottages, very small ones, and a nut cracker. The nut cracker was shaped like a man's fist, with a hole in the middle of it to put the nut in. Then there was a handle, the end of which, when the handle was turned, was forced into the hollow of the fist by means of a screw cut in the wood, and this would crack the nut.

While Rollo was paying for his toys he felt a small hand taking hold of his own, and heard a voice say, in English,—

“How do you do?”

The English “How do you do?” is a strange sound to be heard in these remote Swiss valleys.

Rollo turned round and saw a boy look up to him with a smile, saying again at the same time,—

“How do you do?”

In a moment Rollo recognized the boy whom he had seen at Basle in the court yard of the diligence office while he had been waiting there for the horses to be harnessed. His sister Lottie was standing near; and she, as well as her brother, appeared to be much pleased at seeing Rollo again. Rollo had a few minutes' conversation with his young friends, and then they separated, as Rollo went on with his uncle to see the waterfall; while they, having already been with their father and mother to see it, went back to the inn.

Mr. George had recommended to Rollo not to buy too many specimens of the carving, not only on account of the difficulty of transporting them, but also because he thought that they would probably find a great many other opportunities to purchase such things before they had finished their rambles in Switzerland. He was quite right in this supposition. In fact, Rollo passed three more stands for selling such things on the way to the Staubach.

Mr. George and Rollo continued their walk along the road, looking up constantly at the colossal column of water before them, which seemed to grow larger and higher the nearer they drew to it. At length they reached the part of the road which was directly opposite to it. Here there was a path which turned off from the road and led up through the pasture towards the foot of the fall. The entrance to this path was beset by children who had little boxes full of crystals and other shining minerals which they wished to sell to visitors for souvenirs of the place.

Mr. George and Rollo turned into this path and attempted to advance towards the foot of the fall; but they soon found themselves stopped by the spray. In fact, the whole region all around the foot of the fall, for a great distance, was so full of mist and driving spray that going into it was like going into a rain storm. Mr. George and Rollo soon found that they were getting thoroughly wet and that it would not do to go any farther.

“And so,” said Rollo, in a disappointed tone, “though we have taken the pains to come all this way to see the waterfall, we can't get near enough to see it after all.”

Mr. George laughed.

“I wish we had brought an umbrella,” said Rollo.

“An umbrella would not have done much good,” replied Mr. George. “The wind whirls about so much that it would drive the spray upon us whichever way we should turn the umbrella.”

“The path goes on a great deal nearer,” said Rollo. “Somebody must go there, at any rate, without minding the spray.”

“Perhaps,” said Mr. George, “when the wind is in some other quarter, it may blow the spray away, so that people can go nearer the foot of the fall without getting wet. At any rate, it is plain that we cannot go any nearer now.”

Saying these words, Mr. George led the way back towards the road, and Rollo followed him.

After retreating far enough to get again into a dry atmosphere, they stopped and looked upward at the fall. It seemed an immense cataract coming down out of the sky. After gazing at the stupendous spectacle till their wonder and admiration were in some measure satisfied, they returned to the inn, where they found an excellent dinner all ready for them. While they were thus employed in eating their dinner, Henry was engaged in eating his, with at least as good an appetite, in company with the other guides, in the servants' hall.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 8: See the map at the commencement of the first chapter.]

CHAPTER IX. THE WENGERN ALP.

It was about twelve o'clock when Rollo and Mr. George, having finished their dinner, came out into the yard of the inn for the purpose of setting out for the ascent of the mountain.

“Well, Rollo,” said Mr. George, “now for a a scramble.”

Thus far the road which the young gentlemen had travelled since leaving Interlachen had been quite level and smooth, its course having been along the bottom of the valley, which was itself quite level, though shut in on both sides by precipitous mountains. Now they were to leave the valley and ascend one of these mountain sides by means of certain zigzag paths which had been made with great labor upon them, to enable the peasants to ascend and descend in going to and from their hamlets and pasturages.

The paths, though very steep and very torturous, are smooth enough for horses to go up, though the peasants themselves very seldom use horses. A horse would eat as much grass, perhaps, as two cows. They prefer, therefore, to have the cows, and do without the horse. And so every thing which they wish to transport up and down the mountain they carry on their backs.

There were various other guides in the yard of the inn besides Henry: some were preparing apparently for the ascent of the mountain with other parties; others were bringing up carriages for people who were going to return to Interlachen. Henry, when he saw Mr. George and Rollo coming out, asked them if they were ready.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “Bring the horse. You shall ride first, Rollo.”

Mr. George was to have but one horse for himself and Rollo, and they were to ride it by turns. He thought that both he himself and Rollo would be able to walk half way up the mountain, and, by having one horse between them, each could ride half the way.

Besides, it is less fatiguing, when you have a long and steep ascent to make, to walk some portion of the way rather than to be on horseback all the time.

There was another consideration which influenced Mr. George. Every additional horse which should be required for the excursion would cost about two dollars a day, including the guide to take care of him; and, as Mr. George expected to spend at least two days on the excursion, it would cost four dollars more to take two horses than to take only one.

“And I think,” said Mr. George to Rollo, after having made this calculation, “we had better save that money, and have it to buy beautiful colored engravings of Swiss scenery with when we get to Geneva.”

“I think so too,” said Rollo.

So it was concluded to take but one horse with them, on the understanding that each of the travellers was to walk half the way.

Rollo accordingly, when the horse was brought to the door, climbed up upon his back with the guide's assistance, and, after adjusting his feet to the stirrup, prepared to set out on the ascent. His heart was bounding with excitement and delight.

When all was ready the party moved on, Rollo on the horse and Mr. George and Henry walking along by his side. They proceeded a short distance along the road, and then turned into a path which led towards the side of the valley opposite to the Staubach. They soon reached the foot of the slope, and then they began to ascend. The path grew more and more steep as they proceeded, until at length it became very precipitous; and in some places the horse was obliged to scramble up, as it were, as if he were going up stairs. Rollo clung to his seat manfully in all these places; and he would have been sometimes afraid were it not that, in every case where there could be even any apparent danger, Henry would come to his side and keep by him, ready to render assistance at a moment's notice whenever any should be needed. In this way the party moved slowly on up the face of the mountain, making many short turns and windings among the rocks and going back and forth in zigzags on the green declivities. Sometimes for a few minutes they would be lost in a grove of firs, or pines; then they would come out upon some rounded promontory of grass land or projecting peak of rocks; and a few minutes afterwards they would move along smoothly for a time upon a level, with a steep acclivity, rough with rocks and precipices on one side, and an abrupt descent on the other down which a stone would have rolled a thousand feet into the valley below.

Of course the view of the valley became more commanding and more striking the higher they ascended. Rollo wished at every turn to stop and look at it. He did stop sometimes, the guide saying that it was necessary to do so in order to let the horse get his breath a little; for the toil for such an animal of getting up so steep an ascent was very severe. Rollo would have stopped oftener; but he did not like to be left behind by his uncle George, who, being active and agile, mounted very rapidly. Mr. George would often shorten his road very much by climbing directly up the rocks from one turn of the road to the other; while the horse, with Rollo on his back, was compelled to go round by the zigzag.

At last, after they had been ascending for about half an hour, Mr. George stopped, at a place where there was a smooth stone for a seat by the side of the path, to wait for Rollo to come up; and, when Rollo came, Mr. George took him off the horse to let him rest a little. The view of the valley from this point was very grand and imposing. Rollo could look down into it as you could look into the bed of a brook in the country, standing upon the top of the bank on one side. The village, the inn, the little cottages along the roadside, the river, the bridges, and a thousand other objects, all of liliputian size, were to be seen below; while on the farther side the streaming Staubach was in full view, pouring over the brink of the precipice and falling in a dense mass of spray on the rocks at the foot of them.

Rollo could understand now, too, where the fall of the Staubach came from; for above the brink of the precipice, where the water came over, there was now to be seen a vast expanse of mountain country, rising steep, but not precipitously, far above the summit of the precipice, and of course receding as it ascended, so as not to be seen from the valley below. From the elevation, however, to which Rollo had now attained, the whole of this vast region was in view. It was covered with forests, pasturages, chalets, and scattered hamlets; and in the valleys, long, silvery lines of water were to be seen glittering in the sun and twisting and twining down in foaming cascades to the brink of the precipice, where, plunging over, they formed the cataracts which had been seen in the valley below. The Staubach was the largest of these falls; and the stream which produced it could now be traced for many miles as it came dancing along in its shining path down among the ravines of the mountains.

“I see now what makes the fall of the Staubach,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George.

“I should like to be on the brink of the precipice where it falls over,” said Rollo, “and look down.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “so should I. I don't think that we could get near enough actually to look down, but we could get near enough to see the water where it begins to take the plunge.”

After resting a suitable time at this place and greatly admiring and enjoying the view, our party set out again. Rollo proposed that his uncle should ride now a little way and let him walk; but Mr. George preferred that Rollo should mount again. There was still nearly another hour's hard climbing to do and a long and pretty difficult walk of several miles beyond it, and Mr. George was very desirous of saving Rollo's strength. It might perhaps be supposed, from the blunt manner in which Mr. George often threw the responsibility upon Rollo when he was placed in difficult emergencies and left him to act for himself, that he did not think or care much for his nephew's comfort or happiness. But this was by no means the case. Mr. George was very fond of Rollo indeed. If he had not been fond of him he would not have wished to have him for his companion on his tour. He was very careful, too, never to expose Rollo to any real hardship or suffering; and his apparently blunt manner, in throwing responsibilities upon the boy, only amused him by making it appear that his uncle George considered him almost a man.

Mr. George, knowing that the first part of the way from Lauterbrunnen to the Wengern Alp was by far the most steep and difficult, had accordingly arranged it in his own mind that Rollo should ride until this steep part had been surmounted.

“You may mount again now, Rollo,” said he. “I will walk a little longer and take my turn in riding a little farther on.”

So Rollo mounted; and there was now another hour of steep climbing. The zigzags were sometimes sharp and short and at others long and winding; but the way was always picturesque and the views became more and more grand and imposing the higher the party ascended. At one time, when Rollo had stopped a moment to let his horse breathe, he saw at a turn of the path a few zigzags below him a little girl coming up, with a basket on her back.

Rollo pointed to her and asked the guide, in French, who that girl was.

Henry said he did not know.

Henry, foolishly enough, supposed that Rollo meant to ask what the girl's name was; and so he said that he did not know. But this was not what Rollo meant at all. He had no particular desire in asking the question to learn the child's name. What he wished to know was, what, according to the customs of the country, would be the probable province and function of such a sort of girl as that, coming alone up the mountain in that way with a burden on her back. Henry, if he had understood the real intent and meaning of the question, could easily have answered it. The girl lived in a little hamlet of shepherds' huts farther up the mountain, and had been down into the village to buy something for her father and mother; and she was now coming home with her purchases in the basket on her back. All this Henry knew very well; but, when Rollo asked who the girl was, Henry thought he meant to ask who she herself was individually; and so, as he did not know her personally, he could not tell.

Travellers often get disappointed in this way in asking questions of the natives of the country in which they are travelling. The people do not understand the nature and bearing of the question, and they themselves are not familiar enough with the language to explain what they do mean.

The guide stood for a minute or two looking intently at the girl as she slowly ascended the path, especially when she passed the angles of the zigzag, for there she turned sometimes in such a manner as to show her face more plainly.

“No,” said he, at length; “I do not know her. I never saw her before. But I'll ask her who she is when she comes up.”

“Uncle George!” said Rollo, calling out very loudly to his uncle, who was at some distance above.

“Ay, ay,” said Mr. George, responding.

Rollo attempted to look up to see where his uncle was standing; but in doing this he had to throw his head back so far as to bring a fear suddenly over him of falling from his horse. So he desisted, and continued his conversation without attempting to look.

“Here is a girl coming up the mountain with a basket on her back. Come down and see her.”

“Come up here,” said Mr. George, “and we will wait till she comes.”

So Rollo chirruped to his horse and started along again. In a few minutes he reached the place where his uncle George was standing, and there they all waited till the little girl came up.

“Good morning,” said the girl, as soon as she came near enough to be heard. She spoke the words in the German language and with a very pleasant smile upon her face.

The peasants in Switzerland, when they meet strangers in ascending or descending the mountains, always accost them pleasantly and wish them good morning or good evening. In most other countries, strangers meeting each other on the road pass in silence. Perhaps it is the loneliness and solitude of the country and the sense of danger and awe that the stupendous mountains inspire that incline people to be more pleased when they meet each other in Switzerland, even if they are strangers, than in the more cheerful and smiling regions of France and England.

The guide said something to the girl, but Rollo could not understand what it was, for he spoke, and the answer was returned, in German.

“She says her name is Ninette,” said Henry.

Rollo's attention was immediately attracted to the form of the basket which Ninette wore and to the manner in which it was fastened to her back. The basket was comparatively small at the bottom, being about as wide as the waist of the girl; but it grew larger towards the top, where it opened as wide as the girl's shoulders—being shaped in this respect in conformity with the shape of the back on which it was to be borne.

[Illustration: THE MOUNTAIN GIRL.]

The side of the basket, too, which lay against the back was flat, so as to fit to it exactly. The outer side was rounded. It was open at the top.

The basket was secured to its place upon the child's back and shoulders by means of two flat strips of wood, which were fastened at the upper ends of them to the back of the basket near the top, and which came round over the shoulders in front, and then, passing under the arms, were fastened at the lower ends to the basket near the bottom. The basket was thus supported in its place and carried by means of the pressure of these straps upon the shoulders.

“Uncle George,” said Rollo, “I should like to have such a basket as that and such a pair of straps to carry it by.”

“What would you do with it,” asked Mr. George, “if you had it?”

“Why, it would be very convenient,” said Rollo, “in America, when I went a-raspberrying. You see, if I had such a basket as that, I could bring my berries home on my back, and so have my hands free.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George, “that would be convenient.”

“Besides,” said Rollo, “it would be a curiosity.”

“That's true,” replied Mr. George; “but it would be very difficult to carry so bulky a thing home.”

After some further conversation it was concluded not to buy the basket, but to ask the girl if she would be willing to sell the straps, or bows, that it was fastened with. These straps were really quite curious. They were made of some very hard and smooth-grained wood, and were nicely carved and bent so as to fit to the girl's shoulders quite precisely.

Accordingly Mr. George, speaking in French, requested Henry to ask the girl whether she would be willing to sell the straps. Henry immediately addressed the girl in the German language, and after talking with her a few minutes he turned again to Mr. George and Rollo and said that the girl would rather not sell them herself, as they belonged to her father, who lived about half a mile farther up the mountain. But she was sure her father would sell them if they would stop at his cottage as they went by. He would either sell them that pair, she said, or a new pair; for he made such things himself, and he had two or three new pairs in his cottage.

“Very well,” said Mr. George; “let us go on.

“Which would you rather have,” said Mr. George to Rollo, as they resumed their march, “this pair, or some new ones?”

“I would rather have this pair,” said Rollo.

“They are somewhat soiled and worn,” said Mr. George.

“Yes,” said Rollo; “but they are good and strong; and as soon as I get home I shall rub them all off clean with sand paper and then have them varnished, so as to make them look very bright and nice; and then I shall keep them for a curiosity. I would rather have this pair, for then I can tell people that I bought them actually off the shoulders of a little girl who was carrying a burden with them up the Alps.”

In due time the party reached the little hamlet where Ninette lived. The hamlet consisted of a scattered group of cabins and cow houses on a shelving green more than a thousand feet above the valley. The girl led the party to the door of her father's hut; and there, through the medium of Henry as interpreter, they purchased the two bows for a very small sum of money. They also bought a drink of excellent milk for the whole party of Ninette's mother and then resumed their journey.

As they went on they obtained from time to time very grand and extended views of the surrounding mountains. Whether they turned their eyes above or below them, the prospect was equally wonderful. In the latter case they looked down on distant villages; some clinging to the hillsides, others nestling in the valleys, and others still perched, like the one where Ninette lived, on shelving slopes of green pasture land, which terminated at a short distance from the dwellings on the brink of the most frightful precipices. Above were towering forests and verdant slopes of land, dotted with chalets or broken here and there by the gray rocks which appeared among them. Higher still were lofty crags, with little sunny nooks among them—the dizzy pasturages of the chamois; and above these immense fields of ice and snow, which pierced the sky with the glittering peaks and summits in which they terminated. Mr. George and Rollo paused frequently, as they continued their journey, to gaze around them upon these stupendous scenes.

At length, when the steepest part of the ascent had been accomplished, Mr. George said that he was tired of climbing, and proposed that Rollo should dismount and take his turn in walking.

“If you were a lady,” said Mr. George, “I would let you ride all the way. But you are strong and capable, and as well able to walk as I am—better, I suppose, in fact; so you may as well take your turn.”

“Yes,” said Rollo; “I should like it. I am tired of riding. I would rather walk than not.”

So Henry assisted Rollo to dismount, and then adjusted the stirrups to Mr. George's use, and Mr. George mounted into the saddle.

“How glad I am to come to the end of my walking,” said Mr. George, “and to get upon a horse!”

“How glad I am to come to the end of my riding,” said Rollo, “and to get upon my feet!”

Thus both of the travellers seemed pleased with the change. The road now became far more easy to be travelled than before. The steepest part of the ascent had been surmounted, and for the remainder of the distance the path followed a meandering way over undulating land, which, though not steep, was continually ascending. Here and there herds of cattle were seen grazing; and there were scattered huts, and sometimes little hamlets, where the peasants lived in the summer, to tend their cows and make butter and cheese from their milk. In the fall of the year they drive the cattle down again to the lower valleys; for these high pasturages, though green and sunny in the summer and affording an abundance of sweet and nutritious grass for the sheep and cows that feed upon them, are buried deep in snows, and are abandoned to the mercy of the most furious tempests and storms during all the winter portion of the year. Our travellers passed many scattered forests, some of which were seen clinging to the mountain sides, at a vast elevation above them. In others men were at work felling trees or cutting up the wood. Rollo stopped at one of these places and procured a small billet of the Alpine wood, as large as he could conveniently carry in his pocket, intending to have something made from it when he should get home to America. The woodman, at Henry's request, cut out this billet of wood for Rollo, making it of the size which Rollo indicated to him by a gesture with his finger.

At one time the party met a company of peasant girls coming down from the mountain. They came into the path by which our travellers were ascending from a side path which seemed to lead up a secluded glen. These girls came dancing gayly along with bouquets of flowers in their hands and garlands in their hair. They looked bright and blooming, and seemed very contented and happy.

They bowed very politely to Mr. George and to Rollo as they passed.

Guten abend,” said they.

These are the German words for “Good evening.”[9]

Guten abend,” said both Mr. George and Rollo in reply.

The girls thus passed by and went on their way down the mountain.

“Where have they been?” asked Mr. George.

“They have been at work gathering up the small stones from the pasturages, I suppose,” said Henry. “Companies of girls go out for that a great deal.”

After getting upon the horse, Mr. George took care to keep behind Rollo and the guide. He knew very well that if he were to go on in advance Rollo would exert himself more than he otherwise would do, under the influence of a sort of feeling that he ought to try to keep up. While Rollo was on the horse himself, having the guide with him too, Mr. George knew that there was no danger from this source, as any one who is on horseback or in a carriage never has the feeling of being left behind when a companion who is on foot by chance gets before him. Consequently, while they were coming up the steep part of the mountain, Mr. George went on as fast as he pleased, leaving Rollo and Henry to come on at their leisure. But now his kind consideration for Rollo induced him to keep carefully behind.

“Now, Rollo,” said he, “you and Henry may go on just as fast or just as slow as you please, without paying any regard to me. I shall follow along at my leisure.”

Thus Rollo, seeing that Mr. George was behind, went on very leisurely, and enjoyed his walk and his talk with Henry very much.

“Did you ever study English, Henry?” said Rollo.

“No,” said Henry; “but I wish I could speak English, very much.”

“Why?” asked Rollo.

“Because there are so many English people coming here that I have to guide up the mountains.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “you can begin now. I will teach you.”

So he began to teach the guide to say “How do you do?” in English.

This conversation between Rollo and Henry was in French. Rollo had studied French a great deal by the help of books when he was at home, and he had taken so much pains to improve by practice since he had been in France and Switzerland that he could now get along in a short and simple conversation very well.

While our party had been coming up the mountain, the weather, though perfectly clear and serene in the morning, had become somewhat overcast. Misty clouds were to be seen here and there floating along the sides or resting on the summits of the mountains. At length, while Rollo was in the midst of the English lesson which he was giving to the guide, his attention was arrested, just as they were emerging from the border of a little thicket of stunted evergreens, by what seemed to be a prolonged clap of thunder. It came apparently out of a mass of clouds and vapor which Rollo saw moving majestically in the southern sky.

“Thunder!” exclaimed Rollo, looking alarmed. “There's thunder!”

“No,” said Henry; “an avalanche.”

The sound rolled and reverberated in the sky for a considerable time like a prolonged peal of thunder. Rollo thought that Henry must be mistaken in supposing it an avalanche.

At this moment Rollo, looking round, saw Mr. George coming up, on his horse, at a turn of the path a little way behind them.

“Henry,” said Mr. George, “there is a thunder shower coming up; we must hasten on.”

“No,” said Henry; “that was an avalanche.”

“An avalanche?” exclaimed Mr. George. “Why, the sound came out of the middle of the sky.”

“It was an avalanche,” said the guide, “from the Jungfrau. See!” he added, pointing up into the sky.

Mr. George and Rollo both looked in the direction where Henry pointed, and there they saw a vast rocky precipice peering out through a break in the clouds high up in the sky. An immense snow bank was reposing upon its summit. The glittering whiteness of this snow contrasted strongly with the sombre gray of the clouds through which, as through an opening in a curtain, it was seen.

Presently another break in the clouds, and then another, occurred; at each of which towering rocks or great perpendicular walls of glittering ice and snow came into view.

“The Jungfrau,” said the guide.

Mr. George and Rollo gazed at this spectacle for some minutes in silence, when at length Rollo said,—

“Why, uncle George! the sky is all full of rocks and ice!”

“It is indeed!” said Mr. George.

It was rather fortunate than otherwise that the landscape was obscured with clouds when Mr. George and Rollo first came into the vicinity of the Jungfrau, as the astonishing spectacle of rocks and precipices and immense accumulations of snow and ice, breaking out as it were through the clouds all over the sky, was in some respects more impressive than the full and unobstructed view of the whole mountain would have been.

“I wish the clouds would clear away,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “I should like to see the whole side of the mountain very much.”

Here another long and heavy peal, like thunder, began to be heard. Mr. George stopped his horse to listen. Rollo and Henry stopped too. The sound seemed to commence high up among the clouds. The echoes and reverberations were reflected from the rocks and precipices all around it; but the peal seemed slowly and gradually to descend towards the horizon; and finally, after the lapse of two or three minutes, it entirely ceased.

The travellers paused a moment after the sound ceased and continued to listen. When they found that all was still they began to move on again.

“I wish I could have seen that avalanche,” said Rollo.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “I hope the clouds will clear away by the time we get to the inn.”

It was just about sunset when the party reached the inn. Rollo was beginning to get a little tired, though the excitement of the excursion and the effect produced on his mind by the strange aspect of every thing around him inspired him with so much animation and strength that he held on in his walk very well indeed. It is true that a great portion of the mountain scenery around him was concealed from view by the clouds; but there was something in the appearance of the rocks, in the character of the vegetation, and especially in the aspect and expression of the patches of snow which were to be seen here and there in nooks and corners near the path,—the remains of the vast accumulations of the preceding winter which the sun had not yet dispelled,—that impressed Rollo continually with a sentiment of wonder and awe, and led him to feel that he had attained to a vast elevation, and that he was walking, as he really was, among the clouds.

The inn, when the party first came in sight of it, appeared more like a log cabin in America than like a well-known and much-frequented European hotel. It stood on a very small plot of ground, which formed a sort of projection on a steep mountain side, facing the Jungfrau. In front of the hotel the land descended very rapidly for a considerable distance. The descent terminated at last on the brink of an enormous ravine which separated the base of the Wengern Alp from that of the Jungfrau. Behind the house the land rose in a broad, green slope, dotted with Alpine flowers and terminating in a smooth, rounded summit far above. The house itself seemed small, and was rudely constructed. There was a sort of piazza in front of it, with a bench and a table before it.

“That is where the people sit, I suppose,” said Mr. George, “in pleasant weather to see the Jungfrau.”

“Yes,” said Rollo.

“For the Jungfrau must be over there,” said Mr. George, pointing among the clouds in the southern sky.

All doubt about the position of the mountain was removed at the instant that Mr. George had spoken these words, by another avalanche, which just at that moment commenced its fall. They all stopped to listen. The sound was greatly prolonged, sometimes roaring continuously for a time, like a cataract, and then rumbling and crashing like a peal of thunder.

“What a pity that the clouds are in the way,” said Rollo, “so that we can't see! Do you think it will clear up before we go away?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “I am very sure it will; for I am determined not to go away till it does clear up.”

There were one or two buildings attached to the inn which served apparently as barns and sheds. The door of entrance was round in a corner formed by the connection of one of these buildings with the house. Henry led the horse up to this door, and Mr. George dismounted. The guide led the horse away, and Rollo and Mr. George went into the house. A young and very blooming Swiss girl received them in the hall and opened a door for them which led to the public sitting room.

The sitting room was a large apartment, which extended along the whole front of the house. The windows, of course, looked out towards the Jungfrau. There was a long table in the middle of the room, and one or two smaller ones in the back corners. At these tables two or three parties were seated, eating their dinners. In one of the front corners was a fireplace, with a small fire, made of pine wood, burning on the hearth. A young lady was sitting near this fire, reading. Another was at a small table near it, writing in her journal. Around the walls of the room were a great many engravings and colored lithographs of Swiss scenery; among them were several views of the Jungfrau. On the whole, the room, though perfectly plain and even rude in all its furniture and appointments, had a very comfortable and attractive appearance.

“What a snug and pleasant-looking place!” said Rollo, whispering to Mr. George as they went in.

“Yes,” said Mr. George. “It is just exactly such a place as I wished to find.”

Mr. George and Rollo were both of them tired and hungry. They first called for rooms. The maid took them up stairs and gave them two small rooms next each other. The rooms were, in fact, very small. The furniture in them, too was of the plainest description; but every thing was neat and comfortable, and the aspect of the interior of them was, on the whole, quite attractive.

In about fifteen minutes Rollo knocked at Mr. George's door and asked if he was ready to go down.

“Not quite,” said Mr. George; “but I wish that you would go down and order dinner.”

So Rollo went down again into the public room and asked the maid if she could get them some dinner.

“Yes,” said the maid. “What would you like to have?”

Rollo was considerate enough to know that there could be very little to eat in the house except what had been brought up in a very toilsome and difficult manner, from the valleys below, by the zigzag paths which he and his uncle had been climbing. So he said in reply,—

“Whatever you please. It is not important to us.”

The maid then told him what they had in the house; and Rollo, selecting from these things, ordered what he thought would make an excellent dinner. The dinner, in fact, when it came to the table, proved to be a very excellent one indeed. It consisted of broiled chicken, some most excellent fried potatoes, eggs, fresh and very nice bread, and some honey. For drink, they had at first water; and at the end of the meal some French coffee, which, being diluted with boiled milk that was very rich and sweet, was truly delicious.

“I have not had so good a dinner,” said Mr. George, “since I have been in Europe.”

“No,” said Rollo; “nor I.”

“It is owing in part, I suppose, to the appetite we have got in climbing up the mountain,” said Mr. George.

Just as the young gentlemen had finished their dinner and were about to rise from the table, their attention was attracted by an exclamation of delight which came from one of the young ladies who were sitting at the fireplace when Mr. George and Rollo came in.

“O Emma,” said she, “come here!”

Mr. George and Rollo looked up, and they saw that the young lady whose voice they had heard was standing at the window. Emma rose from her seat and went to the window in answer to the call. Mr. George and Rollo looked out, too, at another window. They saw a spectacle which filled them with astonishment.

“It is clearing away,” said Rollo. “Let us go out in front of the house and look.”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “we will.”

So they both left their seats, and, putting on their caps, they went out. As soon as they reached the platform where the bench and the table were standing they gazed on the scene which was presented to their view with wonder and delight.

It was, indeed, clearing away. The clouds were “lifting” from the mountains; and the sun, which had been for some hours obscured, was breaking forth in the west and illuminating the whole landscape with his setting beams. Opposite to where Mr. George and Rollo stood, across the valley, they could see the whole mighty mass of the Jungfrau coming into view beneath the edge of the cloudy curtain which was slowly rising.

The lower portion of the mountain was an immense precipice, the foot of which was hidden from view in the great chasm, or ravine, which separated the Jungfrau from the Wengern Alp. Above this were rocks and great sloping fields of snow formed from avalanches which had fallen down from above. Still higher, there were brought to view vast fields of ice and snow, with masses of rock breaking out here and there among them, some in the form of precipices and crags, and others shooting up in jagged pinnacles and peaks, rising to dizzy heights, to the summits of which nothing but the condor or the eagle could ever attain. Still higher were precipices of blue and pellucid ice, and boundless fields of glittering snow, and immense drifts, piled one above the other in vast volumes, and overhanging the cliffs as if just ready to fall.

In a short time the clouds rose so as to clear the summit of the mountain; and then the whole mighty mass was seen revealed fully to view, glittering in the sunbeams and filling half the sky.

The other guests of the inn came out upon the platform while Rollo and Mr. George were there, having wrapped themselves previously in their coats and shawls, as the evening air was cool. Some other parties of travellers came, too, winding their way slowly up the same pathway where Mr. George and Rollo had come. Mr. George and Rollo paid very little attention to these new comers, their minds being wholly occupied by the mountain.

In a very short time after the face of the Jungfrau came fully into view, the attention of all the company that were looking at the scene was arrested by the commencement of another peal of the same thundering sound that Mr. George and Rollo had heard with so much wonder in coming up the mountain. A great many exclamations immediately broke out from the party.

“There! hark! look!” said they. “An avalanche! An avalanche!”

The sound was loud and almost precisely like thunder. Every one looked in the direction from which it proceeded. There they soon saw, half way up the mountain, a stream of snow, like a cataract, creeping slowly over the brink of a precipice, and falling in a continued torrent upon the rocks below. From this place they could see it slowly creeping down the long slope towards another precipice, and where, when it reached the brink, it fell over in another cataract, producing another long peal of thunder, which, being repeated by the echoes of the mountains and rocks around, filled the whole heavens with its rolling reverberations. In this manner the mass of ice and snow went down slope after slope and over precipice after precipice, till at length it made its final plunge into the great chasm at the foot of the mountain and disappeared from view.

In the course of an hour several other avalanches were heard and seen; and when at length it grew too dark to see them any longer, the thundering roar of them was heard from time to time all the night long.

Rollo, however, was so tired that, though he went to bed quite early, he did not hear the avalanches or any thing else until Mr. George called him the next morning.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 9: They are pronounced as if spelled Gooten arbend.]

CHAPTER X. GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN.

Mr. George and Rollo met with various adventures and incidents in going down the next day to Grindelwald which are quite characteristic of mountain travelling in Switzerland.

They did not set out very early in the morning, as Mr. George wished to stay as long as possible to gaze on the face of the Jungfrau and watch the avalanches.

“Rollo,” said he, as they were standing together in front of the hotel after breakfast, “how would you like to go up with me to the top of that hill?”

So saying, Mr. George pointed to the great rounded summit which was seen rising behind the hotel.

“Yes,” said Rollo; “I should like to go very much indeed.”

“Very well,” said Mr. George; “we will go. But first let me get my pressing book to put some flowers in, in case we find any.”

Mr. George's pressing book was a contrivance which he had invented for the more convenient desiccation of such flowers as he might gather in his travels and wish to carry home with him and preserve, either for botanical specimens or as souvenirs for his friends. It was made by taking out all the leaves of a small book and replacing them with an equal number of loose leaves, made for the purpose, of blotting paper, and trimmed to the right size. Such small flowers as he might gather in the various places that he visited could be much more conveniently pressed and preserved between these loose leaves of blotting paper than between the leaves of an ordinary book.[10]

So Mr. George, taking his pressing book in his hand, led the way; and Rollo following him, they attempted to ascend the hill behind the inn. They found the ascent, however, extremely steep and difficult. There were no rocks and no roughnesses of any kind in the way. It was merely a grassy slope like the steep face of a terrace; but it was so steep that, after Mr. George and Rollo had scrambled up two or three hundred feet, it made Rollo almost dizzy to look down; and he began to cling to the grass and to feel afraid.

“Rollo,” said Mr. George, “I am almost afraid to climb up here any higher. Do you feel afraid?”

“No, sir,” said Rollo, endeavoring at the same time to reassure himself. “No, sir; I am not much afraid.”

“Let us stop a few minutes to rest and look at the mountain,” said Mr. George.

Mr. George knew very well that there was no real danger; for the slope, though very steep, was very grassy from the top to the bottom; and even if Rollo had fallen and rolled down it could not have done him much harm.

After a short pause, to allow Rollo to get a little familiar with the scene, Mr. George began to move on. Rollo followed. Both Rollo and Mr. George would occasionally look up to see how far they were from the top. It was very difficult, however, to look up, as in doing so it was necessary to lean the head so far back that they came very near losing their balance.

After going on for about half an hour, Mr. George said that he did not see that they were any nearer the top of the hill than they were at the beginning.

“Nor I either,” said Rollo; “and I think we had better go back again.”

“Well,” said Mr. George, “we will; but let us first stop here a few minutes to look at the Jungfrau.”

The view of the Jungfrau was of course more commanding here than it was down at the inn. So Mr. George and Rollo remained some time at their resting-place gazing at the mountain and watching for avalanches. At length they returned to the inn; and an hour or two afterwards they set out on their journey to Grindelwald.

The reader will recollect that Grindelwald was the valley on the other side of the Wengern Alp from Lauterbrunnen, and that our travellers, having come up one way, were going down the other.[11]

The distance from the inn at the Wengern Alp to Grindelwald is seven or eight miles. For a time the path ascends, for the inn is not at the summit of the pass. Until it attains the summit it leads through a region of hills and ravines, with swamps, morasses, precipices of rocks, and great patches of snow scattered here and there along the way. At one place Rollo met with an adventure which for a moment put him in considerable danger. It was at a place where the path led along on the side of the mountain, with a smooth grassy slope above and a steep descent ending in another smooth grassy slope below. At a little distance forward there was a great patch of snow, the edge of which came over the path and covered it.

A heavy mist had come up just before Rollo reached this place, and he had accordingly spread his umbrella over his head. He was riding along, holding the bridle in one hand and his umbrella in the other, so that both his hands were confined. Mr. George was walking at some distance before. The guide, too, was a little in advance, for the path was too narrow for him to walk by the side of the horse; and, as the way here was smooth and pretty level, he did not consider it necessary that he should be in very close attendance on Rollo.

Things being in this condition, the horse—when he came in sight of the snow, which lay covering the path at a little distance before him—concluded that it would be safer both for him and for his rider that he should not attempt to go through it, having learned by experience that his feet would sink sometimes to great depths in such cases. So he determined to turn round and go back. He accordingly stopped; and turning his head towards the grassy bank above the path and his heels towards the brink on the other side, as horses always do when they undertake such a manoeuvre in a narrow path, he attempted to “go about.” Rollo was of course utterly unable to do any thing to control him except to pull one of the reins to bring him back into the path, and strike his heels into the horse's side as if he were spurring him. This, however, only made the matter worse. The horse backed off the brink; and both he and Rollo, falling head over heels, rolled down the steep slope together.

[Illustration: THE FALL.]

And not together exactly, either; for Rollo who was usually pretty alert and ready in emergencies of difficulty or danger, when he found himself rolling down the slope, though he could not stop, still contrived to wriggle and twist himself off to one side, so as to get clear of the horse and roll off himself in a different direction. They both, however, the animal and the boy, soon came to a stop. Rollo was up in an instant. The horse, too, contrived, after some scrambling, to gain his feet. All this time the guide remained in the path on the brink of the descent transfixed with astonishment and consternation.

“Henry,” said Rollo, looking up to the guide, “what is the French for head over heels?”

A very decided but somewhat equivocal smile spread itself over Henry's features on hearing this question, which, however, he did not understand; and he immediately began to run down the bank to get the horse.

“Because,” said Rollo, still speaking in French, “that is what in English we call going head over heels.”

Henry led the horse round by a circuitous way back to the path. Rollo followed; and as soon as they reached it Rollo mounted again. Henry then took hold of the bridle of the horse and led him along till they got through the snow; after which they went on without any further difficulty.

The path led for a time along a very wild and desolate region, which seemed to be bordered on the right, at a distance of two or three miles, by a range of stupendous precipices, surmounted by peaks covered with ice and snow, which presented to the view a spectacle of the most astonishing grandeur. At one point in the path Rollo saw at a distance before him a number of buildings scattered over a green slope of land.

“Ah,” said he to the guide, “we are coming to a village.”

“No,” said the guide. “It is a pasturage. We are too high yet for a village.”

On asking for a further explanation, Rollo learned that the mountaineers were accustomed to drive their herds up the mountains in the summer to places too cold to be inhabited all the year round, and to live there with them in these little huts during the two or three months while the grass was green. The men would bring up their milking pails, their pans, their churns, their cheese presses, and their kettles for cooking, and thus live in a sort of encampment while the grass lasted, and make butter and cheese to carry down the mountain with them when they returned.

At one time Rollo saw at the door of one of the huts a man with what seemed to be a long pole in his hand. It was bent at the lower end. The man came out of a hut, and, putting the bent end of the pole to the ground, he brought the other up near to his mouth, and seemed to be waiting for the travellers to come down to him.

“What is he going to do?” asked Rollo.

“He has got what we call an Alpine horn,” said the guide; “and he is going to blow it for you, to let you hear the echoes.”

So, when Mr. George and Rollo reached the place, the man blew into the end of his pole, which proved to be hollow, and it produced a very loud sound, like that of a trumpet. The sounds were echoed against the face of a mountain which was opposite to the place in a very remarkable manner. Mr. George paid the man a small sum of money, and then they went on.

Not long afterwards they came to another hut, which was situated opposite to a part of the mountain range where there was a great accumulation of ice and snow, that seemed to hang suspended, as it were, as if just ready to fall. A man stood at the door of this hut with a small iron cannon, which was mounted somewhat rudely on a block of wood, in his hand.

“What is he going to do with that cannon?” asked Rollo.

“He is going to fire it,” said Henry, “to start down the avalanches from the mountain.”

Henry here pointed to the face of the mountain opposite to where they were standing, and showed Rollo the immense masses of ice and snow that seemed to hang suspended there, ready to fall.

It is customary to amuse travellers in Switzerland with the story that the concussion produced by the discharge of a gun or a cannon will sometimes detach these masses, and thus hasten the fall of an avalanche; and though the experiment is always tried when travellers pass these places, I never yet heard of a case in which the effect was really produced. At any rate, in this instance,—though the man loaded his cannon heavily, and rammed the charge down well, and though the report was very loud and the echoes were extremely sharp and much prolonged,—there were no avalanches started by the concussion. Rollo and Mr. George watched the vast snow banks that overhung the cliffs with great interest for several minutes; but they all remained immovable.

So Mr. George paid the man a small sum of money, and then they went on.

After going on for an hour or two longer on this vast elevation, the path began gradually to descend into the valley of Grindelwald. The village of Grindelwald at length came into view, with the hundreds of cottages and hamlets that were scattered over the more fertile and cultivated region that surrounded it. The travellers could look down, also, upon the great glaciers of Grindelwald—two mighty streams of ice, half a mile wide and hundreds of feet deep, which come flowing very slowly down from the higher mountains, and terminate in icy precipices among the fields and orchards of the valley.[12] They determined to go and explore one of these glaciers the next day.

As they drew near to the village, the people of the scattered cottages came out continually, as they saw them coming, with various plans to get money from them. At one place two pretty little peasant girls, in the Grindelwald costume, came out with milk for them. One of the girls held the pitcher and the other a mug; and they gave Mr. George and Rollo good drinks.[13] At another house a boy came out with filberts to sell; and at another the merchandise consisted of crystals and other shining minerals which had been collected in the mountains near.

At one time Rollo saw before him three children standing in a row by the side of the road. They seemed to have something in their hands. When he reached the place, he found that they had for sale some very cunning little Swiss cottages carved in wood. These carvings were extremely small and very pretty. Each one was put in a small box for safe transportation. In some cases the children had nothing to sell, and they simply held out their hands to beg as the travellers went by; and there were several lame persons, and idiots, and blind persons, and other objects of misery that occasionally appeared imploring charity. As, however, these unfortunates were generally satisfied with an exceedingly small donation, it did not cost much to make them all look very happy. There is a Swiss coin, of the value of a fifth part of a cent, which was generally enough to give; so that, for a New York shilling, Rollo found he could make more than sixty donations—which was certainly very cheap charity.

“In fact,” said Rollo, “it is so cheap that I would rather give them the money than not.”

At length the party arrived safely at Grindelwald and put up at an excellent inn, with windows looking out upon the glaciers. The next day they went to see the glaciers; and on the day following they returned to Interlachen.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 10: Flowers dry faster and better between sheets of blotting paper than between those of common printing paper, such as is used for books; for the surface of this latter is covered with a sort of sizing used in the manufacture of it, and which prevents the moisture of the plant from entering into the paper.]

[Footnote 11: See map.]

[Footnote 12: It may seem strange that streams of ice, hundreds of feet thick and solid to the bottom, can flow; but such is the fact, as will appear more fully in the next chapter.]

[Footnote 13: See frontispiece.]

CHAPTER XI. GLACIERS.

A glacier, when really understood, is one of the most astonishing and impressive spectacles which the whole face of Nature exhibits. Mr. George and Rollo explored quite a number of them in the course of their travels in Switzerland; and Rollo would have liked to have explored a great many more.

[Illustration: THE CREVASSE.]

A glacier is a river of ice,—really and truly a river of ice,—sometimes two or three miles wide, and fifteen or twenty miles long, with many branches coming into it. Its bed is a steep valley, commencing far up among the mountains in a region of everlasting ice and snow, and ending in some warm and pleasant valley far below, where the warm sun beats upon the terminus of it and melts the ice away as fast as it comes down. It flows very slowly, not usually more than an inch in an hour. The warm summer sun beams upon the upper surface of it, melting it slowly away, and forming vast fissures and clefts in it, down which you can look to the bottom, if you only have courage to go near enough to the slippery edge. If you do not dare to do this, you can get a large stone and throw it in; and then, if you stand still and listen, you hear it thumping and thundering against the sides of the crevasse until it gets too deep to be any longer heard. You cannot hear it strike the bottom; for it is sometimes seven or eight hundred feet through the thickness of the glacier to the ground below.

The surface of the glacier above is not smooth and glassy like the ice of a freshly-frozen river or pond; but is white, like a field of snow. This appearance is produced in part by the snow which falls upon the glacier, and in part by the melting of the surface of the ice by the sun. From this latter cause, too, the surface of the glacier is covered, in a summer's day, with streams of water, which flow, like little brooks, in long and winding channels which they themselves have worn, until at length they reach some fissure, or crevasse, into which they fall and disappear. The waters of these brooks—many thousands in all—form a large stream, which flows along on the surface of the ground under the glacier, and comes out at last, in a wild, and roaring, and turbid torrent, from an immense archway in the ice at the lower end, where the glacier terminates among the green fields and blooming flowers of the lower valley.

The glaciers are formed from the avalanches which fall into the upper valleys in cases where the valleys are so deep and narrow and so secluded from the sun that the snows which slide into them cannot melt. In such case, the immense accumulations which gather there harden and solidify, and become ice; and, what is very astonishing, the whole mass, solid as it is, moves slowly onward down the valley, following all the turns and indentations of its bed, until finally it comes down into the warm regions of the lower valleys, where the end of it is melted away by the sun as fast as the mass behind crowds it forward. It is certainly very astonishing that a substance so solid as ice can flow in this way, along a rocky and tortuous bed, as if it were semi-fluid; and it was a long time before men would believe that such a thing could be possible. It was, however, at length proved beyond all question that this motion exists; and the rate of it in different glaciers at different periods of the day or of the year has been accurately measured.

If you go to the end of the glacier, where it comes out into the lower valley, and look up to the icy cliffs which form the termination of it, and watch there for a few minutes, you soon see masses of ice breaking off from the brink and falling down with a thundering sound to the rocks below. This is because the ice at the extremity is all the time pressed forward by the mass behind it; and, as it comes to the brink, it breaks over and falls down. This is one evidence that the glaciers move.

But there is another proof that the ice of the glaciers is continually moving onward which is still more direct and decisive. Certain philosophers, who wished to ascertain positively what the truth was, went to a glacier, and, selecting a large rock which lay upon the surface of it near the middle of the ice, they made a red mark with paint upon the rock, and two other marks on the rocks which formed the shore of the glacier. They made these three marks exactly in a line with each other, expecting that, if the glacier moved, the rock in the centre of it would be carried forward, and the three marks would be no longer in a line.

This proved to be the case. In a very short time the central rock was found to have moved forward very perceptibly. This was several years ago. This rock is still on the glacier; and the red mark on it, as well as those on the shores, still remains. All the travellers who visit the glacier look at these marks and observe how the great rock on the ice moves forward. It is now at a long distance below the place where it was when its position was first recorded.

Then, besides, you can actually hear the glaciers moving when you stand upon them. It is sometimes very difficult to get upon them; for at the sides where the ice rubs against the rocks, immense chasms and fissures are formed, and vast blocks both of rock and ice are tumbled confusedly together in such a manner as to make the way almost impracticable. When, however, you fairly get upon the ice, if you stand still a moment and listen, you hear a peculiar groaning sound in the moraines. To understand this, however, I must first explain what a moraine is. On each side of the glacier, quite near the shore, there is usually found a ridge of rocks and stones extending up and down the glacier for the whole length of it, as if an immense wall formed of blocks of granite of prodigious magnitude had been built by giants to fence the glacier in, and had afterwards been shaken down by an earthquake, so as to leave only a confused and shapeless ridge of rocks and stones. These long lines of wall-like ruins may be traced along the borders of the glacier as far as the eye can reach. They lie just on the edge of the ice, and follow all the bends and sinuosities of the shore. It is a mystery how they are formed. All that is known, or rather all that can be here explained, is, that they are composed of the rocks which cleave off from the sides of the precipices and mountains that border the glacier, and that, when they have fallen down, the gradual movement of the ice draws them out into the long, ridge-like lines in which they now appear. Some of these moraines are of colossal magnitude, being in several places a hundred feet broad and fifty or sixty feet high; and, as you cannot get upon the glacier without crossing them, they are often greatly in the traveller's way. In fact, they sometimes form a barrier which is all but impassable.

The glacier which most impressed Mr. George and Rollo with its magnitude and grandeur was one that is called the Sea of Ice. It is called by this name on account of its extent. Its lower extremity comes out into the valley of Chamouni, the beautiful and world-renowned valley, which lies near the foot of Mont Blanc. In order to reach this glacier, the young gentlemen took horses and guides at the inn at Chamouni, and ascended for about two hours by a steep, zigzag path, which led from the valley up the sides of the mountain at the place which formed the angle between the great valley of Chamouni and the side valley through which the great glacier came down. After ascending thus for six or eight miles, they came out upon a lofty promontory, from which, on one side, they could look down upon the wild and desolate bed of the glacier, and, upon the other, upon the green, and fertile, and inexpressibly beautiful vale of Chamouni, with the pretty little village in the centre of it. This place is called Montauvert. There is a small inn here, built expressly to accommodate travellers who wish to come up and go out upon the glacier.

Although the traveller, when he reaches Montauvert, can look directly down upon the glacier, he cannot descend to it there; for, opposite to the inn, the valley of ice is bordered by cliffs and precipices a thousand feet high. It is necessary to follow along the bank two or three miles among stupendous rocks and under towering precipices, until at length a place is reached where, by dint of much scrambling and a great deal of help from the guide, it is possible to descend.

[Illustration: THE NARROW PATH.]

Rollo was several times quite afraid in making this perilous excursion. In some places there seemed to be no path at all; and it was necessary for him to make his way by clinging to the roughnesses of the rocks on the steep, sloping side of the mountain, with an immense abyss yawning below. There was one such place where it would have been impossible for any one not accustomed to mountain climbing to have got along without the assistance of guides. When they reached this place, one guide went over first, and then reached out his hand to assist Rollo. The other scrambled down upon the rocks below, and planted his pike staff in a crevice of the rock in order to make a support for a foot. By this means, first Mr. George, and then Rollo, succeeded in getting safely over.

Both the travellers felt greatly relieved when they found themselves on the other side of this dangerous pass.

In coming back, however, Rollo had the misfortune to lose his pike staff here. The staff slipped out of his hand as he was clinging to the rocks; and, after sliding down five or six hundred feet to the brink of the precipice, it shot over and fell a thousand feet to the glacier below, where it entered some awful chasm, or abyss, and disappeared forever.

Mr. George and Rollo had a pretty hard time in scrambling over the moraine when they came to the place where they were to get upon the glacier. When they were fairly upon the glacier, however, they could walk along without any difficulty. It was like walking on wet snow in a warm day in spring. Little brooks were running in every direction, the bright waters sparkling in the sun. The crevasses attracted the attention of the travellers very strongly. They were immense fissures four or five feet wide, and extending downward perpendicularly to an unfathomable depth. Rollo and Mr. George amused themselves with throwing stones down. There were plenty of stones to be found on the glacier. In fact, rocks and stones of all sizes were scattered about very profusely, so much so as quite to excite Mr. George's astonishment.

“I supposed,” said he, “that the top of the glacier would be smooth and beautiful ice.”

“I did not think any thing about it,” said Rollo.

“I imagined it to be smooth, and glassy, and pure,” said Mr. George; “and, instead of that, it looks like a field of old snow covered with scattered rocks and stones.”

Some of the rocks which lay upon the glacier were very large, several of them being as big as houses. It was remarkable, too, that the largest of them, instead of having settled down in some degree into the ice and snow, as it might have been expected from their great weight they would have done, were raised sometimes many feet above the general level of the glacier, being mounted on a sort of pedestal of ice. The reason of this was, that when the block was very large, so large that the beams of the sun shining upon it all day would not warm it through, then the ice beneath it would be protected by its coolness, while the surface of the glacier around would be gradually melted and wasted away by the beams of the sun or by the warm rains which might occasionally fall upon it. Thus, in process of time, the great bowlder block rises, as it were, many feet into the air, and remains there perched on the top of a little hillock of ice, like a mass of monumental marble on a pedestal.[14]

In excursions on the glaciers the guides take a rope with them, and sometimes a light ladder. The rope is for various purposes. If a traveller were to fall into any deep pit, or crevasse, or to slip down some steep slope or precipice, so that he could not get up again, the guides might let the rope down to him, and then when he had fastened it around his waist they could draw him up, when, without some such means of rescuing him, he would be wholly lost. In the same manner, when a party are walking along any very steep and slippery place, where if any one were to fall he would slide down into some dreadful abyss, it is customary for them to walk in a line with the rope in their hands, each one taking hold of it. Thus, if any one should slip a little, he could recover himself by means of the rope, when, without such a support, he would perhaps have fallen and been dashed to pieces. Sometimes, when the place is very dangerous indeed, so that several guides are required to each traveller, they tie the rope round the traveller's waist, so that he can have his hands free and yet avail himself of the support of the rope in passing along.

The ladder is used for scaling low precipices, either of rock or ice, which sometimes come in the way, and which could not be surmounted without such aid. In long and dangerous excursions, especially among the higher Alps, one of the guides always carries a ladder; and there are frequent occasions where it would not be possible to go on without using it.

[Illustration: ASCENT OF MONT BLANC.]

A hatchet, too, is of great advantage in climbing among the immense masses of ice which are found at great elevations, since, by means of such an implement, steps may be cut in the ice which will enable the explorer to climb up an ascent too long to be reached by the ladder and too steep to be ascended without artificial footholds. In ascending Mont Blanc the traveller sometimes comes to a precipice of ice, with a chasm of immense depth, and four or five feet wide, at the bottom of it. In such a case the foot of the ladder is planted on the outside of the chasm, and the top of it is made to rest against the face of the precipice, ten or fifteen feet perhaps from the brink. One of the boldest and most skilful of the guides then ascends the ladder, hatchet in hand, and there, suspended as he is over the yawning gulf below, he begins to cut steps in the face of the precipice, shaping the gaps which he makes in such a manner that he can cling to them with his hands as well as rest upon them with his feet. He thus slowly ascends the barrier, cutting his way as he advances. He carries the end of the rope up with him, tied around his waist; and then by means of it, when he has reached the summit, he aids the rest of the party in coming up to him.

Mr. George and Rollo, however, did not venture into any such dangers as these. They could see all that they desired of the stupendous magnificence and awful desolation of these scenes without it. They spent the whole of the middle of the day on the glacier or on the slopes of the mountains around it; and then in the afternoon they came down the zigzag path again to Chamouni, very tired and very hungry.

To be tired and hungry, however, when you come home at night to a Swiss inn, is a great source of enjoyment—on account of the admirable arrangements for rest and refreshment which you are sure to find there.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 14: Any loose rock of large size detached from its native ledge or mountain is called a bowlder.]

CHAPTER XII. ROLLO A COURIER.

Rollo came in one morning to the hotel at Meyringen, after having been taking a walk on the banks of a mighty torrent that flows through the valley, and found his uncle George studying the guide book and map, with an appearance of perplexity. Mr. George was seated at a table on a balcony, which opened from the dining room of the inn. This balcony was very large, and rooms opened from it in various directions. There were several tables here, with seats around them, where those who chose to do so could take their breakfast or their dinner in the open air, and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls at the same time. Mr. George was seated at one of these tables, with his map and his guide book before him.

“Well, uncle George,” said Rollo, “are you planning our journey?”

“Yes,” said Mr. George; “and I am very much perplexed.”

“Why, what is the difficulty?” asked Rollo.

“There is no possibility of getting out of this valley,” said Mr. George, “except by going all the way back to Thun,—and that I am not willing to do.”

“Is there no possible way?” asked Rollo.

“No,” said Mr. George, “unless we go over the Brunig Pass on foot.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “let us do that.”

“We might possibly do that,” continued Mr. George, still looking intently at his map. “We should have to go over the Brunig to Lungern on foot, with a horse for our baggage. Then we should have to take a car from Lungern down the valleys to the shore of Lake Lucerne, and there get a boat, for six or eight miles, on the lake to the town.”

“Well,” said Rollo, joyfully, “I should like that.”

Rollo liked the idea of making the journey in the way that his uncle George had described, on account of the numerous changes which would be necessary in it, in respect to the modes of conveyance. It was for this very reason that his uncle did not like it.

“Yes, uncle George,” said Rollo, again. “That will be an excellent way to go to Lucerne. Don't you think it will?”

“No,” said Mr. George. “It will be so much trouble. We shall have three different arrangements to make for conveyance, in one day.”

“No matter for that, uncle George,” said Rollo. “I will do all that. Let me be the courier, uncle George, and I'll take you from here to Lucerne without your having the least trouble. I will make all the arrangements, so that you shall have nothing to do. You may read, if you choose, the whole of the way.”

“How will you find out what to do?” asked Mr. George.

“O, I'll study the guide book carefully,” replied Rollo; “and, besides, I'll inquire of the landlord here.”

“Well,” said Mr. George, hesitatingly, “I have a great mind to try it.”

“Only you must pay me,” said Rollo. “I can't be courier without being paid.”

“How much must I pay?” asked Mr. George.

“Why, about a quarter of a dollar,” replied Rollo.

“It is worth more than that,” said Mr. George. “I will give you half a dollar if you make all the arrangements and get me safe to Lucerne without my having any care or trouble. But then if you get into difficulty in any case, and have to appeal to me, you lose your whole pay. If you carry me through, I give you half a dollar. If you don't really carry me through, you have nothing.”

Rollo agreed to these conditions, and Mr. George proceeded to shut up the map and the guide book, and to put them in his hands.

“I will sit down here now,” said Rollo, “and study the map and the guide book until I have learned all I can from them, and then I will go and talk with the landlord.”

Mr. George did not make any reply to this remark, but taking out a small portfolio, containing writing materials, from his pocket, he set himself at work writing some letters; having, apparently, dismissed the whole subject of the mode of crossing the Brunig entirely from his mind.

Rollo took his seat at a table on the balcony in a corner opposite to the place where his uncle was writing, and spread out the map before him. His seat commanded a very extended and magnificent view. In the foreground were the green fields, the gardens, and the orchards of the lower valley. Beyond, green pasturages were seen extending over the lower declivities of the mountains, with hamlets perched here and there upon the shelving rocks, and winding and zigzag roads ascending from one elevation to another, while here and there prodigious cataracts and cascades were to be seen, falling down hundreds of feet, over perpendicular precipices, or issuing from frightful chasms. Rollo stopped occasionally to gaze upon these scenes; and sometimes he would pause to put a spy glass to his eye, in order to watch the progress of the parties of travellers that were to be seen, from time to time, coming down along a winding path which descended the face of the mountain about two or three miles distant, across the valley. With the exception of these brief interruptions, Rollo continued very steadily at his work; and in about half an hour he shut up the map, and put it in its case, saying, in a tone of great apparent satisfaction,—

“There! I understand it now perfectly.”

He was in hopes that his uncle would have asked him some questions about the route, in order that he might show how fully he had made himself acquainted with it; but Mr. George said nothing, and so Rollo went away to find the landlord.

       * * * * *

That night, just before bed time, Mr. George asked Rollo what time he was going to set out the next morning.

“Immediately after breakfast,” said Rollo.

“Are we going to ride or walk?” asked Mr. George.

“We are going to walk over the pass,” said Rollo. “The road is too steep and rocky for horses. But then we are going to have a horse to carry the trunk.”

“Can you put our trunk on a horse?” asked Mr. George.

“Yes,” replied Rollo, “the guide says he can.”

“Very well,” said Mr. George, “and just as soon as we get through breakfast I am going to walk on, and leave you to pack the trunk on the horse, and come along when you are ready.”

“Well,” said Rollo, “you can do that.”

“Because, you see,” continued Mr. George, “you will probably have various difficulties and delays in getting packed and ready, and I don't want to have any thing to do with it. I wish to have my mind entirely free, so as to enjoy the walk and the scenery without any care or responsibility whatever.”

Sometimes, when fathers or uncles employ boys to do any work, or to assume any charge, they stand by and help them all the time, so that the real labor and responsibility do not come on the boy after all. He gets paid for the work, and he imagines that he does it—his father or his uncle allowing him to imagine so, for the sake of pleasing him. But there was no such child's play as this between Mr. George and Rollo. When Rollo proposed to undertake any duty, Mr. George always considered well, in the first instance, whether it was a duty that he was really competent to perform. If it was not, he would not allow him to undertake it. If it was, he left him to bear the whole burden and responsibility of it, entirely alone.

Rollo understood this perfectly well, and he liked such a mode of management. He was, accordingly, not at all surprised to hear his uncle George propose to leave him to make all the arrangements of the journey alone.

“You see,” said Mr. George, “when I hire a courier I expect him to take all the care of the journey entirely off my mind, and leave me to myself, so that I can have a real good time.”

“Yes,” said Rollo, “that is right.”

And here, perhaps, I ought to explain that what is called a courier, in the vocabulary of tourists in Europe, is a travelling servant, who, when he is employed by any party, takes the whole charge of their affairs, and makes all necessary arrangements, so that they can travel without any care or concern. He engages the conveyances and guides, selects the inns, pays the bills, takes charge of the baggage, and does every thing, in short, that is necessary to secure the comfort and safety of the party on their journey, and to protect them from every species of trouble and annoyance. He has himself often before travelled over the countries through which he is to conduct his party, so that he is perfectly familiar with them in every part, and he knows all the languages that it is necessary to speak in them. Thus when once under the charge of such a guide, a gentleman journeying in Europe, even if he has his whole family with him, need have no care or concern, but may be as quiet and as much at his ease, all the time, as if he were riding about his own native town in his private carriage.

The next morning, after breakfast, Mr. George rose from the table, and prepared to set out on his journey. He put the belt of his knapsack over his shoulder, and took his alpenstock in his hand.

“Good by, Rollo,” said he. “I will walk on, taking the road to the Brunig, and you can come when you get ready. You will overtake me in the course of half an hour, or an hour.”

Rollo accompanied Mr. George to the door, and then wishing him a pleasant walk, bade him good by.

In a few minutes the guide came around the corner of the house, from the inn yard, leading the horse. He stopped to water the horse at a fountain in the street, and then led him to the door. In the mean time the porter of the inn had brought down the trunk, and then the guide proceeded to fasten it upon the saddle of the horse, by means of two strong straps. The saddle was what is called a pack saddle, and was made expressly to receive such burdens.

After having placed the trunk and secured it firmly, the guide put on the umbrella, and Mr. George's and Rollo's greatcoats, and also Rollo's knapsack. These things made quite a pile on the horse's back. The burden was increased, too, by several things belonging to the guide himself, which he put on over all the rest, such as a great-coat and a little bag of provisions.

At length, when all was ready, Rollo bade the innkeeper good by, and set out on his journey. The guide went first, driving the horse before him, and Rollo followed, with his alpenstock in his hand.

They soon passed out of the village, and then travelled along a very pleasant road, which skirted the foot of the mountain range,—all the time gradually ascending. Rollo looked out well before him, whenever he came to a straight part of the road, in hopes of seeing his uncle; but Mr. George was nowhere in view.

Presently he came to a place where there was a gate, and a branch path, turning off from the main road, directly towards the mountain. Here Rollo, quite to his relief and gratification, found his uncle. Mr. George was sitting on a stone by the side of the road, reading.

He shut his book when he saw Rollo and the guide, and put it away in his knapsack. At the same time he rose from his seat, saying,—

“Well, Rollo, which is the way?”

“I don't know,” said Rollo.

The guide, however, settled the question by taking hold of the horse's bridle, and leading him off into the side path. The two travellers followed him.

The path led through a very romantic and beautiful scene of fields, gardens, and groves, among the trees of which were here and there seen glimpses of magnificent precipices and mountains rising very near, a little beyond them. After following this path a few steps, two girls came running out from a cottage. One of them had a board under her arm. The other had nothing. They both glanced at the travellers, as they passed, and then ran forward along the road before them.

“What do you suppose those girls are going to do?” asked Rollo.

“I can't conceive,” replied Mr. George. “Some thing for us to pay for, I'll engage.”

“And shall you pay them?” asked Rollo.

“No,” said Mr. George. “I shall not pay them. I shall leave all such business to my courier.”

The purpose with which the two girls had come out was soon made to appear; for after running along before the party of travellers for about a quarter of a mile, they came to a place where two shallow but rather broad brooks flowed across the pathway. When Rollo and Mr. George came up to the place they found that the girls had placed boards over these streams of water for bridges. One of the boards was the one which the girl had brought along with her, under her arm. The other girl, it seems, kept her board under the bushes near the place, because it was too heavy to carry back and forth to the house. It was their custom to watch for travellers coming along the path, and then to run on before them and lay these bridges over the brooks,—expecting, of course, to be paid for it. Rollo gave them each a small piece of money, and then he and Mr. George went on.

Soon the road began to ascend the side of the mountain in long zigzags and windings. These windings presented new views of the valley below at every turn, each successive picture being more extended and grand than the preceding.

At length, after ascending some thousands of feet, the party came to a resting-place, consisting of a seat in a sort of bower, which had been built for the accommodation of travellers, at a turn of the road where there was an uncommonly magnificent view. Here they stopped to rest, while the guide, leading the horse to a spring at the road side, in order that he might have a drink, sat down himself on a flat stone beside him.

“How far is it that we have got to walk?” asked Mr. George.

Rollo looked at his watch, and then said, “We have got to walk about three hours more.”

“And what shall we come to then?” asked Mr. George.

“We shall come down on the other side of the mountain,” said Rollo, “to a little village called Lungern, where there is a good road; and there I am going to hire a carriage, and a man to drive us to the lake. It is a beautiful country that we are going through, and the road leads along the shores of mountain lakes. The first lake is up very high among the mountains. The next is a great deal lower down, and we have to go down a long way by a zigzag road, till we get to it. Then we go along the shore of this second lake, through several towns, and at last we come to the landing on the Lake of Lucerne. There I shall hire a boat.”

“What kind of a boat?” asked Mr. George.

“I don't know,” said Rollo.

“How do you know that there will be any boat there?” asked Mr. George.

“Because the guide book says there will,” replied Rollo. “They always have boats there to take people that come along this road to Lucerne.”

“Why do they not go all the way by land?” asked Mr. George.

“Because,” said Rollo, “the whole country there is so full of mountains that there is no place for a road.”

Just at this time the guide got up from his seat, and seemed ready to set out upon his journey; and so Mr. George and Rollo rose and went on.

After ascending about an hour more, through a series of very wild and romantic glens, with cottages and curious-looking chalets scattered here and there along the borders of them, wherever the ground was smooth and green enough for cattle to feed, our travellers came, at length, to the summit of the pass, where, in a very pleasant and sheltered spot, surrounded with forest trees, there stood a little inn. On arriving at this place the guide proceeded to take off the load from the horse and to place it upon a sort of frame, such as is used in those countries for burdens which are to be carried on the back of a man.

“What is he going to do?” asked Mr. George.

“He is going to carry the baggage the rest of the way himself,” said Rollo. “You see it is so steep and rocky from here down to Lungern that it is dreadful hard work to get a horse down and up again; especially up. So the guide leaves the horse here, and is going to carry the baggage down himself on his back. That rack that he is fastening the trunk upon goes on his back. Those straps in front of it come over his shoulders.”

“It seems to me,” said Mr. George, “that that is a monstrous heavy load to put on a man's back, to go down a place which is so steep and rocky that a horse could not get along over it. But then I suppose my courier knows what he is about.”

So Mr. George, with an air and manner which seemed to say, It is none of my concern, walked up a flight of steps which led to a sort of elevated porch or platform before the door of the inn.

For a moment Rollo himself was a little disconcerted, not knowing whether it would be safe for a man to go down a steep declivity with such a burden on his back; but when he reflected that this was the arrangement that the guide himself had proposed, and that the guide had, doubtless, done the same thing a hundred times before, he ceased to feel any uneasiness, and following Mr. George up the steps, he took a seat by his side, at a little table, which was placed there for the accommodation of travellers stopping at the inn to rest.

Rollo and his uncle spent half an hour at this hotel. For refreshment they had some very excellent and rich Alpine milk, which they drank from very tall and curiously-shaped tumblers. They also amused themselves in looking at some specimens of carved work, such as models of Swiss cottages—and figures of shepherds, and milkmaids with loads of utensils on their backs—and groups of huntsmen, with dogs leaping up around them—and chamois, or goats, climbing about among the rocks and mountains. Rollo had bought a pretty good supply of such sculptures before; but there was one specimen here that struck his fancy so much that he could not resist the temptation of adding it to his collection, especially as Mr. George approved of his making the purchase. It was a model of what is called a chalet,[15] which is a sort of hut that the shepherds occupy in the upper pasturages, in the summer, where they go to tend the cows, and to make butter and cheese. The little chalet was made in such a manner that the roof would lift up like a lid, and let you see all there was within. There was a row of cows, with little calves by them, in stalls on one side of the chalet, and on the other side tables and benches, with pans of milk and tubs upon them, and a churn, and a cheese press, and other such like things. There was a bed, too, for the shepherd, in a sort of a garret above, just big enough to hold it.

In about half an hour the guide seemed ready to proceed, and the whole party set out again on their journey. The guide went before, with the trunk and all the other baggage piled up on the rack behind him. He had a stout staff in his hand, which he used to prevent himself from falling, in going down the steep and rocky places. Some of these places were very steep and rocky indeed—so much so that going down them was a work of climbing rather than walking, and Rollo himself was sometimes almost afraid. What made these places the more frightful was, that the path in descending them was often exceedingly narrow, and was bordered, on one side, by a perpendicular wall of rock, and by an unfathomable abyss of rocks and roaring cataracts on the other. To behold the skill and dexterity with which the guide let himself down, from rock to rock, in this dreadful defile, loaded as he was, excited both in Mr. George and Rollo a continual sentiment of wonder.

At length the steepest part of the descent was accomplished, and then the road led, for a mile, through a green and pretty valley, with lofty rocks and mountains on either hand, and chalets and pretty cottages at various distances along the roadside. At one place, in a very romantic and delightful spot, they came to a small chapel. It had been built there to commemorate some remarkable event, and to afford a resting-place for travellers. The door of this chapel was fastened, but Rollo could look in through a window and see the altar, and the crucifix, and the tall candles, within. He and Mr. George sat down, too, on the stone step of the chapel for a little while, to rest, and to enjoy the view. While they were there another traveller came by, ascending from Lungern, and he stopped to rest there too. He was lame, and seemed to be poor. He had a pack on his back. Mr. George talked with this man in French while they sat together on the steps of the chapel, and when he went away Mr. George gave him a little money.

After leaving the chapel the travellers continued their descent, the valley opening before them more and more as they proceeded, until, at length, the village of Lungern came in sight, far below them, at the head of a little lake.

“There!” said Rollo, as soon as the village came in sight. “That is Lungern. That is the place where the carriage road begins.”

“I am glad of that,” said Mr. George. “A ride in a carriage will be very pleasant after all this scrambling over the mountains—that is, provided you get a good carriage.”

When, at length, the party reached the inn, the guide set down his load on a bench at the door of it, and, smiling, seemed quite pleased to be rid of the heavy burden.

“Are we going to take dinner here?” said Mr. George to Rollo.

“No, sir,” said Rollo. “At least, I don't know. We'll see.”

The landlord of the inn met the travellers at the door, and conducted them up a flight of stone stairs, and thence into a room where several tables were set, and different parties of travellers were taking refreshments. The landlord, after showing them into this room, went down stairs again to attend to other travellers. Mr. George and Rollo walked into the room. After looking about the room a moment, however, Rollo said he must go down and see about a carriage.

“Wait here a few minutes, uncle George,” said he, “while I go and engage a carriage, and then I will come back.”

So saying, Rollo went away, and Mr. George took his seat by a window.

Presently the waiter came to Mr. George, and asked him, in French, if he wished for any refreshment.

“I don't know,” said Mr. George. “I will wait till the boy comes back, and then we'll see.”

In a short time Rollo came back.

“The carriage will be ready in twenty minutes,” said he.

“Very well,” said Mr. George. “And the waiter wants to know whether we are going to have any thing to eat.”

“Yes,” said Rollo, “we are going to have a luncheon.”

Rollo then went to the waiter, and said, in French, “Bread, butter, coffee, and strawberries, for two.” “Very well, sir,” said the waiter, and he immediately went away to prepare what Rollo had ordered.

In due time the refreshment was ready, and Mr. George and Rollo sat down to the table, with great appetites. Every thing was very nice. The strawberries, in particular, though very small in size, as the Alpine strawberries always are, were very abundant in quantity, and delicious in flavor. There was also plenty of rich cream to eat them with. When, at length, the travellers had finished eating their luncheon, the landlord came to say that the carriage was ready. So Rollo paid the bill, and then he and Mr. George went down to the door. Here they found a very pretty chaise, with a seat in front for the driver, all ready for them. The trunk and all the other baggage were strapped securely on behind. Mr. George and Rollo got in. The top of the chaise was down, so that the view was unobstructed on every side.

“Well,” said Rollo, “do you think it is a good carriage?”

“A most excellent one,” said Mr. George. “We shall have a delightful ride, I am sure.”

Mr. George was not disappointed in his anticipations of a delightful ride. The day was very pleasant, and the scenery of the country through which they had to pass was as romantic and beautiful as could be imagined. The road descended rapidly, from valley to valley, sometimes by sharp zigzags, and sometimes by long and graceful meanderings, presenting at every turn some new and charming view. There were green valleys, and shady dells, and foaming cascades, and dense forests, and glassy lakes, and towering above the whole, on either side, were vast mountain slopes, covered with forests, and ranges of precipitous rocks, their summits shooting upward, in pinnacles, to the very clouds.

After journeying on in this manner for some hours the carriage arrived at an inn on the shores of the Lake of Lucerne. There was a landing there, and a number of boats, drawn up near a little pier.

“Yes,” exclaimed Rollo, when he saw the boats, “this is the place. The name of it is Alpnach. We are to go the rest of the way by water.”

“That will be very pleasant,” said Mr. George, as he got out of the carriage. “I shall like a row on the lake very much. I will go directly down to the landing, and you can come when you get ready.”

So Mr. George walked on down to the pier, leaving Rollo to perform his duties as a courier, according to his own discretion.

Rollo first paid the driver of the carriage what was due to him, according to the agreement that he had made with the Lungern landlord, and then explained to the Alpnach landlord, in as good French as he could command, that he wanted a boat, to take him and the gentleman who was travelling with him to Lucerne, and asked what the price would be. The landlord named the regular price, and Rollo engaged the boat. The landlord then sent for a boatman. In a few minutes the boatman was seen coming. He was followed by two rather pretty-looking peasant girls, each bringing an oar on her shoulder. These two girls were the boatman's daughters. They were going with their father in the boat, to help him row.

The boatman took up the trunk, and the girls the other parcels of baggage, and so carried the whole, together with the oars, down to the boat. Rollo followed them, and the whole party immediately embarked. It was a bright and sunny day, though there were some dark and heavy clouds in the western sky. The water of the lake was very smooth, and it reflected the mountains and the skies in a very beautiful manner. Mr. George and Rollo took their seats in the boat, under an awning that was spread over a frame in the central portion of it. This awning sheltered them from the sun, while it did not intercept their view. The man and the girls took each of them an oar, standing up, however, to row, and pushing the oar before them, instead of pulling it, according to our fashion.[16] Thus they commenced the voyage.

Every thing went on very pleasantly for an hour, only, as the boatman and his daughters could speak no language but German, Mr. George and Rollo could have no conversation with them. But they could talk with each other, and they had a very pleasant time. At length, however, the clouds which had appeared in the western sky rose higher and higher, and grew blacker and blacker, and, finally, low, rumbling peals of thunder began to be heard. The boatman talked with his daughters, pointing to the clouds, and then said something to Mr. George in German; but neither Mr. George nor Rollo could understand it. They soon found, however, that the boat was turned towards the shore. They were very glad of this, for Rollo said that he had read in the guide book that the Swiss lakes were subject to very violent tempests, such as it would be quite dangerous to encounter far from the shore. Rollo said, moreover, that the boatmen were very vigilant in watching for the approach of these storms, and that they would always at once make the best of their way to the land whenever they saw one coming on.

In this instance the wind began to blow, and the rain to fall, before the boat reached the shore. Rollo and Mr. George were sheltered by the awning, but the boatman and the two girls got very wet. They, however, continued to work hard at the oars, and at length they reached the shore. The place where they landed was in a cove formed by a point of land, where there was a little inn near the water. As soon as the boat reached the shore Mr. George and Rollo leaped out of it, and spreading their umbrella they ran up to the inn.

They waited here nearly an hour. They sat on a piazza in front of the inn, listening to the sound of the thunder and of the wind, and watching the drops of rain falling on the water. At length the wind subsided, the rain gradually ceased, and the sun came out bright and beaming as ever. The party then got into the boat, and the boatman pushed off from the shore; and in an hour more they all landed safely on the quay at Lucerne, very near to a magnificent hotel.

Our two travellers were soon comfortably seated at a table in the dining room of the hotel before an excellent dinner, which Rollo had ordered. Mr. George told Rollo, as they took their seats at the table, that he had performed his duty as a courier in a very satisfactory manner, and had fully earned his pay.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 15: Pronounced shallay.]

[Footnote 16: The Swiss always stand up in rowing, and push the oar. Thus they look the way they are going.]

CHAPTER XIII. CONCLUSION.

It is not possible to describe in such a volume as this more than a small part of the excursions which Mr. George and Rollo made or the adventures which they met with in the course of their tour in Switzerland. They remained in the country of the Alps more than a fortnight; and they enjoyed, as Rollo said, every moment of the time. There was no end to the cascades and waterfalls, the ice and snow-clad summits, the glaciers, the romantic zigzag paths up the mountain sides, the picturesque hamlets and cottages, and the groups of peasants toiling in the fields or tending flocks and herds in the higher pasturages. Rollo's heart was filled all the time that he remained among these scenes with never-ceasing wonder and delight. The inns pleased him, too, as much perhaps as any thing else; for the climbing of mountains and the long excursions on foot gave him a most excellent appetite; and at the inns they always found such nice breakfasts, dinners, and suppers every day that Rollo was never tired of praising them.

Rollo found the cost, too, of travelling in Switzerland much less than he had expected. He did not expend nearly all the allowance which his father had granted him. When he came to settle up his accounts, after he had got back to Paris, he found that he had saved about seventy-five francs, which made nearly fifteen dollars; and this sum he accordingly added to his capital—for that was the name by which he was accustomed to designate the stock of funds which he had gradually accumulated and reserved.

Just before Mr. George and Rollo left Switzerland, on their return to Paris, they received a letter from Mr. Holiday, who was still in Paris, in consequence of which they concluded to make a short tour on the Rhine on their way to France. The adventures which they met with on this tour will form the subject of another volume of this series.