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THE AliPS 



LOSDON : PRINTED BT 

sromswooDK akd co., i^ew-stbbkt square 

ASO PABLIAVENT STREET 



HEBE AND THERE AMONG 

THE ALPS 

ET THE 

HON. FBEDEEICA PLUNKET 




LONDON 
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 



2^5. J. AjL- 



PEEFACE. 



Switzerland, with its beautiful mountain scenery, 
is now so well known to the great majority of 
travellers, that an endeavour to give the charm 
of novelty to a description of its familiar views 
would be vain. In oflfering the following pages 
to the public, the authoress is actuated, not so 
much by the motive to describe her own especial 
excursions, as by the wish to persuade other ladies 
to depart more than is their usual habit from 
the ordinary routine of a Swiss summer tour ; to 
urge them no longer to pause on the threshold 
of the Alpine world, but to pass its snow-marked 
boundaries, and to see and admire for themselves 
those wonders of nature which many of them are 
content to gaze on from a distance, thus losing 
half their beauty. 

Should any of the readers of this book be 
induced by its perusal to extend their mountain 
walks, and thereby to increase the measure of 
their own enjoyment, the writer will have attained 
her object, and will feel pleasure in the thought 
that she has contributed, be it ever so slightly, 
tx)wards their happiness. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 



INTRODUCTION . 



PAGE 
1 



I . . . THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS . 



II . . . THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS 



III . . . THE ENGSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS . 



IV . . . PIZ LANGUARD AND THE SURLEI FORCLA 



V . . . THE DIAVOLEZZA PASS AND PIZ MORTERATSCH 



VI . . . THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA 



VII .. . MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS 



VIII . . . THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE . 



IX . . . THE SCHWARZKOPF AND THE STEINERNE MEER 



X . . . HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS 



XI . . . CONCLUSION 



16 

27 

40 

54 

64 

77 

100 

128 

162 

176 



AMONG THE ALPS. 



INTEODUCTION. 

In these days of Alpine adventure, when so many 
of our countrymen, braving the dangers and hard- 
ships of the higher regions, ascend one mountain 
after another, till scarce a European peak remains un- 
trodden by British feet, the literature of the Alps has 
attained a degree of importance unheard of, or un- 
thought of some twenty years ago. Several of the 
foremost heroes in the great mountaineering army, 
returning from the scenes of their victories, exchange 
the ice-axe for the pen, and fighting their hard bat- 
tles once again, carry us, who read their books, along 
with them in the thrilling interest of the narrative, 
till we almost feel as if we ourselves had done the 
daring deeds described ; as if we too had scaled the 
Weisshom's dangerous rocks, had forced our way up 

B 



2 AMONG THE ALPS. 

theUothhom's threatening crags, had won the perilous 
heights of the Pointe des Ecrins, or after long years 
of effort and disappointment, had stood at last con- 
querors on the Matterhorn's proud summit. 

These sensational and highly exciting works have, 
however, one great disadvantage, they check the 
energies and chill the aspirations of moderate walkers. 
To ladies they are particularly discouraging. How 
are they to attempt the ascent of the horns or dents^ 
or pointes or spitzes of which they read and hear, if 
they are beset with such dangers and difficulties? 
How are they to clamber up precipices, where at 
each step the treacherous rocks may break beneath 
their feet ? How are they to walk on the knife-like 
edges of snow ridges, where a single false step would 
be destruction, or to descend the steep ice-slope, 
where a slip is fatal? They feel that to attempt 
such performances would be absolute madness, risk- 
ing other lives as well as their own, and they lay 
aside the fascinating volume with a sigh, and regret* 
fully confess that the high Alps are beyond their 
powers, and that they must content themselves with 
small expeditions, and mule paths at moderate ele- 
vations. 

Now in coming to this decision, they are in some 
respects mistaken. It is quite true that the giants 
of the Alpine world are for the most part unattain- 
able by them, and that with some bright, but rare 
exceptions, ladies have been unable to overcome the 



INTRODUCTION. 8 

difficulties of their ascent ; but on a sort of border- 
land, between the forbidden ground of danger and 
the beaten paths of safety, there are to be found a 
host of fine glacier passes and high snow mountains, 
many of them aflEbrding scenery unsurpassed for 
beauty in the whole range of the Alps, and which, 
with proper care and precaution, can be visited with 
pleasure and profit by ladies, or walkers of ordinary 
capacity. All that is required to meet the com- 
paratively slight difficulties of these excursions, is 
strength, health, the habit of taking exercise, and a 
perfectly steady head. Any lady possessing these 
qualifications, and taking with her always one, and 
in some cases two first-rate guides, may make an 
endless number of delightful tours among the high 
Alps, without risk to herself or her companions, and 
without causing any anxiety to her friends. 

There is a great deal said unjustly about the 
dangers of mountaineering; they are small com- 
pared to those of hunting, steeple-chasing, boating, 
or bathing, and infinitesimal in comparison of the 
perils incurred in these days, during a journey by 
express train on an English railway. No doubt 
some accidents are recorded each year, but it will 
always be seen, that the largest proportion of them 
do not happen to alpine climbers, accompanied by 
good guides, but rather to ladies and inexperienced 
gentlemen, or boys, who wander by themselves on 
mountains, of which they know nothing, and lose 

B 2 



4 AMONG THE ALPS. 

their way, or miss their footing, in places where, 
with a guide, they would ran no risk whatever. 

Mj object in writing this book, which contains no 
narratives of hair-breadth escapes, or startling ad- 
ventures, is to show what can be done easUj by 
ladies of active habits, whose love for mountain 
scenery produces a sufficiently strong motive to 
make them brave the undeniable fatigues and pri- 
vations which they will have to undergo. In 
giving a short account of the manner in which my 
sister and I spent the summer of 1874, 1 have not 
selected a particularly &vorable year as an example ; 
on the contrary, owing to the exceptional badness 
of the weather, and the fact of our being, most of 
the time, in places new to us, with whose best ex- 
cursions we were sometimes unacquainted, we ac- 
complished less during this season than on former 
occasions, and, as will be seen, our failures and dis- 
appointments often outnumbered our successes. 
Yet in spite of these misfortunes, on looking back 
now to our summer tour, it seems as if all its little 
worries and vexations had &ded into oblivion, whilst 
its joys and pleasures have remained behind. 

thudng the dark winter months which are now 
approaching, should any lady, as she reclines in an 
armchair by her bright fire side, while away a few 
hours in the perusal of this book, and excited by our 
example, determine that she too, when the time 
comes, will leave the beaten tracks, and adventure 



INTRODUCTION. 5 

herself into the ice-world beyond, the best wish I can 
form for her is, that she may be as happy in the days 
of her wanderings as we have been in ours, and that 
the memory of them may smile back on her as plea- 
santly from the past as it now does on us. 



Chaptee L 



THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS, 



Whatevee may be the diversities of aim of those 
travellers who yearly swarm from England to the 
region of the Alps, their starting-point and the com- 
mencement of their course must at least be alike. 
As all the various races of mankind began their pil- 
grimage originally in the persons of their common 
ancestors, from the Garden of Eden, so do all the 
compotient parts of that heterogeneous mass, named 
collectively *the British tourist,' begin their journey 
from one centre, the railway platform. There, hurry- 
ing to and fro, laden with bags of every size and 
shape, with sticks, umbrellas, parasols, railway rugs, 
brandy flasks, sandwiches, Murrays, Bradshaws, 
newspapers, shilling novels, and no end of other 
things, they finally subside, after a good deal of 
agitation, into their respective places, and are 
whirled off, by the noisiest of engines, to Folkestone 



% 



8 AMOSG THE ALPS. 

or DoTer. Between tlie English and Freneli ports 
the same trials await them aO, and they suffer more 
or less, as the steamer danees gaily orer the brisk 
wares of that <*h^ TiTiel which finms our southern 
frontier. At Calais ^e mightr stream dirides, part 
flowing by Brussels and the Bhine, and part by Paris 
and France, till it nnites again at Basle or Xenchatel, 
on the threshold of Switzerland. 

Here aU nniformity ceases, and as ^e hnman race 
has developed, since the days of Adam, into types 
differing widely in form and intellect, so the tourist, 
no longer a mere nnit in the great mass, assumes his 
own shape and individnality, and the extremes that 
for two days hare been almost touching, start &r 
apart, and perhaps meet no more during their course. 

Look at yonder young man, strong of muscle, lithe 
of limb, with a face still pale from the London air, 
and the stuffy^ atmosphere in some little court of the 
Temple ; in six weeks you would not know him 
again« Hardy, healthy, weather-beaten, with throat 
and hands scarlet, and nose bereft of skin, he will 
have stormed many of those mighty fortresses of 
nature, whose glacis are the ice-slope, whose moats 
are the Bergschrund, and from whose giant battle- 
ments the ayalanche is hurled. He will have been 
perished in the morning frost, baked in the mid-day 
sun, and drenched in the mountain shower ; he will 
have lost his sleep by night and his rest by day, and 
yet strange to say he will have laid in a stock of 



THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS, 9 

health, strength, and happiness, the effects of which 
he will still feel next winter, through the densest of 
London fogs. 

Turn from him to an ordinary cheerful-looking 
man beside him; his clothes seem quite new, and 
he carries a courier's bag of enormous dimensions 
strapped around him. His face is red to begin 
ivith, and it will not get much worse ; he will pro- 
ceed at once to Interlaken, where he will purchase 
an alpenstock of very white wood, rather taller than 
himself, and neatly finished at the top with a black 
chamois horn; an ornamental object, but of little 
or no use. Furnished with this weapon he will 
drive up to Grindelwald and eat a good dinner, 
after which he will visit the ice cave of the upper 
glacier. Next day he will ride up to the Wengern 
Alp, and perhaps walk down to Lauterbrunnen, 
taking care to have these performances duly regis- 
tered on the tall stick. In this manner he will 
proceed, * doing the Alps,' in a mild way, and at the 
end of his short holiday will return to his business 
in the city a healthier, happier, and perhaps also, a 
better man for this little respite from his daily toil ; 
this breathing time, in which he has, as it were, 
stood still in the great race after wealth, and for- 
gotten for a moment, amidst the solitudes of the 
mountains, his hard service of that golden idol 
which is still set up on many a plain. 

Not far from him stand three ladies, a mother 



10 AMONG THE ALPS, 

and two daughters ; the girls are pretty and young, 
but they look pale and jaded ; they too have been 
working hard, but in a different way; they have 
gone through a London season. They have been at 
it, literally, morning, noon, and night; they have 
spent hours in the * Row,* they have spent sums in 
the shops, they have driven miles in the streets; 
they have left cards in hundreds, and written notes 
in scores ; they have drank innumerable cups of 
tea with innumerable friends, and they have been to 
dinners, theatres, operas, concerts, crushes, dances, 
and balls all through the sultry summer nights. 
They must have rest at last, so they have come to 
Switzerland to breathe the pure air, and to recruit 
their strength. They are in the prettiest and most 
fashionable of travelling costumes ; they have a 
vast pile of luggage, if you could only see it, in a 
neighbouring van, and a courier and lady's maid 
attend upon them. 

These ladies will probably go direct to Lucerne, 
and thence by boat and railway to the Eigi Kaltbad, 
where they expect to meet some friends, with whom 
they will stroll about and sit out of doors, and the 
fresh, bracing air will no doubt do them good. They 
do not think much about scenery, and care a great 
deal more for their own appearance than for that of 
the Alps. On the whole, they prefer a pretty pink 
and white dress to a pink and white mountain, and 
do not let the sunset interfere with their dinner; 



THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS, 11 

but they wish to see some of the sights, so they-make 
a large party to the Kulm, from whence, after an 
almost sleepless night, they sally forth at early dawn 
to see the morning sun. That luminary, to all 
appearances, does not rise at all on the occasion. 
However, in spite of this omission, they have rather 
enjoyed the expedition ; they have laughed a great 
deal, and have gained a real appetite for their break- 
fast. The spirit of the mountains has breathed upon 
them, be it ever so slightly, so let us hope that they, 
too, wiU be the better for their Swiss tour, and go 
home in the autumn with strengthened constitutions 
and improved complexions to their native land. 

Time and space alike would fail even to name the 
varieties of the mountain tourist ; they are as nume- 
rous almost as the alpine flowers that deck his path. 
Take, for instance, any well-known mule pass of the 
Oberland, and a student of human nature might 
there in the course of a long summer day make a 
collection as curious in kind, and almost as great in 
quantity, though inferior in beauty, to that which 
the botanist could produce after his morning ramble. 
So let each human specimen go his own way, and 
enjoy himself as his disposition and his education 
have fitted him to do. The mountains have room for 
all, and if, as is but just, they reserve their choicest 
beauties and most glorious (effects for the bold 
climber, who loves them best, and toils most 
patiently to reach their snowy brows, yet even on 



12 AMONG THE ALPS. 

the indolent admirer, content to lie at their feet, 
they can bestow a vision of loveliness that will rise 
again and again to his memory long after their 
forms have faded from his sight. 

These individuals should, however, while pursuing 
their own course, not murmur at others for doing the 
same. There is a great deal of intolerance displayed 
yearly in Switzerland by the various classes of 
tourists who visit it, and who, with different physical 
powers and different ideas of enjoyment, spend their 
time in a curiously contrasting manner. The active 
and energetic portion, who like to soar above the 
common herd, look down sometimes from the emi- 
nences to which they attain with supreme contempt 
on their neighbours below, while these latter, taking 
the world easy in a chaise a porteur, or on the back 
of a mule, smile in a superior way at the folly of the 
climbers, and talking about what they have little 
experience of, say that nothing is gained by all the 
trouble taken and the risks incurred. They mutually 
jar upon and irritate one another, whereas if they 
would only reflect a moment, they are all right in 
their several paths, each playing out his little 
summer game in the way which most conduces to 
his happiness. 

Now among all this vast multitude, my sister and 
I hold, as I have already mentioned, a sort of middle 
position. To the deeds of the adventurous few we 
have no hopes of attaining; their feats as much 



THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS. 13 

surpass ours, as did those of Hercules, the doings of 
the ordinary mortals of his day, a.nd we should as 
soon think now of attempting to scale the Matterhom 
as we should have thought then of trying to strangle 
the lion of Nemea. Those stupendous peaks that 
they have reached are to us forbidden ground ; we 
may look up to them admiringly, longingly perhaps, 
but on their dizzy heights our feet can never stand ; 
they are, like so many of the high places of this 
world, the reward and the privilege of those who excel, 
and mediocrity cannot obtain them. But because the 
foremost ranks are unattainable, it is no reason that 
one should not try for the second, and we, or any 
other ladies who choose to make the effort, may 
leave the great mass of idlers in the hollow behind 
us, and rising above the hot mule paths, may take 
to the snow and ice, and with the fresh glacier 
wind blowing cool on our faces, we may mount 
with alacrity as high as our limited powers will 
permit us. 

Of course for those who aspire at all above the 
beaten tracks, it will not do to start very early in the 
year ; the spring snows must melt, and the spring 
avalanches must fall before it is safe to venture too 
near them, and having reached Switzerland rather 
sooner than usual in the summer of 1874, we deter- 
mined to take up our abode for a short time at Thun, 
and there await the beginning of July. 

It is rather tantalizing to be so near the mountains, 



14 AMONG THE ALPS. 

and still out of reach, of tliem ; to see their well- 
known forms rising in sharp crests above the vapoury 
clouds, or glowing in the evening sun, and then to 
return to the garden of one's hotel, feeling that the 
enchanted ground from which they rise is no nearer 
than it was yesterday; still to those who have to 
wait, Thun with its picturesque site, its comfortable 
hotels, its pretty shaded walks, and its lovely views, 
is as pleasant a stopping place as could be selected, 
and there we passed our time agreeably enough 
through the last weeks of June. 

At last the longed-for moment arrived. Away, 
from trim gardens and neat gravelled paths, from the 
heated atmosphere and the relaxing air. Away, by 
the steamer up the beautiful lake of Thun, enclosed 
within its ramparts of pine-clad mountains, above 
which on the southern side rise the stately peaks of 
the great Oberland range. Away ! past Interlaken, 
hot and dusty, with its rows of fashionable hotels, 
and its bewildering number of carved wood shops. 
Away ! up the shady valley of the Liitschinen, while 
the horses' bells make merry music as they jog 
quietly along, and we spend our time partly agree- 
ably in admiring the beauty of the views, and partly 
unpleasantly in trying to ward off the attacks of an 
invading army of horse-flies, which beset the car- 
riage on every side. At length Grindelwald is 
reached, that pretty little village that everyone 
knows so well, nestling quiet and secure between the 



THE ALPS AND THEIR VISITORS, 16 

stem precipices of the Eiger and the Wetterhom, 
and there, while inhaling the cool mountain breezes, 
that blow down pure and fresh from the great adja- 
cent EismeeVy we waited for a few days to gain 
strength and energy after the enervating heat of the 
plains. There also we were joined by our guide, 
Maurus Amrhein, of Engelberg, who for four suc- 
cessive years has been our constant attendant during 
our tours in Switzerland, and who combines the 
strength, activity, and experience of a good moun- 
taineer with the careftilness and steadiness required 
in a guide for ladies. 



16 



Chaptee II. 



THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS. 



Among the many minor expeditions from that great 
centre of Alpine adventure, Grindelwald, perhaps, the 
one least often attempted is the ascent of the Met- 
tenberg, that mighty buttress that terminates the 
ridge above which towers the pinnacle of the 
Schreckhom. 

To any lady accustomed to mountain walking, and 
accompanied by a good guide, the ascent presents no 
great difficulty, and the fatigue which must inevitably 
be incurred is amply repaid by the beauty of the 
view. From about half way up the mountain the 
eye plunges down into the very heart of that great 
Eismeery of which from Grindelwald nothing but a 
diminutive stream can be seen, while the rival passes 
of the Monch and the Strahleck flank the view on 
either side, two mighty highways of the Alps, trodden 
only by the comparative few, the possessors of strength, 



THE METTENBERQ AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS, 17 

fleetness, and endurance. Dwarfing even these emi- 
nences by their superior height, rise the three giant 
rocks of the range, the Eiger, compact, solid, strong, 
the rinsteraarhom, slender and spire-like, and the 
Schreckhorn, dark and frowning. There is a cruel 
look about this latter peak, and as one gazes at its 
forbidding precipices, the thought involuntarily sinks 
to a lowly grave in the churchyard of Grindelwald 
that few passers-by omit to visit. 

To return to ourselves, I may remark that expe- 
rience must be bought on the Alps as well as else- 
where, and our purchase on this occasion I now offer 
to my reader. As the climb from the glacier to the 
top of the Mettenberg is continuously steep and 
must take some time, no one should on any account 
start for this excursion except in settled weather. 
Though it was early in the morning when we left 
Grindelwald, light clouds already floated in the sky, 
and as the sun gained in strength they gained un- 
pleasantly in size ; however, being in for it, we tried 
not to heed them, and toiled patiently through the 
oppressive heat of the morning till we reached the 
ridge, distant about one hour from the summit. 

Our view at first had been confined to one side, 
that which I have endeavoured to describe, but once 
on the ridge, we were to have the advantage of seeing 
down on Grindelwald and the valleys beyond. We 
had looked forward with pleasure to this prospect, 
but alas ! when it came, the pleasure was of too 





13 AMOXG THE ALPS. 

mixed a kind to be leaL Aswe were high abore the 
Faixlhcm range we coold see the lake of Thnn and 
the plain be jond, but the riew was not enconraging ; 
we behdd a dnll leaden skj^on which the descending 
lain ^owed itself in long inkj streaks, while nearer 
ominous looking thnnderdonds roDed slowlj bnt 
sorelj' Tsp the mountain. Qnl j one hour firom the 
top and to turn back I We ^anced up at the summit 
and it seemed inritinglT near, we turned our ejes 
down to the storm and it was rapidlj gaining on us ; 
we considered, we consulted with our guides, we 
hesitated, and finally practising that Tirtue which is 
said to be the better part of Talour, we turned and 
fled. 

A bad thunderstorm is bj no means an insignificant 
enem J to encounter on the top of a mountain, and 
we tried to console oursebres with the thought that 
we might hare incurred real danger had we pro- 
ceeded ; jet none but the defeated Alpine climber can 
know how sadljthe steps are retraced down the hard 
£>ught ground, won all in Tain, and we returned in 
the afternoon to the Adler Hotel wet, dejected, and 
crest-&Den, a living example of the neglect of that 
precept which I am trying to inculcate, namely, not 
to attempt a mountain in doubtful weather. 

Depression of spirits, except on determined wet 
days, does not fortunately last long in the bracing 
mountain air, and with little or no trace of our 
recent disappointment we drove down three days 




THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS, 19 

later, on a bright sunny morning, to Lanterbrunnen, 
from whence we proceeded in the afternoon, part of 
the way in a carriage, and the latter half on foot, to 
the primitive but not uncomfortable little inn at 
Trachsel-Lauinen, near the head of the Lanter- 
brunnen valley, our object being to go next day 
across the Tschingel pass to Kandersteg. In addition 
to our own guide we had taken with us the well- 
known Peter Egger, of Grindelwald. Everyone 
who has been in Switzerland during the summer of 
1874 will remember the extreme uncertainty of the 
weather during all the month of July, of which 
scarcely a day passed without more or less heavy 
rain. Though our walk on that evening was very 
short, we could not accomplish it without a wetting, 
and by the time we entered the inn we were rather 
like miniatures of the Lanterbrunnen valley itself, 
with little waterfalls running down on aU sides. 

As it is impossible to take any weight of luggage 
over the pass, we had sent the bulk of ours round by 
diligence^ and had only with us such things as were 
absolutely necessary for the night. To change our 
dresses was therefore out of the question, and there 
seemed at first but two courses open to us, both 
equally unpleasant, either to remain wet as we were 
all the evening, or to take off our dripping garments, 
and having none with which to replace them, to go 
supperless to bed. From the horns of this dilemma 
Amrhein relieved us by suggesting a fire in the aalle 

c2 



\ 



20 AMONG THE ALPS. 

at which we should dry ourselves while the supper 
was preparing. This was decidedly the preferable 
course of the three, and we adopted it, but it is not 
a pleasant performance to stand on a sultry summer 
evening slowly turning round before a blazing fire, 
while the damp rises in clouds of steam all about, 
and envelopes one in a vapoury atmosphere like that 
which geologists attribute to our earth during one of 
the great pre- Adamite periods. Let any who doubt 
the truth of this statement just try the experiment 
for themselves. 

Next day we started at early dawn ; the morning 
was hot and cloudy, and looked tmpromising, but by 
sunrise matters improved, and we had, on the whole, 
a fine day for this very agreeable expedition. The 
slopes and rocks of the Tschingel Tritt are very 
steep, but with help from efficient guides they are 
made easily passable, even to ladies, unless these 
latter should be inclined to giddiness, in which case 
they had better keep to the mule paths, and avoid as 
a rule all glacier passes. 

When the top of the rocks is attained there is a 
rather tedious piece of moraine that must be crossed 
before the snow is reached, part of which is like the 
high-pitched roof of a Gothic church, on whose sharp 
edge the way lies, and which, judging by the top, 
would be a building of considerable size, as it took 
us at least a quarter of an hour to walk from the 
west end to the chancel. However, being unused to 



THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS, 21 

roofs, we probably went slowly, and should have 
been even longer but for the confidence which the 
firm hold of a guide's hand always affords. 

Here I must divert a little from my subject to say 
a few words about Swiss guides. So much has been 
Avritten in their praise by those who know them best 
that it seems almost superfluous to add to the com- 
mendations they have already received ; yet, on the 
high Alps, a lady is so completely dependent, both 
for security and comfort, upon the services of her 
guide, that it would be ungrateful not to acknow- 
ledge their value. In fact, in difficult places, most 
ladies could do little or nothing if left to themselves.. 
They have neither the muscular strength, the acti- 
vity, nor the training required to make a good 
climber, and the most they can aspire to do is to be 
able to follow implicitly and fearlessly the directions 
they receive, and trust for their safety to the strong 
arm and unwearied attention of the hardy moun- 
taineer who walks before or beside them, and who, 
while giving them the best place on the naiTow ledge 
or steep slope, will yet, on his apparently insecure 
footing, be firm as a rock should they make a false 
step or need his support. 

But it is not only in places of difficulty that their 
good qualities are so evident ; they are untiring in 
their efforts and inexhaustible in their resources to 
smooth away all discomforts and make things go 
pleasantly. They can convert an unpromising look- 




22 AMOXG THE ALPS. 

ing rock or part of a field of snow into a snng little 
camping ground, on which to partake of the mid-day 
meal. Thej never look tired of the mountains or 
passes, oyer which thej have toiled so often, bat join 
cheerfully in admiring their beauties, and with bodies 
their good temper and patience are admirable with 
what mast seem to them the extreme of awkward- 
ness and incapacity. Many of them are men of 
rough exterior, and yet, perhaps from having mixed 
so much with their superiors in station, they have 
acquired a certain refinement of manner which 
guards them from ever offending, and which, through 
all the intimacy and friendly feeling that often exists 
between the guide and his employer, keeps them 
always quiet and respectful. Of course, among so 
large a body of men, there may and must be some 
exceptions to this rule, but I only speak of our own 
experience, which has been almost always favourable. 
Once on the glacier, easy snow slopes are crossed 
to the summit of the col, fit)m whence the Jungfiuu 
is seen, rising magnificently a sheer height of more 
than 10,000 feet above the valley of Lauterbrunnen. 
Of course, on arriving there we celebrated the feat 
by observing the time-honoured Alpine custom of 
eating. There is something very pleasant in these 
little meals, taken often under difficulties on the top 
of a mountain or a col ; the surroundings are usually 
so beautiful, the air is so fi^sh and invigorating, the 
silence, the freedom, the solitude of the great moun- 



THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS, 26 

tain regions have such a soothing effect on the mind, 
which reposes from the every-daj cares and anxieties 
of the world below, while the body finds the longed- 
for rest after its hard labour. 

Taken separately, the component parts of our 
luncheon would not sound inviting. A rather hard . 
knapsack for a seat, snow for a footstool, and for 
food some very dry bread and an antiquated chicken, 
a good deal burned, whose limbs had to be torn 
asunder by main force, and whose flesh was about 
of the consistency of Swiss carved wood. These 
delicacies were washed down with some wine and 
snow, and the meal was complete ; but the sauce 
which accompanied it, giving relish to the whole, 
was not prepared by human hands, is indescribable, 
and can only be tasted and enjoyed by those who 
have earned it with a hard morning's work on the 
upper Alps. 

Eested and strengthened, we rose and pursued our 
course, descending continuously in succession, over 
snow, ice, moraine, rubbish, and finally grass, till we 
reached the head of the beautiful Gastem Thai, from 
whence a smooth and easy path should have led us 
down to Kandersteg. Not so, however, for the 
mountain torrents, swollen by heavy rain, had made 
sad havoc of that secluded valley. In some places 
the path was completely buried in mud and stones, 
in others the encroaching waters had swept it away; 
of one bridge not a trace remained, and we had to 



24 AMONG THE ALPS. 

cross the rapid stream by the simple but imcomfort- 
able process of walking through it. At last, after a 
rather unpleasant scramble down the side of the 
Kander waterfall, where the road had fallen in, 
leaving nothing in particular to go upon, we reached 
the Hotel de TOurs, at the foot of the Gemmi, a 
little tired, quite wet, covered with mud, but still 
very happy, having enjoyed our pass extremely. 

As we had been to Kandersteg before, and visited 
the beautiful lake of Oeschinen, we had planned on 
this occasion going to Schwarenbach on the Gemmi, 
and from thence making some excursions ; but the 
very watery appearance of the clouds deterred us, 
and fearing that we might, perhaps, be detained by 
bad weather for some days in that not very luxurious 
little inn, we turned our backs with regret on the 
Kander Thai, and driving down to Spiez, on the lake 
of Thun, took the steamer to Interlaken, whence 
next morning we proceeded to Meiringen, where we 
spent a Sunday. 

That little village is a sort of reservoir, into which 
in July and August, three or four popular passes daily 
pour a torrent of tourists. These people are gene- 
rally much delighted with what they have seen and 
done, and wish to recount their own experiences, and 
to hear those of their neighbours. In consequence, 
at table d'h6te, there is often a deafening buzz of 
conversation, and to anyone sitting quiet and rather 
silent at dinner, the confdsion of sentences that the 




THE METTENBERG AND THE TSCHINGEL PASS. 26 

ear catches here and there, and cannot connect in 
their proper order, is most bewildering, and reminds 
one of the game called * cross questions and crooked 
answers,' that most of us have played in our child- 
hood. Here is a small specimen. 

* Have you been staying at Lucerne ? ' 

* No, the top of it was covered with clouds.' 

* Was there much snow on the Grimsel ? ' 

* Yes, indeed ; it had good springs, and was most 
comfortable.' 

* We were on the Eosenlaui glacier to-day. Were 
you?' 

* Yes, we rode up to the top and walked down.' 

* Did you sleep at the Grimsel? ' 

* Oh f we have just come from it, by the Brunig.' 

* I hope you got a good carriage for the pass ? ' 

* There were a good many patches of snow on it, 
here. and there.' 

* Is this your first visit to Switzerland? ' 

* We were on it for about an hour, I think. It 
was so slippery ! ' 

* What did you think of the Handeck water- 
fall?' 

* If it would only be dry on Monday ! even for 
one day ! ' 

* How I do hope the weather will clear up ! What 
a week we have had ! ' 

* Oh ! I admired it so much ! The mass of falling 
water was quite magnificent.' 



26 AMONG THE ALPS. 

Add to this pot-pourri a volley of German super- 
latives, * Ach ! das war prachtig ! ' * Sonderbar ! ' 
* Ganz abseheulich ! ' * Wtmdersclion ! ' * Schrecklicli 
steil ! ' * WundervoU ! ' Then a great clatter of 
knives and forks, rattling of plates, drawing of 
corks, running to and fro of waiters, a blaze of 
light, and not an open window, or a breath of fresh 
air. 

Is it any wonder that after enduring this Babel 
of tongues and sounds for an hour-and-a-half you 
return to your room stupified and exhausted, requir- 
ing a long period of rest and quiet to restore the 
nerves? 



THE ENQSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS. 



Chaptee nL 



THE ENQSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS. 



On Monday morning we started afresh, and walked 
up the Engelberg Joch to the little inn which stands 
about an hour below the top of the pass. The 
situation of this house is very picturesque, close to 
the Engstlen lake, in whose clear waters the snowy 
range of the Titlis is reproduced with almost the dis- 
tinctness of the original. The attractions of the place 
are, however, all out-of-doors, and in cloudy weather 
the tourist cannot console himself with creature com- 
forts for the absence of those beauties of Nature, 
which he has come to enjoy. The house is clean but 
rough, and it requires all the effect of sharp mountain 
air on the appetite to make the food palatable. 

The owner keeps a large dairy farm, and the 
animals belonging to it seem to live on terms of 
perfect equality and fraternity with the visitors. 
The cows walk about where they please 5 the goats 



'28 AMONG THE ALPS. 

lie on a bench at the hall door, and walk upstairs 
to the bedroom floor with as much composure as if 
they were ^ en pension,^ and paid their six or eight 
francs a day ; while in this Republic the pigs carry 
their liberty to an excess verging on communism, 
and indulge in conduct with regard to their neigh- 
bour's goods which no right-minded beast would 
dream of. During the table d'hote a great commo- 
tion arose at the far end of the room, of which we 
could not at first discern the cause. Various excla- 
mations of dismay, astonishment, and indignation 
were heard, a simultaneous rush was made to the 
window, and presently the object of all this excite- 
ment was drawn in through it to the room; the 
wretched remains of a Scotch plaid, completely torn 
to pieces and partly eaten away. The lady to whom 
it belonged had unguardedly left it on a bench out- 
side the house, and the pigs had forthwith appro- 
priated it. An appeal was made against this in- 
justice to the mistress of the hotel, but she seemed 
neither much surprised nor concerned at the outrage, 
merely observing that such things often happened, 
and that she had at times been herself a sufferer. 
Apparently it never occurred to her that some mild 
restraint might with advantage be exercised on the 
offenders. 

Our object in going on this occasion to the 
Engstlen Alp was to make it our starting-point for 
the ascent of the Titlis. This mountain, though only 



i 



THE ENGSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS, 29 

between 10,000 and 11,000 feet in height, is at all 
times so covered with snow that it is necessary to 
begin the ascent before daylight, in order, if possible, 
to descend from the glacier before the heat of the 
sun has made the snow unpleasantly soft. 

These early starts have, among other disadvan- 
tages, the very serious objection that, except in quite 
settled weather, it is not easy to foresee so long before 
sunrise how the day is likely to turn out. The white 
clouds, which often lie at night in straight lines 
along the summits of the mountains, may either melt 
away with the sun's first rays or gather with the 
increasing heat into blackness and rain, and it 
requires a certain amount of moral courage to come 
to a decision as to whether one will start and run the 
risk of failure, or stay at home and perhaps lose a 
fine day; in short, to take a leap literally in the 
dark, and to bear the consequences. On this occa- 
sion we were not successful in our choice. The night 
was foggy, but at intervals the mists passed away, 
and a space of clear sky, looking all the clearer for 
the contrast, gave promise of better weather. 

Trusting to these delusive hopes, we foolishly left 
our beds at an hour when all rational people should 
be in their first sleep, and at 3 a.m., armed with a 
lantern, we bent our uncertain steps towards the top 
of the col. It seemed as if the sky had intended to 
play a practical joke upon us ; no sooner were we 
quite gone, and the hotel door closed against us. 



30 AMONG THE ALPS, 

than the clear spaces overhead that we had fondly 
trusted in began to contract everywhere; great 
columns of mist rolled up from behind us, and big 
clouds came swiftly down to meet ns. For a short 
time a few stars twinkled facetiously at us, as if 
enjoying our discomfiture, but by degrees they faded 
away, and a thick, dull fog descended and enveloped 
us all round, as we floundered helplessly through the 
wet grass and muddy path leading to the col. 

Once there, we stopped to hold a consultation. 
The Titlis was out of the question. Our view from 
where we stood was limited, to say the best of it. 
We could just see ourselves, but nothing further, and 
our faces, as they appeared indistinctly through the 
white mist, had the foolish expression appertaining 
to people who know they have done a stupid thing 
and are suffering for it. We could not bear to 
retrace our steps, so we decided to push on to 
Engelberg, and after some groping here and there in 
the fog we finally arrived at that village, having 
seen nothing whatever of the pass we had made. 

Two or three wet days followed in succession, and 
at last the sun came out again, an unwonted and 
welcome sight to eyes that had been gazing inces- 
santly at clouds and raindrops for so long. Nothing 
daunted by our late failure, we prepared for another 
attack on the Titlis. 

This time we started in the afternoon, and made 
for the Triibsee, a little lake fed by glacier streams. 



\ 



THE ENQ8TLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS. 31 

and situated on a sort of table land, above that first 
part of the Joch, whose steep, zigzagged path is well 
known at Engelberg by the name of the Pfaffen- 
wand. Close to the Triibsee a small inn has lately 
been opened by an enterprising man from Alpnach, 
who also keeps one of the hotels on the Pilatus. It 
takes about two hours to reach this abode, at which 
we did not arrive till late in the evening. Many 
people, tempted like ourselves by the beauty of 
the day, were preparing to go up the mountain, 
and the little inn was full of travellers and guides. 
We were fortunate in securing a room to ourselves, 
and the supper provided us was, considering all the 
circumstances, creditable to the establishment. 

People talk of sleeping at these places on the 
mountain side, but that is generally a mere figure 
of speech. I have stopped at a great many of 
them, and never remember to have had a good 
night. First there is supper, which always takes a 
long time to prepare ; when that is procured and 
eaten, there are generally various omissions in the 
bedroom which have to be rectified ; no water in the 
jugs, or the door cannot be locked, or the window 
will not shut. It is necessary to find a housemaid, 
or failing such a personage, a woman of some sort 
belonging to the house ; but there is no bell, and 
you grope rather nervously down queer stairs like a 
ladder, into a dark, waste place below, probably full 
of aU kinds of lumber. Here you get completely 



32 AMONG THE ALPS. 

out of your reckoning, and do not know where to 
turn next. A little way oflf light gleams through 
the chinks of a door, and you feel sure that beyond 
it is the kitchen, but sounds of men's voices and 
fumes of tobacco proceed also from it, and you know 
that all the guides are smoking there, and having 
their supper. It will not do to intrude yourself 
upon these men, and you turn back in despair, 
when out of a dark comer, from which you least 
expected her, a woman suddenly emerges; you 
pounce upon her, and after a great expenditure of 
bad German, and worse patois, you make your 
wishes known, and she comprehends them. Then 
comes the final arrangement with your guide as to 
the exact hour at which you are to start next 
morning, and generally a lengthened discussion on 
the chances for or against a fine day. 

At last everything is completed, and you subside 
into the rough but clean bed prepared for you, and 
think you are going to sleep. Not so ! A man in the 
room over you begins walking up and down in heavy 
nailed boots, with no apparent object but that of 
making a noise, and you wonder why, for his owa 
comfort even, he does not put on slippers. In time 
he is at rest, but two cheerful gentlemen have 
remained in the salle, which is under you, and are 
making merry over the remains of their supper, and 
when everyone else is quiet they come np to their 
rooms singing. Fortunately they are not near you. 



THE ENGSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLI8. 33 

SO you hear no more of them, but as the silence of 
the night deepens, solemn sounds arise in measured 
cadence from the room beside you, and you become 
aware that your next door neighbour is enjoying 
that balmy sleep which is as yet denied to you. 

Rendered wakeful by all these disturbances you 
begin to reflect, and it occurs to you that your guide 
looked uneasy about the weather as he left your 
room. You wonder what it is doing now. Better 
get up and see. A great deal of scraping and 
crackling ensues, followed by an abominable smell, 
andy after many failures, you have performed the 
clever feat of lighting a Swiss match. You look at 
your watch, it is almost 12 o'clock. You look out 
of your' window ; you see the clear dark vault of 
heaven, spangled with innumerable stars, and you 
return to your bed tired, it is true, but cheerful, 
and at last drop oflf into a quiet sleep, from which 
you are awakened, it seems to you, immediately, by 
a knock at the door, and your guide's voice gives 
you the unpleasing information that it is 2 o'clock, 
and time to get up. 

It is strange, that after a night spent something 
in this fashion, one should rise next morning fresh 
and ready for work, but so I have generally found 
it ; probably a certain degree of excitement, caused 
by the anticipated expedition, gives for the moment 
that strength which should be produced by rest and 
sleep. It would, however, be a wasting process if 

D 



34 AMONG THE ALPS. 

repeated too often, and a night of this kind should 
always be followed by one of undisturbed repose. 

By 3 A.M. most of the aspirants to the Titlis were 
ready for action, and a funny procession issued at 
intervals from the little hotel, each party led by a 
guide, carrying a lighted lantern. Seen very in- 
distinctly through the gloom of the night these dark 
moving masses, with their luminous heads, might 
have been taken for gigantic glowworms, crawling 
slowly up the mountain side. 

It is undeniable, even by the most ardent lover of 
the Alps, that to walk up a mountain path by the 
light of a lantern is a most unpleasant proceeding. 
To those who have never tried it it may not sound 
so bad. They think of the steady light afforded by 
a city lamp, or a well regulated carriage-lamp, but 
.they have little idea of the eccentric behaviour of 
an Alpine lantern, bobbing about excitedly in the 
guide's hands aq he walks rapidly forward over the 
rough ground ; now throwing an unnatural glare 
over one part of the path, while it leaves the 
remainder in deepest shade ; now dazzling the eyes, 
so that it hides every other object, and seems to be 
moving along on its own account ; the next minute 
casting back the shadow of the guide, who holds it, 
with startling suddenness under one's feet. By its 
treacherous light round objects appear hoUow, while 
flat spaces seem raised, and its deluded followers 
either lift their feet with care and effort over what 



THE ENGSTLEX ALP AND THE TITLIS. 35 

turns out to be only a small hole ; or walking 
securely on a seeming shadow, become aware of its 
substance by coming into forcible contact with its 
sharp edges. Among the many watchers who long 
for the dawn, none welcome its first ray more gladly 
than those who have been misled by this * Will of 
the Wisp ' through many a waste and quagmire. 

When it was light enough to see, we found our- 
selves on a rough mountain path, ascending through 
stones and grass, and in due time we arrived at a 
rock called the * Stand,' where it is the invariable 
custom to have a first breakfast. Of course we did 
like our neighbours and predecessors, and while we 
were employed eating bread and eggs the sun rose, 
and the weather-wise as they watched it shook their 
heads. It portended evil, but the sight was very 
beautiful, as the eastern sky became pale red, and 
some heavy bands of clouds that had lain cold and 
dark along the horizon, glowed suddenly at the first 
touch of the magic rays into the richest purple. 
When this great display was concluded we rose and 
pursued our way, first over slopes of debris^ and then 
over easy rocks, till we reached the glacier. In 
seasons when there is little snow this latter is said 
to be troublesome, but we did not find it at all so, 
and reached the summit without having required 
any step-cutting. 

Here by degrees a large party assembled ; inclu- 
ding the guides there must have been at one time 

D 2 



^ 



aC AMONG THE ALPS. 

nearly twenty indiyiduals sitting about in the snow, 
some intent npon the distant prospect, while others 
were apparently more taken np with the provisions 
in the foregound. On a perfectly clear day the view 
£rom the Titlis is said to be very extended. We 
were not fortunate in this respect, as the horizon 
vras laden with cloads, but the view we did get, 
though not jnst what we should have chosen, was 
still very grand and strange. 

There was a high wind blowing, and the light 
mists, driven to and fro by its power, kept up a 
never ending variety of effects, most curious to 
watch. At one minute they had blotted out every- 
thing from the sight; at the next, opening unex- 
pectedly, they showed one of the great Oberland 
mountains, apparently quite close, looking solid and 
massive in its light vapoury frame ; while we admired 
it, it was gone, and no trace of its presence left, and 
almost immediately another scene was presented, the 
green Engstlen Alp and its quiet little lake lay clear 
and distinct at our feet ; a moment more and they 
had disappeared in their turn. A great space then 
became visible, and we began slowly to identify the 
various peaks revealed, but before we had half got 
through their number the scene had changed again, 
and both vexed and pleased, we turned to watch for 
the next picture produced in this series of dissolving 
views. 

It will not do to remain long stationary in the 



THE ENGSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS. 37 

43iu>w, at an altitude of above 10,000 feet, while a 
strong, cold wind prevails around, and we were soon 
forced to turn reluctantly away, and get down as fast 
^ls we could, to comparative warmth and shelter. 
Of course the snow was soft, and of course we sank 
in it at nearly every step ; that seems to be the usual 
routine during the descent of a mountain ; we also 
had some narrow escapes of getting into crevasses, 
of which there appear to be no lack on the Titlis. 

It is a queer sensation — the escape of a crevasse I 
mean; I have never been actually into one. You 
Are going along quite composedly on the snow, when 
suddenly you sink in much deeper than usual, and 
jou find, to your surprise, that you have nothing 
under one foot ; instinctively you dig in your stick, 
hoping that it will touch something solid, but no, it 
also rests upon air, and then you become aware that 
you are on a snow bridge, and that if it should give 
way you will soon be hanging suspended by the rope 
over one of those gigantic cracks, that sometimes 
reach to the bottom of the glacier. Of course there 
is no danger if the rope is strong enough, but you 
would just as soon not put it to the test, and it is 
with a feeling of relief, that partly by your own, 
partly by your guide's exertions, you emerge from 
your awkward position, and return to what feels 
comparative terra firma. 

By the time we reached Engelberg the weather 
had much disimproved, and those who in the morn- 



88 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ing had prophesied evil things, while they watched 
the rising sun, must have felt a certain grim satis- 
faction in seeing their words verified, as storms,, 
winds, and rains burst in turns on that devoted, 
village, till the rivers rose above their banks, and 
flooded all the fields in the flatter parts of the valley. 
We had intended leaving by the Surenen pass, and 
making some excursions in the Todi district, but a» 
our principal object this year was to visit for the 
first time the Engadine and some parts of Tirol, 
we feared to linger any longer, waiting for better 
weather, and decided to give up these expeditions,, 
and push on at once by the high road and the rail- 
way direct to Coire. 

It was not however without a certain regret that 
we turned our backs on the old ground, so well 
known, so often visited, where we had spent, during 
several successive summers, so many happy days, 

and prepared to wend our way to a new world, with 

» 

whose mountains and glaciers we were unacquainted,, 
and the very names of which sounded strange and 
unfamiliar to our ears. * It is well to be oft' with 
the old love, before you are on with the new,' says 
a rather heartless little poem, or song — I forget 
which — but with all its fickleness human nature 
cannot always quite act up to that precept, and tho 
memory of the old love will sometimes rise up again, 
and blot out the image of the new. 

So we found, when we got among the eastern 




THE ENGSTLEN ALP AND THE TITLIS. 8^ 

Alps; they are very beautiful, very striking, and 
they had all the charm of novelty and varieiy to 
our eyes, but we could not ^be off' with their 
western rivals, and the comparisons which often 
rose to our minds were invariably in favour of the 
latter. 



40 AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chaptee rv. 



PIZ LANGUARD AND THE SURLEI FORCLA. 



One would expect a drive from Engelberg to Lucerne 
to be about as uneventful a journey as could well 
be undertaken ; but it is not always so, as we found 
by experience. Swollen by the constant rain into 
an unwonted degree of importance, the Engelberger 
Aa, usually a quiet, rational little river, had got on 
this occasion quite beside itself. Not content with 
roaring and . dashing about in a frantic manner, 
within its appointed boundaries, it had broken 
through their limits, and once loose upon the world, 
had played no end of disagreeable pranks ; entering 
corn-fields, and covering them with mud, tearing 
pieces off the roads, uprooting trees, carrying away 
bridges, and even invading dwellings, and turning 
the unfortunate owners out on the road side. 

We saw one such houseless couple, carrying off 
their baby in its cradle, and a little of their portable 



PIZ LANGUARD AND THE 8URLEI FORCLA. 41 

property, to seek shelter in the cMlet of some more 
favoured neighbour, whom the inundation had spared. 
They looked sad, but patient ; probably it was not 
the first time this misfortune had befallen them. 
Their house, we were told, would be most likely un- 
inhabitable for some days, and when the subsiding 
waters should allow them to return, they would find the 
floors thickly covered with a deposit of black mud, and 
tenanted by beetles and other unsightly iusects. 

It is a hard life that the Swiss peasant leads, 
fighting inch by inch for his little bit of ground, 
against so many forces, almost all hostile to him; 
avalanches, land-slips, rolling stones, mountain 
torrents, winter storms, all in turn threaten his 
little property, and ruin sometimes in a few hours 
the produce of many days of patient toil. We 
tourists, who wander during the three best months 
of the year through the uplands of Switzerland, 
feasting our eyes with their endless beauties, and 
inhaling strength and health with every breath we 
draw, are apt to forget the reverse of the pic- 
ture; when the blue skies are blurred and soiled 
with clouds, and the fierce blasts rage and howl 
through the mountain crags ; when the soft tinkle 
of the cow-bells is heard no more, and the many 
coloured wild flowers are dead, and the pitiless snow 
comes down, and buries all that was once so green 
and gay, leaving but the leafless trees and the dark 
pines, that, black by contrast, look like sad pro- 



42 AMONG THE ALPS. 

cessions of mourners on the mountain side. We 
who have fled with the swallows to more genial 
climes, or returned to our comfortable English 
homes, do we ever think of the poor Swiss moun- 
taineer, doomed for months to this almost arctic 
winter? Perhaps if we did, we should be more 
lenient to his faults, and grudge him less the silver 
and gold, which he certainly does at times extort 
from us gay birds of passage, who visit him in the 
sunshine, and desert him in the storm. 

We felt ashamed to grumble at our small incon- 
venience in the presence of so much real misfortune, 
so we took all the delays and difficulties as quietly 
as we could, and waited three hours here, and half 
an hour there, and when our carriage could be got 
no further, we crossed torrents on planks, and walked 
through wet grass, and picked up odd conveyances, 
where we could find them, and finally, with great 
trouble and exertion, we reached Stanz in the even- 
ing, having been struggling since 6 o'clock a.m. to 
perform a distance of about sixteen miles. 

Probably few English visitors to Engelberg have 
ever stopped at Stanz ; it is a clean, thriving-looking 
little town, with certainly one, and I believe two, 
very comfortable inns. In the centre of the pldce 
stands the fine marble statue of Arnold von Winkel- 
ried, of which prints or photographs are usually to 
be seen in most of the hotels of that district. 

The next morning we proceeded to Lucerne, and 



^ 



PIZ LAN<^UARB AND THE SURLEI FORCLA. 43 

thence to Coire, by that slowest of conveyances a 
Swiss railway. There is something very trying to 
the patience in being dragged along all day by one 
of the phlegmatic engines of that country; one 
longs to rouse them from their torpor, and send 
them, for once in a way, at a reasonable pace. If 
they would even keep going for some time at the 
jog-trot rate, which is their highest speed ; but they 
have no sooner attained it than they begin to reduce 
their small amount of motion, and finally come to a 
stand at some little unknown station, at which no 
one gets in or out, and no business seems done. A 
long pause ensues, a bell is rung, a whistle is heard, 
then a horn is blown, and after this third demon- 
stration, with a great deal of creaking, the liunber- 
ing machine is at length set agoing, and creeps along 
for a few miles, when the weary process begins again 
da capo. How one longs that an English express 
engine should catch hold of the whole concern, and 
whirl it off at once to its destination ! Something, 
however, there is to be said on the Swiss side of the 
question, and the scarcity of railway accidents in 
this little state is a fact that stands out in favourable 
contrast to our constantly recurring fatal collisions, 
with their long lists of killed and wounded, that 
sadden and awe us as we read of them in the daily 
papers. 

Coire was reached at last, and soon left again, and 
we were off for the Upper Engadine, by the defile of 



% 



44 AMONG THE ALPS. 

Schyn and the Julier road. The weather was dull 
and rainy, which was probably the reason why we 
did not admire the pass, as much as we were led to 
expect that we should ; but the sky cleared as we 
came down upon Silva Plana, and the sun shone 
brightly on that rather pretty little town, and its 
lake of curiously vivid green. We did not stop there, 
Jiowever, but proceeded at once to Samfiden, which, 
though small, has the dignity of being the principal 
town of the district. 

Judging by the crowded state of aU the hotels in 
Engadine, I should say that before very long every 
tourist in Europe will have visited that locality. 
Wherein its great attraction lies I never could make 
out, as in point of scenery it is decidedly inferior, 
with the exception of Pontresina, to the other moun- 
tain regions of Switzerland, and the climate changes 
too rapidly from extreme heat to extreme cold to 
be called good. Of course many invalids go for the 
benefit of its peculiarly dry air, and of the far- 
famed waters of St. Moritz, and when the hotels 
there are crammed till they can contain no more, 
the baffled patients take refuge in all the neighbour- 
ing villages, from whence they can still reach the 
baths and the spring; but even after allowing for 
this portion of the visitors, there is an over-whelm- 
ing mass remaining, partly English, but principally 
German, who do not seem to have any object in 
going, but who yet remain at Sam^den and St. 



PIZ LANGUARD AND THE SURLEI FORCLA. 45 

Moritz, and, as far as I could make out, occupy 
themselves by taking a little drive every day up or 
down the road. 

Certainly they cannot be detained there by admi- 
ration for the valley of the Inn. With its straight 
roads, bordered by tall telegraph posts, its river,, 
partly enclosed like a canal between straight banks, 
its stunted trees, and bleak stony mountains, it ia 
as devoid of beauty as it is possible for an Alpine 
valley to be ; nor is it improved by the addition of 
a series of white, pasteboard-looking villages, all 
exactly resembling each other, and dotted along with 
tiresome regularity, at intervals of about three miles ; 
every little town possessing in its centre an ugly, 
church, with an enormous tower, twice too high for 
its surroundings, and glaring with whitewash. The 
only redeeming point in the landscape is the pretty 
opening of a side vaUey towards Pontresina, where a^ 
glimpse of snowy peaks, and a foreground of wooded 
mountains, seem to invite the traveller to explore ita 
recesses. 

We resisted these attractions, for two days, as we 
wanted to ascend the Piz Ott, a sharp rocky point 
immediately behind Samaden, said to afford a very 
fine view ; but at the end of that time, the weather 
being still unfavourable, and our patience exhausted,, 
we gave up the mountain and left the place. 

Besides the enforced idleness which the clouds 
condemned us to, we had many discomforts there to 



46 AMONG THE ALPS. 

contend with at home. No rooms were to be found 
in any hotel, and we were obliged to put np at a 
house in the village, which was not just the abode 
one would have chosen. It belonged to a chemist, 
who, his niece informed us, had one of the most 
superior establishments of the kind to be found any- 
where. She spoke of him as if he were a very great 
man indeed, and so perhaps he was, but he cannot 
have been distinguished for cleanliness, judging by 
the entrance and staircase of his house. The floor 
beneath ours was let for a school, but fortunately it 
was holiday time, and those rooms were silent and 
deserted ; not so however a room above them, next 
to us, where a brass band assembled in the evening, 
and spent an hour in practising discords in various 
keys. In this residence, the eyes, the ears, and the 
nose suffered in turn, and at the end of two days, as 
I have said before, we could stand it no longer, and 
we turned our backs on SamMen and Piz Ott, which 
latter had sulked into a cloud, and went off nothing 
loth towards the Bemina chain, hoping for better 
fortune at Pontresina. 

In this expectation we were not disappointed ; ad- 
mittance to any of the overcrowded hotels we found 
indeed to be impossible, but we succeeded in securing 
two comfortable rooms, in a perfectly clean lodging- 
house, not very far from the Hotel Steinbock, where 
we had to go for our meals, and T^rith this arrange- 
ment we were content and even thankful, knowing 



PIZ LANGUAJtD AND THE 8URLEI FORCLA, 47 

hj late experience how mucli worse ofiF we might have 
been. With the weather, however, there was no 
quaUfication to our satisfaction, when we rose early 
the next morning, and found that every cloud had 
vanished, as if by magic, from the sky, and that the 
air had that peculiar transparency which comes with 
the first clearing after a long period of rain. 

The most usual excursion from Pontresina, is the 
ascent of Piz Languard, and everyone pronounced 
that this day, the finest there had been for several 
weeks, was the time to seize for the expedition. 

It is a great advantage to the place, to have so 
beautiful a view brought within the range of even 
quite moderate walkers. Except the Gornergrat, or 
the Bella Tola, I know of no mountain at all equal 
in height, that is so easy of access as Piz Languard. 
Two thirds of the ascent are practicable on horse- 
back, and the remaining portion, the peak, composed 
of shattered rock and stones, and which might 
have given some trouble, has been arranged in flights 
of stairs, which, but for the want of balusters, are 
nearly as convenient as those one sometimes meets 
with in small Swiss or Italian inns ; indeed, I have 
once or twice found the ascent to my bedroom a 
greater piece of climbing, while it lasted, than that 
of this mountain. 

The unexpected beauty of the day had attracted 
many like ourselves, and when we attained it, the 
Bummit was literally crowded with people. There 



48 AMONG THE ALPS. 

was such a coming and going, eating and drinking, 
questioning and answering, exclaiming and laughing, 
that we felt quite bewildered, and as if we had got 
by mistake mixed up in some garden party or picnic 
in a fashionable watering-place. I fear it is un- 
sociable not to be always glad to meet one's fellow 
creatures, and to see them enjoying themselves, but 
somehow, on one of these great watch-towers of 
nature, one would rather be alone, or with only one 
or two Mends, to admire and wonder in comparative 
silence, than to be surrounded by a buzz of small 
talk, that jars amid the grandeur of such a scene. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the magnificence of 
this panorama, extending in one immense circle all 
around. Like some vast sea, tossing aloft its crested 
waves, the mighty chains of mountains undulate in 
apparently endless ridges, and peaks arise of every 
shape and size, from the dark limestone l-ock to the 
glittering snowy cone, till the eye is almost wearied 
with their variety, and the mind, awed and perplexed 
by their number, goes back inquiringly to that time 
in the dim past, when the divine command went 
forth * Let the dry land appear,' and upheaved by 
volcanic agency, these giant firstborn of the earth 
rose out of the seething waters, 

To us, most of the mountains around were quite 
new ; the beautiful Bemina chain, with its snow-clad 
summits and great glaciers, we then saw for the first 
time, and when we had got a little familiar with 



FIZ LANGTJARB AND THE SURLEI FORCLA. 40 

it, there came the Orteler range, equally unknown, 
and beyond it countless mountains of Tirol, with 
whoge names even we were scarcely acquainted. It 
seemed hopeless to try and understand them all, and 
involuntarily we turned to the west, longing for the 
sight of an old friend among this crowd of new 
celebrities to whom we were being introduced. A 
few minutes of search, and then came the glad 
recognition. There was no need to ask for names 
now; soft with extreme distance, but still looking 
massive from its superior size, we spied the great 
Monte Rosa chain. The well-known peaks could be 
seen distinctly traced against the crystal sky, the 
Lyskam, the Zwillinge, the Breithom ; there was but 
one great blank among this group of intimates ; the 
matchless pinnacle of the Matterhorn we looked for 
in vain, hidden by its more southern neighbours, it 
was invisible from where we stood. Turning more 
to the north, we could see the Todi range, and 
beyond it a slender spire, which we were told was 
the Finsteraarhom. An hour spent in gazing on 
such a scene is one not easily forgotten, and the 
remembrance of it will rise to the mind and give 
pleasure on many a day to come. 
. Another very charming and easy excursion from 
Pontresina, and yet one not often made, is the tour 
of Piz Surlei, called the Surlei Forcla. Starting 
while the morning was still fresh and cool, a 
pleasant path through grass and forest brought u^ 

E 



oO AMONG THE ALPS. 

at about 8 o'clock to the Baths of St. Moritz, 
whose large, formal square we passed, stopping for 
a moment to wonder at the incongruous sight of such 
a fashionable promenade, with its marble fountain, 
its band, its crowd of well-dressed water-drinkers 
pacing demurely up and down, the whole thing 
looking more like some German watering-place than 
like part of an Alpine valley. 

Feeling quite unfit, either in appearance or ideas, 
to join in this procession, we coasted cautiously 
outside, and once more diving into the pine forest, 
we followed the winding path till it brought us 
opposite to Silva Plana ; here it is best to leave it, 
and turning at once to the left, to go straight up the 
side of the mountain. The scattered fir trees give 
pleasant patches of shade, and the ascent, though 
steep, is at first over sofb green turf, delightful to 
walk on ; by degrees, however, the grass diminishes, 
and the stones preponderate, till the last hour is 
very rough, though not difficult. 

This must be a very little frequented pass, to judge 
from the shrill whistle of the marmots, who, disturbed 
by our unwonted appearance, gave constant warning 
to their comrades of the impending danger. These 
shy little animals are most difficult to catch a 
glimpse of, having always a sentinel on the alert, 
and darting, at the first sound of his alarm, into 
their various holes. How anyone ever contrives to 
shoot them I am at a loss to imagine ; however, it is 



PIZ LANGUARD AND THE SURLEI FORCLA, 51 

done occasionally, as I have sometimes in mountain 
inns been offered a very unpleasant looking black 
Lasli whicli purported to be composed of marmots. 

The summit of the col, though rather more than 
9,000 feet in height, is attained without passing over 
any snow or ice, but once on it there is no lack of 
-either in the view presented. To the right the 
snow slopes of Piz Corvatsch reach nearly down to 
the pass, while directly opposite the eye ranges over 
a vast extent of glacier, backed by the snowy peaks 
of the Bernina chain. Most prominent in this 
prospect are the noble glaciers of Eosegg and 
Tschierva, streaming down from their respective 
snow-fields, and meeting at the foot of a ridge of 
dark, pointed rocks, which, seen from where we 
stood, bore a singular resemblance to the Grands 
Mulets. 

This day we were not fortunate in weather, and 
the clouds soon came down provokingly and spoiled 
the beauty of the view. They must be our excuse 
for having, after a little while, turned our backs, 
figuratively speaking, on these grand scenes, and 
concentrated our attention on an unpromising look- 
ing little stone hut, towards which we descended. 
Our guides had preceded us into it, and they soon 
emerged, carrying bowls of rich mUk and freshly- 
made butter, which, added to our provisions, com- 
posed a most excellent repast, and we enjoyed our- 
selves after a fashion, in spite of the clouds. While 

B 2 



52 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ihns engaged we saw two German gentlemen and 
their guide come down firom the Piz Corvatsch ; like 
ourselves, they partook of the good fare of the stone 
hut, and then pursued their way down the steep 
slopes which lead to the Eosegg valley. 

As we sat and watched them it was curious to 
observe their different degrees of proficiency in the 
noble art of walking. First went the guide, strong 
and active looking, stepping lightly from one tuft of 
grass to another, and getting rapidly and not un- 
gracefully over the ground, without any apparent 
exertion or fatigue. Then followed one of the gentle- 
men, going at a fair pace too, but striding along 
heavily and with effort, evidently at the top of his 
speed, and a little beyond what was safe, to judge 
by the occasional trips and recoveries he made, and . 
the hard jerks with which he got down where the 
steps were long or stony. A long way behind them 
came the second gentleman, shuffling and shambling, 
with a great deal of movement and play of stick, his 
head down, his knees bent, working very hard, yet 
making little way ; stumbling over stones, slipping 
on grass, sticking in mud, and seeming at every step 
in imminent danger of a fall. How he escaped one 
I do not know. I thought our guides never would 
stop laughing at him, and we laughed a little our- 
selves too, I fear, for we really could not help it, but 
we did it as it were under protest, knowing that our 
own movements were by no means faultless, and 




P/Z LANGUAfiD AND THE SURLEI FORCLA. 53 

wishing to avoid that imprudent line of conduct 
which is particularly forbidden to the dwellers in 
glass houses. 

After a short, steep descent, we reached the Eosegg 
valley, and there anyone who does not object to a 
severe shaking on a very rough road may have a 
vehicle without springs to meet them from Pon- 
tresina, and thus save at least an hour and a half of 
walking. Not being tired we preferred the latter 
inode of proceeding, and should have enjoyed the 
return through the valley very much, had not the 
rain come down in torrents and wet us through. 

Taking . it quite leisurely, this expedition only 
required nine hours, and anyone who chose to drive 
to Silva Plana, and have, as I have just said, a char 
to meet them at the head of the Eosegg valley, could 
make a beautiful and enjoyable excursion, with very 
little fatigue. 



54 AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chapter V. 

THE DIAVOLEZZA PASS AND PIZ MORTERATSCH. 




MoBE arduous, but much more interesting than the 
Surlei Porcla, is the tour of Mont Pers, also called 
the Diavolezza pass. By driving to the inn on the 
Bemina road, and having a carriage to meet us at 
the foot of the Morteratsch glacier, we reduced the 
walking part of the expedition to little more than 
eight hours, but as the way lies principally over 
rocks, snow, and ice, the services of a thoroughly 
good guide are required for ladies* We were fortu- 
nate in that respect, as we were able to engage 
Christian Grass, one of the best and most popular 
guides of Pontresina, 

The ascent from the Bemina inn, over debris^ 
rocks, and snow, is so like the ascent of many other 
cols, that I need not stop to describe it, but the way 
from the top of the pass to the foot of the Morte- 
ratsch glacier is as beautiful and pleasant a walk on 
ice as I have ever taken. 



DIAVOLEZZA'PASS AND TIZ MORTERATSCH. 55 

The first step in the descent is to reach the Isle 
Pers, an island of rock that rises abruptly from the 
midst of the surrounding sea of ice, and from which 
the view over glacier and snow is very striking. It 
has been likened on this account to the Jardin, and 
perhaps bears some resemblance to it, but it loses 
by the comparison, as few, if any, scenes in the 
Alps can equal for grandeur and wildness that be- 
held from the celebrated rock of the Tal^fre glacier. 
It is better to enjoy the beauties before one's eyes, 
without allowing the greater beauties already seen 
to rise too vividly to the mind, and a nicer place is 
not often found whereon to sit and have one's mid- 
day meal than the rocky summit of the Isle Pers. 

A short, steep descent and we were again upon 
the ice, and soon standing at the foot of the magni- 
ficent ice-fall of the Pers, after which it joins with, 
and is absorbed in, the great Morteratsch glacier. 

Here Christian Grass came out to great advantage. 
Instead of choosing the usual route across to a path 
on the moraine, he kept to the centre of the glacier, 
and did the honours of the ice world around us with 
the air of an obliging host taking his guests from 
room to room in his house, and showing them its 
various treasures. But no host has such a house, 
and no house in the world, I am sure, can contain 
such wonders as those we saw on the Morteratsch 
glacier. S^raes of every shape and size, now square 
and massive, like fortresses of crystal, now tall and 



56 AMONG THE ALPS. 

tapering, like silver spires, and in colour of every 
imaginable shade, from the palest opal to the deepest 
sapphire. Gigantic crevasses, in whose blue depths 
the eye lost itself; overhanging cornices of snow, 
fringed with icicles clear as day ; tiny rivulets, wan- 
dering with gentle murmur between their glistening 
banks : mimic glens and valleys, whose sloping sides 
were blue and transparent as the heavens above ; 
waterfalls that shone and sparkled in the sun as 
they dashed over their rocks of ice ; wondrous 
caverns, into whose unknown depths the glacier 
torrents leaped with hollow sound, and were seen no 
more. Shapes endless and fantastic, assumed for 
the moment by the ever-changing ice ; wide arched 
bridges, gothic windows, turrets, minarets, and every 
one perfectly beautiful of its kind. 

It is vain to try and describe the wonders of the 
ice world. No magic palace of fairy lore was ever 
imagined so beautiful ; no other scene on earth at all 
resembles it, and those who have only groped about 
the stained and wasted base of a glacier, cannot 
form the faintest idea of its upper loveliness. We 
decided, as we drove home that afternoon, that a 
pleasanter occupation could not be found for a bright 
summer day than to wander here and there through 
the mazes of the Morteratsch glacier. 

The most considerable of our excursions from 
Pontresina was the ascent of Piz Morteratsch. 
Though it was not accomplished till quite at the end 



9 

I 



DIAVOLEZZA PASS AND PIZ MORTERATSCH. 57 

of our time there, it had been thought of from the 
very beginning; but many were the vicissitudes 
that the plan was doomed to undergo before it was 
finally carried into execution. For no particular 
reason that I can assign, I had formed a great wish 
to ascend this mountain, and directly on our arrival 
at Pontresina I had despatched Amrhein to look for 
some man capable of taking us up it. In due time 
he returned, bringing with him a guide, highly re- 
commended by the master of the Krone Hotel. He 
was an elderly man, and did not appear particularly 
active, but he had a plausible way of talking which 
imposed considerably on us all. I began at once 
about Piz Morteratsch, but he looked disapprovingly 
at me. 

' Piz Morteratsch ? ' he said. * Oh ! it is not fit 
for ladies.' 

Knowing that in Mr. Ball's ^ Alpine Guide ' it is 
mentioned as ^ a safe and not difficult expedition,' 
I was not to be so easily put do^vn, so I said, quite 
briskly, * Why not ? There is no difficulty, I 
hear.' 

^ Oh, yes,' he answered, * there is great diffi- 
culty ! ' 

^ What difficulty ? ' we asked. 

* Why, the snow. It is in such bad order this 
year, so frightfully soft ! At every step you would 
be up to your knees. No lady could stand the 
fatigue of ifc ; you would be hours and hours in the 



68 AMONG THE ALPS. 

snow. Why/ he continued, turning to Amrhein, 
* even the strongest men cannot lead for more than 
a quarter of an hour at a time, but have to go to the 
back to rest/ 

Never was a more unpromising account given, 
and for the time the expedition, and my hopes, feU 
to the ground ; but in the course of a day or two we 
discovered that several other statements made by 
this guide were not strictly in accordance with the 
truth, and I am afraid that I was, on the whole, 
rather pleased with these proofs of his duplicity, as 
I began to hope that he had, perhaps, maligned Piz 
Morteratsch, and that it was not really so formid- 
able as he had represented it. Like sick people, or 
their relations, who, not satisfied with the opinion of 
one doctor, apply to another in the hopes of a more 
favourable verdict, we called in Christian Grass, and 
consulted him on the state of our patient, said to be 
suffering from an attack of soft snow. Not unlike 
real doctors on these occasions, he gave quite a 
different opinion from that of his fellow-practitioner. 

^Soft snow?' he said. ^Not a bit of it! The 
snow is in very good order.' 

^ And do people not sink up to their knees at each 
step ? ' we asked. 

* Certainly not, if they start in good time. There 
is no difficulty on the snow ! ' with a great stress on 
the last word. 

* Then where is the difficulty ? ' 



niAVOLEZZA PASS AND PIZ MORTERATSCH. 60 

* Oh, on the rocks/ lie answered. 

Here was a new blow impending ! ' Are they very 
bad ? ' I asked, uneasily. 

* No, not bad at all ; only very steep.' 

And so by degrees we found out that the character 
of this highly respectable mountain had been basely 
taken away by our first informant, and I had my way 
afber all, and, thanks to the very efficient help I re- 
ceived from Grass and Amrhein, got up it without 
any serious difficulty. It is, however, not an expe- 
dition to be recommended to ladies, unless they are 
used to mountain work, and have steady heads, in 
which case it is a yerjr pleasant piece of cUmbing, 
and the snowy summit affords a magnificent view. 

The air was curiously warm there, and though at a 
height of more than 12,000 feet, we were able to sit 
down quite comfortably to enjoy the prospect. We 
found two German or Swiss gentlemen and their 
guides already established there, but they did not 
seem to have liked the ascent much, and sighed a 
good deal over the recollection of its fatigues. One 
of them informed me in a melancholy voice that 
he weighed 200 lbs. Not being up in Swiss weights, 
this presented no definite idea to my mind, so not 
knowing exactly what to say, I put on a face, which 
I meant to be expressive of sympathy, but I after- 
wards remembered that I had on a linen mask at 
the time, and that it must unfortunately have been 
lost upon him completely. 



00 AMONG THE ALPS. 

The snow was in very good order, and the descent 
on the steep slopes of the upper part of the moun- 
tain was rapid and very pleasant, but on the neve 
below the bridges were shaky, and we had one or two 
narrow escapes of going through their frail sub- 
stance. On the top of the rocks we halted again, 
and to fortify ourselves for the descent had a last 
meal, for which I am at a loss to find a name, as we 
had already breakfasted, lunched, and dined, and it 
was still too early for supper. 

*Now, madame,' said Christian Grass to me, ^you'll 
see how well we shaU go down these rocks. Come 
along.' 

So I went along at this iuvitaticn, and I must 
say, I never had a guide before or since who said 
so many encouraging things. On a steep place, his 
tongue never ceased for a minute, and directions 
and encomiums followed each other in rapid and 
perplexing succession. I fear a translation will 
give but a faint idea of the comical effect of his 
conversation. 

* Put your foot there — very well ! And the other 
one there — capital ! Now stay where you are. That's 
.right ! and hold on tight. Very clever ! Now come 
down to me. Bas geht famos ! Now wait a bit. Quite 
right ! Now put your foot on that rock — ^beautiful ! 
And that foot here. Brava Lei ! Could not be better.' 

All this time, I was going through the simple 
process of putting one foot before the other, without 



DIAVOLEZZA PASS AND PIZ MORTERATSCH. 61 

even the responsibility of choosing where to place 
them, so that no amount of vanity could make me 
appropriate any of the praise bestowed, but had he 
addressed all these flattering observations to himself 
they would have been most true, as it was wonder- 
ful to see the perfect ease and precision with which 
he descended, never giving a glance at his own foot- 
steps, but always keeping a watch on mine. Once 
past the rocks, we got on to the Rosegg glacier, by 
its curious triple moraine, and a pleasant walk on 
the crisp ice brought us in time down to the other 
road at the head of the valley, from whence a drive 
home ended this most enjoyable day. 

Interspersed through the few fine days on which 
we made the excursions I have mentioned, there had 
come many wet ones, which I have passed over in 
silence ; and as we had still a good deal to do, and 
the season was fast advancing, we feared to delay 
any longer at Pontresina, and decided to start at 
once for the Baths of Bormio. 

A fortnight spent in the Engadine did not much 
alter the first impression it had made upon us. We 
still thought its scenery over-praised, and its climate 
unpleasant. The air there certainly is peculiarly 
light and bracing, but it is not very agreeable to be 
frozen every morning, baked at noon, and perished 
at night, nor to rise, as we did one morning in 
August, and find a white world all round. Then 
the situation of Pontresina, though by far the best 



-62 AMONG THE ALPS. 

in that district, still appeared to me rather badly 
chosen, for though close to the Bernina chain, it is 
so placed that scarcely any of the most beautiful 
peaks are visible from it. As a centre for excursions, 
it has no doubt great advantages, and to those who 
can walk well enough, to penetrate into the recesses 
of the magnificent chain at whose base it lies, it is 
a most attractive spot. 

We had heard a great deal, before visiting the 
Engadine, of the incivility of its inhabitants, but I 
must do them the justice to say that we experienced 
nothing of the kind. Perhaps these accounts refer 
to St. Moritz, and not having stayed in that place, 
I can of course say nothing of it, but certainly at 
Samaden and Pontresina we found everyone with 
whom we came in contact obliging and friendly. 
The hotel-keepers seemed anxious to find room for 
lis in their overcrowded houses, and when they could 
not. accommodate us themselves, they helped us to 
find lodgings elsewhere. The prices, far from being 
exorbitant, as we had been led to expect, were, we 
thought, very moderate ; the breakfasts and dinners 
at Pontresina were cheaper than we had found them 
in any other frequented part of Switzerland; the 
food, if not very recherche^ was still quite wholesome 
and eata.ble, and the bread we pronounced to be the 
very best we had ever tasted anywhere. On the 
whole, most of the arrangements were good, the 
only drawback being that every hotel and house 



niAVOLEZZA PASS AMD PIZ MORTERATSCH. 63 

seemed to have more inhabitants pressed into it than 
it could conveniently hold. 

Whence come aU the people who fill the innumer- 
able hotels of Switzerland? and what became of 
them before these hotels were bmlt for their accom- 
modation? It is no use in trying to solve these 
mighty problems, to answer glibly, *0h, they aU 
stayed at home,^ because, if this were the case, then 
the various quarters from which they come would 
now be empty, whereas it is the experience of every 
traveller who moves much about the world, that each 
place at home or abroad to which he returns after 
some time of absence, he finds to have become larger 
and fuller than when he last visited it. I have never 
as yet heard these questions answered in a satisfac- 
tory manner* 



64 AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chapter VI. 



THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 



The usual way from the Engadine to Bormio is, as 
most people know, by the Bemina carriage pass; 
but anyone who will take the trouble to give a glance 
at a map will at once perceive that whereas that 
road leads round two sides of a triangle, the Val 
Viola, forming the third side, is the direct course. 
Having read in our guide book that we could drive 
to La Rosa, a small inn on the Bernina pass, and 
that from there seven hours' walking would bring us 
through the Val Viola to the Baths of Bormio, in an 
evil hour we determined on that course, as shorter 
and more amusing than the circuitous carriage route. 
Starting at 6 o'clock, in that universal and rickety 
little Swiss conveyance of which all the varieties are 
generalised under the name of an Einspannevy a very 
picturesque drive brought us in three hours to the 
hamlet of La Eosa. 



THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 65 

The morning liad been foggy, and we despaired, as 
we left Pontresina, of obtaining a farewell glimpse 
of the beautiful Bemina chain ; but just as we got 
opposite the opening of the Morteratsch valley, at an 
apparently incredible height above us, the sharp crest 
of Piz Bemina rose suddenly out of the surround- 
ing sea of mist, and then we were fortunate enough 
to be witnesses of one of the most wonderful effects 
I have ever beheld in the Alps. The fog which 
enveloped the whole chain in one dense white cloud 
became gradually but most rapidly transparent, and 
as it faded away, outline after outline, peak after 
peak, stole almost imperceptibly into sight ; at first 
vapoury as the surrounding atmosphere, they seemed 
to solidify as the mist cleared, till in less than three 
minutes the whole range stood out in startling dis- 
tinctness against a sky of unclouded blue. An instant 
before all had been blank as white canvass, and now 
painted with magic colours before our very eyes lay 
the picture quite complete, the exquisite creation of 
that great master some trace of whose perfection is 
imprinted on all His works. 

It was 9 o'clock when we reached La Eosa, where 
we were to part with our carriage and engage a man 
to carry our bags, and to show us the way. To 
procure this individual and set him going we calcu- 
lated would take half an hour ; seven hours was the 
time given by Mr. Ball for the pass; to these we 
added two more hours, in order to allow for our pace 

p 



66 AMONG THE ALPS. 

not being exactly equal to his, and also for some 
periods of rest by the way ; this made in all nine 
hours and a half, which would bring ns into Bormio 
at half-past 6 o'clock, just in good time to have our 
supper and retire early to bed. That was the way 
in which we did the pass in imagination ; now I am 
coming to the reality. 

First of all, there was no porter to be found at 
home; it was haymaking time, and everyone had 
gone np to the mountains to engage in that occupa- 
tion, literally while the sun shone. A child, how- 
ever, was despatched to the upper meadows, and in 
rather more than an hour returned accompanied by a 
very dirty ragged boy, who was introduced as our 
porter. It turned out npon inquiry that he had 
never been over the pass, and consequently did not 
know the way ; but we were informed triumphantly 
that he was brother to the guide who did know the 
way, but who was at present unfortunately from 
home. As no choice was offered us, we were forced 
to take him, and I think we were considered un- 
reasonable not to be quite satisfied with so near a 
relation to the right man, the next best thing, we 
ought to have felt, to the man himself. Nothing 
could be procured on which to pack the bags, so 
they were tied together with a piece of rope, and the 
dirty boy, flinging them carelessly over his shoulder, 
set off with a queer, slouching gait, followed by three 
rather discontented people, my sister, myself, and. 




THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 67 

our oberland guide. We had made another calcula- 
tion, and found that we could not hope to be at our 
journey's end before half-past 7 o'clock; however, 
there would be daylight till almost 8, so we had still 
half an hour to spare in case of accidents. 

It soon appeared that whatever the LaKosa guide's 
course might have been, that of his brother was very 
eccentric. First he led us down a steep, stony place 
and up another, and then he plunged into a thick 
forest, where the faintly marked path seemed com- 
pletely unused, and was overgrown with branches of 
trees, under which we had to creep, while our hats, 
veils, and dresses caught everywhere, and our pro- 
gress was consequently very slow. Once clear of 
this jungle, he again repeated the process of going 
down hill and up again, after which he was preparing 
for a third descent when Amrhein interfered. He 
said he knew we were going wrong, and propounded 
the unanswerable argument that we should never get 
up to the top of the col if we were always going 
down hill. This speech was translated into Italian 
for the dirty boy's benefit, and, perhaps struck with 
its truth, he went oflF to a field close by, where some 
men were working, and consulted them as to our 
future course. They counselled a retreat, and to 
strike up the mountain further back, and this time 
our young conductor chose a steep, ascending path, 
over which a mountain torrent danced sportively 
down to meet us. A good deal the worse, or at least 

F 2 



68 AMONG THE ALPS. 

the wetter for this encounter, we finally reached an 
upland alp and some chalets, and there I fancy we 
really did get, for the first time, into the right path, 
and that our deviations afterwards were not very 
considerable. Much precious time had, however, 
been lost in the first wanderings, and when, after a 
good deal of rough walking amidst moss, grass, 
branches and stumps of trees, rocks, stones, and beds 
of torrents, we at last reached the rather bleak-looking 
ridge, thougli its height was not quite 8,000 feet, we 
had taken nearly five hours from La Eosa to attain 
it, and it was past 3 o'clock. 

A very short descent brought us to a chalet, where 
we asked in vain for milk, all the supply for the day 
having been already converted into the first stage of 
a cheese. There we consulted a queer-looking old 
gentleman in a long-tailed coat, who seemed to be 
the owner of the establishment, as to the time we 
still required to finish our journey. Two hours, he 
said, to the first village, Semoggio ; thence an hour 
to the second village, Isolaccia, and one hour more 
to the Baths of Bormio. This would just bring us in 
before nightfall, we thought, and, buoyed up by this 
hope, we started cheerfully for the descent. 

The path was particularly bad and ungainly to 
walk on; it was partly paved with round, smooth 
stones, and partly strewed with loose ones, and 
flooded now and then by mountain torrents, so that, 
without ever being difficult, it was always trouble-. 



THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 69 

some, requiring constant care to avoid a fall on its 
slippery surface, and making speed impossible to us. 
Our progress must indeed have been very slow, or 
else we were misinformed as to time, for nearly two 
hours passed, but no Semoggio became visible. 
Presently I inquired of an old man we met how far 
we still were from that village. *Ah!' he said, 
* you are tired, I suppose,' and then, in true Italian 
fashion, he gave the answer which he thought would 
please me most, utterly regardless of the facts, ^ una 
mezz^ orina? So we pushed on for half an hour, but 
still the desired Semoggio was not to be seen. This 
time we applied to two countrywomen for informa- 
tion. * Povere donne, vengano qua ? ' they exclaimed in 
a compassionate tone, ^ Una huon* ora ci vuole,^ which 
statement turned out to be true, and at near 7 o'clock 
we reached that long-expected stage of our journey. 

Only one hour more to Isolaccia, and then a char 
road to Bormio. We had foolishly jumped at the 
conclusion, that where there was a road for a char 
there would of course be a char for the road. 

From Semoggio there was a sensible improvement 
in the path, and we could have increased our pace 
considerably, to make up for lost time, had the light 
permitted us ; but the evening was very cloudy, and 
the darkness gained so rapidly on us that by the 
time we reached Isolaccia we could scarcely see a 
step in advance. With some dificulty we groped 
our way into the village ; there was no light, no stir, . 



70 AMOXG THE ALPS. 

no sonnd ; it seemed like a city of the dead. At last 
we stumbled npon two women, standing under an 
archway, and inquired of them where we could get a 
carriage. K we had asked them for a balloon thej 
could not have been more surprised. ' A carriage ! ' 
thej repeated, there was not such a thing in the 
whole place. And how long would it take us to walk 
to Bormio ? * Two hours.' Was there an inn in 
the village ? * Yes, there,' they answered, pointing 
yaguely into the darkness, and after that information 
they disappeared round a comer. 

We looked at each other in blank consternation. 
Judging by the small amount of knowledge which 
our diriy porter possessed of the way in the daylight, 
it was certain that he would know nothing whatever 
of it in the black gloom, which now replaced the last 
glimmer of evening. What was to be done ? 

I suggested that we should look for a man who 
knew the road to Bormio well, but Amrhein shook 
his head, and said, in a melancholy voice, that he 
did not think there were any men in the village, 
nothing but old women. Having given way to this 
depressing sentiment, he seemed utterly cast down 
by it, and made no further observation. As he could 
not speak Italian there was no use in sending him 
to reconnoitre, so after some further consultation it 
was decided that he and my sister should remain 
together in an open space, where their forms were 
just dimly visible, while the dirty boy and I went off. 



I 



THE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 71 

like Diogenes of old, in quest of a man, only that 
nnfortunatelv our resemblance to that celebrated 
cynic did not amount to the possession of a lantern. 
After some fruitless search we came at last to a 
house, in one of whose upper windows a light shone, 
and, encouraged by tWs first sign of life that we had 
met with, I proceeded to knock at the door, while 
my companion standing under the window called to 
the inhabitants. At first we were both mild in our 
efforts, but as no one took any notice of us we be-» 
came more and more importunate, till it ended in 
my pounding as hard as I could on the door, and the 
dirty boy roaring as loud as he could at the window. 
I really felt quite ashamed of the noise we made 
in this quiet, respectable little village, where, I sup- 
pose, most of the inhabitants were already asleep, and 
had there been any police there we should no doubt 
have been taken up, as we deserved, but our excuse 
must be that our case was desperate, and required a 
desperate remedy. At last our combined exertions 
were rewarded ; the door opened, I drew hurriedly 
back, and the tall figure of a man appeared, while a 
voice, not expressive of much gratification, inquired 
who we were and what we wanted. Upon this the 
dirty boy came forward and took the leading part 
in the conversation. He explained that we were 
benighted travellers, wanting to get on to the 
Baths of Bormio, and not exactly knowing how to 
accomplish it. 



72 AMONG THE ALPS. 

* The Baths of Bormio ! It will take you a good 
hour and a half to get there.' 

' WeU,' said the dirty boy, in an insinuating tone, 
you appear to me to be a galantuomo ; will you come 
with us ?' 

There was a pause, and then the cautious counter- 
question, ' What will you give me if I do ?' 

* Oh ! these are ladies,' said the dirty boy, flourish- 
ing his arm towards where I stood. . * Perhaps you 
will do it per compiacenza?^ 

*No,' said the galantuomo, without a moment's 
hesitation, * most certainly not.' 
. Fearing that in his anxiety to make a good bar- 
gain my companion was rather overstepping the 
mark, and that the negotiations might be broken off 
abruptly, I joined in the conversation at this junc- 
ture, and inquired what the galantuomo valued him- 
self at. After some reflection he named six francs 
as his price. Knowing that he expected to be beaten 
down, I insinuated that I did not think him worth 
quite so much. 

* Well, what will you give me?' he asked. 

^ Five francs,' I answered. I am sure now, that 
in my anxiety to secure him, I offered much more 
than he expected. 

^ Va bency^ he answered condescendingly, * I will 
come with you for five francs if you will give me a 
glass of wine besides.' 

^ Va hene,^ I replied, ' I will give you five francs 




THE BEBNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA. 73 

and a glass of wine if you will bring a lantern along 
with you/ 

And so tlie bargain was concluded, and I returned 
in bigli glee to my sister and our guide to announce 
the success which had crowned our undertaking. 
They on their part had not been idle, and had 
caught a little cripple, who professed to be the bell- 
ringer of the place, and who held out hopes, in case 
I failed, of being able to procure a man to show the 
way ; so we had another string to our bow in case 
of the one already in it breaking. With this im- 
provement in our prospects our spirits had risen 
considerably, and when in about ten minutes the 
galantuomo appeared carrying the lantern, we were 
quite ready to follow him cheerfully through the 
abyss of darkness into which he plunged. 

A blacker night I never beheld; heavy clouds 
covered the whole sky, and occasional wreaths of 
mist came down into the valley, and enveloped us in 
a drift of close fine rain. We could literally see 
nothing but the shadowy figure of our conductor, 
and the small bit of road on which his lantern threw 
a dazzling glare ; but we must have been close to a 
river most of the time, for we heard the rushing 
sound of water continually near us, and we crossed 
several rather rickety wooden bridges. We also 
passed through two villages, silent and deserted as 
that from which we had started, and after we 
had been going for about an hour the galantuomo 



74 AMONG THE AlPS. 

stopped, and caUing our attention to some liglits 
in the distance gave the welcome information that 
they shone from the Baths of Bormio. Encouraged 
by this sight we continued to press on, but nearly 
three-quarters of an hour elapsed before we reached 
om' destination, and mounting some steep zigzags 
turned into a courtyard, and stepped from the wild 
dark night into the blaze of a well-lighted hall, from 
which several waiters and the manager came forward 
to receive us ; we had been about sixteen hours on 
the road from Pontresina. 

We were a queer looking party to enter a well- 
regulated hotel, and I almost wonder they let us in. 
With our travel-stained clothes, and our boots 
covered with mud, we and our guide cut but a poor 
figure, and our porter looked, if possible, dirtier and 
more untidy than when he started, while even the 
galantuomo did not improve by being distinctly seen^ 
and presented a ridiculous appearance, standing in 
the middle of the hall with his lantern in his hand. 
However, we were most hospitably received, and 
half an hour later, sitting comfortably at our supper, 
we were able to laugh at the recollection of our 
many vicissitudes throughout the day. 

After talking the whole expedition over we came 
to the conclusion that it is scarcely one to be recom- 
mended to ladies ; not from its difficulties, for there 
are none, but from the fact that the scenery it 
presents is not striking enough to be a sufficient 



TRE BERNINA PASS AND THE VAL VIOLA, 76 

reward for tlie fatigue whicli must be incurred in 
so long a day. Of course we did it under adverse 
circumstances, but even allowing for every event 
being favourable, whicli is seldom tbe case, I do not 
think that ladies could reach the Baths of Bormio in 
less than thirteen hours from Pontresina. This i& 
by no means too long a day, if there be a propor- 
tionate amount of enjoyment afiForded by the beauty 
and variety of the views, or if the interest produced 
by the incidents and obstacles of the way be suflfi- 
cient to engross the attention; but where neither 
great admiration nor excitement are provoked, the 
mind is apt to dwell too much on the length of the 
walk performed or still to be done, and the thoughts, 
not enough occupied by the surroundings, turn 
naturally upon the fatigue, the heat, or the incon- 
venience experienced at the moment. 

Now the first part of the journey, that included in 
the Bemina pass from Pontresina to La Bosa, is 
very beautiful, as beautiful as any carriage road I 
have ever been, and the way from La Eosa to within 
about an hour of the col is decidedly pretty, with its 
succession of pine woods and rich alps, its foaming 
torrents, dashing noisily along, and its silent green 
tarns, nestling quiet and calm in their wooded 
hollows, while the Como di DosdS rises in stem 
dark precipices at the head of the valley, but the 
summit is disappointing; it is wild and desolate, 
without being either grand or picturesque, and the 



76 AMONG THE ALPS. 

interminably long valley, wliicli descends thence to 
Bormio, is at first bleak and stony, and tben 
becomes tame and uninteresting. There is such 
a profusion of fine cols in the Alps, of all heights 
and lengths, and of every degree of diflficulty, that 
one can afford to be fastidious, and the pass of the 
Val Viola is not one that most people would select 
to repeat themselves, or to recommend to their 
friends. 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS, 77 



Chaptee VU. 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS, 



With very little fatigue still remaining, we sallied 
forth next morning after breakfast to see the place, 
which on our arrival had been so completely hidden 
from us, and I must say I was rather disappointed 
with it. I had often heard these baths mentioned, 
and had formed my own idea of them, without ever 
inquiring whether the picture imagined was correct. 
I expected to find them in a warm, bright valley, 
sheltered from the north by a massive mountain 
barrier, and basking in a summer sun, where I should 
behold once more the rounded outlines, the softened 
shadows, and the wondrously transparent atmosphere 
of Italy. 

What I did see was a large, well-built looking 
house, unsheltered by trees, standing on a high terrace 
at the entrance of a wild ravine, up which is carried 
the famous pass of the Stelvio* To the west lay the 



78 AMONG THE ALPS. 

valley, down wliose incline we liad spent so many 
tours, and which looked bleak and sterile seen by 
the full light of day. Opposite the hotel another 
valley ran due south, the prettiest of the three, yet 
by no means striking. All round were mountains, 
none of any great height, whose stony sides, and 
summits crovmed with steep walls of dark grey 
rock, gave a sombre character to the whole scene. 
The sun was shining, but leaden-coloured clouds 
obscured parjb of the sky; while down the rocky 
gorge a wintry wind came at intervals, in sudden 
blasts, beating about the flowers and shrubs of the 
garden, carrying off unwary people's hats, and 
whirling the white dust in columns along the Stelvio 
road. 

Not particularly delighted with this prospect, we 
ordered a carriage at 1 o'clock, and leaving the 
hotel which, as far as our experience of it went, 
seemed very comfortable, drove off at once to Sta. 
Caterina. Eather more than a mile from the baths, 
the vUlage of Bormio is passed, and from thence the 
scenery improves rapidly. The valley leading to 
Sta. Caterina is thickly wooded, and the trees, prin- 
cipally larch and fir, are very fine, in this respect 
presenting a pleasing contrast to those of the 
Engadine, which, I suppose, owing to the great 
elevation of the district where they grow, are often 
stunted and weather-beaten. The carriage road, 
narrow but good, winds up the valley at some height 




MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 79 

above the bed of the Frodolfo torrent, and every now 
and then, through the deep green of the pines, 
glimpses are caught of the graceful peak of Monte 
Tresero. At last, after a very pretty drive of nearly 
three hours, the valley -widens, more snowy summits 
come into sight, and, crossing a wooden bridge, the 
baths of Sta, Caterina are reached. 

This establishment, though situated in the midst 
of scenery of the highest order, is in itself most un- 
ornamental ; it is a large, rough-looking house, not 
unlike a factory, standing without any attempt at 
adornment or decoration, by the roadside. It has a 
certain air of assertion in its ugliness, like people one 
sometimes meets, who, not gifted by nature with 
any comeliness, seem to take a kind of pride in the 
coarseness and ungainliness of their exterior, and 
disdain all the little arts and graces by the help of 
which human beings try to make themselves pleasing 
to each other. 

The internal arrangements of the stahilimento are 
on a par with its exterior. The bedrooms are 
furnished with the severest simplicity, containing a 
bed, a table, a chair, a glass, usually on the darkest 
part of the wall, and that most uncomfortable sub- 
stitute which Italians have invented for a wash-hand 
stand, an iron tripod, into which a basin is fixed. 
Who that travels in Italy has not at times been 
thrown into utter perplexity by this piece of furni- 
ture when, with soap in one hand and towel in the 



80 AMONG THE ALPS. 

other, they have searched in vain for a spot on which 
to deposit them ! The general roughness does not, 
however, extend to the food, which, with the excep- 
tion of the bread, we found very good ; the table 
d'hote dinner was excellent, and the price charged 
for it by no means primitive. 

In spite, however, of the few discomforts I have 
mentioned, Sta. Caterina is a charming place, and 
one in which, provided the weather were fine, a week 
might be spent most enjoyably ; it abounds, I believe, 
in pretty excursions, and several fine cols lead from 
it into Italian and Tirolese valleys, not much kaown 
or frequented, but very beautiful. The air is at 
times rather too sharp, but after all that is not a bad 
fault for August, and adds considerably to one's 
walking powers. We have regretted often since that 
we did not remain longer there, to become better 
acquainted with the beauties of the neighbourhood, 
but having gone so far we wanted, if possible, to push 
on into Tirol and Carinthia, and our time being 
limited, and the weather very uncertain, we were 
forced to curtail our visit to this pleasant Alpine 
station. 

There was one excursion, however, that we deter- 
mined not to leave the place without making, and 
that was the ascent of Monte Confinale, the pano- 
ramic view from whose summit is so justly celebrated. 
We inquired, on arriving, in which direction it lay, 
and were shown a mountain exactly opposite the 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE 8TELVI0 PASS. 81 

hotel, principally composed of grass slopes, and 
ending further back in some rather tame-looking 
rocks. We thought that for a peak 11,076 feet high 
it made but little show, and seemed remarkably easy 
of access, but not knowing the way, we decided to 
take a local guide along with our own. When, 
however, this latter came, in the evening, to tell us 
that all the best guides were engaged, and that we 
must be satisfied with a second best one for this 
expedition, we took the information much more 
philosophically than we should under other circum- 
stances have done, for, to tell the truth, we had got 
a slight feeling of contempt for the mountain, which 
seemed in our eyes, as far as difficulties went, to 
be something on a par with the Aeggischhom or 
the Br^vent. 

The next day was, contrary to our expectations, 
cloudless, and congratulating ourselves on our good 
fortune, we set off early, to be beforehand with the 
fogs that so often in August gather by noon on the 
mountain tops. The morning air was the sharpest 
I hav(B ever felt in summer, at least at so moderate 
a height, but we bore it cheerfully, knowing that it 
promised well for the day, and tried not to think of 
our aching fingers, and faces pinched and blue with 
cold. Soon leaving the trees and the path, we 
advanced, by steep but pleasant grassy slopes, almost 
straight up the mountain. Gradually the baths and 
hamlet of Sta, Caterina sank below us, and the beauti- 

a 



82 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ful double peak of Monte Tresero rose higher and 
higher from its field of snow ; beyond it other sum- 
mits soon became visible ; we had to ask and hear 
their names, and our attention was so much taken 
up by all these new sights that almost before we 
expected it we found ourselves at the top of the 
grassy ridge, while to our right, and not far distant, 
rose the stony point which had been shown us from 
below as Monte Confinale. 

It looked scarcely an hour oflF, and we knew at 
once that it could not be the object of our destina- 
tion. Appealing for information to the local guide, 
he pointed out a mountain still distant from us, to 
the north, I think, of where we stood, and for the 
first time we looked at the true Monte Confinale, a 
ridge and peak of shattered rock bounded on one 
side by slopes of snow and glacier, and on the other, 
as we afterwards saw, descending precipitously into 
the valley of Zebru. We had not even reached our 
ground yet, and the Confinale cannot be seen from 
Sta. Caterina. 

It is a curious fact which we always remark, 
namely, that, once on the southern side of the Alps, 
it is impossible to depend on the truth of any in- 
formation received, either at hotels or from the 
peasantry, as to the names of places, distances, state 
of roads or cols, length of time required for expedi- 
tions, etc. In the summer of 1873 we spent a week 
wandering through the exquisite valleys south of the 



i 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 83 

Monte Rosa chain, and we experienced the same 
diflScnlty ; we were perpetually being misled by false 
statements. On one occasion we were told of the 
same pass by different people that it would take us 
two hours, four hours, and six hours to do, not one 
of these answers being the correct one. 

I do not think that all these persons, otherwise 
Tcry friendly and pleasant, mean wilfully to deceive ; 
they gain no advantage, and can have no object in 
misstating the facts as they do; I suppose they 
know very little of their own neighbourhood, and 
give their answers carelessly and incorrectly, without 
taking the trouble to reflect, and in some cases not 
liking to confess their ignorance. Probably our in- 
formant at Sta. Caterina had never seen Monte 
Confinale, but knew that those who ascended it went 
up the grass slopes opposite the hotel, and, seeing a 
peak above them, concluded it to be that mountain. 
It is well, therefore, to bear in mind that very little 
faith should be put by the inquiring traveller in the 
answers he receives, either in the Italian or Tirolese 
valleys. 

I think on the whole we were pleased to see that 
our mountain had gained in importance, and soon 
got over the distance, mostly flat ground, that still 
divided us from it. Then came a climb up steep 
slopes of debris, and rather slow work it was, as for 
two steps forward we generally slipped back one in 
the loose earth and stones on the surface, 

e 2 



84 AMONG THE ALPS. 

We afterwards, in descending, came down on the 
glacier, and I think we should have done better to 
go np it also ; it was not too steep, and early in the 
day the snow would have been in good order; 
however, the local guide thought otherwise, and 
persevered on over sharp stones of every size, from 
a pebble to a rock, till Amrhein, spying out an 
inviting looking couloir filled with fresh snow, in- 
sisted that we should go up it for a variety. The 
Italian demurred at first, but finally gave in, and 
resignedly cut steps, up which we went with com- 
parative ease and comfort. He did not, however, 
seem to be much at home on snow or ice ; the steps 
which he cut were by no means of the best or most 
serviceable pattern, and when we reached the glacier 
he was ever so long before he could accomplish the 
feat of roping us together at the proper distances. 
Many were the uncomplimentary observations mut- 
tered on his performances by Amrhein, but fortu- 
nately, as he could only speak about six words of 
Italian, and the Sta. Caterina man about six words 
of German, the conversation between them was very 
limited, and the peace remained in consequence 
imdisturbed. 

The final peak is a chaos of broken rock. It seems 
wonderful how it ever got into such a mass of con- 
fusion. One could almost fancy that some giant of 
old had gone up there in a bad temper, and, laying 
about him right and left with his club, had smashed 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 85 

everything to bits. Whatever may have been the 
cause of this gigantic ruin, I know that scrambling 
over it was hard work ; without being actually diffi- 
cult, it was very troublesome. What with catching 
one^s dress on one rock, stumbling over the second, 
the third toppling down under one's feet, getting 
jammed in between the fourth and the fifth, scramb- 
ling up the sixth, stepping over to the pointed top of 
the seventh, and so on, we had had enough of it by 
the time we reached the summit. 

But what a glorious view there met our eyes ! We 
thought nothing of the trouble when we saw the 
reward ; it was worth a climb twice as long, over 
«tones twice as disagreeable. Hopeless would be the 
task even to name all the mountains visible, and 
could it be accomplished it would still give no idea 
of the loveliness of the scene. Much has been done 
with the pen and the brush by those who know how 
to wield them, but even masters of their art could 
give but a faint impression, either in language or in 
painting, of that which can be seen on a bright 
summer day from the torn summit of Monte Con- 
finale. 

Among the numberless mountains around, two 
mighty masses particularly struck us by their beauty; 
one was the Orteler range, whose stately bulwarks 
rose almost perpendicularly from the deep trench of 
Val Zebru at our feet, and whose three noble peaks, 
the Orteler, the Zebru, and the Konig, seemed to 



86 AMONG THE ALPS. 

tower into the air. The other, more distant, but 
scarcely less lovely, was the Monte Cristallo group, 
fair and white, with its snowy crests glittering 
against the blue sky. 

While we were looking in ever increasing admira- 
tion from north to south, from east to west, over this 
vast circle of snow, the Sta. Caterina guide kept 
rooting incessantly round the foundations of the 
stone man, at the imminent r^sk of bringing him 
down on our heads, and at last, from some hole or 
comer of the structure, he triumphantly produced 
the inevitable bottle. Of course we turned out its 
contents and inspected them, and of course, among 
other Alpine names, we found the card of that in- 
defatigable and ubiquitous climber who, to judge by 
the constant recurrence of his name in all mountain- 
eering books, can have left few, if any, neglected 
summits among the Alps on whom he has not paid a 
morning call ; be they high or low, easy or difficult 
of access, he is on visiting terms with them all. 

And now our time is up ; one naore glance round, 
one more lingering look, and we leave our exalted 
resting-place, probably never to return, and struggle 
on our downward way, through the general over- 
throw, till we reach the glacier, where all is plain 
sailing, and partly on snow, partly on ice, we descend 
to the table land below. There we stop, finish our 
provisions, and again admire the Monte Tresero, 
which looks better from that point than from the 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 87 

top, and whose delicate, peaked outline reminds ns 
of that loveliest of the Graian Alps, the snowy, 
pointed Grivola. We are back at Sta. Caterina just 
in time to dress and take our places at the table 
d'h6te. 

The dinner over, and the evening still fine, we bid 
a reluctant adieu to the StahilimentOy and drove back 
to the Baths of Bormio, whence we purposed to start 
next morning for the Stelvio pass. 

We found the very same wind blowing as fiercely 
down the gorge as it had been the day before, while 
we, even on the top of the Confinale, h^d been in 
perfect calm. I suppose it is caused by some current 
of air forcing its way through this narrow passage, 
and if it be fair to judge by the specimen we had of 
the usual weather of Bormio, I should fancy it a 
most unpleasant place to remain in; a sort of inland 
Cape Horn, round which storms are perpetually 
sweeping. It is, I must allow, scarcely just to pro- 
nounce against it after a two days' acquaintance^ 
and perhaps when seen in finer weather it may be 
very different. 

The following day we were off early for the Stelvio 
pass, and a more dreary drive than we had from 
Bormio to the top of the col, I cannot imagine. The 
day was bleak and sunless, and everything from the 
clouds down had assumed a duU leaden hue ; there 
were no trees, no chalets, no cattle to enliven the 
scene ; nothing but stones and rocks, and the long 



88 AMONG THE ALPS. 

road, whose white line could be traced on miles in 
advance, passing from time to time a desolate look- 
ing grey stone house, one of the cantoniere of the 
pass. By degrees as we rose, the cold became more 
and more intense, till at last we could bear it no 
longer, and alighting from the carriage, we walked 
to warm ourselves most of the remainder of the 
ascent. About an hour below the highest point, the 
last cardonieray called Sta. Maria, is passed, and here 
we had to wait two hours for our horses to rest. 

The house did not look very inviting, but we had 
to take refuge in it from the keen air outside, and 
to pass the time, we ordered some cutlets and 
potatoes of the lady who received us, and who, it 
seemed, not discouraged by the disadvantages of 
living in so remote a spot, had taken some trouble 
to get herself up according to the fashions of the 
day. Her head was elaborately decorated with 
dusty looking hair, and her forehead was surmounted 
by a row of corkscrew curls, intended I conclude to 
fall in a fringe upon it, but which had unfortunately 
become quite unmanageable, and stuck out all round 
her like rays, giving her quite a startling appear- 
ance. Several coloured bows, and a good deal of 
lace and brass jewellery, formed the ornamental part 
of her attire. 

This young person, whose movements were rapid, 
dashed into the room in due time with the delicacies 
above mentioned, and banged them down on the 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE 8TELV10 PASS. 80 

table with mucli noise. She seemed abrupt in her 
conversation too, for on our observing mildly to her 
that the air was very cold, she answered shortly, 
that on the contrary it was a warm day, and shot 
out of the room. 

Congratulating ourselves that we had not come 
in weather considered cold in these regions, we 
turned our attention to the meal before us ; it was 
chiefly composed of grease, but we ate it never- 
theless thankfully, for it possessed the immense 
advantage of being hot, and was therefore under 
the circumstances not to be despised. 

The process over, there was nothing left but to 
study the traveller's book, and we were still absorbed 
in that interesting document when the door opened, 
and there entered four German men, just arrived by 
the diligence. What with their creaking boots and 
their loud voices, they were not particularly agree- 
able, but we should not have minded those small 
disadvantages had they not proceeded to light four 
most execrable cigars, which they smoked incessantly 
till the time of their departure. Before that happy 
event occurred, we had been forced to open the 
window and put our heads out to escape suffocation. 
At last they went, but though out of sight they were 
not out of mind, for an intolerable smell of bad 
tobacco still pervaded the room, when in our turn we 
vacated it and resumed our journey. 

On a fine day the view from the tap of the pass 



90 AMONG THE ALPS. 

must be magnificent, and the sudden appearance of 
the great Orteler Spitz quite sensational, as it is dis- 
closed, looking almost within a stone's throw of the 
road ; but, alas ! we had to imagine what the effect 
would be, for a sullen bank of cloud brooded over 
the mountain's brow, hiding half its beauty, and 
casting a gloomy shadow on the rocky buttresses 
and noble glaciers that alone remained visible near 
its base. 

The road, which till the present moment had been 
particularly good and safe, now changed its character 
completely ; making straight for the edge of a pre- 
cipice it there disappeared, leaving us in unpleasant 
doubts as to its further course, if it had any. Nothing 
daunted by outward circumstances, our coachmain 
screwed up the mecanique^ put on the drag, and 
with a crack of his whip, started cheerfully at a brisk 
trot towards the abyss. I must say I looked over 
anxiously as we neared the edge, and the history of 
the ill-fated Jack and Jill, of climbing celebrity, rose 
ominously to my mind. The sight, though it might 
have been worse, was not just what one would call 
reassuring ; a series of the steepest zigzags I have 
ever seen a carriage road twisted into plunged down 
straight beneath us, till they were finally lost in the 
blue depths of the valley below. Away we went ! 
Now to the right, now to the left, the dragged wheels 
grating over the road's surface, and the old carriage 
creaking at each sharp angle, in which there seemed 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 91 

but just room for it and the horses to turn. At last 
these evolutions came to an end, and to my no small 
relief we reached Trafoi in safety, and halted at the 
door of its little hotel. 

Here we deposited the bulk of our luggage, hired 
a porter to carry our bags, and driving to the small 
village and large fort of Gomagoi we alighted, turned 
up the side valley of Sulden, and walked on about 
six miles to the hamlet of that name, also called Ste. 
Gertrud. 

This scattered village is beautifully situated at the 
foot of the Orteler Spitz, while several other fine 
peaks surround it, and form altogether an exceed- 
ingly pleasing landscape, and it is besides a good 
centre for excursions, of which there- are many very 
interesting to be made in the neighbourhood ; but 
in spite of all these perfections it is a place the 
recollection of which will never be agreeable, as 
it was to us the scene of a very great disappoint- 
ment. It is tiresome to describe one's projects when 
they fail of being accomplished, so I will not weary 
my reader with any particulars; suffice it to say,, 
that as we walked up tjie valley our hopes ran high, 
and we intended to do great things before we left ; 
but Alpine expeditions depend for fulfilment on so 
many contingencies, that the slips between the cup 
and the lip occur there almost oftener than anywhere 
else, and many a promising young plan is nipped in 
the bud by the chill frost of contradiction. , 



92 AMONG THE AZPSJ 

In this case our failure was not the fault of the 
weather, which was rapidly improving ; it was not 
our fault, for we were there on the spot, resuiy for 
our work ; it was nobody's fault, but the consequence 
of an unlucky chance by which every good guide, 
both of Trafoi and Sulden, was either away or 
ongaged for several days. 

The master of the hotel, who on our arrival had 
rushed out to meet us, and welcomed us, according 
to the custom of the country, with much effusion and 
shaking of hands, did not I think behave particularly 
well on the occasion, for he strongly recommended 
us to take as our leader an individual who turned 
out, on inspection and further inquiry, to be a mere 
boy, without a book or certificates of any kind, and 
whose name, we afterwards discovered, was not even 
down on the list of guides for the easier excursions 
about the neighbourhood. 

What were we to do ? Our own guide, like our- 
selves, knew nothing of the place, and we dared not 
trust ourselves to the leadership of this boy on un- 
known rocks and glaciers. The weather was most 
uncertain, and to remain three or four days at Sulden 
on the chance of a guide turning up, was an alter- 
native we did not care to adopt, owing to some of the 
domestic arrangements of the little inn, the most 
objectionable of which I am about to enumerate. 
First of all, the washing accommodation was, to say 
the least of it, very defective ; a caraffe, a tumbler. 



MONTE CONFIKALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 9a 

and a very small pie-dish composed the whole appa- 
ratus, and it was vain to ask for more, nothing else 
could be produced ; the bread was the sourest and 
worst I have ever tasted anywhere, and the salle a 
manger was also the general smoking-room for the 
house, into which the German gentlemen, of whom 
the hotel was full, not only came themselves, but 
invited their guides to smoke and drink along with 
them. The prospect of spending several days in 
idleness without baths and without bread, in the 
society of these tobacco-consuming individuals, wa» 
more than we felt equal to, and after much con- 
sideration, we could think of nothing better than to 
return the next day to Trafoi. 

We had on arriving ordered some tea and supper, 
and having come to a decision as to our future move- 
ments, we descended very crest-fallen, and rather 
cross, to partake of that meal ; but in spite of the 
state of our spirits and tempers, we could not help 
laughing at the funny preparations which preceded 
it. First a white cloth was laid on the table ; so far 
well, but the benefit of this arrangement was a good 
deal neutralized by the addition of a dirty piece of 
black oilcloth, which was put over it, completely 
covering the first surface. Next came two plates 
with knives and forks, then two tumblers with spoons 
in them, and a bowl of sugar. We felt puzzled ; 
would there come brandy and hot water, and could 
we by mistake have ordered punch ? In some anxiety 



94 AMONG THE ALPS. 

we watched for the next arrival, but no, in came the 
teapot, looking quite orderly, and some milk ; so the 
tumblers were meant for that beverage. We asked 
the master, who was also the waiter, whether he had 
no cups. * Ja wohl, he had plenty of cups. Then, 
we said, we should prefer having two of them for the 
tea. He looked surprised at us. Very well, he said, 
if we liked to have cups he would bring them ; but 
though he was ready to indulge us in the freak he 
evidently thought our tastes eccentric. 

So we had our tea according to British manners 
and customs, and retired in deep dejection to our 
rooms, to spend the remainder of the evening looking 
from our windows at the various summits, none of 
which we were destined to attain. I think Amrhein 
was almost in a worse state than his Herrschafty and 
in grim antagonism to the world in general, he gave 
expression to the uncharitable wish that the rain 
might come down next morning and spoil everyone's 
plans. 

The sun, however, was not in league with any of 
the malcontents, and rose the following day clear and 
bright, shining with impartial kindness on the suc- 
cessful and the disappointed tourists of Sulden. After 
breakfast we retraced our steps down the valley, and 
returned to Trafoi, whose hotel was decidedly pre- 
ferable to that of Sulden, with the exception of the 
bread, which was the same in both places, old, hard, 
and dry, and about as sour as Swiss vin ordinaire. 



k 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STELVIO PASS. 95 

We had intended to spend the afternoon in 
sketching the Orteler Spitz, but that impracticable 
mountain, as the day advanced, wrapped up its head 
in fogs and mist, and declined to have its portrait 
taken ; so instead, we strolled up the valley to the 
so-called Drei Heiligen Brunnen. The walk is ex- 
tremely picturesque, and the holy fountains give the 
advantage of an object in taking it, but in themselves 
they are not worth looking at, being simply one spring, 
conveyed through hollow trees to three iron spouts, 
from which the rather good water flows copiously ; 
their sanctity consists in being presided over by three 
gaudily painted wooden saints, one at each spout ; 
whether there is any legend attached to them or not, 
I am unaware. The next day being Saturday we 
had to leave very early, as we wished to reach Botzen 
that evening and the drive was long. 

Looking back now on our doings, I think we made a 
mistake in hurrying too quickly over the ground 
between Sta. Caterina and Botzen, and thus lost 
many of the enjoyable excursions in which that beau- 
tiful district seems to abound. We had the excuse 
of being rather pressed for time, and wanting if 
possible to see something of the Gross Glockner 
range, from which we were still a long way off; but 
it is a better plan, I am sure, to explore thoroughly 
a limited number of places, than to visit a great 
many in a cursory manner, and were our summer 
tour to be made over again, we should now know 



96 AMONG THE ALTS. 

better how to lay it out. For us the knowledge has 
unfortunately come too late, but I will mention one 
of the modifications advisable, in the hopes that it 
may perhaps be of use to some one else. 

Fii'st, then, I think that a week would not be too 
much to give to Sta. Caterina; what with Monte 
Confinale, the Forno glacier, the ascent, if within the 
walker's powers, of Monte Tresero, and some rest 
and idleness between times, seven days would glide 
delightfully by in that charming valley, and on 
leaving it, instead of returning to Bormio by the 
road already gone over, there is, according to the 
guide books, a very fine and not too difficult glacier 
pass that can be taken, the Passo Cevedale, by which 
Sulden may be reached in one day. Prom Sulden 
there are many excursions to be made, and the 
tourist can, of course, choose those best suited to his 
or her powers, and regulate the length of time spent 
there accordingly. Trafoi being within a few hours 
of Sulden, anyone wishing to see the most interesting 
part of the Stelvio pass could easily walk and drive 
from 'the latter place to the summit of the col, re- 
turning to Trafoi the same day. By this means the 
long and tedious drive from the Baths of Bormio to 
the top of the Stelvio would be avoided, and yet the 
most beautiful part of the pass would be seen. 

From Trafoi, Meran can be reached by carriage road 
in a day of moderate length, and Botzen in a long 
one; we chose the latter course for the reasons I 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STEL VIO PASS. 97 

have already mentioned, and merely stopped at 
Meran to dine while the horses rested. We had 
intended going out to see the town, the situation of 
which seems very well chosen, but in the middle of 
the day the glare and heat were so intense that we 
had not courage to face them, and remained sitting 
with closed jalousies within the hotel. 

It was curious, as we drove later in the day down 
the valley, to remark how, almost without perceiving 
it, we had glided into the vegetation, the atmo- 
sphere, and the climate of the south. We had ex- 
changed the pine and the larch for the chestnut tree 
and the vine, the green Alp for the field of maize, 
and the wooden chalet of the mountain for the flat- 
roofed house of the plain. Occasional glimpses of 
snowy peaks still revealed themselves now and then 
through the opening of some side valley, as if to 
cheer us with the thought that, though often unseen, 
they were not yet far off; but the character of the 
scene was completely changed. We had left the 
wild, untamed Alpine world for the civilised regions 
of the earth; everything looked neat and orderly, 
the maize grew in straight rows, the hemp in even 
squares, the stones had been collected and built into 
tidy walls ; nothing was allowed to have its own way; 
even the vine was trained into precise cross-bars over 
its wooden trellis- work, lest in the luxuriance of life 
and growth one of its graceful festoons should stray 

H 



98 AMONG THE ALPS. 

beyond the boundaries of property and encroach 
upon its neighbour. 

Of course this is all quite right, and as it should 
be, and the spectacle of an untidy garden or farm is 
one that can give no pleasure ; yet I fancy that on 
most people the sudden return from the perfect 
freedom of the mountain regions to the artificial 
world in which we live produces at first a slight 
shock, and the wild portion of our nature asserts 
itself for an instant through all the conventionalities 
which custom and education have woven into the 
tissue of our daily lives. Certainly, as we drove that 
evening through the paved and lighted streets of 
Botzen, it was a comfort to me to think that in a few 
days we should again be back among the mountains^ 
and, sitting on some mossy stone, might watch the 
last faint rose of the after-glow fade from their snow- 
clad heights. 

All the same, though it is very well to have fine 
feelings about the sunset, as we linger watching it 
from the mountain side, it must be allowed, on the 
other hand, that civilisation, with all its trammels, 
has its advantages too, and at the end of a long 
journey a comfortable, well-appointed hotel possesses 
charms in the eyes of the wearied traveller. What 
sight, for instance, when one is very hungry, can be 
much more pleasant than a white, glossy table-cloth 
on which glass, silver, and china are symmetrically 



MONTE CONFINALE AND THE STEL VIO PASS. » 

laid, while an attentive waiter approaches, tray in 
hand, bearing the substantials of the feast ? Where 
is the enthusiastic lover of the Alps who would just 
at that moment exchange the field of damask for the 
field of snow, the glasses for seracs, the plates for 
slabs of rock, and the waiter with his burden for a 
guide with an ice-axe ? Not to speak of the pleasant 
variety which a large, lofty bedroom, with a comfort- 
able spring bed and a well-cushioned sofa, affords 
to those who have been roughing it for some time on 
couches of chaff and seats of wood in the high Alps. 



h2 



JOO AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chapter Viil. 



THE HOCHNAUR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 



Besides the luxuries enumerated at the end of the 
last chapter, all of which the hotel Kaiser Krone at 
Botzen affords, we had in addition a beautiful view 
from the windows of our rooms, and from there we 
beheld for the first time a small portion of that 
celebrated group of Dolomite mountains which, for a 
long period almost unknown, are now attracting an 
ever increasing stream of tourists into Southern 
Tirol and Carinthia. For a time we, too, had 
thought of following the general direction, and had 
oscillated to and fro between the Gross Glockner and 
Dolomite ranges, but at last the peaks of snow 
carried the day over the peaks of rock, and leaving 
the wonders of the Ampezzo pass for another year, 
we turned our steps northwards towards those vast 
chains extending from near Innsbruck into far Styria, 
of which, compared with the Swiss Alps, so little is 
yet generally known. 




THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 101 

Leaving Botzen by rail we followed the line of the 
Brenner as far as Pranzensfeste, and from that sta- 
tion, after a change of carriages and a pause of about 
an hour, we turned to the right, crossed a very fine 
bridge, and passing almost through the fort we 
entered upon that new line of rail which has been 
opened within the last few years, and which, bearing 
continuously in an eastern direction, connects the 
pass of the Brenner and the western districts of 
Tirol with the capital of Austria. 

The portion of this railway over which we passed 
mounts for the most part through a long and very 
interesting valley, the Pusterthal, till at a remark- 
ably slight elevation the watershed is passed, after 
which the road descends gently along the banks of 
the Drave to the small town of Lienz. This being 
the place of our destination, forms also the limit to 
my knowledge of this newly made line, but if the 
remainder of the scenery it presents be as fine as 
that through which we passed, it is one well deserv- 
ing of notice, and very superior in this respect to the 
generality of railways, by which a journey is so often 
monotonous and uninteresting. 

All the way from Pranzensfeste to Lienz we were 
kept in a perpetual state of excitement by the sudden 
appearance here and there in unexpected places of 
most extraordinary Dolomite peaks, which went on 
increasing in extravagance of shape till they culmi- 



102 AMONG THE ALPS. 

nated in the Dreisclinster Spitz, the most impossible 
looking moontain I have ever behelcL 

Thej are strange rocks, these Dolomites, raising 
their pale, ghostly forms on the distant horizon, or 
rising in sharp, hard outlines against the nearer sky, 
and the first feeling experienced on gazing at them 
is one of nnmixed wonder at their &ntastic shapes. 
Darting their forked tongues into the heavens, one 
could almost fancy them flames that once had 
glowed warm and bright, but that some resistless 
power had petrified, long ages ago, into the stillness 
of their present repose, leaviug them but the ashy 
monuments of what they once were. I know that 
to many these mountains appear beautiful and 
attractive, and that they can draw admirers year 
after year within their magic circle, to look with 
increased fascination at their weird forms, but on 
my mind they never could produce a feeling of plea- 
sure. They are odd, surprising, sensational to the 
highest degree, but they lack the charms of sym- 
metry, dignity, and gracefulness ; they are too hard, 
too bold, too sharp; they tire the eye with their 
unnatural contortions, and chill the spirits with their 
lifelessness. It is a vision of dry bones in the valley,, 
and involuntarily as one gazes the unexpressed 
longing rises within, that the winds of heaven should 
breathe on and vivify their arid heights, that the word 
should go forth to clothe their skeleton forms with 
the soft roundness of the snow, to fill the hollows of 



fe 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDEL8CHARTE, 103 

their gaunt sides with the deep blue of the glacier, 
and to break the awful silence of their solitude with 
the laughter of the mountain stream. 

I am perhaps forming an opinion too rapidly, and 
without sufficient experience of this peculiar kind of 
scenery ; it may be that with familiarity its oddities 
become less apparent, and that the eye, no longer 
startled by that part of its character, which an 
Alpine writer of the day has so aptly named ^ gro- 
tesque,' finds beauties in the surroundings which 
before were unnoticed. It may be also that had I 
penetrated into the heart of the range and seen the 
now famous lions of the chain, had I looked on the 
massive fortress of the Pelmo, the triple rocks of the 
Drei Zinnen, the bold peak of the Cimon, or seen 
the snow-clad Antelao or Civetta, I might retract all 
I have written, and go over inconsistently to swell 
the ranks of their admirers. I only give my first 
impressions of those rocks which I saw, and first 
impressions, though often subsequently modified, are 
in the main usually true. 

Lienz possesses a fair inn, and is a pretty little 
town, almost surrounded by mountains; there we 
spent the night, and rather surprised the waitress by 
calling in the evening for coffee and bread and butter. 
Evidently it was not the thing to take at that hour, 
and she considered us de Vautre monde, but she said 
reflectively that she would make us some coffee, and 
that we could have bread also, but butter was quite 



104 AMONG THE ALPS. 

out of the question. Why? we asked, had they 
none in the house ? Oh no ! she answered, of course 
not in the evening ; morning was the time for butter. 
We ought to have called for beer, as we perceived 
by watching the Germans who came into the salle, 
but not feeling inclined for that fashionable beverage 
we braved public opinion and had our coffee, which 
was brought in a jug and laid as at Sulden, on a 
black cloth over the white one, but which after all 
was hot and not badly made. 

Our next stage from Lienz was to be Heiligenblut. 
How were we to get there ? By a char road all the 
way, we were told. This sounded very comfortable, 
so we ordered an Ei}ispamier and started early the 
next morning. 

For about an hour all went well ; the vehicle was 
not bad, the horse good, and the road smooth ; but 
at the end of that time we drove into a small village, 
and here came a change in our circumstances, and 
we went considerably down in the world. A carriage 
• with springs could go no further, they told us ; we 
must get out of this one and continue our journey in 
a country cart. This was discouraging, but there 
was no help for it ; a rough-looking machine was 
produced with two wooden benches across it, one for 
us and one for the guide and the driver; a bullock hide 
was thrown over ours, we scrambled up to it and off 
we went. We had made up our minds to a reason- 
able amount of jolting, but not to what followed. It 



THE MOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 105 

was the most dislocating process I have ever gone 
through, and after bearing it for some time I asked 
the driver if the road would not soon improve. 

* Improve ! ' he exclaimed triumphantly, ^ it will 
soon get much worse.' 

He seemed quite proud of it, and it actually did 
get worse, a fact of which I at first doubted the 
possibility. We were knocked to one side and then 
to the other, jerked up into the air and flung down 
again, and shaken so violently that I felt my brain 
beginning to get quite queer and unsettled. Con- 
versation had latterly been impracticalble, but I 
managed to remark in a spasmodic manner to my 
sister that I thought I should soon go mad, and she 
answered disjointedly that she felt in a bad way 
too, so we had the abominable instrument of torture 
stopped, and much against our coachman's will got 
out and walked most of the way to Winklern, our 
halting-place for the middle of the day. 

We had now left Tirolese ground and entered 
Carinthia, but except for the change of name it 
seemed to make no difference, the houses, the 
costume of the inhabitants, and the customs ap- 
pearing to be identical in both districts. 

It was harvest time when we passed, and we 
observed that a peculiar and not a bad invention is 
made use of for drying the com. At intervals all 
along the farms tall wooden erections were to be seen 
very much resembling immense horses for drying 



106 AMONG THE ALPS. 

clothes^ and on these they hang the sheaves of wheat, 
which thus spread out and exposed to both wind and 
sun, probably dry quicker than in stooks as we have 
them. 

Another but not at all a commendable custom, 
which they follow in this country, is that of having- 
all one-horse vehicles furnished with a pole instead 
of shafts. The effect of the horse harnessed to one 
side is most awkward, and at first, thinking it 
was a mistake, Amrhein remonstrated at our being 
given a carriage intended for a pair, but the driver 
informed him, as indeed we afterwards saw, that 
this is always the case, and he added in a superior 
manner that people who put one horse in shafts 
know nothing about it, and that theirs is the right 
way and has great advantages. Who benefits by 
these advantages we never could make out ; not the 
poor animal at any rate, who, whenever it stops or 
goes down hill, gets constant knocks on the side of 
its head from the pole, and certainly not those who 
sit in the carriage, which, crab- fashion, seems inclined 
to go sideways and is always being pulled straight 
with an unpleasant jerk. 

At Winklern the road improved considerably and 
we returned to the luxury of an Einspanner with 
springs. The drive from Lienz, mostly through a 
pine forest, had been exceedingly pretty, and when 
we had got on our feet and had sufiiciently recovered 
ourselves, we had been able to turn round from time 



) 

[ 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE, 107 

to time to admire the fine glimpses to be caught 
through the trees of the Dolomite Mountains to the 
south, but after passing Winklern these are lost, and 
in compensation the valley opens northwards and 
the white summits of the High Tauern range begin 
to make their appearance. For some time we looked 
out anxiously for the first sight of the Gross 
Glockner, but the drive was longer than we had 
anticipated, and our horse was none of the fleetest,, 
so that to our disappointment the evening closed in 
before we reached the point from which this beautiful 
mountain first becomes visible. 

It was quite dark as we wearily toiled up the long 
final ascent to Heiligenblut, and pulled up before 
the entrance of its only hotel. A fiood of light 
streamed out from the open doorway, and, in dark 
relief against it, the figure of a woman was seen 
standing on the threshold, while a shrill German 
voice saluted us with the inhospitable words, 

* There is no use in your coming here, you can't 
get in.' 

^ Oh ! ' said Amrhein, jumping down, ^ these ladies 
want two bed-rooms.' 

^ Two bed-rooms indeed ! They can't have one.^ 
There is no room for you.' 

^ But they must have one room.' 

* But I tell you they can't. There is not a spot 
empty. Why did you come so late ? ' 

* And do you think we are going to turn back and 



108 AMONG THE ALPS. 

go away in the dark ? ^ retorted Amrhein, beginning 
to get irritated. 

* Well, you see, you should have come sooner, and 
then you would have got in,' replied the landlady ; 
but though her words still continued to be unfavour- 
able, there was a slight tone of relenting in her 
voice, and, encouraged by it, our guide opened the 
carriage-door and handed us out before her. This 
was a wise move, and helped towards the discomfi- 
ture of our reluctant hostess. 

^ You know I have no room for you,' she said, 
more mildly ; ^ I told you so at once. Tou should 
not have come so late — ^but perhaps the Herr Pfarrer 
could take you in for the night.' . 

Here was an unexpected gleam of sunshine over 
the gloom of our prospects, and we said eagerly that 
we hoped he would. 

*Well, then,' said the landlady, *you can try;' 
and, calling a girl from the hotel, she told her to 
direct us to the priest's house, and to ask if he could 
accommodate us. * And if he does,' she added, con- 
descendingly, * you may come here for your meals.' 

With this chance of board and lodgiQg, we started 
hopefully for the Herr Pfarrer^s house close by, where 
we were received in quite a friendly manner by his 
fat, good-humoured looking housekeeper, and shown 
up to a good-sized bedroom, tidily furnished, and 
scrupulously clean. We had come out of the diffi- 
€idty better than at one time we could have ventured 



THE HOCHNARIt AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 109 

to hope, and, relieved and victorious, we proceeded 
to establish, ourselves on the territory won. 

In this room we were allowed to remain during^ 
our stay at Heiligenblut, and it being clean and com- 
fortable, and the house very quiet ; we were far better 
off than had we been located in the hotel. In many 
Alpine villages a room can thus be hired at the house 
of the parish priest, and this resource is a great 
convenience to the traveller in places where the 
accommodation at the inn is either very defective or 
very limited. Certainly on this occasion we were most 
thankful for the harbour of refage thus afforded us, 
and it was with a delightful feeling of possession 
that we inspected our apartment. 

It contained, besides the usual bedroom furniture, 
including two pie-dishes for washing, an odd mixture 
of objects, sacred and secular. There was a large 
press, locked, on the top of which stood the model or 
a church, executed in shells, and several glass jars, 
ornamented with sacred devices ; beyond these, in a 
dark comer, hung some long white objects, which 
we concluded at first to be vestments belonging to 
M. le Cur6, but which on nearer approach proved of 
a decidedly lay character, being simply some of the 
housekeeper's petticoats. Various portraits of saints 
hung in conspicuous places round the walls, while, 
hiding her charms behind a large stove, was the 
picture of a pretty and worldly-looking young lady 
playing the guitar. She had probably been placed 



110 AMONG THE ALPS. 

in this obscure retreat, being considered unfit com- 
pany for tlie good people in the front, or else it was 
•an allegory, and intended to teach that mere earthly 
T^eauty is unimportant, and should be kept in the 
^background, while virtues should be exalted and 
TDrought prominently forward. 

Having made this * voyage autour de ma chambre,' 
we availed ourselves of the landlady's kind invitation, 
and groped our way bq^ck to the hotel in search of a 
supper. Passing through the hall, we entered a 
room over the door of which Speisesaal was written, 
expecting it of course to present the usual appear- 
«,nce of such places. A queer sight met our eyes ; it 
was more like a distant view of Manchester than 
anything I can think of ; a dense yellowish fog per- 
vaded the room, and looming here and there through 
the murky atmosphere rose many dark forms that 
might have been taken for chimneys, out of whose tops 
volumes of smoke were from time to time emitted. A 
stifling smell of bad tobacco saluted our nostrils, and 
judging by these indisputable signs, we came to the 
conclusion that in this smoky den many German 
gentlemen must be enjoying themselves after the 
manner of their country, with pipes and beer. 

To have our supper in such society we felt to be 
impossible, so, appealing to the landlady, who by 
this time had become quite gracious to us, we asked 
if there were any other place where we could take it. 
Of course there was, she said ; we could have it in 



i 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE FFANDEL8CHARTE. Ill 

the salon upstairs. A salon upstairs ! This was a 
degree of civilisation we had never expected, and we 
delightedly acquiesced to the proposal. 

* Then/ said our hostess, calling a very dirty- 
looking girl ; * take a table, and show these ladies 
upstairs, and you can get two chairs.' 

This young lady seized a table, and, whisking it 
with great agility on to her head, preceded us up a 
flight of crooked stairs to the passage on the first 
floor ; here she deposited her burden, added a candle 
and two chairs, and retired, and then it slowly 
dawned upon us that we were in the salon. This 
landing was not particularly clean, and it was 
certainly anything rather than sweet; however, we 
were thankful to take refuge in it from the horrors 
below, and while we remained at Heiligenblut our 
table and chairs were left there, and we had a sort 
of acknowledged right to the place. 

Presently our unkempt attendant returned with 
the further luxury of a dirty tablecloth, and not long 
after the supper followed. This was by no means so 
bad as might have been expected, and I must say we 
found, in the small hotels of Tirol and Carinthia, as 
a rule, better cooking and greater plenty than are 
usually to be met with in Swiss inns of the same 
class. 

Warned by our failure at Sulden from want of a 
local guide, we had determined to begin at Heiligen- 
blut by the other end; there we first chose our 



112 AMONG THE ALPS. 

mormtain, and then songlit for onr man; here we 
proposed finding the man first and then choosing the 
mountain. We had accordingly told Amrhein to go 
at once to the bureau and look for a guide who 
could be well recommended. The hureau turned out 
to be a figure of speech ; at least its locality could 
never be found, but there really was a guide-chef ^ 
and after supper Amrhein entered the salon with 
a fa<;e of ill-disguised amusement, to announce 
that this authority was coming in person to speak 
to us. With this preface he drew aside, and a queer 
little figure stepped from behind him on the scene. 
He had no coat on, and was dressed in the usual 
rather scanty costume of the country, which gives 
one the idea, at first sight, that the individual is 
still wearing, as a full-grown man, the clothes which 
he got as a small boy, and to which no provident 
mother had ever made any addition as his length 
increased; his hair was cut very short behind and 
left long in front, and he held in his hand a pipe, 
which I must do him the justice to say he did not 
smoke while with us. He was altogether a most 
ambiguous-looking personage ; he might have been 
a goatherd, or he might have been a b'eggarman, 
and he was not unlike an Irish pig-driver. He 
came forward, however, smiling and bowing, and 
we understood that we were in the presence of 
the guide-chef of Heiligenblut. He was cheerful or 
the subject of guides, had a good one disengaged 



I 



THE HOCHNAKR AND THE PFANBEL8CHARTE. 113 

for the next morning, and showed ns his name 
among those of the first-dlass guides on the printed 
list. 

This point satisfactorily settled, we turned our 
attention to the mountains. Having made a deep 
study of that part of Mr. Ball's * Eastern Alps * 
relating to the Gross Glockner district, I was by 
this time pretty well acquainted with its principal 
peaks. The Gross Glockner itself was beyond our 
powers; besides, its ascent required two days, and 
the intervening night had to be passed in a most 
uncomfortable hut on hay, but the Johannisberg 
seemed to be more feasible, and I suggested it first 
to this Alpine chief. He was most discouraging. 
It never would do for ladies! It took eighteen 
hours. It required two days. It was altogether 
not to be thought of. 

I must interrupt myself here to explain that the 
vexed question of the rights of women has evi- 
dently as yet made little or no progress among 
the inhabitants of these remote districts ; they want 
some strong-minded female orator to go and hold 
forth to them on the capabilities of the sex. At 
any rate, as far as mountaineering goes, they look 
down on womankind with the utmost contempt, and 
limited as are the female powers in that line, they 
are certainly underrated by the guides of Heiligen- 
blut. A lady, therefore, need not be too much 
discouraged by the difficulties she is threatened 

I 



■^ 



114 AMONG THE AZFS, 

with, and may feel pretty sure that they will prove 
less than they are represented to be. 

To return to our interview ; when the Johannis- 
berg plan fell to the ground, I inquired about the 
Barenkopf ; but this was pooh-poohed also, as too 
much for us, so I fell back on the Fuscher Kahrkopf, 
a mountain nearly 11,000 feet in height, rising oppo- 
site the Gross Glockner, directly over the great 
Pasterze glacier, and which must from its position 
present a magnificent view. I have since found out 
that we could easily have ascended it in a day, and 
that iit must be one of the most charming of the 
moderate excursions from the place, but the guide^ 
chef declared that it was also beyond our capabilities, 
and we foolishly believed him. 

All our proposals having been negatived, we next 
told him to suggest something, and he mentioned 
one or two very trifling expeditions, which we, in our 
turn, having declined, he was driven to a compro- 
mise, and offered the Hochnarr. 

Now, it had so happened that on looking before- 
hand over the names of this range, there were two 
mountains, the Spilmann and the Hochnarr, which 
my sister and I had declared, laughing, that we 
should never ascend; the first from its ominous 
sounding, and the second from its foolish appellation, 
and here was one of them being handed up to us. 
The Hochnarr was, however, not to be despised ; it 
was a fair-sized mountain, celebrated for its pano- 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDEL8CHARTE. 115 

Tamic view ; and after all, * What's in a name ? ' we 
reasoned ; so after some further consultation I said, 
condescendingly, that I thought it would do, and 
inquired how long it would take. 

* Thirteen hours,' said the guide-chef, severely. 

Thirteen hours ! And it was not far off, and not 
much higher than the Titlis. I asked him again 
if he was quite sure that it would take such a long 
time. 

*I only hope,' he answered, flourishing his pipe 
impressively at me, ^ that you will be able to do it 
in that time. I only hope that you wUl be able to 
be back before dark.' 

Notwithstanding this discouraging suggestion we 
closed with the offer, and I decided on the attempt 
of the Hochnarr. 

*And now,' he continued, turning to Amrhein, 

* what about a guide for you ? ' 

The Swiss mountaineer was completely taken 
aback. 

* What for ? ' he asked. 

* Why, to help you.' 

This novel idea upset the gravity of the whole 
party. 

* But I don't want one,' replied Amrhein, laughing ; 

* I could help him as much as he could help me.' 

* Well,' said the little man, looking up doubtfully 
at our tall, active guide, * I am very much afraid you 
won't be strong enough.' 

I 2 



i 



116 AMONG THE ALPS. 

But we were all laughing so mucli by tHs time, 
that he did not press the subject further, and the 
next day was fixed on for the great ascent. 

The following morning, descending in the early 
dawn from the steps of the Herr Pfarrer^s house, I 
had my first sight of the Gross Glockner. Clear 
and soft against the morning sky rose the fair out- 
line of the celebrated mountain, its snowy, spire-like 
summit, tinged by the half light with pearly grey, 
forming a beautiful and delicate contrast to the first 
faint blush of palest pink that was slowly deepen- 
ing in the heavens behind it. Seen by any light 
the Gross Glockner must always be admired, but I 
do not think a more favourable moment could have 
been chosen for a first view of it, than that short 
and transitory period between the dawn and the day, 
when colours are but faintly revealed, and distant 
objects seem almost unreal in their soft indistinct- ' 
ness. Further back^ and much lower than the Gross 
Glockner, is seen a rounded dome of snow, which, 
by its contrasting shape, gives still more dignity to 
the pointed pyramid of the great mountain. It is, I 
believe, the Johannisberg, but I received so many 
contradictory answers to ray questions on the sub- 
ject, that I state its name hesitatingly, and with 
strong doubts of my own truthfulness. 

The fact is, that all round this district there is 
much confusion, and apparently a most unfair divi- 
sion in the nomenclature of the mountains, and 



THE HOCHNARR.jiND THE FFANDELSCHARTE. 117 

while one peak rejoices like a royal prince in a 
multiplicity of names, on the other hand several are 
to be found with only one name among them. There 
are in the neighbourhood of Heiligenblut, for in- 
stance, no less than four mountains called the 
Barenkopf ; three of them, like their namesakes in 
the famous fairy tale, being distinguished by the 
epithets of * big, middle-sized, and little,' while the 
fourth bear's head has no prefix. These alone are 
enough to cause much perplexity to the inquiring 
stranger, and besides, I suspect that when any of 
the natives are at a loss for the name of a moun- 
tain, they glibly announce it to be the Barenkopf, 
on the fourfold chance of its really being one of the 
peaks so called. 

At the door of the hotel I made the acquaintance 
of our local guide. His name was Bauerle ; he was 
a sensible middle-aged man, and proved to be quiet 
and good tempered, and by no means a bad guide, 
though that class of men in Austria seem very in- 
ferior to those of Switzerland, Savoy, or Piedmont. 
He wore the semi-Highland costume of the country, 
and carried no ice axe, only an alpenstock of un- 
gainly length, furnished at the end with a small, 
bad spike ; he had however a pair of crampons 
slung to his knapsack. We asked him if he never 
used an ice axe, but he said not, that when the 
snow was hard he put on the crampons. As he was 
one of the Gross Glockner guides, this seemed 



118 AMONG THE ALPS. 

strange^ for one would suppose it to be impossible 
to ascend that rather difficult mountain without 
some step-cutting being necessary; however, the 
guides of these districts are not, I believe, considered 
by competent judges to be good either on snow or 

ice. 

The first part of the ascent of the Hochnarr m 
particularly easy, and anyone wishing to ride part of 
the way could do so, as there is for some time a 
good bridle path ; farther on it becomes steeper and 
only fit for pedestrians, but still there is no diffi- 
culty. About half-way up the mountain some 
strongly-built stone huts are passed, used by work- 
men employed on the gold mines, which lie not far 
off, on the ridge connecting the valley of Heili- 
genblut with that of Eauris. Beyond these the 
path reaches a very lonely and picturesque lake, 
called the Zirmersee, 8,600 feet above the level of 
the sea; steep rocks descend into it on all sides,, 
and their reflection and that of the snow above 
them is singularly distinct in its placid waters. 
Prom this point there is a climb of 2,000 feet, partly 
on debris and shattered rock; but we left them 
whenever we could, and took to the snow slopes,, 
which though rather steep, were very pleasant, the- 
snow being in perfect order. 

In five hours from Heiligenblut we stood on the 
summit, but unfortunately, while we were ascending 
a marplot cloud had descended, and we met on the- 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDEL8CHARTE. 119 

top, where it remained, an unwelcome guest, always 
spoiling and at times almost blotting out the view ; 
we heard afterwards that down at Heiligenblut the 
sky had been clear all day. We remained for some 
time on the highest point, trying through the 
driving mist to catch occasional glimpses of the 
various high peaks of the Tauern chain, but at last 
we had to give up the eflFort in despair, and to leave 
without having got a satis&ctory sight of the 
whole. 

On the way down Bauerle's low opinion of ladies' 
mountaineering powers became very apparent. On 
every steep place he evidently expected me to make 
a scene, and kept constantly observing to our guide 
that he was afraid I should be giddy. It was in 
vain to assure him that he might be easy on that 
point ; he did not believe us, and when in one place 
Amrhein proposed a glissade down a very inviting 
snow-slope, he objected at first altogether, and it 
was not till the other had made himself answerable 
for my good conduct on the occasion that he would 
consent to risk it. The snow was in capital order, 
and away we went smoothly and rapidly to the foot 
of the slope. As soon as the diminution of the in- 
cline brought us to a stand Bauerle turned round 
and observed that he never thought a lady could 
have done it. Now, as the extent of my performance 
had been to give a hand to each of these men and 
let myself slide down between them, it will be per- 



'^ 



120 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ceived how very low must have been his estimate of 
female excellence. 

Further down we stopped to see the gold works 
connected with the mine, which are carried on in 
two separate houses, the machinery being worked by 
water power. The lumps of clay containing the 
precious metal are brought down in sledges from the 
mines above, and are in the first house crushed into 
quite fine dust ; this being mixed with water flows 
through large tubes to the second house, where in 
the form of mud it is spread out on large trays, and 
shaken slowly backwards and forwards, still by ma- 
chinery, tiU a great proportion of the earth is washed 
away into troughs below, and the metals, gold and 
lead, are left in a comparatively pure state behind. 
They are then scraped o& the trays by the workmen, 
and are sent away to some furnaces at a distance, 
where they go through the farther process of 
smelting. 

The mines belong, I believe, to the Austrian 
Government, and are worked summer and winter. 
The miners live in huts close by, and are, we were 
told, paid only about two francs a day, which seems 
but a small remuneration for the hardships whict 
they must undergo, remaining at such an elevation 
during the winter months. There are also dangers 
to be encountered from the fall of avalanches in the 
spring. We passed a ruined hut which had been 
destroyed some years before by one; it contained 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 121 

two men at the time of the accident, one of whom 
was killed on the spot, and the other, strange to say, 
escaped unhurt. 

We stayed for nearly an hour inspecting these 
interesting works, and then continuing our descent 
we reached Heiligenblut after an absence of a little 
more than ten hours ; had we not lingered at the 
gold mines we could easily have made the excursion 
in nine hours and a half. I only mention this in 
order to show how very much the guide-chef had 
exaggerated the length of the expedition. No lady, 
as far as I could make out, had ever been up the 
Hochnarr before, which seems strange, if true, as it is 
an easy and very nice mountain, and the view from 
the top must in clear weather be exceedingly fine. 

The next day we devoted to sketching and idling 
about the neighbourhood of Heiligenblut. This finely- 
situated little village is in itself rather picturesque, 
but is much spoiled by its very remarkable church, 
which, from whatever point you look, always asserts 
itself with the utmost importance in the fore- 
ground, and fills the eye unpleasantly. It is out of 
all proportion, its tower and spire being of a height 
that might have caused envy to the builders of 
Babel, and the body of the church being very short 
and small, and looking more like some excrescence 
which the architect had added later as an after 
thought than like what it ought to be, the principal 
part of the building. Its ugliness is made still more 



'% 



122 AMONG THE ALPS. 

apparent by the addition of a thick coat of white- 
wash. 

As headquarters for alpine expeditions, Heiligen- 
blut has the very serious disadvantage of being too 
far gS from the great mountains of the range ; but 
this disqualification could easily be removed, and 
were it in Switzerland or Savoy, some enterprising 
individual would long ago have erected a heat little 
mountain inn two or three hours further up the 
valley, within sight of the magnificent Pasterze 
glacier, and within reach of the many beautiful ex- 
cursions in that direction. Were this done, and 
were the hotel in the village made a little more com- 
fortable, it would be a cliarming Alpine station, and 
no doubt the number of English tourists, now very 
limited, would much increase in the place; in its 
present condition it is too rough and dirty to pay it 
more than a passing visit. 

We had decided to walk over to Fuscherbad next 
day by the fine pass of the Pfandelscharte, but the 
evening did not promise well, and the priest's house- 
keeper did her best to dissuade us from going. She 
told some appalling anecdotes of people being frozen 
to death, and of others falliug up to their eyes, as 
she expressed it, into crevasses and being extricated 
with much difficulty, and said that the pass we were 
going to attempt was very dangerous, and that we 
had better try a lower one; but by this time we 
were up to the ways of the place, and listened com- 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDEL8CHARTE. 125 

posedly to all these horrors. Later in the evening^ 
the JHerr Pfarrer, who had been very kind to lis, but 
who evidently disapproved of ladies mountaineerings 
spoke to Amrhein, and said that he considered it his^ 
the guide's, duty to prepare us for the dangers we 
might encounter should the weather break ; but in 
spite of all these well-meant warnings we pinned our 
faith on Mr. Ball, who in his * Alpine Guide,' de- 
scribing this col, writes, * With moderate care, there 
is neither risk nor difficulty in the passage,' and we 
held to our determination and started the next 
morning. 

Could we have managed it, no doubt it would have 
been far better to have waited for fine weather in 
order to enjoy thoroughly the beauties of this much- 
admired pass, but our time was now so limited that 
we could not afiEbrd to delay any longer. We took 
Bauerle to show the way, and a porter to carry our 
luggage, and both these men tried also to persuade 
us to give up the Pfandelscharte, and to go by a. 
lower pass, saying that the glacier was * sehr zerrissen^^ 
and that were snow to come on we might be frozen 
on it. 

This statement, as it turned out, was perfectly 
absurd. The Schartenkees glacier was easy and 
particularly smooth, and the largest crevasses we 
passed were scarcely, if at all, more than two feet 
wide. We were exactly half an hour on the ice, so 
that in no weather could we possibly have had time 



124 AMONG THE ALPS. 

to be frozen, and there was a well-marked track all 
across it, so that even in a fog we could nat have lost 
our way. 

I do not mention all this in order to injure Bauerle, 
who, as I have said before, we found very good- 
tempered and anxious to please, and who as a guide 
seemed to know what he was about, but merely to 
show how little dependence can be placed on any- 
thing one hears in these localities, and how necessary 
it is to have a reliable guide book, by which to regu- 
late one's movements. 

The morning was dull when we left Heiligenblut, 
but we hoped for an improvement, and tried to 
persuade ourselves that it was coming. Soon, how- 
ever, the rain began to fall, at first very slightly, 
but rapidly increasing in heaviness till it reached the 
degree of a shower-bath. This downpour was too 
violent to continue long, so we took refuge in a small 
chapel, and there waited to see what turn matters 
would take. The Heiligenblut men put on solemn 
faces and threatened us with snow, and the clouds 
certainly did not look very unlike it, but fortunately 
none came, and after near an hour of rain the sky 
began to clear, and we pursued our upward way. 
The sun had come out by the time we reached the 
foot of the Pasterze glacier, and we were able to see 
and admire its very fine ice-fall ; but the summits of 
the mountains were seldom visible, and the day was 
so doubtful that we feared to make the usual dStour 



\ 



THE HOCHNARR AND THE PFANDELSCHARTE. 125 

to the Johannishlitte, so that unfortunately we 
missed the best view of the glacier, and did not see 
all this fine scenery to advantage. 

Nothing can well be more trying to a pedestrian 
than to make one of these celebrated passes in bad 
weather. He has probably read and heard a good 
deal about it beforehand, and has anticipated much 
enjoyment during the walk; blue skies above, crisp 
snow and ice beneath, lovely views to excite the 
feelings, fresh breezes to cool the brow, and shady 
spots on which to rest by the way. Things go so 
smoothly in imagination, and castle-building, of 
whatever style the architecture be, proceeds without 
check or hindrance on its airy foundations. Then 
perhaps the reality comes in stern contrast to its 
florid predecessor, and we have difficulty in tracing 
any likeness of the actual building, hard, cold, and 
grey, to the beautiful and fantastic shadow which it 
had cast before. 

Even the smallest castle in the air pains us when 
it falls, and as we struggled up the valley of Heilig- 
enblut through mud and slush, toiling beneath the 
weight of our waterproofs and dripping umbrellas, 
we thought sadly of the pleasure we had looked 
forward to on this very pass, which, now enveloped 
in clouds and mist, gave but a poor fulfilment to the 
rich promises it had held out to us. As there was no 
help for it, we had just to make the best of our 
circumstances, and thankfully glean what small 



126 AMONG THE ALPS. 

straws of comfort we could find scattered here and 
there on our road. • 

Good and evil are strangely mixed both in great 
things and small in this world of ours, and as there 
is no rose without its thorn, so there is no thorn or 
briar of which some leaf or flower does not enliven 
the stem. Even a wet day in the Alps has at times 
its fine eflFects, its sudden rifts in the rolling clouds, 
its unexpected gleams of sunshine darting through 
the surrounding gloom, its momentary clearings of 
the mist, and its wondrous glimpses of stupendous 
peaks, of which the lofty fragments, seen but for a 
moment in the upper aii*, seem scarcely to belong to 
our earth, and we had to content ourselves with a 
few such stray visions, and turn our hacks on the 
great Pasterze glacier to pursue our way to the col 
•of the Pfandelscharte. 

Short and easy snow slopes lead to the top, and 
then on the other side comes the passage of the 
much maligned Schartenkees glacier. This accom- 
I)lished, the path descends rapidly to the Puscherthal, 
the head of which valley presents extremely grand 
scenery. Tremendous precipices descend into it in 
all directions, over whose brink innumerable torrents 
leap, streaking the dark rocks with their delicate 
lines of spray, while about half way up this vast 
barrier, on the day that we saw it, lay a long, heavy 
bank of cloud, above the surface of which rose some 
of the snowy crests of the great mountains, appear* 



THE JSOCHNARR AND THE PFANDEL8CHARTE. 127 

ing, as is always the case, still higher as they 
emerged from their surroundings of mist and fog. 
Prominent among these was the Wiesbachhom, in 
height, I believe, the third peak of the range, but 
otherwise very inferior to the Gross Glockner, which 
in beauty, as in size, reigns supreme over the whole 
chain. 

Further down the valley the village of Terleiten is 
passed, and then, leaving the road, a very pretty path 
can be taken, which, mounting through a forest, 
leads in about two hours to Fuscherbad, also called 
the Baths of St. Wolfgang. Were the day fine, the 
last part, on a good path, and in shade, would be a 
very pleasant ending to the expedition, but with us 
it was otherwise. The rain, which for some time 
past had held out dark threats over our heads, now 
set about to prove that they were by no means empty 
ones ; nor were the clouds empty either, as, without 
ever appearing to decrease, they poured an unceasing 
torrent upon us, till, drenched and muddy, we reached 
the welcome shelter of Fuscherbad. 



128 AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chapter IX. 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND THE STEINERNE MEER, 



Judging by the accommodation at Heiligenblut, our 
hopes of Tuscherbad had not soared high ; we were 
therefore most agreeably surprised by the superiority 
of this latter place. It can scarcely be called a 
village, but is rather a small group of hotels sur- 
rounding a little chapel, very prettily situated in the 
midst of green meadows and fine trees, through 
which pleasant paths have been made for the benefit 
of the patients who frequent the place. At the 
nearest of these houses we stopped, and found it, 
though unpretending, to be exceedingly clean and 
comfortable, and the owners very civil and friendly. 
It belongs to a very old man, who in his day was, we 
were told, one of the best guides of the district. 
Although past eighty, his niemory seemed most 
retentive, and he spoke with perfect clearness of all 
the mountains and passes of the neighbourhood, 
though many years must have elapsed since he could 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 129 

have been on any of them. His daughters keep the 
hotel and attend on the visitors. 

These good people appeared quite pleased to re- 
ceive us, a degree of hospitality I could not help 
wondering at, for a more miserable looking pair 
cannot often have come to their doors. We were 
dripping from head to foot, and wherever we stood 
streams of black mud poured off us on to their nice 
clean floors ; we really felt quite ashamed of our- 
selves and with the national British cry for water 
and baths we retired hastily to our own rooms. 

It is an undeniable fact, though one perhaps 
humiliating to the human race, that outward appear- 
ance should so much depend on dress. Take for 
example an extreme case from fiction. Cinderella 
in rags by the kitchen fire, and Cinderella in satin 
dancing with the Prince was one and the same 
person, and yet how dififerent the effect produced ! 
Probably had the Prince wandered by accident into 
the aforesaid kitchen and surprised his fair one 
cleaning a saucepan he might not at first sight have 
distinguished her from the kitchen-maid, but when 
her fairy god-mother had dressed her up to advan- 
tage he admired her very much indeed and made 
her a Princess. In every-day life the contrasts are 
not so strongly marked, the repulsiveness is less 
striking, the climax less brilliant, but in a degree the 
rule holds good ; examples may be seen of it from time 
to time, and nowhere oftener than at mountain inns 

s: 



130 AMOXG THE ALPS. 

in bad weather, where wet and travel-stained tonrists 
arriving and tidy guests descending to table d'hSte 
have gone through transformation scenes of their 
own, which are only not sensational because not 
instantaneous. 

In spite of the disturbed state of our feelings when 
we made our objectionable entry, we still had retained 
sufficient presence of mind to order our dinner 
before we retired from sight, and having reappeared 
later under more favourable circumstances we found 
that meal ready to be partaken of. It was a funny 
dinner on the whole ; the component parts were all 
good separately, only they were oddly put together, 
rirst we had soup, then veal cutlets with stewed 
peaches, after which there came chicken fried in 
batter accompanied by a bowl of cold white syrup 
with an unknown substance like seaweed floating 
about it. A very large pancake completed the 
repast, which was by no means bad though queerly 
combined. 

It is the custom in Carinthia to ftimish the 
visitors with a list every morning of the food con- 
sumed by them ou the preceding day ; the prices are 
affixed to this document and the minutest particulars, 
even to the number of rolls provided, are all entered 
into. No one is expected to pay at the moment, it 
is merely for the information of the eaters, and the 
amount of each list will be added together and 
appear as a whole in the final bill. It may be a 



^ 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 131 

satisfactory but I think it a tiresome custom. Every 
article of food is portioned out with the strictest 
regularity, and sometimes in very small quantities, 
and if you venture to call for any addition, even to a 
little more milk for your coffee, you know that this 
trifling indulgence will be duly registered against 
you in your list next morning, and that you will have 
to pay some kreuzers for the excess you have com- 
mitted. It is not that one grudges the small sum 
charged, but it seems to me that the usual plan is 
the pleasantest ; to pay a stated sum for one's meals 
and to eat much or little of them as one feels 
inclined. 

Vegetables are not apparently a common article of 
food in these places, and when on ordering our 
dinner the next day we suggested to our pleasant- 
looking hostess that we should prefer some to 
preserves along vdth the meat, she seemed puzzled at 
the request, and said that she would try and get 
potatoes for us, but the demand was an innovation 
and I am sure upset her ideas. She seemed most 
anxious to please us, and waxed quite eloquent 
over the description of our future dinner, all of 
which I completely forget now, with the exception of 
the last item, the account of which rather awed us. 

* I will make you such a nice pudding to-day,' she 
said cheerfully, * a French pudding.' So we smiled 
and looked gracious. * Oh, yes ! ' she continued, * I 
know you will like it, it will be quite black ! ' 

X 2 



132 AMONG THE ALPS. 

In deference to her evident desire to give satisfac-* 
faction, we restrained the expression of our counte- 
nances and let no trace of disapproval appear on 
them, but when the time came we felt uneasy at 
the promised delicacy, knowing that out of polite- 
ness we should have to swallow some of it. It 
proved however not so bad as it was represented, 
and though decidedly not of French extraction, yet 
if it originated in the brain of the landlady it did 
credit to her powers of invention. 

The day after our arrival was spent in wandering 
about the pretty grounds which surround the estab- 
lishment. The largest of the hotels contains I 
fancy the baths for all the patients, and the waters 
can be taken at two fountains close by. They are 
said to be eflBcacious in some disorders, but their 
mineral properties can be but slight, as they are 
perfectly tasteless and still ; a great contrast in this 
respect to those of Sta. Caterina, which are strongly 
impregnated with iron, and very sparkling. We 
saw few strangers about, and the inhabitants com- 
plained much of the badness of their season, owing 
to the constant rain and inclement weather. 

We were fortunate during our stay, as we had 
two fine days which we much enjoyed in this 
pleasant little place ; but as an Alpine station it 
possesses the same faults as Heiligenblut, only in a 
greater degree, being still further off than that 
village from the principal mountains of the chain. 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 138 

The ascent of the Wiesbachhorn, though possible 
from thb Fuscherthal, is much more difficult than 
from a valley on the other side of it, and the other 
and easier mountains in that direction could not be 
accomplished in one day from Fuscherbad, at least 
not when we were there, during the last days of 
August, when already the mornings and evenings 
were beginning to shorten sensibly ; in taking any 
of these excursions, it is almost always necessary to 
descend to Ferleiten, and make it the starting point. 
Added to these disadvantages, it would appear, from 
what we heard, that there are at present no good 
guides in the neighbourhood, and that anyone wish- 
ing to do much in the Alpine way, would have either 
to bring or import a guide jfrom Heiligenblut. 

To the back of Fuscherbad, there are several 
mountains, but they are all inconsiderable, the 
highest among them being the Schwarzkopf, 9,072 
feet, which having nothing better to do I settled 
that I would amuse myself with the ascent of, on 
the second day of our stay at these baths. 

As usual great things were told of its difficulties, 
and ladies were cautioned against undertaking it 
unadvisedly, but without heeding these observations, 
I started for it early the next morning, accompanied 
by our guide, and with a young man from the hotel 
to show the way. The ascent was through trees 
and pastures till we reached a small lake, one shore 
of which was composed of avalanche snow, that had 



134 AMONG THE ALPS. 

solidified into almost the consistency of ice, looking 
very pretty where its blue edge descended in 
miniature cliflFs into the still waters. 

From this point two paths lead to the summit, 
and here the inferiority of womankind was again 
made painfully evident; while the direct route is 
reserved for the gentlemen, the ladies are sent by a 
long roundabout way, which requires an additional 
hour and much circumlocution before the desired 
goal is attained. 

* They have not head for the short way,' explained 
the Fuscherbad youth in an off-hand manner. 

By this time I was getting so accustomed to be 
considered utterly incompetent on a mountain, that 
I was preparing to follow humbly on the prescribed 
path, when to my no small amusement, Amrhein 
rose against the injustice of the proceeding. 

* Why should we be obliged to go round there,* 
he reasoned, *when we can get up much quicker 
here ? We'll not go the ladies' way one bit, we'll 
keep with the gentlemen.' 

And so we did, and though rather steep and 
rough, it presented no difficulty whatever, and only 
required step-cutting up one short slope. The top 
of the mountain is composed of shattered rock, and 
is, I should think, in its ordinary state, free from 
snow, but on this occasion a good deal had lately 
fallen, and some caution in walking was necessary,, 
as its soft surface often gave way under the feet. 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 135 

and there was the danger of being hurt by the sharp 
edges of the great stones beneath. 

The day was bright and cloudless, and the view 
all round very fine. To the south lay the High 
Tauern range, which owing to mist, we had seen 
very imperfectly from the Hochnarr, but of which 
now every peak was revealed, while to the norths 
the horizon was bounded by an entirely new set of 
mountains, of whose existence I had known little 
or nothing before. In strong contrast to the snow- 
clad Tauern Alps, this enormous stony barrier ex 
tends in one unbroken line of rock from west to 
east, as far as the eye can follow it. 

It seems strange that a chain, which though never 
attaining any great height, is yet so important from 
its immense length, should apparently have no name, 
but nevertheless I could not make out that it pos- 
sessed one. It is talked of locally as the Steineme 
Meer, though in reality that is only a small portion 
of it, and one not seen from any distance ; the Ewige 
Schnee is a name also given to some parts of it, but 
as only a few patches of snow cling here and there 
to its precipitous sides, that name would be inap- 
propriate to apply to the whole. Its highest sum- 
mits range from about 8,000 to 9,000 feet, and are 
composed of very steep, barren rocks, chiefly I 
believe limestone, but they are very light in color, 
and at a distance, have more resemblance to the 
pale hue of the Dolomite formation. 



136 AMONG THE ALPS, 

Thougli not very beautiful, there is yet somethings 
exceedingly imposing in the effect of this vast wall, 
looking like the mighty outwork of some gigantic 
fortress, and the interest with which I gazed on it 
was no doubt heightened by the consideration that 
over this very rampart lay our future path to the 
Konigsee. There is a defile more to the west, 
through which a carriage-road has been made, but 
we had decided to avoid the tame proceeding of 
driving round, and instead to take the bolder and 
shorter course of walking over the chain, and thus 
to descend at once to the shores of the Bavarian 
lake. 

This was to be our last Alpine pass for the year, 
and I must say that, seen from the summit of the 
Schwarzkopf, it did not look particularly inviting. 
It seemed hopeless to expect that we should ever be 
able to crawl up that straight wall ; but rock-climb- 
ing has the great advantage that, however formid- 
able the obstacle may appear at a distance, it is sure 
to diminish in difficulty as one approaches it. That 
which seen from far looks like a smooth face of rock, 
is found on nearer inspection to be full of inequalities, 
which stick out obligingly in all directions, and 
afford in Alpine phraseology * good holding for hands 
and feet/ Of course I am only speaking of mode- 
rate rock-climbing, of the really difficult perform- 
ances in that line I know nothing. 

Descending the Schwarzkopf by the same route 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER, 137 

which we had taken in mounting, we saved much 
time, and reached Fuscherbad in about three hours. 
The whole expedition, going leisurely, and including 
halts, only takes eight hours, and the view from the 
top well repays the labour of the ascent, which is in 
some parts very steep. 

On the following day we walked down to the 
village of Fusch, from whence we proceeded by 
carriage to Saalfelden, a small town lying quite at 
the foot of the -rocky mass of the Steinerne Meer. 
About half-way the pretty town of Zell is passed on 
the shores of the lake of the same name. This place, 
with its fine view of the two parallel, but strangely 
contrasting mountain ranges, and its pretty fore- 
ground of buildings and water, would give delight- 
ful opportunities for sketching, and we felt sorry to 
be obliged to pass it so rapidly. 

In the afternoon we reached Saalfelden, and drove 
up to the Auer Wirthschaft, also called the Poste, 
supposed to be the fashionable hotel of the place. 
Here we got a most extraordinary reception ; it was 
the only hotel where we ever met with positive in- 
civility during our whole tour. On entering we 
encountered a very fat lady, the owner I conclude, 
who did not seem up for much exertion, but who 
signed to us to go upstairs, which we did, and reached 
the Speisesaal, where we found two girls running 
about to and fro, attending to the orders of several 
travellers. 



138 AMONG THE ALPS. 

I must say in their excuse, tliat they seemed to be 
very busy, and to have more on hand just then than 
they could well manage. With great difficulty we 
got one of them to listen to our request for two bed- 
rooms ; preceding us into a billiard-room, she pointed 
to two doors on the opposite side, and said, * There 
are the rooms, you can go in/ This, having received 
the permission, we accordingly did, and found on 
inspection that they had no egress except through 
the billiard-room, in which a number of men were 
playing and smoking. A strong smell of bad tobacco 
pervaded these apartments, and this, added to the 
prospect of enduring the noise of the billiard -players 
till probably late in the night, was too much for us, 
so returning to the Speisesaaly we, after some 
trouble, succeeded in catching one of the attendant 
damsels, and making her stand still while we stated 
our objection to the rooms. Could we have no 
others ? we asked. 

* No,' she answered shortly, * there are ng other 
rooms on this floor.* 

* Well, on the floor above ? ' 

* No, there are no rooms for you there.' 

* Why not? ' we persisted. *The house is large, 
they cannot all be full.' 

* These are your two rooms,' she answered, evad- 
ing the question, ' and you must be satisfied with 
them, you can't have any others ;' after which state- 
ment she wsvlked off and left us. 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 139 

Baffled in tliis quarter, we next tried our chance 
with the other girl, but she was oven more impracti- 
cable. She wasted no conversation on us, but 
merely stood till we had done speaking, and then 
turning her back, went on with her occupation of 
washing plates. Having suffered this ignominioua 
defeat, we fell back into the objectionable rooms, 
and there with Amrhein held a council of war, which 
ended in a unanimous decision to beat a retreat, and 
leave the enemy's territory. This movement was 
executed, we flattered ourselves, in an orderly and 
dignified manner. Collecting our goods, we went in 
a body to the young lady with the plates, and an- 
nounced that not liking the rooms provided for us, 
we were about to leave the hotel. She looked sur- 
prised at us and said promptly- 

* There are rooms upstairs that you can have if 
you choose.* 

* Then why were you so rude when we asked you 
for them before ? * I could not help inquiring, utterly 
puzzled at her conduct. 

* I am not the head girl,' she answered sulkily ; 
* when she did not choose to give them to you, I 
could not/ 

Not feeling inclined to have any more dealings 
with the autocrat referred to, we resisted the tempt- 
ing offer of the rooms, and departed to seek our 
fortune elsewhere. We did not see the fat lady on 
descending ; probably she has no suspicion of the 



140 AMONG THE ALPS, 

manner in which her two delegates manage her 
iiffairs. 

Crossing to the other side of the street, we entered 
a much smaller inn, and were received by a pleasant- 
looking woman, in the peasant costume of the 
-country. * Yes,' she had two rooms she could give 
us, she answered cheerfully, one with three beds 
and one with four. Seven beds ! We felt quite un- 
equal to the offer, and said mildly, that we thought 
the room with three beds would be suflScient, so we 
were shown up to it. It was a large airy room, very 
clean and tidy, and we thankfiilly installed ourselves 
in it. Our next request was for a dinner, and that 
she was likewise encouraging about. * Yes, it would 
be served up soon.' And could she find us a guide 
for the Steinerne Meer ? ' Yes, the best one in the 
place ! She would send him directly.' She seemed 
inexhaustible in her resources, and we felt ourselves 
fortunate in having made her acquaintance. 

Presently the guide made his appearance, and 
produced a satisfactory book of recommendations, so 
we engaged him for the next morning. He agreed 
to carry one of our bags, and said he would find a 
porter to carry the other ; he did not, according to 
the usual custom of the country, magnify the diflS- 
culties of the col, or make any disparaging obser- 
vations on ladies, but merely said that it would be 
a very long day, which was perfectly true ; still, 
allowing for this, we thought the expenses of the 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 141 

pass uureasonably great. We had to pay these two 
men about sixty francs for carrying our luggage 
from Saalfelden to the shore of the Konigsee. No 
porter in Austria is obliged to carry more than 
twenty pounds weight, for the payment prescribed by 
tariff; for every additional pound he may charge a 
certain sum extra by the hour, so that when the 
number of pounds in excess of twenty is multiplied 
by the number of hours in a long day, the total has 
assumed a proportion, the magnitude of wHct is 
anything but pleasant to the payer. I fancy that 
at present few tourists go over this pass ; were it to 
become more frequented, objections would probably 
be made to the charges as they now are, and some 
better arrangement would in time ensue. 

It is very pleasant in some respects to leave the 
beaten tracks, and to wander about through the 
comparative solitudes of the great mountain world, 
where you are no longer at each turn pestered to 
buy bits of Alpenrose or Edelweiss^ nor expected to 
listen for a consideration to the monotonous droning 
of some children, or the inevitable Alpine horn and 
its echo. Yet these byways of the Alps have their 
drawbacks too, and if at times we feel weary of the 
crowds of tourists, with whom we are perpetually 
coming in contact in the Bernese Oberland and about 
the Pennine chain, we should bear in mind that it is 
. in consequence of these very crowds that the arrange- 
ments in these districts are so good and convenient* 



142 AMONG THE ALPS. 

The tidy Alpine inn, the well made char road, the 
experienced guide, the strong, active porter, the 
pretty little chalet, under the shade of whose pro- 
jecting roof hot and weary pedestrians find a table 
laid with plates of fresh strawberries and bowls of 
tempting cream — these and many other necessaries 
and luxuries have been called into existence by that 
mighty stream of strangers that flows year after 
year into the well known valleys of the Alps. 

' Tout a son bon et son mauvais c6te ' is a saying 
as true in the mountains as elsewhere, and the only 
way to enjoy one's summer holiday thoroughly is to 
keep always looking on the good side of things, and 
to turn one's eyes as much as possible from the 
bad. 

There is, however, one misfortune in these regions 
which, when it falls on the Alpine traveller, com- 
pletely crushes him for the time. It may and ought, 
like all other trials, to be borne patiently, but to 
make any attempt at cheerfulness while undergoing 
it is impossible, and to put on the semblance of 
cheerfulness is mere hypocrisy ; I allude to prolonged 
bad weather. 

No one who has not experienced it can form an 
idea of the depressing effect of two or three con- 
secutive wet days in a Swiss valley. The clouds 
descend till every vestige of the mountains is hidden; 
you might be in the middle of a plain for all you 
can tell; the rain pours night and day with steady 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 14S 

€veii sound on the wooden roof of the house ; the 
country people walk about composedly under their 
ponderous cotton umbrellas ; everything has become 
mud colour from the clouds above to the glacier 
torrent below, and what is the worst feature of the 
case, everything goes on monotonously, not by fits and 
starts, not with sudden bursts and temporary lulls, 
but in an orderly unwavering manner, as if the rain 
had always poured, and the houses and trees had 
always dripped, and the inhabitants had always 
carried cotton umbrellas and would continue to do so 
till the end of time. 

What is a wretched tourist to do under these cir- 
cumstances? It is very weU to say, * Can't you 
occupy yourself in the house for a day or two ? ' 
Of course you could at home, but what is to be done 
in a little country inn? In the anxiety to make 
one's luggage small everything except the mere 
necessaries of life has been left behind. The litera- 
ture of the hotel is usually composed of some old 
illustrated papers, a large history of Switzerland 
which none care about, several odd volumes of 
English novels, a book of poems by no one in par- 
ticular, and two or three old guide books; much 
reading is therefore out of the question ; sketching 
is as impossible as climbing in wet weather; con- 
versation flags after the first day. What is one 
to do? 

There is to be sure the resource of mending one's 



144 AMOXG TSE ALFS, 

cioibeSy and tliis is perliaps, under the cir e mu atancesy 
ibe most ebeerfol oocnpation tobe found. It is sng- 
gestire, and idiile darning the last rent in one's 
numntain soii, the bright idea presents itsdf that 
before Terr long there may come an opportonitj of 
giring it another; bat wheie the.snppljr of clothes 
is so limited^nnforhmatelT the nnmber of holes mnst 
be limited also, and at last there is nothing left bat 
to stand at tlie window and watch for some signs of 
relenting in the inexorable sly. 

AH those who spend a sammer in Alpine regions 
most make np their minds to these periods of depres- 
sion. Moantains will attract cloads as well as 
tourists, and the former will at times delage the 
latter, who most just submit to the infliction with the 
best grace they can. 

Fortunately no such trial awaited us at Saalfelden; 
the weather was all we could wish for, and strolling 
outside the town we sat on the trunk of a felled tree 
and watched the setting sun, which in departing 
poured the full glory of its slanting rays on the 
Steineme Meer, till beautified by their contact those 
stem rocks glowed with softened radiance in the rosy 
evening light. But not long did this borrowed 
splendour last ; stealthily the great shadow of night 
crept up their dark sides and the parting smile of 
day faded jfrom their stony features, leaving them 
still colder and harder than they were before ; then 
came the curious chill so otten felt in warm climates 



i 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 145 

at the moment when the sun disappears below the 
horizon, and gathering our cloaks round us we slowly 
wended our way homewards. It was a case of 
* Early to bed and early to rise' on this occasion, and 
having had some coffee we retired for the night, or 
at least for that small portion of it which was to be 
allotted for sleep. 

The moon was stiU shining brightly when next 
morning mustering our forces at the door of the 
hotel we took leave of our kind hostess and threaded 
our way noiselessly through the sleeping town. Once 
clear of the houses we turned our faces northwards 
and made straight for the rocky barrier whose wall 
we had to scale. Before reaching those heights 
much preliminaxy ground had to be gone over. 
First we followed a broad char road through the 
forest which clothes the foot of the range, mounting 
in diminished density up its rugged sides till its 
irregular outline can be but faintly traced near the 
base of the rocks where all vegetation ceases. In 
the neighbourhood of Saalfelden the trees were still 
fine and well grown, and their great shadows lay 
dark and sharp on the moonlit ground over which we 
picked our way. After a short time the road con- 
tracted and we entered a very pretty wooded glen, 
beside whose mountain stream the path, now narrow 
but good, led us up rather rapidly for about an hour ; 
after which we emerged from the valley and bore 
away to the west in a diagonal line, now up, now 



146 AMONG THE ALPS. 

down, across the steep but still wooded spurs of the 
chain. In proportion as we rose the trees began 
to deteriorate; less tail, less straight, less green, 
their failing ranks became thinner and thinner till 
at last a few stunted and weather-beaten stragglers 
alone remained, like outposts of the great army 
below, fighting a brave but losing battle with the 
storms and frosts of the elevated regions to which 
they had attained. 

The moonlight had faded into the dawn, and the 
dawn had brightened into the day, before the last 
tree was passed ; and now having reached the close 
green turf of the upper Alpine pastures we heard 
with pleasure the welcome tinkle of the cow beUs, 
and saw a chalet not very far off where milk and 
butter were to be procured. We had eaten little or 
nothing before starting, and at this moment break- 
fast was the all-engrossing object of our thoughts. 

In spite, however, of hunger, we could not help 
stopping some time to watch with interest the 
unusual sight of a large herd of chamois feeding 
on some stunted herbage at the foot of the rocks 
not very far off. With the help of a telescope they 
could be distinctly seen, and the guides counted 
thirty-two of them. The shooting of this district 
belongs to an Austrian nobleman, who has the 
ground carefully preserved. To kiU one of these 
animals without permission is an offence punishable 
both with fine and imprisonment, and it seemed 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER, 147 

almost as if they were aware of the laws for their 
protection, for though we must have been at least 
as visible to them as they to us they took no notice 
of our movements, but continued composedly to eat 
their breakfast. 

Their occupation was suggestive to hungry people, 
and after awhile we ceased watching them, and 
pushed on rapidly to the chalet, where we were soon 
engaged in following their example, and quite as 
much taken up with our repast as they had been 
with theirs. We had our meal on a stone outside 
the hut in company with the pigs of the establish- 
ment, who came up grunting and poking their long 
snouts at us, in some perplexity as to who and what 
we were. We tried to make them understand, by 
sundry small raps with our alpenstochsy that their 
conduct was intrusive and their manners not good ; 
but they either could not, or with their proverbial 
obstinacy, they would not take in what we meant, 
and went on persistently grunting and staring at us 
all the time. I suspect they did not like to see the 
way in which we were drinking milk, fearing there 
might be a stint for them in consequence. 

Breakfast having given us fresh strength and 
courage, we set off cheerfully for the rocks, which 
were now within about half an hour of us, and 
looked exceedingly uninviting. To this day I 
cannot understand those rocks. They proved after 
all to be only a gigantic humbug. Up to the very 

£2 



148 AMONG THE ALPS. 

last minute they preserved their formidable appear- 
ance, and frowned down on us most discouragingly, 
and yet when we began actually to climb them they 
turned out to be neither very difficult nor very steep, 
nor very fatiguing, and when after rather more than 
an hour's scrambling we stood on the top of them 
we could scarcely believe that our work was done, 
and that we had scaled the great rampart which 
from a distance had seemed so unassailable. 

From this point we gained for the first time a 
view of the entire snow range, of which the Gross 
Glockner is the culminating point. This chain, 
which must be of immense length, -was visible from 
where we stood, extending from right to left as far 
as the eye could reach. It was a lovely sight, all 
those peaks and domes and spires of snow, shining 
in the morning sun, against their background of 
softest blue, while between us and them lay the quiet 
little Zellersee, a tiny mirror reflecting the two great 
ranges at whose feet it lies. 

Turning to the north an extraordinary sight met 
our eyes ; some hundred feet below us we saw at last 
the great plateau which has given its name to the 
range. Arid and desolate this vast petrified sea, 
covering several miles in extent, lies in a basin 
surrounded on all sides by gaunt barren rocks. 
There is something inexpressibly dreary in its 
aspect ; hard and grey, it seems to lie under some 
evil spell ; for ever beating with stony waves against 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 149 

its inhospitable shores, yet motionless, soundless, 
deserted. Unlike a sea of water no soft reflections 
enliven its dull surface, unlike a sea of ice no fair 
mixture of white and blue colours its monotony, it 
has nothing to relieve the harshness of its rocky 
outlines, nor to cheer the sadness of its solitude. A 
few miserable trees stick up here and there through 
the crevices of the rocks, where a little earth has 
collected, and some scanty herbage crops up at 
intervals among the stones, but these abortive 
attempts at vegetation give no pleasure to the eye, 
withered and dwindled they seem as if the curse of 
the place had rested on them, and stopped their 
growth. 

How long has this wilderness existed? How many 
ages have passed since the parent glacier moulded it 
into its present shape, and then melted slowly away, 
leaving the impression of its icy form on the stone 
beneath, till the very rocks have taken and retained a 
sort of grotesque likeness to the seracs and crevasses 
which once covered them ? How long will it be ere 
soft green pastures undulate on its surface, and sweet 
Alpine flowers deck its plain ? 

They were puzzling riddles which this stony 
sphinx put to us, and we were no CEdipus to solve 
them. 

The descent from the ridge is steep but short, and, 
having accomplished it, we launched forth on the 
wastes of the Steineme Meer. The track (it can 



160 AMONG THE ALPS. 

scarcely be called a path) is made possible to follow 
by the help of small stone signals, built at intervals, 
along it ; but for these, in the event of a fog coming: 
on, it would be very difficult to find the way. The 
rocks, rounded and smoothed by glacier action, are^ 
extremely slippery, and constant care is required to 
avoid a fall on their polished surface which gives 
the uncertain footing of ice without its capability 
of improvement under the stroke of the axe. The^ 
way is long from one shore to the other, and the 
glare of the sun, reflected back from the hard sub- 
stance on which it falls, produces almost intolerable 
heat and an amount of dryness in the air causing^ 
intense thirst. No water was to be met with till 
the opposite side was reached, and I do not think I 
ever longed so for a drink as I did on that day, and 
when at last we attained the precious spring, a pro- 
digious number of times were our glasses filled and 
emptied before we were all satisfied. From this 
point the path rises for some time, till the hollow 
of the Steinerne Meer is left behind and the ridge 
on the Bavarian side is gained ; thence the descent 
is continuous to the shores of the Konigsee, not so- 
precipitous at the summit as on the southern side 
of the range, but very long and in parts very steep. 

The views obtained on this entire pass, called 
sometimes the Weissbachscharte, are very beautiful 
and varied. For a col of its height, only 7,462 feet,, 
it is exceedingly imposing, and its forests, its distant 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND 8TEINERNE MEER. 151 

views, and its rock and lake scenery are of the 
highest order, whilst the table-land at its summit is 
quite unique in character, and presents a scene un- 
rivalled perhaps for wildness throughout the Alps. 

Where there are ladies of the party, a long day 
should be allowed for this pass, and the start cannot 
be made too early ; including halts, it took us more 
than thirteen hours to reach the shore of the 
Konigsee, from whence we were an hour and a half 
going by boat before we reached the village of that 
name, situated at the other end of the lake. There 
wiU also very likely be a delay in procuring a 
boat, so that from Saalfelden to the Konigsee hotel 
fifteen or sixteen hours would not be too much to 
allow for the expedition. The walk is fatiguing, 
both from its length and the roughness of the road, 
and also from the constant effort and attention 
required to keep one's feet during the passage of 
the Steinerne Meer and during a great part of the 
descent, where the rounded glacier rock still pre- 
ponderates, but the beauty and singularity of the 
pass well repay the traveller for any fatigue, dis- 
comfort, or thirst endured while crossing it. No 
one who has strength for the walk should omit to 
take it, if it comes in his way ; indeed it is almost 
worth making a detour, should time and circum- 
stances permit, in order to enjoy the excursion. 

We had intended, in descending to the lake, to 
leave the ordinary path and make a variation advised 



152 AMONG THE ALPS. 

in ^Ball's Alpine Guide/ on tlie authority of Mr. 
Tuckett, and the porters promised to take us by 
that route, but they either did not know it or they 
preferred the usual way, and we did not discover 
till too late which course they had selected. That, 
however, by which we went was so fine that we 
did not feel inclined to quarrel with it, and the 
passage of a most remarkable cleft in the rocks, 
down which a path called the Saugasse plunges in 
seventy-seven steep zigzags, is in itself a curiosity 
well worth a visit. This wild gorge, when seen from 
below, presents a most extraordinary appearance ; it 
is a little like the Finsteraarschlucht near Meiringen^ 
but without a river at its base, and on a much larger 
scale, and the angle down which the path lies is of 
a most unpleasant degree of acuteness. 

On a very steep descent it seems much easier to 
go on rough ground or rock, where the inequalities 
of the surface afford sufficient footing, than as ia 
this case on a hard smooth path, where the small 
round stones slip from under one's feet, and no hold- 
ing is to be got ; twice during this descent one of 
our porters fell, and I felt relieved when my sister 
and I arrived safe at the bottom of it on our feet, 
and not, as I had anticipated, on our heads. Once 
past the Saugasse, the path, though very far from 
following a horizontal line, is nevertheless a good 
bit out of the perpendicular, and our progress was 
no longer so slow, but we had some more rough 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER. 153 

walking still to get througli, and when at last the 
long descent was accomplished, and we had reached 
the shore of the Konigsee, we were not sorry to sit 
down by its green waters, and to know that the rest 
of our journey could not be accomplished on foot. 

We had sent on one of our porters with orders to 
bring a boat to meet us from a small landing-place 
and cafe at a little distance, but we could never 
make out how that individual spent his tinie on 
arriving there, probably in smoking and drinking 
beer; at any rate he procured no boat, and after 
waiting for some time in vain we had to despatch the 
other man in search of one. All this made a long 
delay, and the grey shades of evening had fallen on 
the lake and its precipitous shores before our boat 
was at last seen approaching the spot where we sat. 

When it arrived we did not much like the look of 
it. It was a tiny craft, flat-bottomed and very 
shallow, and when laden with six people and a bag 
its edge and that of the water were in unpleasant 
proximity. It did not give me the idea of a real 
boat either, but looked more like a makeshift of some 
kind, as if an ingenious person had contrived it in a 
hurry for the occasion out of an old box. Our second 
porter and bag had been sent on by another boat, 
fortunately for us, for I am sure his additional 
weight would have swamped our leaky conveyance; 
as it was we had to sit very steadily not to upset it. 

The water was smooth as glass all round; like 



154 AMONG THE ALPS. 

glass too it reflected the steep shores of the lake 
with such distinctness, that in the half light which 
stm remained the line where rock and water met 
was invisible, and it was impossible to define where 
the reality ended and the reflection began. I cannot 
describe the extraordinary effect produced by this 
deceptive appearance. The water represented the 
scene around it so perfectly that it ceased to be 
visible itself; we no longer seemed to be rowing on 
a lake, we were gliding through the air, over the 
heavens beneath us, encircled on aU sides by oval- 
shaped mountains, whose summits and bases, alike 
pointed, pierced into two distinct skies. Anything 
more weird or unearthly I cannot imagine than 
that twilight hour on the Konigsee, and when the 
night at last closed in, and by hiding the surround- 
ings destroyed the illusion, it seemed difficult at 
first to realise that we were doing nothing more out 
of the way than navigating an ordinary sheet of 
water in a very crazy old boat. 

I was not sorry when we neared the lights on the 
landing-place of Konigsee, and I was very thankful 
when not long afterwards I felt the planks under my 
feet grate on the shore, and that we had stepped out 
safe and sound on terra firma^ and leaving the dark^ 
mysterious lake and our fragile bark behind us pro- 
ceeded on foot to the little hotel close by. We had 
been going from before dawn till after dark, and had 
had enough of it ; our hopes and affections were now 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND 8TEINERNE MEEJR. 155 

temporarily centred on three objects; the first of 
these was brought up not long afterwards to one 
of our rooms on a well-filled tray, and the other 
two, soft and white, with their downy pillows and 
gently turned back coverlids, made mute appeals to 
our tu'ed senses, which were not long made in vain, 
and dreamless sleep ended the toils of this long and 
fatiguing, yet very pleasant day. 

The next morning we strolled about the water's 
edge, not being inclined for much walking, and in 
the afternoon we hired a boat — ^boating is the great 
occupation of the place — and went up the lake once 
more ; but though very beautiful and picturesque, it 
was not the magic scene of the previous night ; the 
spell was broken, the enchantment dissolved, and we 
only saw a very lovely sheet of water, in whose green 
depths the steep surrounding mountains were re- 
flected. 

In some places the rocks descend quite straight 
into the water, and at one precipice a ghastly tale is 
told of a boat swamped at its base by a falling frag- 
ment of rock, and which went down with its freight 
of a hundred human beings into the awful depths 
below; they were pilgrims visiting a small shrine 
fastened to the face of the rock. It was a saddening 
history to listen to as we rowed past the very spot. 
A hundred precious lives lost for a delusion! A 
hundred human voices sUenced in death, whose 
prayers from their own homes would have risen as. 



150 AMONG THE ALPS. 

acceptably to the throne of Heaven as from thd 
holiest shrine on earth. 

The boats on the Konigsee are all flat-bottomed, 
and do not look fit to encounter rough weather; 
they are generally rowed by a man and a woman, 
one person sitting and holding the oar in the usual 
manner, and the other standing facing the bow, as 
is the custom in the gondolas of Venice. The boats 
for hire on this lake are managed on a very good 
system ; instead of being tormented with oflFers fix)m 
boatmen every time one ventures near the shore, as 
is so often the case at the Swiss lakes, there is here 
at the landing-place a regular printed tariff of the 
prices, and a man is always on the spot to whom 
application can be made, and who immediately 
provides the tourists with that which they require. 

The principal portion of the lake cannot be seen 
from the hotel, and the only way of attaining it is 
by water, the shores being in many pai'ts so com- 
pletely precipitous, that there is not room for the 
smallest path along their margin. It is this very 
steepness of its edges, which gives to the Konigsee 
its peculiar beauty and causes the distinct reflections, 
that in some lights are so marvellous. This is the 
only place where I ever saw the aljpenrose grow down 
to the water's brink ; the time of the flowers was 
over when we passed, but in the early season, its 
•deep pink blossoms must produce a lovely eflFect 
lying against the dark placid water. The upper 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINERNE MEER, 157 

end of the lake is narrow and flat for a small space 
round, and beyond it there is another and much 
smaller sheet of water, called the Obersee, a favourite 
resort of excursionists. 

The Konigsee was often visited by the late King 
Maximilian of Bavaria, who built a hunting lodge 
about half way up the lake, on one of the few spots 
where its shores are sujficiently flat to allow of any 
such erection. From thence he went on expeditions 
among the neighbouring mountains in search of 
chamois, which in his time were carefully preserved 
and very numerous ; the present King never comes 
to the place, and the laws against poaching are now 
seldom enforced. 

Numbers of visitors from Berchtesgaden and Salz- 
burg arrive every morning during the season at the 
hamlet of Konigsee, and spend the day on or about 
the lake, which is the great attraction of the place, 
driving home to their respective destinations in the 
evening; comparatively few travellers stop at the 
hotel, which is however clean and tolerably comfort- 
able. 

The quantity of beer consumed in this place quite 
amazed us ; there is a veranda in front of the hotel, 
facing the lake, to which most of the German visitors 
betake themselves either before or after their excur- 
sions on the water, and two or three waiters seem to 
have as much as they can do to supply all these 
thirsty people with endless glasses of the popular 



153 AMONG THE ALPS. 

beverage of the country. These glasses are tankard- 
shape, and of enormous dimensions, yet a Bavarian, 
thinks nothing of emptying one in a few minutes. 
In the hotel there appears to be an ad lihitmn supply 
of beer provided for the whole establishment ; on a 
side table in the salle stand several tankards in 
various stages of repletion, and all the servants, men 
and women, rush in and refresh themselves with their 
contents whenever the fancy seizes them, which is 
not seldom. It must be a most unwholesome habit, 
and the bloated faces and figures of many of the 
people bear witness to their excesses in this respect. 
Indeed a large proportion of them on attaining to 
middle age, attain at the same time to a rotundity of 
form, of which the constant repetition becomes quite 
monotonous to the eye, and as they slowly descend 
to the landing-place and deposit themselves in the 
small boats awaiting them, one feels uneasy lest these 
frail vessels should be swamped by their ponderous 
cargo. 

On leaving Konigsee, a short and pretty drive 
brought us to Berchtesgaden, where we remained for 
some hours. This place, as most people are aware, is 
famous for its salt mines, and we knew that we ought 
to go down and visit these subterranean curiosities, 
but somehow we did not take to the idea of the expe- 
dition ; I suppose we were so accustomed to mount 
to the heights of the earth, that a journey in the 
contrary direction down to its depths was repugnant 



THE SCHWARZKOFF AND STEINERNE MEER. 159 

io us ; at any rate we lacked physical courage to 
descend the shafts into these dark cavities, and moral 
•courage to emerge from them again into the broad 
light of day, habited, as was described to us, in miner 
<}ostume, and riding on a kind of rough wooden 
horse. 

In this dilemma, we hit on the delightful plan of 
visiting the mines by proxy, and having despatched 
Amrhein in our stead to explore their recesses, we 
epent our time in a manner more congenial to us, 
wandering about on the world's upper surface, and 
examining the carved wood, in the execution of which 
the inhabitants of Berchtesgaden are said to excel. 
The workmanship of some of the figures, particularly 
of the chamois, was very good, finer and better I 
think than in Switzerland ; but in the other articles, 
we saw little or no difference between the produc- 
tions of the two countries, and the German prices 
struck us as being the higher of the two. I do not 
like however to state this too positively, knowing 
that good authorities have given the contrary 
opinion; all I can say for certain is, that a month 
later I found prettier objects and in greater variety 
at. the shops of Lucerne, and also that we got the 
articles which we bought in the latter place at 
cheaper prices than those asked us either in Berch- 
tesgaden or Salzburg. 

After more than an hour's absence our guide re- 
turned much delighted with the wonders of the 



IGO AMONG THE ALPS, 

undergrotuid world, and we listened complacently 
to his descriptions, tasted bits of salt, and felt satis* 
fied with our share in the expedition. We asked 
him how the ladies looked, and he said, ' Trte 
jolies,' which statement I rather doubt ; but he was 
so pleased with the novelty of the sight that he 
was determined to admire everything connected 
with it. 

That same evening we drove on to Salzburg, and 
there, amidst the magnificence and luxuries of the 
Hotel de I'Europe, surrounded by gUding and deco- 
rations, by statues and flowers, by velvet and satin, 
dazzled by the glitter of innumerable gas chandeliers, 
and bewildered by the attentions of scores of 
obsequious waiters, we bid adieu for the year to the 
dear old mountain life, with its discomforts and its 
roughness, its oddities and its absurdities, its happy 
days of toil and its happy days of idleness, its 
joyous freedom both of thought and action, and its 
wondrous scenes of beauty and grandeur. 

1874 must sink into the past, and 1875 must rise 
out of the future long before we can hope to revisit 
our favourite haunts. In this world of change and 
uncertainty there is but one thing of which we can 
be sure, that many months must elapse before our 
feet stand again on the crisp mountain snow, before 
our hands grasp the familiar alpenstochy and our ears 
catch the well-known sound of the ice-axe cleaving 
our upward way ; before our eyes gaze again on the 



THE SCHWARZKOPF AND STEINJSRNE MEEJR. 161 

fair Alpine world, and our lungs are filled with its 
life-giving air. The play-time is over, the play- 
ground is empty, and all the players have been called 
in from their summer games to take again their 
allotted places in the great school of life. 

Before taking leave of any of my kind readers 
who may have followed us thus far in our wander- 
ings, I wish to add a short chapter to this little 
book, for the benefit of those who, like ourselves, 
spend their summers among the mountains, in the 
hope that a few plain directions contained in it 
may be of use to them, and that the knowledge 
we gained from that rather hard teacher, experience, 
may be communicated to them in gentler fashion, 
^d without the severe lessons with which its acqui- 
sition was at times enforced on us. 



H 



1C2 AMONG THE ALPS, 



Chapter X. 

HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. 



The first thing in order, if not in importance, 
which must be thought of by a lady intending to 
make long Alpine expeditions, is the dress which 
she is to wear when on the mountain. This is a 
more serious consideration than might at first be 
supposed, as not only should she aim at presenting 
as much as possible a tidy appearance on all occa- 
sions, but also must she endeayour to have clothes 
which will protect her effectually from extremes 
of heat and cold, and which will not impede her 
movements more than can be helped, in situa- 
tions where great exertion and activity are required. 
A great deal of her comfort and enjoyment will 
depend on her costume being suitable and well 
selected. 

To begin with her hat ; it ou^ht to be light, large, 
slightly mushroom-shaped to shade the eyes, lined 
with some thick white material to protect the head 



HINTS TO LADY PEDESTBIANS. 16» 

from the sun's rays, and trimmed simply, in a maa- 
ner to bear rain without being spoiled. White 
Indian mnslin is convenient for this purpose, as it 
can be taken off and washed as often as necessary, 
but when a veil is worn along with it, it looks a 
little clumsy ; a small silk scarf, or a piece of black 
ribbon looks better, and is not much the worse for 
a wetting. The hat should be firmly attached to 
the head with strong elastic, to prevent its slipping 
back or over the eyes in the high winds so often 
encountered at great elevations; above all things 
it should not press on the forehead; nothing is 
more tiring to the head than the continued stress 
of a hat, which has often to be worn for twelve or 
fourteen hours at a time. 

Plenty of blue gossamer should be taken, as the 
veil so constantly worn will have to be often re- 
newed. The parasol should be large, as it must 
serve also for an umbrella, light, not to attract 
the sun, and lined with a dark color to give shade ; 
blue is the best, as it does not fade, and is pleasant 
to the eyes. A veil will afford suflScient protection 
to the face so long as a parasol can be used along with 
it, but on rocks, snow slopes, or glaciers, it is often 
impossible to hold up the latter, and then the veil 
must be discarded, and the mask adopted in its place, 
which should be made either of soft linen, or of cam- 
bric doubled, and may be of the simplest construction, 
two holes for the eyes, and one for the mouth, being 

H 2 



164 AMONG THE ALPS. 

all the features required. This rather absurd-lookiiig^ 
disguise is absolutely necessary to those who wish 
to preserve the skin of their faces whole ; one day 
spent without it on snow and ice, and the conse- 
quence is a face of the deepest crimson, embossed 
with large white blisters, painful to the owner, and 
hideous to all beholders. No lady, however devoid 
she may be of vanity or personal attractions, would 
like to present such a spectacle, and the only safe- 
guard against it lies in the use of a linen mask. 
Care should be taken to make it large and long, so 
that it may cover the throat also, or else a scarlet 
rim will mark the place where the neck-handker- 
chief has ceased to aflPbrd protection. A pair of 
blue glasses or spectacles must always be worn while 
on snow, to protect the eyes from inflammation. 

All the clothing should be of wool ; the thinnest 
and softest materials may be used, but in situations 
where great heat is sometimes followed almost imme- 
diately by intense cold, any other substance causes 
a chill, and is both uncomfortable and imwhole- 
some. The dress and jacket should be of a wooUen 
texture, capable of bearing sun and rain, without 
either fading or shrinking; Scotch tweed or homespun 
are good, but they must not be too heavy; grey, 
brown, or black and white, are the best colours to 
use, and all superfluous trimmings, such as Mnges, 
frills, etc., should be avoided. A waterproof is in- 
dispensable. 



HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. J65 

The boots are a very important part of a moun- 
taineering outfit, and great care should be taken to 
have them large and comfortable. The soles should 
be both very thick and very wide, and the heels low 
and quite straight behind ; elastic sides are unfit for 
mountain boots, being soon spoiled by snow and 
water ; those laced up the front are the most useful, 
and keep out the wet best, but in soft snow gaiters 
should also be worn to preserve the feet and ankles 
dry. These it is best to order for oneself, the 
gaiters to be had in London ready-made for ladies 
being rather smart and ornamental, but of no use 
whatever for hard work; they may be either of 
leather or of cloth, according to the fancy of the 
wearer. It is better to have nails put in the boots 
in Switzerland — they are fastened in firmer there 
than in England ; but it is a process that must often 
be repeated, as they come out constantly on rocks 
and stones. Very good strong boots can be got in 
any of the large Swiss towns; on the whole they 
iire preferable, I almost think, to. those of EngKsh 
make. Woollen stockings should always be worn. 

Once provided with a suitable costume, the next 
^consideration is a bag in which to put the remainder 
of the clothes required, and this with ladies is always 
a dijficulty. It is impossible for them to compress 
their wardrobe into the same small compass as that 
of a gentleman, and on many high passes the luggage 
of two ladies is too much for one porter, and 2ii 



lea AMONG THE ALPS. 

second lias to be taken, which is expensive, or one 
bag must be sent round, which is inconvenient. The^ 
bag should be of good leather, but as light as pos- 
sible ; the square shape is better than the flat; and 
besides the lock, there should be straps at each end 
of the opening, to keep it close, and prevent the 
rain from penetrating ; the size must, of course, 
depend on the quantity of clothes which the wearer 
allows herself. Some people prefer a valise to a bag; 
the former is the most convenient, and crushes its 
contents least; the latter is the lightest. During 
a tour of a week or two it is impossible to look 
tidy without a second dress, and this alone takes 
a great deal of room, and there are many articles, 
on which comfort so absolutely depends, that they 
camiot be left behind; it is well, however, to bear 
in mind while making a selection that every addi- 
tional pound's weight will add to the expense and 
trouble of locomotion, and that the lighter the 
luggage the easier it will be conveyed. It is not a 
bad plan to take also a very small waterproof knap- 
sack, which for a mountain ascent may contain the 
things required for one night, and which being very- 
light can be carried by one of the guides, thus saving 
the expense of a porter for the expedition. The bulk 
of the luggage can always be sent on from town to 
town, either by railway or diligence, and in this manner 
the contents of the Alpine bag can be changed and 
refreshed at intervals during the course of the summer. 



HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. 167 

Besides the clothes and toilet necessaries which 
must be taken, there are a few other articles that 
add so materially to the tourist's well-being during 
a walking expedition, that even the consideration of 
their weight should not prevent their being included 
among the indispensables in the bag. I will enu- 
merate those which we found most useful. A small 
quantity of good tea to supplement the very doubtful 
concoction given under that name in mountain inns. 
A pot of ^Liebig's Extract,' with which either to 
make soup where none can be got, or to add a small 
quantity of it to the potage produced, where this 
latter is chiefly composed of water. A few English 
biscuits when going to the Italian or Tyrolese valleys, 
in which the bread is very likely to be sour and 
indigestible. Some chocolate, which is very nourish- 
ing, and takes little room, and also a few raisins. 
Above all things a small etna and some spirits of 
wine. This article will be found particularly con- 
venient in cases of early starts, when, at 2 or 3 
o'clock A.M., it is almost impossible to get anything 
hot in an hotel, and the early riser is forced to wait 
some time, and lose a portion of the cool morning 
hour for which his sleep has been sacrificed, or to 
start without any breakfast, a most uncomfortable 
and unwholesome proceeding. It is easy to keep 
some coffee or milk from the night before, and this 
heated in the etna, with a piece of bread or bis- 
cuit, makes a very fair breakfast; or, if preferred. 



168 AMONG THE ALPS. 

some soup can be made with the ^ Liebig's Extract.* 
Everyone should, if possible, eat a little, no matter 
how early the hour, before beginning a long day of 
exercise and exertion. These supplies, with some 
glycerine and a small bottle of homoeopathic arnica 
for sprains or bruises, will be found well worth the 
little additional space which they require. 

Health is a most important consideration in all 
these expeditions, as without its possession the fairest 
scenes and most interesting objects would lose all 
their charms in the eyes of the beholder, and that 
amount of exertion which gives pleasure to the 
robust would cause weariness to the languid or 
ailing frame. With most people, the pure fresh air 
breathed, and the active life led on the mountains, 
are generally enough in themselves to produce a 
healthy condition, but a few rules should be ob- 
served, and a few precautions taken, to prevent 
the unwonted amount of exercise from disagreeing 
with, or over-fatiguing, persons "vrhose habits, like 
those of many ladies, are usually sedentary. On no 
account should very long or arduous excursions be 
attempted at first ; a fortnight is not too much to 
devote each year to training ; that is, by walks short 
to begin with, and increasing gradually in length, 
to harden the muscles and accustom the limbs to the 
severe work required of them. After due prepara- 
tion a long day of exertion will often cause no 
fatigue whatever, at least none that a good night's 



HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS, 1G9 

rest will not take away ; but any neglect of the 
rule to train beforehand will surely be repented of, 
and two or three days of exhaustion and intolerable 
stiffness will punish the unwary pedestrian who has 
disregarded it. 

A very fatiguing day should always, with ladies, 
be followed by one of complete rest. Sometimes, 
from a concatenation of circumstances, this is incon- 
venient or impossible, and two or three long walks 
have to be taken in succession, but this should be 
the exception, for though at the time the excitement 
may perhaps keep up the walker's strength, the 
exertion is too great a strain on the system, and if 
persisted in would sooner or later surely injure her 
health. 

Too much cold water should not be taken during 
the early part of the day, when there is still much 
of the ascent to be performed, as it is apt to impede 
the powers of breathing on steep places ; on the 
descent it may often be indulged in, provided it be 
spring water, and not swallowed in large quantities 
at a time, or too quickly if very cold. It will be 
found more quenching, though perhaps less en- 
joyable at the moment, if a little light wine is 
added to it. For persons with whom it agrees, the 
excellent milk, which is almost always to be 
found in chalets on the Alps at some time of the 
day, is a very pleasant beverage, and to those 
who cannot eat much while walking and suffering 



170 AMONG THE ALPS. 

from thirst, it affords both nourishment and refresh- 
ment. 

A good guide is indispensable to ladies on a 
mountain tour, and when they have found an expe- 
rienced and trustworthy man who suits them, tliey 
had better keep him for the whole season. It does 
not signify if he should not be acquainted with all 
the places which they intend to visit, as they will 
always have to engage a second guide for glacier 
passes or high mountains, and this latter man being 
taken in his own locality will be sure to know the 
way. 

When ladies attempt any considerable ascent, 
their leading guide should be first-rate, as being 
unable to do much for themselves they depend 
almost entirely for safety on the assistance they re- 
ceive, and a man of that class will know how to 
escape any difficulties that are avoidable, and how 
to help them over those which must be encountered. 
They should also be regulated in their movements 
by the advice of these trained mountaineers, and be 
prepared to go without hesitation where they are 
assured that they can do so with safety. All that is 
necessary to qualify them for moderate Alpine climbs 
such as I have described in this book is, as 1 have 
already stated, that they should have health, strength, 
a steady head, unmoved by the sight of a precipice 
beneath them, and a determination to do what they 
are told. If they possess these advantages, and are 



HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. 171 

guided by men of ability and experience, they will 
run little more danger, and obtain an immeasurably 
greater amount of enjoyment on the trackless heights 
of the Alps than if they were content to drive along 
the dusty high roads of the valleys, or to ride with 
the tourist multitude over the sun-scorched mule 
paths of the lower passes. 

They will find their walking powers increase 
year after year, as habit and practice make them 
more capable of sustaining the fatigue of long 
periods of exercise. The difficulties which at first 
sight appeared so formidable will by degrees dwindle 
down considerably, and after a few years they will 
smile as they look back on their first attempts at 
climbing, and remember the magnitude and im- 
portance with which they invested those early 
performances. 

They will lose the fool-hardiness of ignorance, 
and in proportion as they become more fit to cope 
with the difficulties that they encounter they will 
understand better where the real dangers of the 
Alpine world lie, and will become at the same time 
more courageous and less adventurous than as 
beginners they were wont to be. 

They will, for instance, walk with the help of a 
guide's hand firmly and freely on ice, even should 
it be but a narrow bridge across a deep crevasse, 
and they will mount or descend a steep snow slope 
without being made uncomfortable by the know- 



172 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ledge that below it yawns a Bergschrund, or that it 
leads to the edge of a precipice ; but they will be 
very careful of wandering by themselves on moun- 
tains with which they are not well acquainted, or of 
leaving the beaten tracks and scrambling about at 
random in search of flowers or ferns. 

A lady is far safer on a difficult, broken glacier 
under the protection of a careful guide than when 
climbling by herself over comparatively easy grass 
slopes. She never can tell when the incline may 
just reach the point at which she will be unable to 
maintain her footing, or when in stretching forward 
to grasp some coveted flower she may lose her 
balance, and perhaps her life. Many such accidents 
have been recorded from year to year, which with a 
little more prudence and knowledge would never 
have happened, and these sad occurrences do not 
unfortunately seem to deter others from running the 
same risks. 

The Swiss mountains are on too large a scale to 
be trifled with, and their hidden dangers are in- 
variably the greatest and the most to be dreaded. 
Nothing looks safer and easier to go upon than a 
smooth field of neve. The snow is so crisp and 
pleasant under foot, the sky is so clear and blue 
overhead, the light mountain air is so exhilarating 
to the spirits, and it is thought a bore to be impeded 
in one's movements by the appendage of fifty or 
sixty feet of rope, which obliges all the members of 




HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. 173 

the party to follow each other's footsteps, and to 
keep their distances with tiresome regularity, 
instead of wandering hither and thither as the 
fancy seizes them. 

Unfortunately, many guides, even some of the 
best, agree in this feeling with the inexperienced 
tourist, and either neglect or postpone the evil 
moment of putting on the rope, unless they are 
reminded of its, necessity; all ladies should there- 
fore insist on the precaution being adopted when- 
ever they are on a snow-covered glacier. They will 
sometimes be told that the crevasses are small, or 
that if large their locality is well known, or that 
they are not yet reached ; but it is far safer to dis- 
regard these excuses, and to be roped at once, for it 
should never be forgotten that these seemingly 
secure snow-fields are generally more or less inter- 
spersed by deep cracks in the underlying ice, of 
which sometimes not a sign appears on the surface, 
and that the careless and unsuspecting pedestrian 
may in a moment fall into one of their ghastly 
depths, from which rescue is always most difficult 
and, sometimes, alas ! impossible. 

All the highest authorities on mountaineering 
have agreed in the opinion that the judicious use of 
a good rope will guard eflFectually against this 
danger, and it seems therefore like folly, and worse 
than folly, to slight the reiterated warnings given 
by those best acquainted with the Alps, and from 



174 AMONG THE ALPS. 

«heer negligence or idleness, to incur the risk of 
being precipitated into, and, it may be, buried alive 
in one of these awful sepulchres of ice. Protection 
from such a fate may be considered to be easily 
purchased at the expense of a little discomfort and 
trouble. 

There is with ladies, even for those who attain a 
<3ertain degree above the average capacity of climb- 
ing, a great drawback to many of the most interest- 
ing ascents. I allude to the impossibility of making 
«ome of these excursions in one day, and the neces- 
sity of sleeping in a cave or small hut, containing but 
one room. Of course in this matter every lady must 
be the best judge for herself, whether or not she 
will submit to this amount of roughing. Of these 
places I only speak by hearsay, as we have never 
spent a night in one of them, but from the descrip- 
tion given of them they must be the very reverse of 
agreeable, and it is a question whether the pleasant- 
ness of the following day will counterbalance the 
unpleasantness of the preceding night. 

For the comfort of those who, like ourselves, 
shrink from such rough quarters, it is good to know 
that they need not be debarred from all great ascents 
by this diflBculty. A few of the first-class moun- 
tains, including the two highest summits of the Alps, 
may be reached either in one day, or by spending 
the intervening night in chalets or huts, which, 
though small, will afford to ladies the accommoda- 




HINTS TO LADY PEDESTRIANS. 175 

iion of a separate bedroom, and the same may be 
said of several of the finest glacier passes. They 
and we may therefore console ourselves with the re- 
flection that, should our powers be equal to them, 
many great expeditions may yet be in store for us, 
and these future exploits are pleasant to look for- 
ward to, even if in the inevitable course of events, 
they should fail of being ever accomplished. 



176 AMONG THE ALPS. 



Chapter XI. 



CONCLUSION. 



In the preceding chapter I have spoken princi- 
pally of the dangers, the difficulties, and the dis- 
comforts of the Alps, but before leaving the subject 
altogether I would ask my readers to give a glance 
at the sunny side of the picture also, and in memory 
of all the pleasant days that we may have spent, 
to linger for a few minutes longer in thought 
together amidst the great mountains, and to stray 
through forests and meadows, by streams and rivers, 
over rocks and glaciers, till we reach at last some 
snow-crowned summit, and rest ourselves there 
awhile, high above the noise and turmoil of the 
world below. 

What do we see from our exalted station ? This 
is exactly the question which is often asked in 
derision by the dwellers in the plain. 

* What do you see from the top of a mountain,' 




CONCLUSION. 177 

say these non-climbers, ^ that you should worry and 
tire and fag yourselves to get there ? Tou leave your 
beds when you had far better be asleep ; you swallow 
hastily a few mouthfuls of bad breakfast, and you 
toil and struggle for hours together through heat and 
cold, tUl you reach the summit of some peak or 
other ; and what do you gain by it all ? There is no 
beauty in a bird's-eye view. What advantage have 
you over us ? Look at us ; we rise at a rational hour, 
we eat our breakfast leisurely and, comfortably at 
the right time, and then we stroll out at our ease, 
and looking up at the very mountain on which you 
are perched, see it twice as well from below as you 
do from above.' 

This all sounds very plausible, and at first one 
almost fears that they have the best of the argument, 
but let a few questions be asked and it nearly 
always turns out that not one of them has ever been 
up a high mountain in his or her life ; so what can 
they know about it ? They cannot possibly be 
judges. 

What do they know of the beauty of that early 
hour, when the glimmering dawn creeps slowly over 
ice and snow, when the pale, cold outlines of the 
mountains intensify and sharpen with the growing 
light, till the first quivering flash of day touches the 
highest peak, and in a few minutes the rising sun 
has transformed the whole range into a mass of 
burnished gold ? We are seated on some rocky ledge 

IT 



178 AMONG THE ALPS, 

enjoying the glorious view, and what are our friends 
about below ? They are sound asleep, and do not 
even dream of the mountains or of the sun. 

Again, a little later, we sit in the full, fresh bright- 
ness of the morning, this time on the highest point, 
and watch the light, vapoury clouds rise from the 
valleys beneath, sweeping fantastically up the moun- 
tain's side, and fading into transparency in the warm 
sunbeams ; we see the distant peaks as they cast oflF 
their misty veils, and display their graceful outlines 
against the clearness of the summer sky ; we look at 
the glittering purity of the snow around us, and 
dropping our eyes to the glacier beneath, gaze down 
deep into the blue tracery of its crevasses. Who 
has the best of it now ? We who have toiled and 
panted up the steep incline, or our friends below, 
who have made the descent of the hotel staircase, 
and after the usual demand for ' Kaffee und zwei Eier,^ 
are now engaged in partaking of these delicacies, 
with no better view before them than that presented 
by the opposite wall of the salle ? 

At least if we have not the best of it, we have 
divided the good things of this world evenly between 
us, and if they have comfort, ease, and idleness, we 
on our part have something to make up to us for the 
loss of those luxuries. 

Another accusation is sometimes brought against 
Alpine walkers, which, though false in some respects, 
has yet more truth in it than that theory so often 



CONCLUSION, 179 

propounded, that mountains are best seen from a 
distance. This second objection is that* the inde- 
fatigable climber who is always ascending some peak 
or pass does it, not from any genuine love for 
nature, not from admiration of the grand scenes 
through which he hurries, but merely for the sake 
of getting up to the top as fast as he can and running 
down again, just to be able to boast afterwards that 
he has ' done ' such and such a celebrated mountain 
or col in so many hours. 

No one who reads much of Alpine literature will 
believe the first part of this charge, nor think for a 
moment that those men who spend so many hours 
amidst the grandest scenes in the Alps, and describe 
them so well, can be blind to the beauties which they 
behold ; but that a large proportion of them climb 
for the pleasure and satisfaction of carrying their 
point, and of reaching the summit in spite of almost 
insuperable obstacles, may no doubt be true. 

To overcome a difficulty is a gratifying perfor- 
mance, whatever that difficulty may be. That which 
we gain with trouble and effort has more value in 
our eyes than that which comes to us of itself, and 
as human nature is the same whether it happens to 
be at the level of the sea or some 15,000 feet above 
it, we can well imagine to ourselves how delightful 
the sensation must be to stand at last on the coveted 
little space of rock or snow, and to realise that the 
hard battle has been fairly fought and won. No one 

y 2 



l¥) AMOXG THE ALPS. 

can blame this feeling, and ererjone can miderstand 

it. 

But there is yet another sonree of pleasure in 
motintain life which is not so easy to explain. I 
mean a lore of climbing, not for any particular 
object, but just for the sake of the act itself, for the 
enjoyment of risiug higher and higher aboTe the 
ralley or plain, till the crowning point is reached. 
This is a curious feeling, and hard to analyse. It is 
easier to define what it is not than what it is. It is 
not the ambition to orercome difiBculties, for it may 
exist where there are none in the way ; neither is it 
a wish to do something more than other people, nor 
to electrify them with the account of the deed after- 
wards, for the longing to rise is just as strong, in 
those who have it, on a small hill where no honour 
or glory can possibly be gained as on some lofty and 
famous mountain. 

It is strange that there should be so much more 
satisfaction in resting on the summit of the thing 
climbed than within half an hour of it. The view 
from both places may be almost identical, the lower 
spot may have shelter, while the upper one is exposed 
to a keen wind ; the few remaining feet to be gained 
in height can add but little to the dignity of the 
expedition, and yet no one would think of turning 
buck, except under compulsion, short of the summit 
of even the lowliest hill. 

Why is it so pleasant to attain to the very highest 



C0NCLUSI02/. 181 

point? and whence comes the feeling of complacency 
that steals over us as we sit down there to rest on the 
little jutting mound or stone that is a few inches 
above its neighbours ? Who can tell ! Why does 
the bird choose for his perch the topmost branch of 
a tree as he carols forth his joyous song ? Probably 
he cannot tell either. 

In speaking of the various pleasures of moun- 
taineering, there is the passive as well as the active 
part, which must on no account be omitted. Very 
enjoyable to the pedestrian, after a long day of 
exertion and excitement, is the following period of 
absolute rest. How delightful to stroll out after 
breakfast and sit on the grass in the deep shadow 
of some sheltering tree. There is just enough of 
fatigue left to make perfect stillness agreeable, and, 
with the transparent excuse of a book or an old 
* Swiss Times,' to abandon oneself for the moment 
to the luxury of doing nothing. 

The heat of the day has already commenced, but a 
little of the morning freshness still remains, and the 
air is light and buoyant. Everything is quiet around ; 
only a few sounds break from time to time the silence 
which would else become oppressive ; now it is the 
tinkle of a distant cow-bell, and anon, from further 
stUl, comes the liquid murmur of a torrent borne on 
the soft summer breeze. A faint hum of bees is 
heard, and a few birds twitter in the branches, while 
now and then a swallow skims noiselessly past, or a 



I%2 AMOSG THE ALPS. 

butterfly alights on a neighbonring flower. Pn>- 
bablv from the selected spot some grand monntain 
can be seen, and the idler is at first content to watch 
lazily the constant alternations of light and shade 
ca«t on it by the sky above, or to gaze at the fleecy 
clouds as they float lightly from peak to peak ; bnt 
by degrees the mind, which has done no hard work 
like the body, begins to recover its activity, and away 
go the thoughts hither and thither over the scenes 
around* 

There is a strange fascination about the Alps, 
whether we consider merely the beauty of their 
outward forms, or ponder with still greater admira- 
tion over their wondrous history, and their wide- 
spread usefulness. Dating for their origin to ages 
in the far past, separated from us by such immeasur- 
able distances, that the miud can with difficulty 
reach back to them, these giants of the earth have 
been slowly moulded by outward causes, through 
years that must be counted by thousands, till they 
have been at last made fit for the presence, the 
habitation, and the enjoyment of man. We are apt 
at times to admire them for their beauty, without 
sufficiently appreciating the numberless benefits 
which they daily confer on the human race. 

They and other chains like them are the great 
parents of those streams and rivers that give 
fertility to the ground and clothe it with verdure 
and vegetation. They gather round their lofty 



CONCLUSION, 183 

brows the hot, rarefied air of the plains, and con- 
dense it into clouds, whence they draw the rain 
drop and the storm shower, the hailstone and the 
snowflake. They press the snow into ice, they 
cover the ice again with snow, and from the heart 
of their great frozen seas, they pour down countless 
streams, that gladden the valleys, that feed the 
lakes, and joining their scattered forces, sweep 
through the lowland districts carrying the commerce 
of cities and countries to the distant ports of the 
sea. 

This same process which gives to the mountain 
ranges their inexhaustible water-supply, has served 
equally tg clear the atmosphere, to purify the air, 
and to improve the climate of the countries around, 
so that by a beautiful arrangement, the super-abun- 
dant moisture rises from the heated plains to the 
cool heights above, whence it flows back again laden 
with blessings, to fertilise and adorn the earth. 

If the Alps can extend their benefits to countries 
and to people so far distant from them, what can 
they not do for those at home ! The peasant who 
dwells at their feet owes his subsistence entirely to 
them. They give him grass to feed his cows, fiiel 
to light his fire, timber to build his house, meat to 
stock his larder, and last but not least, foreign 
tourists to fill his purse. Every thriving town, every 
monster hotel, every successful shop of Switzerland 
or Savoy, owes its prosperity, if not its very exist- 



184 AMONG THE ALPS. 

ence, to that crowd of strangers which the wonderd 
of their mountain scenery yearly attracts to these 
countries, and the gold of Europe and America flows 
freely for four months out of every twelve into the 
outstretched hands and capacious pockets of the 
inhabitants. 

The tourists, however, who return home with 
empty purses at the end of the autumn season, need 
not on this account consider themselves aggrieved ; 
in almost all cases they have not parted with their 
money for nothing, but have got the fall value of it 
in some form or other. The sick man carries his 
wasted frame to the Alps, gains health from their 
healing springs, and inhales strength with their 
bracing air. At any rate he has no right to grumble 
at the exchange he has made. Who among us 
would not willingly part with our gold to purchase 
the inestimable blessing of health ? 

It is true he may object that mineral waters and 
fresh air are the gifts of Heaven, and should not be 
sold by men, but he requires a good deal more for 
his cure besides air and water. He cannot pic-nic 
on the mountain side through the entire summer, 
nor like some hermit of old live in a cave on roots 
and fruit. No, he must have his comforts and 
luxuries just as he would at home, and so he has. 
But these comforts and luxuries neither grow nor 
are manufactured some 6,000 or 7,000 feet above the 
plain, and they have had to be dragged up many a 



CONCLUSION, 185 

weary mile on the back of a beast of burden, or on 
the shoulders of a man ; therefore, when the hotel- 
keeper has procured them with trouble and expense, 
and produces them for the entertainment of his 
visitors, it is scarcely fair of these latter to expect 
that he will not charge very much more for articles 
brought from such a distance, than had he only been 
obliged to send for them to a shop round the corner, 
or to the market a few streets * off. Of course they 
will appear in the bill at prices much above their 
intrinsic value, though they can be got cheap enough 
in the nearest town ; but of what use are they there 
to the hungry tourist on the mountain ? They must 
be brought up to him, and he must pay for the 
operation. 

Again, the very hotels to which we all flock during 
the hot months of the summer have been often built 
and furnished at great cost in these remote places ; 
perhaps every bed and table and chair has had to be 
conveyed up for miles, over ground where there is 
not even the convenience of a char road, and for 
nearly nine months of the year these lofty habita- 
tions are empty and deserted, and all the money 
spent on them lies idle meanwhile, and brings in no 
interest. Anyone who will take the trouble to reflect 
for a moment on this subject cannot wonder much at 
the charges that at first sight appear so exorbitant. 
It seems to me that in general the prices at these 
little mountain inns are more reasonable in propor- 



186 AMONG THE ALPS. 

tion, considering all the difficulties that their owners 
have to contend with, than those asked at the large 
fashionable hotels in towns where all the requisites 
are close at hand. 

It is no doubt irritating to be charged higher for a 
room because there happens to be a fine view from 
the window, but after all we pay for many other 
things which give us far less pleasure, and we all give 
our money cheerfully at the door of a picture-gallery 
or exhibition, where we perhaps do not see anything 
half so beautiful as that grand painting of nature 
that is sometimes framed in the window of a little 
Alpine inn. 

I have spoken of the sick as in a pre-eminent 
degree indebted to the Alps, yet they represent after 
all but a small proportion of that great mass of 
human beings who rush for the summer to the high- 
lands of Europe and return at its close, each with 
some good gift in his hand. The overworked clergy- 
man, toiling for long months in his crowded parish, 
and saddened by the poverty, the sufferings, and the 
sins of his flock ; the lawyer, weary with his task of 
proving and defending crime ; the man of business, 
tired of his ledger and his desk ; the judge, the M.P., 
the doctor, and many more of the brain-workers of 
the world, cast aside their surplices, their wigs, their 
account-books, or whatever the emblems of their 
office may be, and fly far from the noise of the city 
and the thoroughfare to quiet nooks and rural 



CONCLUSION, 187 

valleys, where they find rest and relaxation; and, 
whatever are their various tastes, the mountains can 
satisfy them all. 

To the geologist they are a mine of knowledge, as 
he goes forth among them, and reads in their stony 
records the wonderful history of the past. The 
botanist may wander to his heart's content for hours 
and days through their green labyrinths, and affix 
long imposing names to simple little flowers, till we 
can scarcely recognise our old friends under their 
grand Latin appellations. 

The sportsman may take his rifle, and, clambering 
to the haunts of the fleet-footed chamois, shoot him — 
if he can. Of the climbers I have said enough already, 
and need only add that these all-accommodating 
mountains can give constant employment to the five 
Alpine clubs of Europe all through the long summer 
days, providing their members with an unlimited as- 
sortment of expeditions, safe or the reverse, accord- 
ing to their choice. For ordinary walkers they 
have ordinary walks, and there are good mules and 
strong porters for the people who will not walk 
at all. 

To the man of science, what a resource the Alps 
have been! That one much-disputed question of 
glacier motion and its causes has given occupation 
for years to some of the wisest heads and cleverest 
brains of our own and other countries, and these 
men have watched, and experimented, and thought 



188 AMONG THE ALPS. 

m 

with, wonderful perseverance over the perplexed 
subject, and have braved cold, and winter, and night 
on the ice, and have formed great theories, and 
made great discoveries, and written deeply interest- 
ing books, full of opposing arguments, all so appa- 
rently unanswerable, that we, the ignorant ones, 
after carefully reading both sides of the question, 
are left very little wiser than we were before, and 
some of us — I only aUude to myself — ^have come at 
last to the despicable state of always agreeing 
entirely with the last speaker. 

Mountains are to the artists a never-ending source 
of pleasure and profit, and these lords of the pencil 
and the brush have brought their art to such perfec- 
tion, that they can reproduce on paper or canvass 
the scenes which they behold, with a degree of fide- 
lity and vividness which almost startles us, and 
performing, for the benefit of the public, that 
miracle which Mahomet, prophet as he was, could 
not perform for himself, they make the mountains 
come to us, so that in the winter we need not trouble 
ourselves to take long journeys, but have only to 
turn in a few doors off from the noise and din of 
Eegent Street, and find ourselves on the top of 
Mont Blanc, or at the foot of its noblest ice fall, 
or else mounting no higher than a flight of stairs 
above Piccadilly, wander at our pleasure amid bold 
rocks, misty valleys, or snow-decked pines, whilst in 
the far distance the white clouds open, and clear 



CONCLUSION. 189 

against the deep blue skies rise the familiar forms of 
many of our favourite peaks. 

In speaking of those countries in which the great 
Alpine chains lie, it is impossible to pass over in 
silence the various races who inhabit them, and who, 
separated from each other often by mere imaginary 
boundaries, yet differ so much in their persons, 
their customs, their manners, and their characters. 
It is too wide a subject to be more than superficially 
touched upon in a small book like this, but properly 
treated by those who understand it in all its bearings, 
it could be made full of interest to the reader. 

Clinging to the base of the great mountains or 
nestling in their valleys are five distinct peoples, the 
Swiss, the Italians, the Savoyards, the French, and 
the Austrians, curiously scattered among and dove- 
tailed into each other, yet speaking different lan- 
guages and following distinct customs. Even to the 
casual observer the dissimilarity between them is 
obvious, and the change fipom one country to another 
becomes immediately perceptible. The tourist, how- 
ever, whose time is spent principally in moving from 
place to place, and who remains but a short time in 
each, has little opportunity of forming a right 
judgment on the character of the people in whose 
land he travels, and an opinion therefore from such 
a source must be given and received with diffidence. 
The class with whom, if a pedestrian, he will be 
thrown principally in contact, that of guides, will 



190 AMONG THE ALPS. 

not be a good criterion by which, to decide ; many of 
these latter being picked men, who from constantly 
associating with gentlemen of other countries, have 
rubbed off some of their national prejudices and 
peculiarities, and are more enlightened and better 
educated than the generality of the peasantry ; yet 
even in them it is possible to trace very strongly 
the difference of race and nation. 

The peasants of the Swiss valleys are apparently 
sturdy, independent, truthful, thrifty, mercenary, 
and very industrious. Their manners are as a rule 
unprepossessing, and it requires some time to get 
over the first disagreeable impression they produce, 
and to see through the rough surface the kindly 
feeling which often underlies it. 

The peasants of the Italian valleys are the very 
opposite ; lively, intelligent, idle, good-humoured, 
untruthful, and very friendly, their manners are so 
pleasant that the stranger feels drawn towards them 
at once, and likes them without exactly knowing 
why. 

If you ask a Swiss man to show you the way or 
to oblige you in any other manner, he will do so 
conscientiously and to the best of his ability, but he 
will make you feel that he is putting himself out 
of his way to serve you. If you ask the same 
favour of an Italian, he will grant it with alacrity, 
and you will see at once that it gives him pleasure 
to help you, and yet almost against your inclination. 



CONCLUSION, 191 

you will depend more on the word of the gruflF Swiss 
peasant than on the assertions of his more courteous 
neighbour. It is impossible not to respect the Swiss 
most, and yet not to have a preference for the 
Italians. 

In appearance the two races differ essentially, 
particularly the women. Those of Switzerland are 
generally strong and active-looking ; very tidy in 
their persons, comfortably dressed, but often hard- 
featured . and ugly. The women of the Italian 
valleys are on the contrary almost always pretty, 
and their costumes are very becoming and pictu- 
resque ; but this last attribute, so important in the 
eyes of the painter, seldom exists along with neat- 
ness, and in their case the latter grace has certainly 
been completely sacrificed to the former. 

The contrast in the management of small inns 
north and south of the Alps is very striking, and 
in this respect the Swiss host has very much the 
advantage of his southern brother. His establish- 
ment is always scrupulously clean, and though 
the food may at times be rough, yet at least there 
the unexpected traveller runs no danger of starva- 
tion. Not so on the other side, where it is quite 
possible to rise from an ambiguous meal to which 
no name can be given very little better than before 
sitting down to it. It is disheartening when arriv- 
ing at a journey^s end with an appetite sharpened 
by air and exercise, to find as we once did, that the 



192 AMONG THE ALPS, 

only available part of the menu consisted of potatoes 
and honey, or as on another occasion to be informed 
that the larder of the hotel was represented by one 
live chicken. 

The Savoyards have more resemblance to the 
Italians than to the Swiss, but they struck us as 
being inferior to both these nations. They are not 
so polite as the former, nor so industrious and 
energetic as the latter, and some of their mountain 
inns are very rough and uncomfortable. Of course 
I do not include Chamonix in this category, which, 
place with its imposing hotels, its gay shops, and its 
lively population is fast becoming French in appear- 
ance and character. 

The question of Chamonix guides is one that has 
been latterly so much discussed that it would be 
mere repetition to do more than allude to it ; our 
opportunities of judging their capacities were of 
course comparatively small, but as far as our experi- 
ence went, we liked those whom we employed in that 
locality much less than the guides of the Oberland 
or the Valais. 

Of the inhabitants of the French valleys I can say 
nothing, never having visited the Dauphin^ Alps, 
where the accommodation is said to be very defective, 
so that it remains now to consider the Austrians of 
the Tirolese and Carinthian districts. As we only 
spent about a fortnight among a few of these val- 
leys, and are still unacquainted with the largest 



CONCL USIOy. 193 

proportion of them, it is perhaps scarcely fair to 
pass any judgment on the peasantry, except in re- 
gard to their manners, and in this respect they did 
not impress us so faTOurably as we had expected, 
from the flattering descriptions we had read and 
heard of them. It appeared to us that they rather 
overdid their expressions of hospitality, and made 
demonstrations of an amount of friendliness which 
they could not possibly feel for absolute strangers, 
and which must therefore have been assumed for the 
occasion. 

They welcome you on your arrival as if you were 
their oldest friend, whereas they have never seen 
you before in their lives, and do not care if they 
never see you again, and it is difficult while trying 
to respond to these amiabilities to keep down the 
uncharitable thought that it is to the * beaux yeux 
de votre cassette' that they are paying their ad- 
dresses. Then the ceremony of leave-taking at an 
inn where you have perhaps only spent one night is 
quite overpowering. By the time you have shaken 
hands with the master, the mistress, the housemaid, 
the waitress, the laundress, the man who brings out 
the horse, the man who drives, and any other official 
who happens to be present, you sink back into your 
vehicle quite fatigued with all these adieus, and the 
conviction grows stronger on your mind — or at least 
on mine — of how much pleasanter is the custom in 
Italy, where the host will take oflF his hat with easy 





194 AMONG THE ALPS, 

grace and wish you a 'huon via>ggio^^ or even in 
Switzerland, where he will see that yon have all your 
belongings safe around you, and then composedly take 
his leave. From all accounts I have no doubt 
that the Tirolese have many sterling good qualities, 
which on further acquaintance are observed and 
appreciated, and which our intercourse with them 
was too transitory to bring to light, and after all we 
saw but a very small portion of this people, and 
perhaps not the most favourable specimens. 

Finally, as to the Carinthians we know, if anything, 
still less. Those with whom we came in contact 
were either very civil and pleasant to us or quite the 
reverse, as the case might be, and we were not long 
enough among them to be able to decide which 
phase of conduct was the general rule and which the 
exception. 

In speaking in this chapter of all the inhabitants 
of and visitors to the Alpine regions, there is but one 
class which I have omitted to mention — that to 
which I belong myself. What am I to say of us 
ladies whose lot has fallen in pleasant places, who 
have neither to toil with our hands nor our heads to 
win our daily bread ? As we have none of the hard 
work I fear in strict justice *we should liave none of 
the play, but fortunately for the human race justice 
alone is not the portion meted out to them, and they 
receive numberless blessings which they have neither 



CONCL USION. 195 

earned nor deserved, and so we go along with others 
for our holiday and are happy too. 

Only let us hope that we get profit as well as 
pleasure from the mountain scenes to which we go, 
that we move among those wonderful works of God 
with our eyes open to read the lessons which they 
teach, and that though they have ' neither speech 
nor language ' we yet hear their voices around, and 
catch with our listening ears some strains of the 
grand chorus of their ever-ascending hymn of praise. 



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