[Giessbach—Monday, 12 September 1859]

Monday 12th Lovely day. Started early in the morning for Grindelwald. We were warm as we drove through the valley but as we approached this glacier the stormy winds of winter slid down upon its breast and penetrated vitally. We would not drive to the Glacier fearing to injure its vast effect but we walked towards it guided by a little Swiss boy of only 7 years who was proud to serve us. The day was too clear to lose returning at once therefore we ascended the Wengern Alp where Byron conceived and wrote part of his Manfred. Jamie took a horse but put me in a chaise-à-porteurs with such excellent men of the country to carry me that we were full of interest for them. This was the crowning glory of our Alpine journey. For three hours nearer 4 perhaps we ascended continually, the village of Grindelwald lay far below and the bells of the 6000 cows belonging thereto tinkled melodiously to our ears. The air became rare, we were animated with a new and strange enthousiasm—we were prepared to do and to adore. The men partook also of our elevation of spirit. Even the poorest inhabitant of the châlets seemed to know a joy in life which is not found elsewhere. The cows stopped to look at us allowing us to breathe unasked but not unappreciated the perfume of their breath and on the hill-side at a rustic bench were seats awaiting us with sweet milk & berries of the country. How new it was to us and how nearly allied to the highest greatness was the rare simplicity of life we saw. Almost insurmountable hardships environned them but the majesty of God was expressed before them and the very air purified of dross.

The Wengern Alp is higher than our own Mt. Washington and yet the Jungfrau stood above its summit with a clear majesty as other mountains stand above the plain. We lingered quite as long as we dared upon the top lost in mute wonder. Avalanches fell and Glaciers sank before us, breaking and lulling into a deadlier Silence the Death of Sound about us. As we came down the men ran at full speed over the less steep portions but for ½ an hour we hung over the precipice under which Lauterbrunnen stands slowly and painfully descending. Once more we saw the Lütschine river and the glittering Staubbach hung its shadowy water-falls over the opposing precipice.

We sat down to a cosy tea-table in the little inn with a charcoal urn as large as a small meeting house; we fancied we had seen glories enough for one day and that the curtain of night would soon overshadow all but suddenly the Jungfrau gleamed upon us in a fresh white beauty and the large round moon made all the valley radiant. Jamie was tired with his long walk down the mountain and soon retired, to sleep soundly. I sat reading Rousseau till my soul grew sad longing for a larger faith to be born within the hearts of men to influence their lives, when my eyes wandered,—the great world was still, and a heavenly presence filled the valley. Such a scene was never vouchsafed to mortal eyes! The ever spiritual presence was made evident and angels walked upon the mountain-side guarding this flock!


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