[Interlachen—Wednesday, 14 September 1859]

Wednesday 14th Lovely. Left early for Thun. Steaming up the lake of Thun between verdurous hills, snow-capped mountains or more level shores studded with chateaux. The Aar raves through the quiet picturesque town making a charming contrast with its noise and bustle. We came to Berne by train early and walked about the old streets while dinner was preparing. The harvest was already beginning and pretty looking market women with baskets full of the most luscious grapes at the most foolish of all prices lined the ancient colonnades. Such towers, such fountains, such bears, and far above all such a view as one has of the distant Oberland from Berne, never can be told. No, they keep their own secret and all who wish to learn it must go there in love and Swiss simplicity. There we met again upon the promenade those interesting English people who are already friends though we have exchanged no words. A fine manliness and a fine womanliness is the attraction they each possess. Why are these simple attributes ever exchanged, which we might have!!

The afternoon was sunny but fresh and autumnal. The drive to Fribourg was inspiring—read Milton on the way. Poor J. was overtaken with the old enemy, the headache, directly after our arrival, but we had come to hear the famous organ and he was determined to go in spite of the ill-behaved cranium. The hour was 7 and night shut down while we waited. As we entered the Cathedral all was dark and quiet. (Our servant thinking we had been deceived about something, turned to the doorkeeper and said in very poor impatient French. What in the world does this mean? but seeing we found it all right he managed to keep quiet and I hope observe and listen.) We sat down close to the altar and waited.

The first roll of sound that burst upon us smote through every chord of being, dispersing with one mighty sweep all material consciousness and awakening to a keener life the waiting Soul within. It was fitting music to hear among the Alps, making the doubting mind exclaim “they are all a mighty vision and now dissolves themselves in melody”!!

Jamie had a severe head-ache and went home directly.


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