[Geneva—Monday, 26 September 1859]
Monday 26th Midsummer beauty. Went to Lausanne. A soft haze covered the Lake and mountains. We went into Gibbon’s garden and sat in the arbor where his book was finished looking out upon the perfect calm below; then rambled through the quaint old town & up into the Cathedral (protestant) where we found the tomb of the Great St. Bernard. As noon approached we took a carriage, half filled it with the delicious grapes from the vineyards near at hand and drove through the vision-like beauty of Vevay. Clarens (where we ran up the steep hill-side to see the view from the Bosguets de Julie / alas! a rail-road bridge now spans the spot) Montreuil [sic, for Montreux], here we called to see Mr Parker his wife Miss Stevenson &c—and at last Chillon. Here we sent carriage and courier on to the Hotel Byron that we might linger. Such abandonment of beauty! Such luxury of loveliness! All the repose of Italy is concentrated about this Lake. The saddening contrast of Infinite love and human hate which is found at Chillon is strong enough to bend to bleeding coarser reeds than the one we called, Byron. Dined at Villeneuve. Rowed across the lake at sun-set to Bouveret. The smooth surface burned with the golden rays broken only by the long reflected poplars or a gigantic purple hill. The silver peak of the Dent[s] du Midi glowed like the moon. At Bouveret we waited in the darkness 1 hour & ½. Firstly we prowled about the dirty town. Secondly we read by a dim lantern and thirdly finding both these insufficient and impracticable dropped asleep from utter weariness. Took cars through the Rhone Valley, slept at Martigny.