[Lucerne—Tuesday, 6 September 1859]

Tuesday 6th We were wakened early by a wonderful sun-rise. The sky was nearly cloudless and the whole heavens and mountains and lake looked fresh as if just then first created, so fresh and pure. In the cool morning sailed to Fluelen and took carriage for the St. Gotthard pass. Drove all day through that grand valley of the Reuss climbing up and up continually. When night came we found ourselves at the cold bleak village of Hospenthal 4,500 feet above the sea but nevertheless shut in by giant mountains. The air was clear but frosty and in truth it was almost impossible to warm oneself but we heaped together all the comfortable things we could find for the night and managed to keep old Winter out this time. A fearful quiet reigned hereabout. Even the river which had been a cheering companion during the day here ran swiftly and silently through sedgy banks. Nothing but rocks, grey cold rocks were to be seen with hardly grass enough for the poor cattle to nibble at. The only sign of life was the marvellous and ancient road winding on and on interminably. We thought many times of the cheerful village of Amsteg where we dined with its Swiss Kellnerinn and her pleasant face. So warm and green it looked snuggled away in its “happy valley” that we ventured to ask if it were cold here even in winter. “Not so cold as Lucerne” was the triumphant answer of the “Maitresse” and we readily believed her.

Just before we reached Hospenthal that night we heard the Reuss plunging and heaving as if distressed within some fearful chasm. Jumping from the carriage we ran to the road-side and there, above far into the blue heaven and just tinged with sun-set was our first great glacier which sloped down in one long continuous descent to the greener hills which in their turn sloped in infinite variety through many miles of verdure to their rocky base hundreds of feet below us. Here is the “Devils Bridge” one ancient arch, all disused and overgrown but year after year listening to the booming groaning river far below. How grand it all was and how much grander than any one can tell are these glorious scenes—but alas!


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