Scenes in Switzerland by American Tract Society


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Page 1


Time flies swiftly when we are sightseeing; and it was late in the
autumn of 18-- when I reached Lindau. Lake Constance lay before me, a
pale, green sheet of water, hemmed in on the south by bold mountain
ranges, filling the interim between the Rhine valley and the long
undulating ridges of the Canton Thurgau. These heights, cleft at
intervals by green smiling valleys and deep ravines, are only the
front of table-land stretching away like an inclined plane, and dotted
with scattered houses and cloistering villages. The deep green of
forest and pasture land was beginning to show the touch of autumn's
pencil; the bright hues striking against gray, rocky walls; the
topmost edge of each successive elevation crowned with a sharp outline
of golden light, deepening the purple gloom of the shaded slopes.

Behind and over this region towers the Sentis, its brow of snow
bristling with spear points. It was altogether too late to think of
the Baths, or even to look at the little lake of Wallenstatt; and
still, I was unwilling to return without a friendly shake of the hand
of my old friend Spruner, who had perched himself in one of the upper
cantons. "You should have been here earlier," said the landlord; "in
summer we have plenty of visitors."

"I rather look upon the mountains in their parti-colored vests, than
when dressed in simple green," I replied.

"If you can stand the weather;" and he thrust his pipe deeper into
his mouth, and twirled the button of his coat.

Hastily making my adieus, the postillion cracked his whip, and we
started. "There is no danger of bad weather for a month," said the
driver, "and when we get up farther you will see what will pay you for
the trouble of coming:" a speech that promised well for the day, I
argued; and a certain share of respect leaped up for the man in his
laced coat and steeple-crowned hat. A good specimen of his class--and
once satisfied of this, I gave myself up to the present, without the
least foreboding with regard to the future.

Over us hung masses of gray cloud, stretching across the valley like a
curtain, and falling in voluminous folds almost to the level of Lake
Constance. As we passed through this belt, and came out, with cloud
and mist below us, I listened as the postillion related the popular
legends handed down from one generation to another, for the last six
hundred years. Reaching the crest of the topmost height, he stopped
suddenly.

"It is just the day to see the herdsmen;" and he threw down the reins,
and prepared to dismount. I stood up and looked around.

"The battle you know between the herdsmen and the monks, with Austria
to help. It was a hard battle, and the knights were whipped; and ever
since, on certain days, the herdsmen are seen armed with bows and
pikes," he continued. By this time I had taken in his meaning, and
turning my attention to the misty curtain rolling up into clouds about
the sides of the mountain, I had no difficulty in picturing the
discomfited Austrians flying from the pursuit of the hardy
mountaineers.

"It was a great battle, and they have never tried it since," and there


"No wonder, if your herdsmen are still ready to keep up the fight."

"You do not see them," and he made a gesture in the direction where my
eye still lingered.

"As plainly as any body can," and I tried hard not to smile.

"It is quite true this;" and he gathered up the reins.

"I do not doubt it."

As we passed on, the clouds rounded into islands, touched with silver
on the upper edges.

"This is the place for fine muslin and embroideries," said the
postillion in a changed tone.

"Where are they made?" I asked.

"Every house has a loom," he said.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Mon 20th May 2019, 19:18