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and lovely both, yet even in His absence He is that same, although the poor cast down soul at the time, cannot get this believed.”
“One generation passeth away and another generation cometh :" several have passed since this old manuscript was penned. Though “the earth abideth for ever," centuries do not go by without leaving the mark of their tread. The outward aspect of things round Holhouseburn is changed. Railroads have brought together towns and hamlets, that in James Waddel's time were far apart. Modern enterprise has penetrated under ground, in one sense, turning the very stones into gold; could the good man revisit his old haunts he would look in vain for the “willow bush beside the meadows;" the pure streams by which he sat and sang of the river of the water of Life, are dark and drumly, they have been utilised, brought under tribute to this money-making age. But the prayers he offered there have come up for a memorial before God. He hath shewed to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, through his means the sure word of promise has been fulfilled. “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”
AMONG THE SWISS MOUNTAINS.
1.-LUCERNE AND TELL'S COUNTRY. SOME years ago, as I have heard the story told, a party of Englishspeaking tourists, who happened to be thrown together at an inn on the Continent, were discussing the routes they had followed and the scenery they had beheld. There was one particular valley which was pronounced by several present as the most perfect specimen of picturesque wildness they had ever seen; but a gentleman who had travelled much ventured to assert that, in his opinion, it was decidedly surpassed by a spot in the Highlands of Scotland, which he had once visited.
“ What spot is that?" asked a nobleman, who formed one of the company. The gentleman replied by naming a romantic glen in Ross-shire. “Indeed!” exclaimed the nobleman, “ that is in my own estate, but I never thought it worth my while going to see it.” Now I cannot exactly say how much truth there may be in that story; and I only give it because it serves to illustrate a circumstance which is not uncommon. There are thoughtless people who go wandering about the world, visiting foreign countries in search of beautiful scenery, who yet have given little attention to the beauties of their own land, and the many wonders of nature to be seen nearer their own homes. I flatter myself, however, that I am not to be included among this class ; for though I did stray last summer beyond the bounds of our mother-country in quest of the sublimities and grandeurs of nature, it was not because I disregarded the attractions of our own Highlands, and of the glens, and lakes, and mountains of which we have so much reason to be proud; but because I had visited, and visited repeatedly, the most interesting parts of the Highlands already, and thought that for once a thorough change, away among scenery of a totally different character, and on a more gigantic scale, might be an advantage both for body and mind. And this is indeed the great benefit of foreign travel, that it places one in entirely new circumstances, surrounds the mind with objects altogether fresh and strange, and thus expands and enriches one's experience and one's knowledge of men and things.
One cloudless sunny day, therefore, early in July, I crossed the English Channel, accompanied by a ministerial friend belonging to the United Presbyterian communion, bent on making a pedestrian tour among the mountains of Switzerland. Our route lay by Paris, and it was evening of the following day ere we reached the banks of the Rhine, and entered Basle, our first Swiss city.
Switzerland, I need hardly say, is one of the very smallest countries in Europe. In its northern and western part it possesses several important cities, where manufactures are carried on; but its southern and eastern part is broken up by great mountain masses, and there the towns are fewer in number and ruder in construction, and agricultural and pastoral pursuits prevail. This difference in the external features of the country is accompanied by a difference also in the religion of the people. In the north and west, the inhabitants are chiefly Protestants; but in the southern and mountainous region the Romish Church holds undisputed sway. It is quite true, as Lord Macaulay pointed out, that the Protestant Cantons are the more enterprising and progressive; but then they have the advantage of not being shut in by such huge barriers as the others from all the rest of the world, and of not having such terrible forces to contend with as the devastating torrent and the awful avalanche.
It was from Basle, and while standing on its Cathedral Terrace, close by the quiet cloisters where the great scholar Erasmus must often have strolled and meditated, that we gained our first distant view, away to the south, of the towering mountain ranges which were attracting us onwards. A few hours brought us to Lucerne, about sixty miles farther into the country, and at the very entrance to all that is grandest and most imposing in Alpine scenery. Black, gigantic mountain masses were all around us now, with the dark clouds wreathing round them, sometimes revealing, sometimes almost concealing their fantastic jagged peaks. In the deep hollow between the hills was the far-famed wonderful lake, with the shadow of the hills lying on its bosom, and stretching out its long arms away into the opening valleys. It is in a beautiful bay at the north end of this lake that the city of Lucerne stands, commanding a prospect which is said to be one of the finest in the world. To the west, and almost hanging over the town, is Mount Pilatus, with its heavy mantle of clouds, gloomy and frowning, and ever threatening storms. Right opposite Lucerne, across an arm of the lake, is the Righi, a great resort for tourists on account of the splendid sunsets and sunrises which in good weather may be witnessed from its summit. And then away to the south is the long line of the lake, and a glorious vista of hills behind hills, rugged and precipitous, many of them crowned with everlasting
We could not pass through Lucerne without crossing one of its quaint bridges, peculiar old wooden structures, covered over like half open sheds, and decorated with rude paintings illustrative of Scripture history. But there is nothing in Lucerne so well worth seeing as the monument, designed by Thorwalsden, to the memory of the Swiss Guards who fell in defending the Royal Family of France in the First French Revolution. On the face of a cliff close by the town, and overlooking a little lakelet and garden, a gigantic figure has been hewn out and sculptured. It represents a lion wounded to death, with a broken spear sticking in his side, endeavouring in his last gasp to protect a shield having upon it the French Royal Arms. It is impossible to stand before that sight without being deeply moved, the idea of nobleness, courage, faithfulness to death, is so powerfully expressed. Voice and manner become instinctively subdued the moment it bursts upon you, as if in some mighty presence which you felt bound to revere.
Turning from this impressive spectacle, we took our place in one of the steamers, and sailed away to the farthest end of the lake. Unfortunately, however, our quiet enjoyment of the grandeur around us was interrupted by the ongoings of some young Switzers who were on board. There were about thirty pale-faced lads, accompanied by a smart, freeand-easy, self-confident, and rather dashing gentleman, who seemed to be their teacher. At first they occupied themselves with singing some of their own Swiss songs, which we felt to be both appropriate and agreeable; but tired of this, they set to howling and yelling, at the signal of their teacher, opposite every village or hamlet we passed in sailing along the lake. Then the shrill whistle of the steamer as it gave the warning for stopping at any point, had to be repeated and mimicked by that chorus of screaming voices. It was horrible. I used to think I had a good deal of patience, but it took me to bear it, especially when I looked round and saw the dashing teacher grinning with satisfaction at every howl which was louder than the others. To think that one had come hundreds of miles to see this unrivalled lake, the grandeur of which was fitted to impress and subdue the mind, and to be thus distracted by harsh noises entirely out of keeping with the scene, was certainly disappointing. However, it was not the boys' fault, but the teacher's, who seemed to delight in the attention they attracted. It was a capital idea badly worked out; for it seems to me an excellent and wise plan to take the senior pupils of a school together to see the most interesting spots of their native country-spots famed either for their natural beauty or for their historic associations.
At last, as we got near the head of the lake, matters became more quiet and agreeable. The pale-faced lads got tired and thirsty, and took to their wine-flasks which they had slung over their shoulders as we would sling a field-glass. We were now entering what is called "Tell's Country, —the region rendered illustrious by the heroic exploits of Switzerland's best-known patriot. At a point where the hills become higher and the cliffs steeper, the lake makes a sudden bend, in turning which you pass within the bounds sacred to liberty, and come upon a view of lofty precipices, rugged mountains, and soaring snowy peaks, overpowering in their majesty. Here and there a quaint old village may be seen, perched on a shelf of rock far above, with its glazed or gilded church spire glittering in the sunshine. To the right, on a narrow strip of land at the base of the crags, is Grütli, the spot celebrated in tradition as the meetingplace of the three first founders of Swiss freedom. There in secret and at dead of night, Werner Stauffacher, Erni an der Halden, and Walter Fürst solemnly pledged themselves to each other and to God to fight and struggle to the last to free their country from the yoke of the oppressor. The whole land had been for years under the power of the Dukes of Austria, whose commissioners or bailiffs tyrannised harshly over the inhabitants. The people of the four central cantons, however,-Schwytz, Uri, Unterwalden, and Lucerne,-had never bowed submissively to the foreign rule; and in 1307 those three patriots, whose names I have mentioned, led the way in a heroic and determined struggle for independence and liberty. In this struggle the men of Schwytz took the most prominent and distinguished part; and it was on this account that their name stamped itself permanently on the history of the whole country, which henceforth was to be known to the world as Schwytzer-land. The decisive battle was fought at Morgarten, in 1315, when fourteen hundred Swiss, posted on the heights commanding a narrow pass, utterly defeated and routed a large Austrian army of fifteen thousand men. It was in connection with this struggle for liberty that William Tell rendered himself famous; and in sailing along the lake of Lucerne, shortly after passing Grútli, but on the opposite shore, you come to a rock jutting out into the water, with a picturesque old chapel upon it, associated with his name. That rock is said to have been the scene of one of the hero's daring achievements. He had been taken prisoner, and was being conveyed by a party of Austrians in a boat along the lake. A sudden storm came on, and Tell's fetters had to be removed to allow him to assist in managing the boat. Thus freed, he waited his opportunity, steered near to the shore, and in rounding that rocky point, sprang out upon it, and escaped. The little chapel which marks the spot is nearly five hundred years old, having been built in 1388, about thirty-eight years after Tell's death, in commemoration of the exploit, and is a standing evidence that some portions at least of the traditions respecting him must have a foundation in truth.
After a three hours' sail we reached the head of the lake, and walked on about two miles, up the valley of the Reuss, to Altdorf, a quiet old town, indeed one of the very oldest in Switzerland, as its name suggests, where we were to spend the night. It was in this leisurely evening stroll that we obtained our first near view of that exceedingly picturesque specimen of architectural ingenuity—a Swiss mountain chalet. We passed many of them on the way, built of strong beams of wood, on a stone-foundation, with the ground-floor occupied by the cattle; the second storey projecting a little with its open gallery or balcony, tenanted by the family; and over all the broad roof, with immense overhanging eaves, and pressed down by rows of heavy stones, as a protection against the fury of the mountain storms.
As we passed up the narrow streets of Altdorf towards our inn, we had to cross the open square in which, according to the tradition, Tell shot the apple placed upon the head of his son. We saw the colossal statue of the hero, said to mark the spot where he actually stood and aimed the arrow on which life or death was to depend. Grave doubts as to the truth of this story of the apple have been suggested by historical critics, and it has even been traced to Danish and Norwegian sources. Mr Baring-Gould in his Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, expresses the belief that it is only one of those floating legends to be found under various forms in the different branches of the great Aryan race, and carried with them at that far distant period when they first migrated westwards from the plains of Asia; and this is evidently the opinion of the majority of those who take the sceptical view of the story. But whatever be the amount of truth in this portion of the tradition regarding Tell, there seems sufficient reason to believe that the man stood out among his countrymen as a conspicuous hero and patriot, defying and thwarting, in his own impulsive, daring way, the power of the oppressor. Not far from Altdorf, and easily seen from a certain point on the road, is the exceedingly picturesque village of Burglen where he was born, and in the neighbourhood of which also he lost his life in 1350, while endeavouring to rescue a child who had fallen into the wild torrent which dashes down the valley.
Scenes such as these, associated with the history of a brave and patriotic man, have a profound interest for every lover of liberty; but they are peculiarly interesting to a Scotchman, who remembers the struggles for freedom which had to be waged in the glens and among the mountains of his own land, and who reveres the memory of his own national patriots, through whose self-denying toil and suffering that precious heritage of privilege and liberty was secured in which it is now his happiness to share.
I hope to be able next month to take my readers up the St Gothard Pass, over the Furca, and on to the Rhone Glacier.